Static buildup, itchy throats, and dry skin are all caused by dry air in your home which could literally be drier than the Sahara Desert if you're not humidifying properly.
What's the ideal humidity for the home?
"It changes with outdoor air temperature," said Kerry Noble, owner of Home Evaluation Services. "As it gets colder outside, our surfaces, particularly our windows, are colder to the touch. So, we have to lower our indoor humidity to prevent condensation on the glass."
Foggy windows are a good indicator that your home is too humid. A study done in Europe shows that high humidity can support fungi and mite growth. But you don't want the air to be too dry either or you'll increase your risk of getting infected by bacteria and viruses.
"If you have a dry environment, then your mucous production goes down and you get little fine cracks in your skin. So your first line of defense is gone," Noble said.
The outdoors isn't directly causing your cold.
"It's not because they went outside and got their head wet or sweating and came in from the cold; it's not that, said Rick Gilles, owner of Swick Home Services. "That's not how the germs are getting into your body. It's through cracks in the membranes of your throat or your nasal passages."
So, how should you go about humidifying? There's plenty of options including inexpensive, stand-alone units that need to be manually refilled throughout the day. There's also airflow humidification that works with your furnace to disperse humid air throughout your entire home from a pad that you spray.
Some warn to be careful of wasted water with airflow units.
"You can waste 50 percent of the water that you're spraying on the pad, just going right down your drain. And in some areas around here, water rates can be quite high. So, obviously you'd want to watch that," Gilles said.
Pricier steam-generator units hook up to your home's duct work and provide the desired humidity with the use of a humidistat. These types of humidifiers refill themselves automatically.