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This Household Item May Help With Flu Prevention

While elderberry and Vitamin C can boost your immune system, new research suggests regulating humidity in your house could help, too.

By Nancy Coulter-Parker

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Not only does fall mean cooler temps, it also means cold and flu season. While you’ll want elderberry and Vitamin C at the ready to help boost your immune system, a new study conducted by researchers at Yale University suggests that using a humidifier could also prove to help with flu prevention.

Researchers observed two groups of mice for several days, one in a low-humidity environment, the second in normal humidity. Both groups were then exposed to the influenza A virus. Who fared better? Mice in normal humidity remained healthier than those in low humidity.

Study authors believed that in the low humidity group, the dry air impaired the ability of the trachea to be properly cleared of pathogens or debris. This combined with dehydration limited the body’s ability to fight off infection.

While authors noted that increasing humidity may be a strategy to reduce disease symptoms and promote more rapid recovery in influenza-infected individuals, they also outlined that increasing humidity to improve immune response is not a universal solution, as Influenza A has been known to thrive in tropical and subtropical climates. Hence, more studies are needed to understand the differences in outcomes in varying environments.

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