Dry Air in the Office is No Good!

dry air in the officeThere is no denying that along with cold winter weather comes dry winter air. And, we can all agree that dry air in the office is no good! This low humidity affects us in many ways from increasing our chance for illness to annoying skin conditions. But, here’s the good news: there are ways to combat theses effects. Here are some of the adverse effects of dry air in the office.

Winter Woes

Harsh winter winds combined with radiated dry heat is the perfect recipe for dry eyes. These office conditions cause an unexpected moisture evaporation inside your eyes. Therefore causing a sudden onset of the disorder because your tear duct glands cannot produce replacement fluid quick enough. The result? Itchy, dry eyes, a slight burning sensation, or overly watery eyes.

You will also notice an increase of static electricity during the cold, drier months. Humid air acts as a damper for conducting charges through the air. Remove the humidity and higher the voltage of static discharges. The drier air is also the culprit behind static cling. While these are not dangerous to your health, they sure are annoying.

Drying Out

When we breathe dry air, it has the potential to create certain respiratory ailments. Folks usually see an increase of asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and nosebleeds. This is due to not only a drop in the temperature, but a significant decrease in the air’s humidity. Breathing dry air is a potential health hazard which can cause such respiratory ailments as asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and/or nosebleeds.

Believe it or not, but you may also suffer from general dehydration caused by dry winter air. It causes moisture evaporation which is the source of skin irritations. With the cold seasonal changes comes the onset of “winter itch.” The result is cracked, dry, itchy skin that leaves you susceptible to infection.

Studies have show that low humidity and cold temps encourage the flu virus. These conditions help the virus survive longer, while simultaneously increasing the ability to spread from one person to another. The studies have also linked winter nasal congestion to lower humidity levels.

Wage War on Winter

Here are some ways to combat the adverse affects of dry air in the office this winter.

  1. Drink Plenty Of Water
    Combat dehydration this winter by keeping a bottle of water handy and keep it filled throughout the day, replenishing it as soon as you finish it. Another Bonus? It will remind you to get up and walk around periodically. These combined elements offer positive effects on your health!
  2. Turn Off Printers and Other Machines
    Most modern offices use a ton of electronics such as printers, scanners, computers, photocopiers and paper shredders. These tools emit a significant amount of heat, into an already dry environment. The solution? Turn them off when not in use. It could also save on your energy bills too!
  3. Add a Little Green 
    Plants wok double duty by cleaning the air and adding moisture through transpiration. There are certain types of plant that work best to improve indoor air quality. Plants are also an inexpensive way to decorate. One special note, check to see if anyone in your office suffers from pollen allergies and chose non-allergic type plants.
  4. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!
    During winter your skin suffers. Between the dry air and addition hand washing to avoid spreading illness, you are sure to notice a real difference. Keep lotion and lip balm at your desk. Better yet, also stash travel sizes in your bag, purse and car. That way you always have the ability to moisturize.
  5. Bye-Bye Dry Eyes
    When you are in the zone, you are so focused that you may actually forget to blink on occasion. This combined with the dry air is sure to cause a higher incidence of dry eyes. Contact lenses may aggravate the situation, even more. Therefore we suggest you keep your glasses with you at work. Eye drops offer relief as well. Remember to drink plenty of water!

Humidifiers to the Rescue

There are two types of commercial humidifiers that will make a big difference.

  • Bypass humidifiers
    A bypass humidifier is one that uses the airflow created by your furnace or air handler to deliver moisture through your workspace. Bypass humidifiers typically mount out of sight in the basement or attic (when applicable). They also need very little maintenance. They can add up to 17 gallons of moisture daily to the air flowing through your ducts. Optional automatic humidity controls allow you the ability to regulate the indoor humidity you’d prefer.
  • Power humidifiers
    A power humidifier uses its own electric fan to deliver moist air throughout your space. There are some that will add up to 18 gallons of moisture to the air. It uses powerful fans that humidify the air even when your heating and air-conditioning system is not operating.

Do you still have questions how to deal with dry air in the office this winter? Contact the Severn Group. We offer a variety of HVAC solutions that will improve the indoor air quality of your workplace.