Written by: Jen Anesi of The NEWS
Wash your hands. Get a flu shot. Cover your cough. Stay home if you're sick. These are all widely recognized ways of preventing the spread of cold and flu viruses during the winter months. But the 24-year old graduate student and Mayo Clinic researcher Tyler Koep has one more tip to add to the list: Turn up the humidity!
In a paper recently published online in BMC Infectious Diseases, Koep and his fellow Mayo Clinic researchers explore humidity in schools and the potential effects it could have on the survival and transmissibility of the influenza virus.
"If it's 60% humidity, we'd expect viruses not to survive nearly as well as they would at 20%," Koep said. "Right in that 40-60% range is what we target in the schools for safety concerns and to achieve maximum inactivity of viruses".
However, Rogers noted that using individual humidifiers in each classroom to maintain an ideal humidity level is not practical. "I suppose that's a possibility, to put individual humidifiers in each classroom, but you'e looking at 20-plus rooms with humidfiiers. Who's going to fill them, do the water treatments, and keep them clean? I'm sure it's possible to humidify the space, but whether it's likely, I doubt it."