Are Humidifiers Good For Allergies?

Are Humidifiers Good For Allergies

Allergies are a difficult health condition. They can rarely be cured completely. At most, you can control their frequency and intensity while hoping that they do not flare up suddenly. They greatly impact the quality of life you lead. If you are allergic to pollen, dust mites, dust and other similar things, you will have to pay attention to the air quality that you breathe in. Humidifiers can be of help in these situations.

Are Humidifiers Good For Allergies?

The short answer is yes. Humidifiers can certainly make it easier for you if you are prone to allergies. Humidity can play a major role in the treatment and even the development of allergies. The proper humidity level can be of considerable help with your allergies.

Dry Air and Allergies

You will have surely noticed that your allergies act up when the air around you is dry. This is because dry air can irritate the nasal passages. The irritation and the dry air can even lead to sinus infections. In a bid to overcome the dryness in the air, the body may start producing more mucous. However, excessive mucous can be quite dangerous especially if you suffer from asthma along with allergies.

How Humidifiers Help?

Humidifiers can help you with your allergies in several ways. It can reduce the number of dust mites that you are exposed to. Dust mites are responsible for causing allergies because of the enzymes that they produced. These enzymes are transported via air, resulting in the flaring up of allergies. One of the most effective ways of reducing dust mite levels is by maintaining a relative humidity level below 50%.

An example of a humidifier that measures the relative humidity automatically is the HoMedics UHE-WM85. This model comes with a huge variety of other options as well. Another option would be to use a hygrometer like the one pictured here to ensure that your home has proper humidity levels. These devices are rather small and easy to move around to check different rooms in your home.

Ensuring the right level of humidity in your home keeps your nasal passages free from mucus as well. Clear nasal passages ensure that your body can get rid of any allergens that you are exposed to as quickly as possible. The humidity of the air can also reduce the irritation caused by particulates thanks to the extra moisture.

How to Use the Humidifier Correctly?

While humidifiers can be quite helpful with your allergies, they need to be used in the right manner. For starters, they are not devices that you can forget about once turned on. You need them to work in an effective and efficient manner. As such, you need to check on a few things.

One of the first things you need to do is to keep the humidifiers out of the reach of children, especially if they operate using heat. Such devices can cause burns if not handled correctly.

It is important to ensure that the device does not increase the humidity too much. The moisture level in the indoor environment should be somewhere between 30% and 50% for the best effects on your allergies. Excessive humidity can be a problem as we shall see later.

You must always ensure that the water being used by the humidifier is clean. In fact, it will be preferable to use distilled water. After all, the water is going to be dispelled across the entire room.

You should not let water remain stagnant in the humidifier’s reservoir or else it might become the breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. These are major allergens and they will be spread around the room as soon as the humidifier is turned on. To be on the safe side, always change the water every day. Drain the water that remains before replacing it.

Cleaning the Humidifier

Humidifiers must be cleaned regularly to avoid compounding the issues faced by those with allergies or asthma.

  • Always wash and dry the humidifier’s reservoir after each use.
  • You should use a disinfectant to clean the device once a week at the very least. Choose a disinfectant that has been recommended by the device’s manufacturer.
  • Vinegar can be used for cleaning hard water residue.
  • If your humidifier was in storage, clean it once before use.
  • Always follow the guidelines of the manufacturer with respect to cleaning.
  • Make sure that the water is changed every day.

Precautions with Humidifier Use

There are a few things you must note when using the humidifier. First of all, you must understand that the humidity levels indoors should not be too high. High humidity can end up triggering allergies instead of providing relief.

Dust mite problems can be exacerbated if the humidity levels are high. These pests tend to thrive at high humidity of 70% to 80%. Another result of high humidity is the proliferation of mildew and mold. These are also major allergens. If you use your humidifier too much, it can result in an increase of these allergens, causing your symptoms to flare up.

As a result, it is vital to keep the humidity at the ideal level. This way, you can get relief from your allergy symptoms and even asthma. At the same time, issues such as mold, dust mites and dryness will not be a problem.

Humidifiers are excellent options for those suffering from allergies. Apart from reducing the symptoms, they can improve the health of nasal passages. However, the devices need to be maintained properly and used correctly to get the most benefits out of them.

When Should Humidifiers Be Used and Other Facts

When Should Humidifiers Be Used and Other Facts

Humidifiers can be a useful addition to your home. Their main function is to combat dryness in the air. This can be beneficial in a number of ways. Before you go ahead and buy one, it is a good idea to understand when humidifiers should be used.

When Should Humidifiers Be Used?

Humidifiers are meant to be used when your home experiences dry air inside. As a result, it can be quite beneficial for homes in hot dry climates. In other regions, it can be an advantage during the winter season.

During winter, indoor air tends to be dry. The usage of indoor heating ends up exacerbating the dryness further. This dryness can be harmful in a number of ways. It can adversely affect your respiratory system. Existing respiratory conditions can be worsened as a result. Your will also experience dryness in your nasal passages among other things.

Learning about the effects of humidifiers is a good idea as it will help you known when they should be used.

What is the difference between humidity and relative humidity?

Two different terms may come up when talking about humidity. ‘Humidity’ and ‘relative humidity’ – they mean the same thing there’s no difference between them. People talk about the humidity being 40 or 50%. That number means there’s 40 of 50% of the water in the air that the air could possibly hold. These numbers are measuring the same thing that your meteorologist talks about in their weather report.

A hygrometer is an instrument that measures relative humidity. If you’re unsure of whether or not you need a humidifier, a portable hygrometer is an inexpensive way to test the humidity in your home or office.

The Impact on Your Health

It has been noted that higher humidity levels can have a positive impact on your health, especially in terms of respiratory troubles such as the common cold. This is due to the fact that airborne viruses tend to lose their effectiveness in high humidity. As a result, you are reducing your risks of catching these diseases if you use a humidifier.

Apart from reducing the likelihood of suffering from the cold or the flu, humidifiers can also be of help when you do catch them. Diseases like the cold tend to cause a lot of congestion in the nasal cavity. The mucus becomes thicker and drier as well which affects their flow.

Ultimately, the sinuses are unable to drain properly resulting in the formation of clogs in the nasal passages. A lot of symptoms are exacerbated this way such as painful sinuses, nasal passage irritation, stuffy nose and sore throat.

Humidifiers eliminate the dryness in the air that you breathe in. As such, it becomes easier for the air to pass down the nasal passageways without causing any irritation. For this reason, it becomes easier to recover from those diseases. After all, your nasal passages will have the proper level of mucous.

It is also possible to find relief from the various allergy symptoms with these devices. They can reduce the particulates floating around in the air and reduce the irritation of your nasal cavity. There are also humidifiers available which are specially designed to help those with allergy and asthma.

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Avoid Skin and Hair Dryness

The dryness of the winter season tends to drain the moisture present in your skin. For this reason, you see an increase in wrinkles and the formation of cracks. By creating a humid atmosphere inside the home, you keep your skin moist and less likely to experience the above issues.

In the same way, your hair can be affected by the dryness of the atmosphere. Your hair needs moisture for its flexibility. By taking it away, your hair becomes brittle and dull. Even your scalp is affected like the rest of the skin. It becomes itchy and even flaky.

Reduced Utility Bills

One of the surprising ways a humidifier can help you out is by decreasing the money you spend on heating your home. The fact is that an increase in the humidity level can increase the warmth that you feel. In fact, lower humidity levels can decrease the warmth up to 5 degrees. Therefore, extremely dry air with 10% humidity at a temperature of 70 degrees might actually feel as if it were only 65 degrees.

In the same way, a humidity level of 50% will feel a lot warmer to you. For example, a temperature of 67 degrees at 50% humidity might actually feel like 70 degrees. You can use this principle to reduce the usage of the heater. As a humidifier’s energy consumption is far lower than a heater, it will be more cost-effective option for you. Additionally, some humidifiers produce warm mists which can keep you warmer for long.

Safeguard Your Home

Your home can also be affected by dry air. One of the most important of these effects is on wooden items such as floorboards, doors, furniture and other wood furnishings. Dry air causes wood to shrink, split and even crack. Even the structural aspects of the home such as moldings can be affected.

According to the Woodworking Network, “As of Friday, June 1, it is illegal to manufacture or import composite wood products in the U.S. if they contain excessive amounts of formaldehyde.” This is an important step in protecting the air in your home from gaseous indoor air pollutants.

Fluctuating humidity levels can encourage formaldehyde to diffuse out of wooden fixtures and into the air. The highest levels of formaldehyde emissions come from hotter and more humid conditions. This makes it especially important to measure the levels of humidity in your home with a hygrometer or to use a humidifier with a built in hygrometer.

Either of these solutions will give data on the humidity levels in the air. As a general rule staying between 40% and 60% is the best range to be in. Keeping relative humidity levels below 60% will reduce the number of dust mites and mold spores in your home. Additionally, staying above 40% helps to avoid excess moisture loss from your body that can lead to dry skin and even nosebleeds.

Paper tends to desiccate if the air is too dry and ruin it completely. You may notice this effect on your wallpapers. If you have books and other important, they can also be affected by the dry air.

Dry air can also result in the buildup of static electricity. You can experience shocks when you touch carpets and your pet’s fur. Static electricity can destroy electronics as well. A humidifier can help in avoiding all of these issues.

There are many reasons to use humidifiers. Keep in mind that you should choose the right humidifiers based on your requirements and budget.

Humidifiers Pros and Cons: Things You Need to Know

Humidifiers Pros and Cons

Humidity is the amount of water vapor that is present in the atmosphere. Humidifiers are devices which can help in increasing it. Studies have suggested that humidity level should remain in between 30-50 percent. Humidifiers are required during the winter when the humidity in the atmosphere is pretty low and the heating system is used that leads to dry out.

Humidifiers Pros and Cons

There are different types of humidifiers in the market and they have some common pros and cons irrespective of the brand or model. Here are common pros and cons that a humidifier has to offer.

Pros

Humidifiers certainly have a number of benefits as you can see below.

  • Prevents the Spread of Airborne Viruses

According to the recent study, the increase in the humidity level can have a dramatic effect on the airborne viruses and makes them ineffective. This is the reason it is used by hospitals to protect the doctors, visitors, and nurses from getting sick.

Moisture can prevent the germs from moving since they combine with moisture and drop down. This happens because particles become too heavy and is unable to float. Using a humidifier will help in preventing diseases such as influenza.

  • Prevents Dry Skin

A majority of the human body is made up of water and dry conditions can pull out the moisture. This, in turn, can cause dry skin, bloodshot eyes, and chapped lips. Our body requires certain level of moisture in order to function properly. Lips and eyes might show signs of irritation if you do not hydrate it properly.

  • Keeps the Home Warmer

It has been seen that humidified air can make you feel warmer than dry air. This is because if there is more water in the air then the sweat will evaporate at a slower rate. This will cause you to feel warm. Thus, you will be able to save some money on the heating bills. Since it will help in maintaining a warm temperature, you can lower the thermostats. Hence, you can save money, as well as energy.

  • Relieves Allergy Symptoms

Modern day humidifiers are great for alleviating the symptom of various allergies. The old humidifiers used to increase too much humidity into the air and this encourages the spread of dust mites.

However, with the new models, you have the option of lowering the levels of humidity. Thus, you can create an environment which is free of these dust mites. People suffering from allergies usually tend to feel more comfortable in a heightened humidity as it helps in soothing the nasal passages and the tissues in the throat.

  • Prevents Wooden Damages

Dry air can cause damage to the wooden furniture. This can lead to cracks. Doors or windows which are made of wood can incur a change in size. Thus, it will become difficult to open or close them. The legs of chairs might also begin to wobble if the joints become loose.

The wood is affected since it requires a constant level of moisture to maintain its features. If you are able to use the humidifier properly, you will be able to prevent the damages caused to the wood.

  • Prevents Static

Static electricity increases in the months of winter. This electricity can prove to be annoying when associated with frizzy or laundry hair. As a matter of fact, it can also build up static and thereby cause damage to the sensitive electronics. It can cause sparks that can damage flammable dust and gas. Properly humidified can limit or prevent problems that can arise from static.

  • Prevents Snoring

If you have the habit of breathing in through the mouth, it can prevent dryness in your mouth from setting in. This is particularly true if you breathe in through the mouth. If you use a humidifier for adding moisture to the air, it will help in soothing the tissue at the back of the throat. This can prevent snoring. Moreover, if you run the humidifier throughout the day, it will keep your throat moist and can prevent irritation that is associated with snoring.

Cons

In spite of the benefits, these devices do have a number of faults

  • Difficult to Maintain

A humidifier has to be maintained on a regular basis. It has to be refilled and cleaned from time to time to make sure that it is in a perfect working condition. Modern families lack time, especially if every member is studying or working. Maintaining the humidifier can be pretty demanding if you are short of time.

  • Causes Noise

Every humidifier produces noise, only some are more offensive than the others. The ultrasonic models are the quietest ones.

  • Leads to Condensation

If you fail to leave the humidifier running for a long period of time or do not set it to the right setting then it might high or low humidity in your home. This can lead to condensation that encourages the growth of bacteria, molds, mites, and dust mites. This, in turn, can cause asthma problems.

  • Risk of Burns

A warm mist humidifier boils water and thereafter disperses the stream into the air. You might be scaled by the stream output.  The humidifier poses risk of burn, especially if you have small children in the house.

However, the humidifier that you choose will depend on your home and preference. Also, make sure that you choose a humidifier than you can easily clean.

How to Use a Humidifier Effectively

How to Use Humidifier Effectively

A humidifier can be an invaluable addition to any home. It can help get rid of dry air, which is a source of a number of health issues. A humidifier can also help in protecting the damage caused by dry air on wooden furnishings and paper products. However, you need to know how to use humidifier properly to derive the benefits it can provide.

How to Use Humidifier

In order to use a humidifier correctly, you need to understand, first, what type it is. There are five types of humidifiers and each of them is meant to be used in a different way even though the ultimate aim is the same. The operation tends to differ among models and manufacturers as well.

To start, you should go through the manual. Each humidifier tends to have its own settings and operation instructions. These details can be found in the manual that the manufacturer provides with the device. Since the instructions can vary among different devices, you should read the manual for the humidifier you bought.

The Different Types of Humidifiers

Understanding the way the different types of humidifiers work can help you with their operations.

These devices are meant to humidify the entire building. As such, they are integrated into the heating, cooling or HVAC system of the building. Operating them is as easy as a pressing a button.

They come in several styles including: under duct humidifiers, steam humidifiers and evaporative humidifiers. While this type of humidifier does come with a higher initial cost, they require much less maintenance and interaction than smaller humidifiers designed to treat a single room.

Often times their maintenance schedule is quarterly or semi annual and only requires replacing a filter. Central humidifiers are installed with dedicated water lines which means you will not need to fill the humidifier yourself because the process is fully automated.

  • Impeller Humidifiers

These make use of discs to disperse water droplets and increase humidity. They can also be operated easily but they work in a single room only.

  • Evaporator Humidifiers

These devices make use of filters or wicks and fans for adding moisture to the environment. The filters and wicks need to be taken care of for proper operation.

  • Steam Humidifiers

They work by heating up water and releasing the vapor into the room. They must be handled with care due to the heat. Additionally, their water reservoirs must be cleaned.

Steam humidifiers come in all sizes from a personal use steam humidifier to humidifiers large enough to humidify an entire house. The most popular are steam humidifiers capable of treating a single room.

They operate at high frequencies and are quite safe. This type of humidifier uses a mechanical vibration to agitate the water. It turns the water in the reservoir into a mist that diffuses into the surrounding air. Their water reservoir needs proper care to prevent issues from cropping up.

We recommend using either filtered or distilled water in any ultrasonic humidifier. One major complain that users continually have is the white dust that these humidifiers can generate. The dust is minerals present in the water that are propelled into the air once the mist is formed. These minerals then settle on nearby surfaces.

Filtered or distilled water will have much lower levels if any minerals at all. Additionally, there are ultrasonic humidifiers that come with a built in water filter.

Using the Humidifier

The following steps illustrate the ways in which you can use a humidifier. Remember that these are just basic steps and the actual process might vary depending on the make and model of your humidifier.

  • Assembly

Some humidifiers need to be assembled before they can be used. In such cases, refer to the manual provided. Follow the instructions to assemble the various parts of the device. Usually, this involves attaching various parts to the main body. It is a relatively easy process. In some models, you can also make adjustments to certain settings such as the diameter of the mist opening.

  • Cleaning the Reservoir

Before your use the humidifier, you need to clean the water reservoir. Detach the reservoir from the humidifier. You may want to refer to the manual to check if there are any products that you should not be using to clean the reservoir. Generally, mild soap solutions are perfectly suitable for cleaning process.

It is essential to get rid of any residue left in the reservoir after manufacturing. After all, you do not want to breathe in the compounds when using the device. Ensure that you get rid of all soap suds. Dry out the reservoir completely before use.

  • Filling the Reservoir

You should always use distilled water in the humidifier. Tap water can have additives and chemicals. They can damage the operation of the humidifier. However, it is more important to ensure that you are not breathing in those compounds. The reservoir should have a water line marked on to it. Do not fill up the container beyond this point.

Some humidifiers make use of a filter. If this is the case, you may need to add it after filling up the water.

  • Placing Portable Humidifiers

For portable humidifiers, the placement requires careful consideration. Generally, the device should be on a raised and level surface. It should be kept away from the walls with a distance of 12 inches at least.

Remember that you should never place the humidifier close to other objects such as curtains or paper. It should not be kept inside shelves as well. The device is going to produce a lot of moisture and this can damage anything that is placed close to it.

Some humidifiers have a rotatable mist outlet. It is important to ensure the mist outlet is not pointed at the wall or another object. The mist leaving the humidifier will collect on a surface that is too close before it is able to diffuse into the air. The best option here is to air the mist outlet into the center of the room.

  • Operating the Humidifier

Once everything is ready, you can turn on the humidifier. Plug the device in and power it up. Once it turns on, adjust the settings as per your preferences. The exact range of settings available can vary between models. If you are confused about the function of a specific knob or button, refer to the manual. One of the things that you must adjust is the humidity level. The recommended limits are between 30% and 50%.

It is important to clean the humidifier at least once every week if you are using it daily. This prevents the buildup of bacteria and fungi. If the manufacturer allows it, you should be using disinfectants for cleaning the device.

Operating a humidifier is not very difficult. However, to use it properly, you must understand how it works and its different features. Once you do, you will be able to use the device effectively.

Humidifier Buyers Guide: What You Need To Know

Humidifier Buyers Guide

A humidifier can be quite a useful device to have in your home especially during the winter season. This device is capable of providing relief from a range of health conditions including allergy by getting rid of dry air in your home.

If you live in an area like the Midwest where summers are warm and winter gets bitterly cold you need to be prepared to deal with the changes in humidity. As temperatures fall the humidity levels of indoor and outdoor air fall quickly.

Replacing the lost moisture helps relieve a number of uncomfortable situations like dry skin, increased allergy symptoms and even a greater susceptibility to illness. On the other end of the spectrum is too much humidity in the air. Over humidification creates ideal conditions for mold growth, airborne bacteria and dust mite reproduction.

This guide will help you get the balance between high and low humidity in your home. However, all humidifiers are not created equal. We developed this guide to help save you time when researching different types of humidifiers. Choosing the right type the first time around will also save you money.

One of the first things you need to understand about humidifiers is that there are five different types of these devices available in the market. Take a look at the different features of each below.

Central Humidifiers

These devices are meant to be installed directly into a building’s heating or cooling system. They are most suitable when you want your entire home to experience the same humidity levels. They are quite easy to operate but they are the most expensive type available. They are safer compared to the other humidifier types.

Steam Humidifiers

Heat is the main feature of these humidifiers. Water is first heated to create water vapor which is then spread around the room. Steam humidifiers are quite inexpensive. However, they tend to consume a great deal of energy since the water needs to be heated first, resulting in higher utility bills. Moreover, the heat involved makes them less safe, especially for children. There is always the risk of burns.

Impeller Humidifiers

The technology behind these humidifiers is a rotating disk. The disc rotates at high speeds causing water to be thrown into a diffuser for spreading around the room. The lack of heat involved makes them a safer choice to steam humidifiers. They are affordable but they can be used in a single room only.

Evaporative Humidifiers

These humidifiers make use of a wick or filter. A fan blows air onto the wick which is dipped into water. As a result, the water evaporates and spreads around the space. They are meant to be used in a single room. Since the rate of evaporation is directly related to the humidity level, these humidifiers are capable of self-regulation.

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

There is metal diaphragm in these devices which vibrate at ultrasonic frequencies. They spread fine water droplets into the air. They tend to operate silently, one of their main features. These devices carry the risk of white dust which can exacerbate breathing problems like asthma.

Select According To Room Size

When using a humidifier, you must remember that the ideal humidity level is between 30% and 50%. Excessive humidity is just as bad as low humidity. Therefore, you need to check that the humidifier you are buying is capable of maintaining the right level throughout the space where it will be used.

For this, you need to check the size of the humidifier. This, in turn, will be determined by the size of the room it will be placed in.

  • Small and Medium Humidifiers

Small humidifiers are suitable for rooms with a maximum area of 300 sq. ft. while medium ones are better for those between 300 sq. ft. and 499 sq. ft.  In both cases, the best options would be portable or tabletop humidifiers. They are the least expensive of the options. However, they will need to be refilled frequently due to the smaller size of the reservoirs.

  • Large Humidifiers

These humidifiers are suitable for rooms with a size up to 999 sq. ft. from a minimum of 500 sq. ft. For these rooms, you need console models which are bigger than tabletop humidifiers. However, they are still portable. You can find ultrasonic humidifiers at this level to be a good choice.

  • Extra Large Humidifiers

If you have a space that exceeds 1,000 sq. ft. then you need really big humidifiers. Ultrasonic console humidifiers are excellent choices as they can operate quietly. Their reservoirs are large enough to require few refills. However, they are difficult to move from one place to another.

Features Your Humidifier Needs

When choosing humidifiers, it is a good idea to check out the features they offer. The presence of the following features can be beneficial in the long run.

  • The Ease of Cleaning

It is essential to clean out the humidifier on a regular basis. This can avoid the risk of diseases being spread by the device. As such, you should find out how easy it is to clean the device. The reservoir should be detachable easily. You should be able to use household cleaning products and disinfectants to clean out the humidifier.

  • The Ease of Use

Unless the humidifier is too large, it should not be too difficult to move around. More importantly, it should be easy to use. The reservoir must be designed in a way that makes it easy to fill it up. More importantly, the various parts should have replacements that can be found with little effort. In case you have chosen evaporative humidifiers, the wicks and filters must be affordable. The controls must be user-friendly.

  • Timer and Humidistat

These features can help you maintain the right humidity level in the space. As such, check if the humidifier has them. A humidistat prevents the humidity from exceeding a predefined level while the timer can shut off the operation after a predefined period.

Buying a humidifier requires a careful analysis of the options available to you. You should check and ensure that you are getting all the features you deem necessary within the budget specified.