Higher humidity levels can be seriously uncomfortable, but at the other end of the spectrum is low humidity. Humidity levels that are too low can also be really uncomfortable and might even contribute to minor illnesses that have the potential to become bigger.
Your Senior’s Eyes and Skin Might Feel Dry and Irritated
Lower humidity levels can actually pull water from your senior’s eyes and from her skin. For her eyes, that can mean that her normal tear film dries out and your senior may blink more often to try to replenish that moisture. If your elderly family member already has dry eyes, that can mean that they become even drier and more irritated. For your senior’s skin, this can mean that her skin starts to feel dry and flaky. She may even develop cracks in her skin that can lead to infection.
Lung Issues Can Become Exacerbated
If your elderly family member has any existing lung issues, like asthma or COPD, then extremely low humidity levels can make her feel more uncomfortable. The low humidity also causes her mucus membranes to dry out, which means that particles normally caught by her nose and sinus passages make their way deeper into her body and lungs. That can be a big problem.
She Might Be More Susceptible to Illness
The lower humidity levels can mean that some germs and viruses are able to live a little bit longer than usual, which makes them a problem if your senior’s immunity is compromised. She may find that she’s sick with minor colds more often during periods of low humidity for this reason. If your senior’s immunity is already compromised, then raising the humidity level may be a way to protect her from illnesses that could make things worse.
A Humidifier Can Help Immensely
Even a small humidifier can add just enough moisture back to the air that your senior’s skin, eyes, and lungs feel more comfortable. It’s also a good idea to invest in an inexpensive humidity monitor. This can help you to see at a glance where the humidity levels are so that you know whether to leave the humidifier running or turn it off.
Keeping up with detailed tasks such as proper humidity levels might feel overwhelming for your senior. That’s when bringing in elder care providers to keep track of those details and help with other tasks can be incredibly helpful.