Humidity levels and asthma

Hi all, I have severe asthma and have recently been moved into an office with air conditioning at work.

So far every day this week within 10 mins of the air conditioning starting my asthma plays up.

I have a digital temp and humidity display on my desk and noticed its shows the temp go up to around 26c and humidity down to around 25%.

I normally start coughing soon after but find that as soon as I go outside I feel a lot better.

I'm now sure it's down to the ""dry"" air that's triggering my asthma.

Does anyone else have problems with ""dry air"" or does anyone know of the latest recommended levels of temp and humidity.


Pete - rocket man of PEAK

7 Replies

  • HI Pete,

    Not sure what the recommended levels are sorry!

    I think cold dry air is a problem for a lot of asthmatics, me included - not sure about warm dry air though - would have said 26C is too hot for an indoor environment though, can you ask them to turn it down a bit? I don't know if that would set off my asthma or not but I would certainly find it a bit stuffy even given how cold it is outside!

    Bizarrely I find that warm humid air is also not great for me - I find steamy environments set things off which doesn't make sense to me given that cold dry ones do as you find warm and humid is ok for you?

  • Hi Pete, I've spent quite some time over the years working out this for myself and I noticed in the winter that if I sat beside the computer the humidity level would drop and my lungs n throat get dry and make my asthma worse. My solution was to buy a warm mist humidifier and I use that at winter, my asthma nurse thinks it's silly but my doc agrees with it, so we all have different experiences and like you I find air con in buildings especially gym when I used to go was always a problem.

  • Hi all,

    thanks for your replies.

    Ive just checked my homes digital weather station (love gadgets) and its reporting that indoors is currently 19c and 55% humidity.

    As for Warm and humid conditions, I have been in a couple of tropical houses, e.g. Project Eden, and a few Butterfly houses at Kew gardens etc and never had a problem, I have so far worked out its mainly the dry air that effects me more then temperature.

    I remember 30 or so years ago a doctor telling my parents not to get central heating for the house as dry air was not good for me / asthmatics (so we never have), but now thinking about it I do seem to breathe easier just after its rained so wonder if ""wet"" air helps me and possibly others.


  • Long time no see, good to have you back and hope you're doing ok. Also work in a hospital and generally better with air con. Not sure what I find easier, struggle more with high temperatures in hot humid countries but ok when drier. Humid steam rooms ok. Cold dry winter days not so good?

  • pete, i have similar gadgets and I found at home my problem was the colder winter air and the humidity dropped below around 60% hence my warm mist humidifier, the central heating is bad it dries the air out. Simple solution would be to leave a bowl of water on your work station see if that helps

  • Hi all, thanks for the replies, I don't think a bowl of water next to office computers and paperwork will go down to well. I did try an humidifier but the office is massive and had very little effect. Luckily today the air conditioning was off in my office and I have had a much better day. Unlike the last four days having asthma attacks within a few hours.

  • Just sharing my experience, I was working part-time in a office with air conditioning and collapsed each week with asthma attacks. My consultant noticed the pattern and I eventually had to stop working there. We try heaters and fans but it didn't work as a/c could not be adjusted. Covering your face with scarfs protect your lungs but in an office, how do I answer the phone etc? I hope the humidifers work or you find another solution.


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