The winter months are quickly approaching and you know what that means – the season for the flu and cold is rapidly approaching, as well! Although there are plenty of precautions one can take to help protect against illness, the fact remains that we still get sick – it’s inevitable. Although there are many methods that one can use in order to feel better quickly, one of the lesser known methods involves a humidifier.
Do humidifiers help with colds? Some believe these nifty machines can definitely help with a cold due to all the health benefits they provide. In this article, we’ll discuss how humidifiers help colds and see what kind of humidifier is best for colds, and we’ll let you be the judge!
What Does a Humidifier Do for Colds?
First of all, a humidifier is a machine that pumps humidity into the air. They do this by emitting water vapor or steam into the air to pump up those humidity levels. There are a few different types of humidifiers, even including central models that are hooked up to the home heating and cooling system to help humidify the whole house, but the more standard humidifier can be bought separately at any home store or sometimes, even a grocery store. The point is, to buy a machine to help get the humidity levels up to reap in the benefits of moisture in the air.
There are several different standalone humidifiers such as ultrasonic humidifiers that provide a cool mist with ultrasonic vibration, impeller humidifiers that provide a cool mist with a rotating disk, evaporators that blow out humid air due to a wet wick or belt, and steam evaporators that blow steam straight from the machine.
The ideal humidity level really depends on the person or atmosphere. Getting the right amount of moisture in the air can depend on the person, where you live and the season you’re in. Generally, humidity levels are higher in the summer months and lower in the winter months. This is due to the range of hot and cold found within these seasons. You need to make sure the humidity level is set just right since low humidity can cause dry skin, cracked lips and irritate the nose and throat. High humidity can produce water or condensation against the walls of the home, causing the production of bacteria or allergens that will spur breathing problems such as asthma or bronchitis. Neither of these options is good for colds.
There are plenty of ways to measure the amount of humidity in the air, but one of the most common methods used is by using a thermostat-like device that will tell you how humid or dry the air is. Also, you will definitely feel it if it’s too humid or too dry within your home. Your skin and nasal passages will be either too dry or you’ll feel too much condensation within the space.
Aiding a Cold
So, we went over how a humidifier can change the air and provide more moisture into space, but what does that mean in terms of a cold? A humidifier can help soothe some of the side effects of a cold due to the amount of moisture that will be in the air. The skin will stay more hydrated more easily, the nasal passages will also remain moist and won’t dry out causing discomfort, too. Also, the throat will stay moist and won’t dry out in the night, especially when you fall asleep with difficulty breathing out of your nose due to congestion.
Humidifiers can also help aid in the prevention of bloody noses since the air won’t be dry enough to dry out your nasal passages. Your breathing should become soothed due to the higher amount of moisture in the air, but do be careful if you are an asthma sufferer or have issues with your lungs. Too much humidity could mean more mold in the area and cause a spike in asthma flare-ups or breathing problems. Regular maintenance and cleaning will help prevent any issues with breathing.
What to Put in a Humidifier to Help with Colds?
That’s right. Some, but not all, models allow you to add essential oils to aid in the relief of a cold or flu. Oils such as eucalyptus, ginger, chamomile, lemon, etc. These and more have been known to relieve symptoms, especially at night so you can rest. Most are even safe to use and help babies who are suffering from seasonal illness.
Humidifiers can definitely help aid in a cold, but if you don’t clean the machine regularly, the machine could expel air riddled with bacteria – causing issues with sufferers of asthma or allergies. Too much humidity could also cause more bacteria in the area – causing mold and harmful allergens to be pumped throughout the air, causing harmful breathing conditions for people with asthma or allergies.
To keep the machine clean, make sure it is properly washed and allowed to dry out completely after every use. You can’t just keep water in the machine at all times because algae may start to grow within the machine, or even mold, that will cause all kinds of breathing issues for anyone – especially someone who has allergies or suffers from asthma. Making sure that the machine has plenty of time to dry out in between uses will definitely help prevent this. Also, take the machine apart as much as possible and lay out all the components of the machine on a paper towel or kitchen towel to help aid in the drying process, preventing any mold to grow within the smaller parts of the machine. This is a sure way to help prevent any harmful mold from growing.
As you can see, there are not only different types of humidifiers but different ways to make sure your machine will help you during your cold. If you follow these basic steps, a humidifier could definitely help aid you in your cold and help soothe your symptoms. The most important part here is the aiding in dry sinus cavities and throat. The higher amounts of humidity in the air will keep everything lubricated and prevent these parts of your party drying out. Once your nasal passages dry out, the risk of bloody noses and more difficulty in breathing become higher. A humidifier helps with these issues and makes the air nice and moist, preventing any risk of dry or cracked skin. It’s up to you if buying a humidifier is the best option for you or not.