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Can humidity reduce risk of flu? Minnesota company part of case study that says yes

Updated: December 26, 2019 05:34 PM

A Minnesota company believes its products could help fight the spread of the flu virus.

DriSteem, based in Eden Prairie, specializes in commerical, controllable humidifiers.

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"It's not a well-known fact that humidity helps health and wellness in this way," said Valerie Bradt, marketing and communications manager for DriSteem. "Humidity is your friend."

Bradt said the goal is to maintain a relative humidity level between 40% and 60%.

"Below 40%, viruses and bacteria thrive in the dry air and above 60% they thrive also," Bradt said.

Over the course of a two-month period, DriSteem was part of a case study with Mayo Clinic to test their technology against the flu virus. They brought in steam humidifiers into two preschool classrooms and then compared the results to two classrooms without the technology.

"The amount of virus in those rooms was significantly less than the unhumidified rooms, and the virus that they did find was less infectious," Bradt said.

Now, their products that specialize in maintaining humidity levels are in schools, hospitals, and other businesses across the world. While the employees at DriSteem aren't doctors, they say they're thrilled to be a part of a company that can help keep people healthy.

"Indoor air quality is always important, especially in the northern climates, we spend a lot of time indoors and if you can keep the humidity between 40 and 60%, you can see a lot less sickness, people feel better, they don't have dry skin, they don't get dry sinuses or dry eyes," Bradt said.

MDH confirms another flu-related death in Minnesota as flu reports continue to rise

The flu is still considered to be widespread across the state of Minnesota, according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The latest numbers released Thursday show another Minnesotan has now died from the flu, bringing the season's total to seven.

More school outbreaks have been reported. The MDH said school outbreaks surged to 167 last week. Just two weeks ago there were 60 outbreaks.

DriSteem said it's in constant communication with school districts about adding their technology to more schools.

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Brett Hoffland

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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