MAINTAINING CONTROLLED INDOOR HUMIDITY LEVELS ARE KEY TO FIGHTING COVID-19
With so much inaccurate news and conflicting advice, regarding safeguarding ourselves from this new virus, it’s understandable that many of us are unsure and nervous about venturing into environments which may not be safe.
However, every day we are learning more and more and there have been numerous studies which have concluded that low humidity, in a warm or cold environment, reduces the ability of the immune system to fight respiratory viral infections and increases the chance of contracting Covid-19. Consequently, scientific researchers have found that when a room is well ventilated and has higher humidity, the risk of infection is significantly reduced.
This is because the small infectious aerosols, which are emitted when we sneeze, cough or speak, are larger and heavier and so drop much quicker, instead of staying suspended in the air and increasing the exposure to others. Therefore, the virus has been shown to be much less infectious in this mid range relative humidity zone and that these conditions optimise the ability of our immune systems to fight off viral and bacterial infections.
These studies have accumulated significant evidence that the virus is best contained and provides a lower risk of exposure in indoor environments with a relative ambient humidity of between 40-60%, and so the use of indoor humidifiers have been recommended.
At Yoga Rocks, we use a bespoke heating system developed by Humidity Solutions Ltd specifically designed for hot yoga studios, which ventilates the studio with a continuous exchange of fresh air. This is operated in conjunction with our Condair Humidifier, which is set to a maintain a RH (relative humidity) of around 50% within the studio at all times.
Dr. Walter Hugentobler, FMH General Physician, and Dr. Stephanie Taylor, of Harvard Medical School are the Medical Advisors for Condair Group.
Dr Hugentobler advises that “Air humidification acts in a proactive way to combat the spread of viruses by infected people, including so-called super spreaders, even before any symptoms appear or a diagnosis can be made. Additionally, the respiratory tract’s defences are improved in all people due to the more efficient cleaning of the airways and enhanced immune defences. Raising air humidity by humidification reduces the risk of virus spread in hospitals and other buildings,”
Dr Stephanie Taylor has appeared on televised American news, also giving her expert advice on how controlled humidification of between 40%-60% RH was shown to significantly reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19. Government Business also featured her advice in an article about helping to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.
Not to be left behind, the BBC has also recently reported on both its website and the News at Ten the reduced risk of contracting the virus when indoors, through the use of humidification control and effective ventilation – Further endorsing what science has shown; that the controlled humidification and air control is a highly effective method in significantly reducing the risk of infection.
Our top priority is, and has always been to keep our Yoga Rocks team and community safe and healthy, and so every one of our classes will be carefully monitored to ensure that the heating and humidity conditions in our studio optimise our immune defences and significantly reduce the risk of infection.
Whilst we know that most of our Yogis cannot wait to be practicing again in our hot studio – they can now do so in the knowledge that the air exchange and humidification control system we use in the studio also makes it a safer environment to be in, as science has shown.
In addition to this, the Yoga Rocks team is working tirelessly behind the scenes in keeping upto date with the latest scientific evidence and government guidelines regarding the best methods we can employ to ensure customer safety when the studio reopens.
*Kudo et al. (2019) Low ambient humidity impairs barrier function and innate resistance against influenza infection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019
*Gough, March 1, 2020. Fighting the Flu with Humidity: Researchers discover immune system benefits of humidity https://medium.com/@ngough_bioserendipity/fighting-the-flu-with-humidity-28d4ccb42bd7
*Sajadi et al. (2020) Temperature and Latitude Analysis to Predict Potential Spread and Seasonality for COVID-19 https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3550308
*Michael P. Ward, Shuang Xiao, Zhijie Zhang. The role of climate during the COVID‐19 epidemic in New South Wales, Australia. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 2020; DOI: 10.1111/tbed.13631
*University of Sydney. “COVID-19 could be a seasonal illness with higher risk in winter: Reduced humidity linked to increased COVID-19 risk.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200601134608.htm>.
*Dr Stephanie Taylor, M.D., M. Arch, CIC, of Harvard Medical School (*Dr Stephanie Taylorair quality, http://www.taylorcx.com/ Twitter: @staylorvt)
Virus expert, Dr. Stephanie Taylor, Harvard Medical School.