What Are Humidifiers Good For?

Medically Reviewed on 12/3/2020

Humidifier uses

Humidifiers are a part of many households during the winter or flu season
Humidifiers are a part of many households during the winter or flu season

Humidifiers are a part of many households during the winter or flu season when the air is dry. It’s recommended to keep the humidity between 30 and 50% to create a well-balanced environment. Humidity above 60% may invite fungal infections in the house. There are many different versions of humidifiers, but they all add moisture to the air. The moisture in turn increases the level of humidity in the living space, which helps alleviate the common cold–weather conditions. Below are a few common benefits of humidifiers:

  • Skin: During the winter, the air tends to be cold and crisp; we may develop chapped lips and flaky skin. However, with a humidifier in hand, one can get through winter without feeling moisture-deprived.
  • Snoring: If a person breathes through the mouth while sleeping, they are likely going to be waking up feeling dry. Run a humidifier during the night to help soothe the throat and nose from dryness. It will help an individual to sleep more comfortably while also minimizing snoring. Additionally, running the humidifier during the day as well helps your throat to stay moist.
  • Beneficial to the home: If a home has wooden floors or furniture, keeping the humidity balanced can help the wood to last longer. Furthermore, houseplants will benefit from a little extra moisture in the air.
  • Prevents static: Ever noticed how frizzy hair can get during the winter or static electricity is noticed when removing the sheet from the bed? Dry conditions in your home can cause this. Static electricity isn’t just annoying; it can also be dangerous if it builds up because it can damage certain electronics. Higher humidity can help to prevent or lessen static.
  • Prevents spreading of airborne viruses: In recent studies, it was shown that airborne viruses were least likely to spread when the humidity was at least 43%. The study showed that nearly 85% of viruses were virtually ineffective in more humid conditions. Moisture can prevent the movement of germs because they drop to the nearest surface when combined with moisture. As a result, it’s more difficult for germs to spread through the air.
  • Breathing problems: Humidifiers are also useful when an individual is suffering from breathing issues. They help reduce inflammation in the sinuses and loosen up any mucus that may have formed. Breathing in warm, humid air can help loosen up pockets of mucus left in the lungs and sinus passages, making illness pass quicker.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis is caused most often due to swelling and inflammation of the joints. This is most often due to the wearing down of the cartilage that protects the ends of your bones. Patients who suffer from arthritis oftentimes report flare-ups during the colder, drier months due to low temperatures and lack of humidity in the air. A humidifier can help these symptoms by putting moisture back into the air, which has been tied with reducing overall inflammation felt like a symptom of the condition. Warming properties of humidifiers can also help cut down on the discomfort caused by cold air leaking into your room or home, making the symptoms of arthritis less painful. There is no real cure to arthritis as of now. One has to just work around it by managing the pain
  • Calms allergies: Itchy eyes, sneezing, runny noses, and irritated skin are just some of the daily struggles with which allergy sufferers must deal. In severe cases, allergies can adversely affect one’s productivity and result in taking days off work that could otherwise be avoided. A humidifier for allergies can help to limit the discomfort caused by allergic reactions. The vapor released by a humidifier hydrates the nose and throat, thinning out mucus and allowing the little hair in the nose to move freely and easily. This helps nasal passages to trap bacteria, dust, and other allergy-causing particles before they enter your respiratory system, thereby helping to prevent swelling and reduce instances of allergies flaring up. Furthermore, in a dry environment, pollen, dust, and other allergens more easily become airborne. Moderate relative humidity levels of around 40% enable moisture to condense upon the particles, weighing them down so that they fall out of the air and are less likely to be inhaled.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/3/2020
References
Evidence Brief: Humidifier use in health care: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/E/2017/eb-humidifier-hc.pdf?la=en