|February is a notoriously dreary winter month, and as the BBC News puts it, many people often notice that there seems to be a negative impact on the human body “both physically and physiologically” during this time of the year. But the temperature outside is only the first half of the problem — creating a warm and comfortable environment inside is the other half of the problem.
Cold air is naturally much less humid than warm air, causing humidity levels to dip down and causing physical discomfort levels to rise significantly. The moisture in your skin, the BBC explains, is more readily turned into water vapor and absorbed by drier air than by warmer air.
Simply being exposed to the cold air outside is enough to dry out the skin, but it’s clear that staying indoors is often just as bad. Heating systems, oddly enough, have the tendency to suck out moisture from the air when pushing warm air into a house.
This extra-dry air, often coupled with dust and dirt that gets pushed in the air (especially when homeowners use fireplaces for heat), can result in dry skin, dry eyes, and painful nosebleeds.
According to Dr. James Stankiewicz of the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, dry air causes blood vessels to thin out, making it more likely to get nosebleeds. Additionally, dehydrated bodies will naturally produce thinner mucous membranes, especially inside the nose, allowing the dry air to seep through. Many people notice that this also affects the moisture in their eyes, and as the Wall Street Journal notes, it’s estimated that around 12 million Americans suffer from insufficient tear production (even when the weather is humid).
Most health experts state that the best solution for these issues — and one which provides immediate relief — is to place a humidifier in dry rooms, in order to put some moisture back into the air. Another important preventative measure is to make sure that your home heating system is working properly and isn’t pushing dirt- or dust-filled air into your home.