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Home Humidity & Asthma: 6 Tips to Decrease House Humidity

Humidity Levels Can Lead To Worsening Asthma

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Updated January 10, 2011

Increase Humidity Levels Increase Dust Mites

Increased Humidity Levels Increase Dust Mites

Photo © American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

Home humidity problems can also lead to problems with your asthma. When humidity levels in the home are high, dust mites and molds tend to thrive. High home humidity levels can lead to asthma symptoms such as:

High home humidity levels indicate too much moisture. You can look around your house for a number of indicators of high humidity levels such as:

  • Damp spots on ceilings or walls
  • Mold growth
  • Peeling paint
  • Sweating on the basement floor or walls
  • Condensation on water pipes
  • Lingering odors
  • Decaying wood

6 Tips to Decrease House Humidity

Much of the humidity in the house results from our own lifestyle habits. There are a number of things we can do to decrease humidity in the house.

  • Use exhaust fans. Placing exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom can decrease house humidity. Doing so keeps the moist air from escaping into other areas of the home and decreases humidity levels at the source. Other areas where exhaust fans may help include attic and crawl spaces.

  • Open windows- Many of our homes are now built to be air tight to save on energy. While this may save money on energy bills, an air-tight home can trap air pollutants. Occasionally opening windows can allow these pollutants to escape the home. Of course, this needs to be counter balanced by the air quality in your community. If pollen levels are bad, or you live in a big city with poor air quality, you may not want to do this.

  • Decreasing showering/ bath time- Long, hot showers increase humidity. Additionally, hanging wet clothes to dry indoors can result in aeresolization of lint, fabric softeners, and detergents that could lead to an asthma attack when inhaled.

  • Vent clothes dryer to outside- Some homes do not vent clothes dryers to the exterior of a home to save on heating costs. Not only could this increase home humidity, but it also may increase air pollution in the home that could worsen asthma symptoms.

  • Washing only full loads of laundry- You use the same amount of water no matter how much you have to wash. Making sure each load is full will decrease total number of loads done and can help with home humidity.

  • Dehumidifiers- If these tips do not decrease your home humidity problems, you might consider a dehumidifier. This can be really helpful if you have a moist or humid basement.

Sources:

Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed January 7, 2011. A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home

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