Wondrous winter weather has arrived! Maybe you’re thinking, “What? What’s so wondrous about winter weather?” (Bah humbug!)

Well, whether you like it, or you don’t, winter weather is parked right here in the lovely Monadnock Region of New Hampshire for the next several months. Drying of the air in our indoor spaces is one of those changes that subtly creeps in.

You’re not thinking about it, then one morning you wake up and think, “Wow. Why is my voice an octave down? Why does my nose feel so dry? Why is my throat sore? Why is my partner snoring louder than usual?”

It’s not rocket science. Everyone knows that once you turn up the heat, not only does it keep you warm, but it saps the air of its moisture content. Lack of moisture in the air causes physical discomforts, such as:

• Sinus issues – as mucus dries and thickens

• Voice problems – as the vocal cords

themselves become dry

• Dry nose and even nosebleeds

• Increased snoring related to the

sinus, nasal, and vocal cord issues

• Dry cough

• Dry, chapped lips

• Dry skin – flakiness, itching, cracking

thumbs and even accelerated skin aging

Did you know, however, that making sure there is enough moisture in the air can help keep you from getting sick and shorten the duration of an existing illness? Here’s how.

• Viruses and bacteria aren’t very happy when the air is moist. Moist air slows down their multiplication and the speed and ease of travel; and moist nasal passages keep you more resistant to their efforts to make you miserable.   

• When you are sick with cold or flu, having moist nasal/sinus and throat tissues has been demonstrated to markedly improve recovery time.  

Oh. Did you know? Humidification is also very important during allergy season.

Air conditioners dry out the air, so for many it is wise to be sure to be putting the moisture back in even during the warmer seasons. Air moisture is very important as well for those with asthmatic conditions.

Side bennies: Humidification provides TLC for your indoor plants and wood furnishings.  

So, if you aren’t already using humidifiers in your home and workspaces, and even if you are, here are some tips and precautions:

• Use distilled water to avoid the mineral “white dust” that settles all around as the water evaporates. It isn’t clear whether breathing this is harmful or not, but why deal with it at all?

• Clean weekly or as directed in the instructions that come with your unit. Legionnaires disease, which is a particularly potent and deadly pneumonia, is a result of a bacteria that thrives in neglected humidifiers.

• Change the filters as directed by the manufacturer. Set an alarm on your phone, if need be.

• Don’t over-humidify. Too much moisture isn’t good for your health either.

Using a hygrometer is recommended. Some fancier model humidifiers have them built in. Ideal humidity, as I understand it, is around 40-50 percent.

Hey! Here’s an idea. If any of you read my ELF article on Shungite water a while back, remember how it cleans the water of bacteria, etc? Hmm... I am thinking, “Why wouldn’t shungite purification take care of a lot of the risks of stuff growing in that water?”  

Well, I would never substitute that for the care detailed above, but I do think it could add yet another layer of protection.  

Wishing you all a wondrous wintry season, made more comfortable and illness-free as you keep the air around you and your family more happily humid!