How humidity affects your life unknowingly and how to deal with it
For many, a few minutes in a humid environment make their hair annoyingly frizzy. But that is not all. Being exposed to high levels of humidity has many more or less serious consequences for your health, some of them you might have even never thought of. Read more to find out.
Effects of humidity on health
Humidity affects our health in various ways. Humid conditions disrupt our bodies’ temperature regulation system: the sweat evaporates more slowly, making it hard for our bodies to cool off, so they get more stressed and over-exercised. When combined with high temperatures, high humidity levels can cause several symptoms including dehydration, muscle cramps, fatigue, heat exhaustion, fainting and heat stroke.
But high humidity levels also affect our health through the pollution of our homes. How? A ASHRAE study states that indoor humidity fosters the apparition, growth, and spread of biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi (mold) and dust mites. Those are responsible for adverse health effects including infectious diseases, allergic reactions, hypersensitivity reactions and skin afflictions including:
- Common cold, flu
- Asthma and other respiratory problems (wheezing, pneumonitis…)
- Eye, nose, and throat irritation, rhinitis, cough
- Skin irritations: atopy, rashes, hives
- Headache, fatigue, aches
Those indoor pollutant agents can trigger and/or aggravate health conditions. Some people are particularly vulnerable, especially babies, elder people, pregnant women and people with respiratory problems.
On the other hand, low humidity may cause irritation on the throat and eyes, coughs, and skin irritations.
Impact on babies and children
Multiple surveys showed that humidity has an even greater impact on babies and children due to their physiology and metabolism. These make them less effective in adapting to environmental changes, thus making them more likely than adults to suffer from dehydration, fatigue, heat exhaustion and so on.
Besides, their immature immune system makes then more prone to develop infectious and other pediatric diseases such as pneumonia, mumps, gastroenteritis, and asthma. Asthma is the leading chronic disease in children and affected 1 in 12 children in the US in 2015 which represents about 6 million children under the age of 18 according to AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America). That leaves quite a number of people, children, living uncomfortably on a daily basis, and potentially at risk due to high humidity levels.
On electronics and clothing
Electronic devices are designed to sustain a certain humidity level. However, extended exposure to high humidity can damage them because of corrosion, over-heat and short-circuit.
Humidity also impacts negatively clothing and any fabric by slowing down their drying. As the fibers of the clothing absorbing humidity, unpleasant odors and mold may appear. Humid carpets and mattresses form ideal environments for dust mites to grow and multiply, causing ultimately some of the health issues we mentioned previously.
How to deal with humidity?
Taking actions against humidity
Numerous dehumidifying products can be found on the market:
- desiccant materials such as Silica gel, calcium chloride crystals, charcoal. They can be found in the form of packs, canisters, small bags, hanging bags designed for closets…
- Dehumidifier appliances
- Fan. In case of mold, using fan should be avoided as it expands the fungi and toxic particles in non-contaminated areas.
When high humidity has resulted in severe home and health damages, it may be good to consider hiring professional services: mold removal and dust mites companies as well as plumb or constructions companies if the high indoor humidity levels result from misconstructions or defective plumbery installations.
When the humidity is too low, a humidifier is a solution. But you have to make sure it does not make your room too humid. In other words, you need a tool to measure humidity at your home.
A ASHRAE study stated that relative indoor humidity should not exceed 60% or 80%. But the ideal level of humidity that should be maintained in a room must actually be determined according to the occupants, their health conditions and the region (climate) they live in.
There are several types of appliances aimed at measuring humidity at home:
- Hygrometer — tools measuring humidity only, mostly for professional us
- Digital indoor thermometer hygrometer — measure both temperature and humidity, the most common and cheapest type of appliance measuring humidity
- Home weather station — measure various atmospheric data, including humidity
- Smart hygrometer (a.k.a smart humidity sensor)
Except for some models of smart hygrometers, all these appliances require you to check yourself, when you are home, the current humidity level, by checking on the device directly. The issue is actually to remember to check the level of humidity to take action when it is needed. Thankfully, some smart solutions can help you monitor the humidity and get things done before it is too late. That was the idea behind the development of your new MicroBot, Sense, a smart multi-sensor.
Our solution: MicroBot Sense
MicroBot Sense is the portable smart sensor that measures various atmospheric variables, including humidity, temperature, air pressure, luminosity, noise, CO2 level, TVOC level as well as movements. Our aim is making all people’s lives better a through smart and innovative technology that would fit the needs of the majority wherever they are.
A tiny smart sensor to be installed or taken anywhere
Because effectively monitoring the humidity is not about checking, from time to time, an hygrometer installed in the living room, MicroBot Sense was made portable and easy to install. Thanks to its tiny size and lightness, MicroBot Sense can be installed anywhere at home or taken with you on-the-go. At home, it can be easily and discreetly affixed to any wall or furniture. You can also take it anywhere you go, attached your backpack or bag, so that you get information on your surroundings wherever you are.
Easy and intuitive data checking
The humidity level can be checked easily and quickly by pressing the Sense’s capacitive button. This will send you a push notification on your phone including all atmospheric data captured by Sense. And if your hands are busy, with your baby for instance, you can still ask Amazon Alexa or Google Home to read the humidity level for you.
Humidity can also be reviewed on the MicroBot Sense app’s dashboard and graphs. Graphs show the humidity data history over the past day, week or month. It is particularly useful to review the changes in humidity levels during a period of time, so that action can be taken accordingly. For instance, if the humidity level has been high the past month, you may consider using a dehumidifier and checking your house whether you can spot any mold.
There are many analog devices that measure humidity but you still need to remember to check them regularly. But what if the data could come to you without even having to remember you need to check it?
With Sense, we wanted to make the monitoring of humidity the less painful process as possible. That is why we developed the smart alert feature. No need to worry anymore about forgetting to check the humidity level: you will receive a notification directly on your phone. Better yet, you will be given some recommendations of action to take to ensure your and your loved ones’ well-being. And the more Sense is used the more accurate the advice gets. Smart alerts can be set manually so that you can freely decide on the level of humidity that is right for you. Customization is the key.
There are many other ways to keep an eye on humidity levels and improve your well-being thanks to Sense. For instance, you can integrate it with third-party devices using IFTTT or webhooks and set up automation rules. Thus, you won’t even need to check the humidity level, it will be adjusted automatically according to your settings. That’s the power of the smart home. Stay tuned on our blog to learn more about why and how you could use MicroBot Sense!