As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, scientists have gradually learned more about how the disease spreads and what factors can slow or accelerate it. Now, a Japanese supercomputer model has found a new factor affecting indoor transmission: humidity. Here’s what you need to know about this new research and why using a humidifier may help to reduce the chances of indoor COVID-19 transmissions.
What Did the Supercomputer Model Find?
Researchers utilized the Fugaku supercomputer to model how viral particles would move through the air at different humidity levels. The purpose of the study was to model how dry air in the cooler months could affect the rate of transmission. The results of the study found that dry air could allow the virus-sized particles to travel much farther than humid air, suggesting that the dry, cold months ahead could be particularly bad in terms of viral spread.
According to the findings, air with a 30 percent relative humidity would contain more than double the number of airborne, virus-sized particles as air at 60 percent RH. Because RH tends to be lower in the wintertime, it may be necessary to add extra moisture to the air using a home humidifier.
This kind of research is increasingly essential as COVID-19 enters what appears to be a large second spike. While scientists have suspected that a seasonal spike would occur as the weather cooled, there has been no hard evidence for this hypothesis until recently. Now, the seasonal nature of COVID-19 is an established fact, and one that must be taken into account to keep cases under control until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is developed.
How Can a Humidifier Help?
While a humidifier obviously won’t prevent COVID-19 transmission on its own, using one may add one extra layer of protection to your home. By increasing the humidity of your home air, a humidifier may make it less likely that viral particles will travel far enough to cause new infections.
Using a humidifier may be especially important if you plan to host holiday gatherings this year. Whenever you bring people in from outside your own household, your chance of exposure to COVID-19 goes up substantially. If you’re planning on having a family get-together for the holidays, it’s important to take every precaution you can, including using a good humidifier and HEPA air purifier. Of course, these tools should be implemented in conjunction with the appropriate use of face masks and careful social distancing.
Have questions about which humidifier is right for you? We’re here to help! Feel free to contact us with your questions, and we’ll be happy to provide you with answers and recommendations based on your needs.