When winter weather brings cold air outside you turn up the heat, which brings warm dry air inside. Dry air causes many discomforts including sinus congestion, dry throat, nose irritation, bloody noses, a dry cough and irritated vocal cords. An at-home solution to get you through the winter months is a humidifier.
There are many different types of humidifiers to choose from, depending on the size of the area you want to add moisture to, your budget and preferences. Cool-mist humidifiers dispense room-temperature mist while warm-mist humidifiers use internal heating elements to boil water before emitting it into the air as a warm mist. Both are equally effective in humidifying the air.
Regardless of which type or style of humidifier you choose, it’s important to follow guidelines to ensure your safety and health.
- Be cautious with humidifiers around children. Avoid placing a warm-mist humidifier in a child’s bedroom and don’t let children handle humidifiers. Burns are a common injury associated with humidifiers.
- Don’t add too much humidity to a room. High humidity levels can encourage the growth of dust mites, mildew, mold and bacteria, worsening respiratory problems. It’s recommended that the humidity level remain between 30 and 50 percent. A hygrometer measures how much humidity is present. If your humidifier does not have one, you can purchase it at a store.
- Clean humidifiers daily. Dirty humidifiers can cause bacteria to grow. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning.
- Use distilled water. Humidifiers can emit minerals and microorganisms that while not harmful can be bothersome, especially to people with asthma. Distilled water can avoid this problem.
It’s also important to remember that a humidifier is a home remedy, not a medical treatment. If symptoms don’t improve or worsen over time, schedule an appointment with a physician.