Health

OSU Study: Flu Linked to Humidity

OPB | Feb. 23, 2010 7:15 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:08 a.m. | Portland, OR

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By Kristian Foden-Vencil

Researchers at Oregon State University have found that the absolute humidity of the air is tied to flu outbreaks. Krisitan Foden-Vencil reports.




Scientists have never been sure why flu arrives in the winter.

There are three theories: in the summer, we're outside more - so we're not jammed together where a virus can easily be spread.

Second, in the summer there's more daylight - needed to produce vitamin D, which improves our immunity.

The third theory is that temperature or humidity might effect the virus.  OSU researcher, Jeff Shaman, says his new research shows the dryer it is, the more likely there is to be an outbreak.

Jeff Shaman: "It seems to indicate that when you have these conditions that come in when a dry air mass comes into an area, it facilitates the survival and transmission. It doesn't guarantee that an outbreak will take place, but it makes it more likely that one will take place."

So far this flu season, 66 people have died from the H1N1 virus in Oregon.
State health experts are still recommending seasonal and swine flu vaccinations.

Kristian Foden-Vencil, OPB News.


Click Here to Read the Study Online

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