If you’ve ever woken up with a bloody nose or cracked lips or experienced dry sinuses, then you know the unfortunate effects of dry air. Thankfully, humidifiers can help soothe these familiar problems caused by dry indoor air, a cold or other respiratory conditions.
Humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air, indoors or outdoors. Humidifiers add moisture to your indoor air by releasing steam or water vapor into the air to increase humidity and help to prevent dryness that can cause irritation in many parts of the body. Acting as a natural moisturizing agent, humidifiers have several important health benefits. There are five main types of humidifiers you can use depending on your needs and symptoms. These include central humidifiers, evaporators, impeller humidifiers, steam vaporizers, and ultrasonic humidifiers.
It is recommended to keep humidity in the home between 30 and 50 percent. When used correctly, high-quality humidifiers can significantly impact your health. Read on for the top 10 health benefits of humidifiers.
- Prevent Colds and Flus
Increasing the humidity level of air to 43 percent or more has been shown to decrease the ability of certain airborne viruses, which can cause infection, such as influenza. If indoor humidity levels are less than 23%, influenza’s infectivity rate–also known as its ability to infect others via respiratory air droplets–is between 70% and 77%. If indoor humidity is kept above 43%, the infectivity rate is much lower, between 14% and 22%. By running a humidifier in your home, you can prevent the further spread of the flu and colds.
- Improve Skin
In general, dry air is really bad for your skin. Dry air pulls moisture from the skin, making it feel itchy and irritated. It can also reduce your skin's moisture, making it dry, dull, and cracking. Humidifiers can counter this effect by increasing moisture in the air to help avoid discomfort, moisturizing your skin, making it feel smooth, and bringing back its “glow.” In a hospital setting, simply increasing humidity from 32% to 43% with a humidifier in the winter has been shown to relieve dry and itchy skin symptoms among staff.
- Help With Sinus and Congestion
Humidifiers can also help loosen congestion and clear the vocal cords by moistening the nasal passage. When you get sick, the cells lining your respiratory tract generate more mucus. When the mucus dries, it can become sticky, making it hard to blow or cough. Increasing air moisture can make it easier to expel the mucus when coughing or blowing your nose by preventing it from drying.
Additionally, if you frequently experience sinusitis or any problem related to your sinuses due to dry air, a humidifier can help reduce symptoms.
- Soothe a Sore Throat
A sore throat is a common problem that can occur in the upper respiratory tract, with dry air being the main culprit. If the dry winter air is causing your throat to get painful and scratchy, rehydrating the mucous membrane with a humidifier can help. Setting a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep to moisten the air can be an effective way to get rid of sore throats.
- Relieve Cough
Dry air often triggers upper respiratory tract contraction, which causes a cough. Using a humidifier will not only reduce the ability of airborne disease infection but also help relieve your cough by soothing your upper respiratory muscle.
- Reduce Allergies
Breathing higher-humidity air is one way to relieve the discomfort and symptoms of allergies. Symptoms of allergies include nasal congestion, irritation, and inflammation of the nasal cavity. Reducing inflammation of these tissues can provide quick relief for allergy sufferers. With increased humidity, moistened nasal tissues can blow out irritants and allergens from your nasal cavity, reducing allergy symptoms.
However, too much humidity can cause dust mites and mold to spread. Therefore, people with these indoor allergies should clean their humidifiers regularly and monitor humidity levels so they don't exceed 50%.
- Prevent Asthma
Asthma is a condition that occurs by the contraction of smooth muscle in the upper respiratory tract due to the effect of allergens such as dirt, dust, pollen, spores, and more. A humidifier will adsorb these asthmatic triggers and relieve the upper respiratory tract, which reduces asthma. Humidifiers also help to relieve asthma by soothing the tissues in the nose and throat and relieving dry and itchy throat, runny nose, coughing, nose bleeds, and sinus congestion.
- Improve Sleep Quality
Dry air can make it really uncomfortable to sleep, causing some people to experience insomnia or sleep deprivation due to lack of moisture in the air. A humidifier will improve humidity and the quality of your sleep. In fact, humidifiers are often added to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure treatment) machines used on sleep apnea patients. Because CPAP machines blow dry air up your nose, increasing congestion, using heated humidification on sleep apnea patients helped reduce symptoms of a stuffy nose and improve sleep quality.
- Beneficial for House Plants
Humidifier benefits are not only useful for humans; moist air can also be good for your houseplants. Plants need water from their soil and the air to survive and thrive. Dry air can leave house plants shriveled up, while a humidifier can add the needed moisture to their air. Indoor plants also contribute to good air quality because they produce more oxygen for us. The more oxygen you breathe in, the better for your body.
- Improve Air Quality
The air quality in a home can be significantly improved by using a humidifier. Moist air is healthier for you. Doctors recommend using humidifiers to improve indoor air quality as part of their treatment for respiratory illnesses and allergies. Airborne contaminants in dry air can make breathing harder, make you sick more often, and cause you to stay sick longer. Increased moisture alleviates dry skin and eyes, chapped lips, cracked furniture, warped floors, window sills, and peeling paint. Humidifiers can also increase the efficiency of furnaces in the winter because moist air feels warmer than dry air at the same temperature.
Because too high of humidity levels can also cause problems such as mold, the key is to maintain moderate humidity levels with the help of a humidifier, which will vary based on your climate.
Humidifiers for Your Health
When the winter months hit, you probably notice the air in your home feels dry (not to mention cold!). Any extreme air humidity, dry or humid, is bad for your health. Dry air can cause nose and eye irritation, trouble sleeping, and increased allergies and asthma symptoms. A humidifier is a solution to add moisture to the air of your home if it is too dry. The benefits of using a humidifier are plentiful–and the effects on indoor air quality are overwhelmingly positive. Shop Air Oasis’ new humidifier to revitalize and refresh your indoor air.