Why Should You Use a Humidifier?
Many people wonder “What does a humidifier do?”. The answer is fairly simple. Humidifiers add extra moisture to the air in your home, but they add much more to an environment than just cool mist or warm mist. These household appliances can help alleviate allergy symptoms, relieve skin dryness, and enhance your sense of well-being. When your home’s air has the right level of humidity, you might sleep better, you will feel more comfortable, your pets will feel better, and even your plants and wood furnishings will thank you.
If you’re hesitant about investing in one of these appliances, consider these following benefits of a humidifier in your household.
Improve your Allergies
If you’re used to rolling out of bed each morning with a dry mouth, stuffy nose, and a sore throat, then it may be time to try out a humidifier. Winter air in your home is notoriously dry and stale because that’s the time of year when whole-house heating systems are used most. This dry air can cause some serious damage to your throat and nasal passageways, as well as trigger congestion in your sinuses and cause bloody noses. One of the most important benefits of a humidifier is maintaining the right humidity levels in the home.
“The nose is supposed to provide humidity and warmth and clean the air that passes through it,” Michigan-based doctor Mark Zacharek told Everyday Health. “Forced heating systems in homes and workplaces often over-dry the nasal passages, aggravating allergies and sinusitis.”
These symptoms don’t just occur in the wintertime but can also reveal themselves during the summer when the air conditioner is blasting. By using a humidifier that keeps your home’s humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent, you’ll be able to counteract the dryness of your nose and throat and improve the health of your sinuses.
Treat your Asthma
Not only does dry air exacerbate allergies and lead to sinus congestion, but it can also trigger asthma attacks. This is especially true during the winter, as cold air, which naturally has less humidity, dries out the mucus lining in your lungs. The more the cold, dry air drains your lungs, the more likely a viral infection will develop and lead to an asthmatic incident. To guard against an attack, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that asthmatics use room humidifiers during the chilly months and keep the humidity less than 50 percent.
Restore your Skin
It’s a no-brainer what happens to your skin when it’s exposed to dry air for an extended period of time – it flakes, cracks and reddens, making you itch in the process. Not only that, but dry air can also create unwanted brittle skin and lead to the development of eczema. However, moisturizing your skin with lotion isn’t the only way to repair it. By using a humidifier, you can keep your skin hydrated and help restore its glow.
“You need to supplement [moisture] because when it gets dry enough, the moisture on our skin evaporates into the air,” dermatologist Neal Schultz told You Beauty.
Room humidifiers replenish the moisture in the air of your home, keeping it just fresh enough that it won’t be constantly dried out. Dr. Schultz also recommends keeping all that oh-so-important moisture locked in your skin by taking warm (not hot) showers and immediately applying your favorite moisturizer after you step out.
Use them Properly
In order to enjoy these and several other benefits of room humidifiers, it is important to ensure you use and care for them correctly. According to the Mayo Clinic, proper humidifier use includes regular cleaning, frequent water changes, use of distilled or demineralized water, and maintaining the proper humidity level.
Expert sources all recommend changing the water often — every day, if possible. Keeping the water fresh and using distilled or demineralized water, ensures film and mineral deposits do not build up inside your humidifier. Additionally, cleaning the unit every 3 days at a minimum to disinfect and keep harmful molds and bacteria from growing.
If you’re allergic to common indoor irritants like dust, you must take extra precautions while using a humidifier. Dust mites and some molds flourish in environments with high moisture, so elevating the humidity level in your home can lead to an increase of dust mites. To keep your allergies from flaring, monitor the humidity level with a hygrometer so it doesn’t rise above 50 percent. Hygrometers sound like they might be fancy pieces of very technical equipment, but they are generally available at local hardware stores and online.
Do you Need a Humidifier in your Room?
Of course, it’s a matter of your personal needs and comfort level. But humidifiers can play a big role in helping you feel more comfortable during the winter months (and even beyond). When they use a humidifier, people tend to enjoy smoother, calmer skin. They may breathe easier and even sleep a bit better. Overall, proper use of a humidifier in the bedroom, home office, or other room can contribute to an enhanced sense of well-being at home.