There’s no getting around it—the flu is nasty. From the sore throat and runny nose to the headaches and fevers, nobody wants to catch this ugly illness.
In Boise, the flu season starts right around the holiday season (late November/December) and generally lasts until February.
Since the last thing you want is to catch the flu during the holidays, we’ll share 3 ways you can prevent the flu this season:
- Keep your house warm
- Install a whole-home humidifier
- Invest in an air purifier
Let’s look at each of these flu-preventing tips in more detail.
Want an HVAC pro to flu-proof your home? We can help!
Tip #1: Keep your house warm
The flu virus thrives in these cold temperatures, which means that when it’s cold out, it’s easier for the flu to travel from person to person. One study suggests that the reason is that in the cold, the virus’s outer envelope hardens to a rubbery gel. This hardened gel protects the virus as it travels from host to host.
Additionally, your body’s natural defenses weaken in the cold, which makes it easier for you to catch the flu.
To reduce your risk of catching the flu, we recommend that you keep your thermostat around 60° or higher. The higher the temperature, the better.
Tip #2: Install a whole-home humidifier
Another way to combat the flu is to install a whole-home humidifier.
The reason? Researchers have found that the flu virus doesn’t survive very long in humidity. At low humidity levels (23%), up to 77% of flu virus particles were still contagious. However, when the humidity was raised to 43%, only 14% of the virus particles were contagious.
Unfortunately, Boise naturally has low humidity, and in the winter, the humidity levels are even lower. To maintain healthy indoor humidity levels (40–50%), we recommend installing a whole-home humidifier.
A whole-home humidifier is installed in the venting system of your home’s heating and cooling system. The humidifier adds moisture to dry air before it comes out of your vents. Adding this humid air to your home will help keep your indoor humidity levels within the healthy (flu-killing) range.
Tip #3: Invest in an air purifier
In addition to a whole-home humidifier, you can also install an air purifier for ultimate flu protection.
An air purifier is installed in your home’s HVAC system (typically near the air handler), and its purpose is to catch or kill flu viruses as air passes through your heating or cooling system. That way, the conditioned air that gets pushed back into your home is germ-free.
Air purifiers come in different styles and with different functions. One common type of air purifier that is especially effective at killing the flu virus is a UV germicidal light. This light uses a special spectrum of UV light (called UVC) that neutralizes germs and microscopic particles that pass through your heating and cooling system so that they don’t enter your home’s airstream.
In addition to the flu virus, a UV light also kills airborne particles such as:
- Mold spores
- Odorous smoke particles
Note: We install the Pristine Air line of air cleaners, which includes a UVC germicidal light system.