A couple hours after I got out of the shower made it official – it's fall. I always know when it is officially fall for me when I first notice a dry spot of skin on my arm, particularly after a shower. Of course, you can always check your local weather or the temperature/humidity gauge in your home, but I prefer my officially unofficial method. Regardless of how you come to this conclusion, the results of this will be the same – dry skin, a sore throat in the mornings, more dust in the air, and chapped lips. Severity of these things will vary, but there is a relatively simple solution to this wintertime problem.
_All of the problems listed above are a symptom of less moisture in the air. While this can be a great thing in terms of reducing dust mites and mold in your home, air that is too dry, just as air that is too moist, can have a negative impact. In the Southeast, as well as other parts of the U.S., fall can be a very dry time of year. Low humidity, little to no rain, and cooler fall temperatures can all work to make your home a little less than comfortable, but the simple solution is to put moisture back into the air in your home with a home humidifier.
_Humidifiers use ordinary tap water and put much needed moisture back into the air in your home. An indoor relative humidity level between 40 and 50% can mean you lose less of your body's natural moisture. A steady relative humidity level can also reduce dust. As humidity levels drop, dust particles do not stick together or clump. Instead of tiny cluster of dust particles that are more likely to settle out on the floor (where you can vacuum them up), the remain separate, lighter and more likely to float through the air that you breath. Air that is very dry can actually leach away moisture from wood trim and furniture, moisture that keeps these things from cracking and splitting.
_By putting moisture back into the air you can relieve many of these symptoms. If you already own a humidifier, now is the time to pull it out of the closet or garage and do a few minutes of maintenance. Typical humidifier upkeep can include changing demineralization cartridges or mineral pads, removing scale from internal components with a homemade solution or premade cleaning or descaling powder like EZ Cal, replacing any ionic or silver sticks (that prevent microbe growth), and simply wiping the humidifier down and testing to make sure it is working properly.
_By maintaining the proper humidity level throughout the fall and winter months, you can do much to avoid dry and cracked sinuses, dry skin and other problems, common during this part of the year.