NEEDHAM, Mass. A scientific white paper released last month suggests humidifiers may play an important role in reducing the survival of the flu virus on both surfaces and in the air.
The research suggests that homes kept at 40% to 60% percent relative humidity are likely to have fewer flu viruses.
“After evaluating a number of published peer reviewed studies conducted over the last 70 years, we’ve learned that monitoring and maintaining proper humidity levels in your home to may reduce survival of the flu virus in the air and on surfaces,” stated Jim McDevitt, co-author of the report, and instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health. “While the typical flu virus can survive on surfaces and in the air for up to 24 hours, the survival time in a more humid environment is markedly lower.”
The report, sponsored by Kaz, manufacturer of Vicks brand humidifiers, comes from an independent team of scientists and researchers. The studies examined in the white paper focused primarily on the survival of the influenza A(H1N1) virus on surfaces and in the air. The novel strain of H1N1 that has emerged this year, also known as the 2009 H1N1, was not included in any of these studies, Kaz noted.