Scientists Pinpoint America's Driest Cities with the Vicks® Moisture Map

During the winter months, humidity levels in the U.S. can drop as low as 10%, which in turn affects health and homes

Jan 13, 2014, 09:37 ET from Kaz

SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass., Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Most Americans know the parched feeling after a long flight or a cold, dry night – the effects are often visible with flakey skin, stuffy noses, and chapped lips.  In fact, a recent survey of U.S. moms revealed that the most annoying winter ailments to their families are dry skin and chapped lips, followed by stuffy noses.[i]  Launching today, the Vicks® Moisture Map is an online tool created by team of scientists to help families understand how too little humidity can create issues for the body, pets, and even the home.  The interactive map pinpoints the top 10 driest cities across the country by synthesizing weather data and geographical data from several sources. 

"When looking at the top cities in America with the driest air, the Southwest definitely has a cluster due to the desert environment in states like New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada.  Even though hot and dry go hand in hand – so does cold and dry – and experts believe the flu season may spike in winter months due to low humidity levels," said Dr. Ted Myatt, ScD., senior scientist with Environmental Health & Engineering and the University of Rhode Island.  "New scientific research indicates keeping your home's relative humidity levels between 40-60% can decrease influenza survival in the air and on countertops, doorknobs, and other surfaces.  That's why it's so important to check your humidity levels and increase indoor humidity with a humidifier."

As temperatures plummet this fall, so do humidity levels, which can reach lows of 10% - the dryness of the Sahara Desert.  The Center for Disease Control & Prevention cites that at least 81 million Americans experience dry, itchy or scaly skin during the winter due to colder, dryer air and over-heated homes.  Humidifiers help counteract the effects of dry, harsh winter air by adding essential moisture to any room.  The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends using a cool mist humidifier throughout the winter months to help relieve congestion and coughs, especially for kids.

Humidifiers like the Vicks FilterFree Cool Mist Humidifier and Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier are a perfect solution to help temporarily relieve congestion and coughs by keeping the throat and nasal passages hydrated.  The recent survey of U.S. moms also found that nearly half of all moms (48%) surveyed own a humidifier and 88% of those believe their health & comfort has improved as a result.

Top 10 U.S. Cities with the Driest Air[ii]:

  1. Albuquerque, NM
  2. Colorado Springs, CO
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Las Vegas, NV
  5. Phoenix, AZ
  6. Tucson, AZ
  7. Minneapolis, MN
  8. Salt Lake City, UT
  9. Ogden, UT
  10. Madison, WI

Visit for more helpful tips on combating dry air and to see an interactive map of the driest cities in America.

About Kaz
A world leader in high quality healthcare and home environment products, Kaz is a state of the art, dynamically-managed, global leader in healthcare devices, home comfort and water filtration products that operates in over 65 countries on six continents.  The branded product portfolio includes PUR Water Filtration products, Vicks Thermometers and Humidifiers, Honeywell Humidifiers, Heaters, Fans and Air Cleaners, Braun Thermometers, SoftHeat Heating Pads, SmartTemp Hot/Cold Packs, and more. Kaz USA, Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of Helen of Troy Limited (NASDAQ: HELE). For more information about Helen of Troy Limited, please visit For information on other quality products for home health, home comfort, water filtration and insect control visit

Vicks is a registered trademark of The Procter & Gamble Co. Vicks humidifiers are distributed by Kaz USA, Inc under license from The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH USA. 

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[i] Conducted in July 2013, the survey was executed by Lindberg International who collected data via the web from a random sampling of 506 American women with one or more children, ages 0-12, living at home. The margin of error is 4.4%.

[ii] Data from each source was compiled by Environmental Health & Engineering for the most populated U.S. cities. Data included precipitation data and altitudes of cities. Relative humidity is a measure of the amount of moisture in the air relative to the total amount of moisture that the air at a given temperature and pressure could hold. Colder air holds less moisture than warmer air, which results in low indoor moisture levels in the winter. Similarly, air at higher altitudes holds less moisture, which results in low indoor moisture levels in homes at higher elevations. Scores were determined based upon the data collected and weighted by expert judgment of environmental health researchers.