Does Humidity Help Allergies?…It Depends!

Humidity is one of those things that we don’t think of until it’s too high or too low. If you have allergies you might be wondering what the ideal humidity level is. Will humidity help allergies or make them worse?

Understanding whether humidity will help your allergies depends on a few things: 1) what you’re allergic to, 2) your allergic symptoms, and 3) the time of year you experience your allergies.

Some people can benefit from humidity when they experience allergies and for some, it will make allergies worse.

In this article, I’ll share the ideal humidity level for allergies, specific allergies, allergic symptoms, and the time of year. I’ll share my experience living all over the U.S. in various climates (I did better in certain places).

Growing Up Without Humidity

I grew up in California and rarely experienced humidity. Sure, the weather was warm, but it was a “dry heat”. I had allergies and battled my symptoms for years. The climate I lived in played a major role in my symptoms.

While in California my skin was usually dry and sometimes I’d have an allergic cough. These were my allergic symptoms (I experienced extreme fatigue too but humidity didn’t affect that symptom).

Fortunately, I traveled when I was young and had the chance to visit other parts of the U.S.   I visited the East Coast, the South, and the Mid West on summer vacations and one thing I always noticed was the summer humidity.

It felt great on my skin and reduced the dryness I experienced in California. However, I also noticed my allergies became much worse when I was around humidity. I wondered why.

Ideal Humidity Levels For Health

Humidity is the measure of moisture in the air. Too dry and it can cause the skin to dry out and the lining in the nose and throat to become dry.

Too damp and it can create a “stuffy” feeling and spur mold, bacteria, and dust mite growth. It’s tough to find the perfect balance!

According to the Mayo Clinic, humidity levels are most comfortable between 30-50%.

Will Humidity Help Allergies: What Are You Allergic To?

Our bodies are fickle. If you’re like me and experience allergies, then you know your body reacts to little changes in the environment. Understanding if humidity will help your allergies depends on what you’re allergic too.

Indoor Allergens

  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Pet Dander

Outdoor Allergens

  • Pollen
  • Pollution/Dust

Interestingly, dust mites and mold thrive in humid environments. Both of these allergens absorb their moisture levels from the air so they depend on humidity.

In arid areas of the Western U.S., there are lower dust mite populations and much less mold.

Outdoor pollen is usually decreased with high humidity. The air is heavier (with water) so pollen, pollution, and dust can’t float through the air as easily.

One thing to consider with pollen and high humidity is that humidity is often a result of precipitation and precipitation equates to more vegetative growth (pollen production).

Will Humidity Help Allergies: What Are Your Symptoms?

Understanding your symptoms will help you figure out whether humidity is beneficial to your health.

I was allergic to dust mites and one of my symptoms was eczema. Humidity allowed dust mites to thrive and my eczema tended to worsen.

In California, my eczema was dry and more easily managed with lotion. But humidity made my eczema sweat and it my skin didn’t appreciate the extra moisture.

Possible symptoms you might experience are:

  • Eczema
  • Itchy eyes
  • Congested nose
  • Asthma
  • Cough

Asthma and coughing can benefit from humidity but it depends on your allergies. Asthma won’t likely be helped by humidity if the allergy is to dust mites or mold because these allergens thrive in humidity.

Conversely, the humidity will likely help people with asthma who are allergic to pollen or pet dander.

Will Humidity Help Allergies: What Time Of Year Do You Experience Your Allergies?

It’s also important to understand when you experience your allergies. If seasonal what time of the year?

Many people with eczema experience their worst symptoms during dry winter months. If so, you should take steps to reduce your symptoms during the winter.

In the summer, people with asthma and allergies to dust mites may experience more asthma attacks due to higher dust mite populations and high humidity. You can also take steps to minimize high humidity in the summer.

Find Balance With Symptoms And Seasonality

I have allergy symptoms year-round, from dust mites, pollen, pets, and mold. I’ve learned that maintaining a comfortable humidity level is important to ensure my health and reduce my symptoms.

It’s impossible to manage the humidity outdoors, and sometimes we can’t control where we live due to jobs and family.

However, we can control the humidity level inside our homes. I’ve realized that having high humidity or really low humidity doesn’t help my allergy symptoms.

I feel best when the humidity is kept at the 30-50% range where I don’t feel too dry and I don’t feel too stuffy.  If it’s too high, sometimes I’ll break out in eczema from dust mites.

During spring and autumn seasons, I find the humidity levels are preferred indoors and outdoors, however, it’s the summer and winter where humidity levels increase and decrease outside of the 30-50% range.

When this occurs I use a humidifier (winter) and a dehumidifier (summer) to add or remove moisture from the air.  These are my picks for best dehumidifier for allergies.

People tend to spend more time indoors in the summer and winter so these devices can really help. It won’t change the outside humidity but it can help make the inside of your home much more comfortable.

A humidifier and dehumidifier also helped me sleep better without feeling too dry or too sweaty.

Conclusion

Can humidity help allergies?  The answer is yes, but it depends.  Allergies affect people in unique ways.  Some people have symptoms like asthma while others just have itchy eyes.

I grew up with eczema and itchy skin.  I lived in a dry environment so I could easily manage my skin with moisturizers.

I found that when I visited humid areas of the U.S. my allergies became worse.  This was because of higher populations of dust mites and mold (two things I really allergic to).

Understanding your symptoms and how you react to allergens can help make sure you find the right level of humidity.  Excluding high summer temperatures and low winter temperatures, the average humidity should be between 30-50%.

Most people view this level of humidity as most comfortable.

We spend so much time indoors so it’s important to control humidity in the areas we live and sleep.  It will leave us feeling better and allow us to sleep more comfortably.

I’ve utilized humidifiers in the winter and dehumidifiers in the summer. They both worked to keep my allergens at bay and helped me reduce my symptoms.

Thanks for reading another Dust Mite Solutions blog post.  I’ve fought my allergies for decades and I’m finding relief by keeping my home clean and comfortable.

I’ve found that managing the humidity helps my allergies and I bet it can help yours too.

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