Empty Chairs in Lecture Room

Humidification in Schools, Academies, Universities, and Institutions

Whilst it is no secret that indoor climate has a dramatic effect on health, well-being, and comfort, what is less well-known are the adverse effects fluctuations in relative humidity levels can have on illness and absenteeism within learning institutions.

For most children and students, successful learning within institutions is heavily reliant on face-to-face collaboration and social mixing. Classroom learning, lecture hall attendance, sporting events, dining, living in dormitories, and day-to-day learning and socialising, creates many opportunities for viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and seasonal influenza to easily spread.

Deviations from mid-range relative humidity levels can lead to increased risk levels of illness from associated bacteria, fungi, and other airborne particles, as well as creating discomfort and potentially increasing absenteeism for students and teachers/lecturers.

Scientific findings show that maintaining indoor climate to between 40-60%RH will improve comfort and health and improve learning efficiency.

We can therefore identify several topics associated with relative humidity and learning institutions.

Humidification for Health

The transmission rate of viruses within the air are reduced when 40-60%RH is maintained. In addition, survival time of viruses on surfaces is reduced at an air humidity level of between 40-60%RH.

 

Mucous and membrane within our air passages offer protection against penetration of particles, bacteria, and viruses. The optimal air relative humidity for this protection is 40-60%RH.

 

For more on this subject, download Munters white paper on virus transmission.

 

 

Humidification for comfort and well-being

 

Hydration – A dry atmosphere can cause complaints such as itching and skin irritation among school pupils, students, lecturers, teachers, assistants, and professors. The skin’s state of hydration is in the optimal range at an air humidity between 40-60%RH. In addition, this level of air humidity offers significantly less moisture evaporation from the eyes, which helps prevent dry, itchy, sore eyes.

 

A recent scientific study measuring the correlation between relative humidity and stress levels showed that people who spent the majority of their time within a building with air conditions between 30-60%RH experienced 25% less stress than those who spent the majority of their time in drier conditions. Maintaining humidity levels between 40-60%RH will not only help reduce stress levels, but also improve well-being with the associated improved conditions for physical activities and improved sleep quality.

 

Humidification for efficiency and performance

 

When examining the relationship between well-being and performance, it is well documented that pupils, students and indeed staff, teachers, lecturers, and professors are significantly more concentrated, alert and motivated when they are in good health and feeling well.

 

With air humidity levels between 40-60%RH, improved concentration levels are experienced along with fewer symptoms of fatigue. Pupils and students become more receptive to knowledge and learning which, in turn, leads to a more enjoyable and fruitful learning experience.