The day will come when you are watching your precious little angel sleeping when out of nowhere comes a rattle in their little chest. This rattle could mean the start of nasal congestion and it is common in babies of all ages. Whereas we as adults can clear out throats, blow our nose whenever we need to and take certain medications or use a nasal spray to clear up congestion, a baby isn’t able to do any of these things until a later age. At such a young age, it can be difficult to find a medication that is not only safe for infants or babies to take but also effective enough to clear up any congestion.
DO THEY REALLY WORK?
Numerous health sites recommended the use of a humidifier or similar appliance for adults in the fight against congestion, itchy eyes and a dry throat, but what if it can help a baby as well? Studies have proven that a humidifier or a similar device, such as a vaporizer can actually benefit your baby and allow them to breathe easily even when they aren’t experiencing congestion and can even aid the fight against a common cold or allergies.
But what is the best thing to use for a baby? A humidifier or a vaporizer? A cool mist or a warm mist machine? Let’s take a deeper look at each one and find out together!
WHAT IS CONGESTION IN BABIES?
Congestion or congestion related symptoms in babies could come from one of two sources: allergies or a respiratory infection such as asthma, common colds, etc. Congestion happens when the delicate nasal tissues swell and in cases, produce mucus at the same time. This process leads to labored breathing and a rattling sound in the chest or the back of your baby’s throat. It becomes common during colder months, as your home’s central heating system is in full use on a constant basis.
Typically, baby congestion will clear up on its own within a week to 10 days, but in the cases that it doesn’t; your baby’s breathing can become harder and harder for them. An extended period of time where your baby suffers from congestion, especially when combined with dry air, can cause the nasal tissues to split and bleed.
A humidifier or a vaporizer can add moisture to the air without creating a damp atmosphere and can allow your baby the relief they need for a good night of rest.
A humidifier is a device that uses an internal fan to create microscopic water droplets that dampen the air. These droplets will be formed using a reservoir of water and a specialized filter that removes allergens, bacteria, and germs. This water will dampen the air and open up the nasal passages of your little one, allowing them to breathe easily and deeply without hindrance.
TYPES OF HUMIDIFIERS
When it comes to humidifiers, there are different types that can be added to your baby’s nursery:
1. Portable (Single-room) Humidifiers: This is the most commonly purchased type of humidifier as it is available in both cool and warm mist versions. They will fit directly on the floor or on a table/shelf in the nursery, using a minuscule amount of energy to run the internal operating system. Some may require batteries or need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. Some say this is the noisiest of humidifiers, but it actually omits a low hum that can soothe your baby during rest.
2. Central (whole home) Humidifiers: This type of humidifier is installed directly into your home’s central air system and will omit water droplets to the air by the use of drums, vibrations and more. It is more expensive than the portable models but tends to have a longer lifespan with less maintenance. They hold a higher volume of water and can be controlled by a control panel, generally on the wall, allowing for a level of misusage to decrease.
3. Console Humidifiers: These humidifiers are bigger than the portable models, so they can omit the water droplets to a larger area, including multiple rooms. They are in the middle of the portable and central humidifiers price wise but can be bulky while taking up floor space.
The most important thing to remember is that whatever model or type of humidifier you purchase if the warm mist is an option; use extreme caution around babies, children, and even pets as the mist can be hot enough to cause burns. Numerous reports of small children and infants receiving second-degree burns are all too common, so ensure your device is located in a place that is a far distance from their crib and higher enough only an adult can reach it.
A vaporizer is a similar machine to a humidifier as they both release moisture into the air. The vaporizer, however, releases only a warm steam into the atmosphere and can, in cases, cause burns on the skin.
A vaporizer has a holding container that is filled with water that is then boiled by an internal heating element and uses a rapidly moving fan to break down the water into indistinguishable drops to add moisture to the air of a room.
Using a vaporizer ensures cleaner water than a humidifier, as the boiling temperatures located inside the machine kills bacteria and allergens, sending only fresh steam out into the room. You can use whatever kind of water you want in this machine, including tap, whereas the humidifier has distilled water as the recommended type.
Another bonus of the vaporizer is that is can heat the atmosphere of the baby’s nursery, as the warm mist will linger in the air. This allows you to have the remainder of your home cooler than the nursery, without having to install an expensive secondary heat source.
Now that we have look at both a humidifier and a vaporizer, it should be easier to decide which appliance you would like to use in your baby’s nursery. The choice is up to the parents and shouldn’t be influenced by hear-say but by what you feel is the best for your baby.
Look at different models and brands that can offer exciting features while checking out warranty, maintenance, and repair policies. Some devices require a more vigorous maintenance schedule, which only increases the number of tasks that have to be done during the day. Check out devices that offer features such as automatic shut-off valves, internal essential oil diffusers and temperature regulators.
Consult with your family doctor or a pediatrician to discuss each option and see if there are any health conditions present that can benefit or hinder due to the device is chosen. If your baby’s congestion persists for longer than a maximum of 10 days, or it comes back once treatments have stopped, you need to contact your doctor to determine if there is another source of their congestion.
Babies need their uninterrupted sleep to grow big and strong, so they are ready to take on the world. They are unable to communicate their discomfort or pain of chest or nasal congestion, so it is up to us as the parents or guardians to make sure their comfort levels are perfect!