Can a Humidifier Give You a Sore Throat?

Dry indoor air could be pretty uncomfortable. In addition to heat, it causes a bloody nose, cracked lips, and dry sinuses. This is why many people opt for humidifiers to alleviate some of these issues. However, the question is: Can a humidifier give a sore throat?

While humidifiers are meant to solve some problems, one must be careful as it needs regular maintenance. Poor maintenance of humidifiers can become a health hazard to many people. As a result, it can make you sick with excessive humidity levels. This is why it is essential to keep tabs on the humidity levels of a humidifier if you are using one.

Dirty humidifiers create the perfect breeding grounds for mold and bacteria. When this gets into the air, one might suck this in, which creates health problems for users. In addition to how clean your humidifier is, the type of water you fill it might also affect you. It might make you breathe in microorganisms that are unhealthy. In cases like that, humidifiers do more harm than good.

Here are some health issues that a humidifier can trigger:

  • Asthma: Humidifiers can exacerbate asthma symptoms by increasing humidity levels, which can lead to the growth of dust mites and mold. High humidity environments may also irritate the airways.
  • Lung and Sinus Infections: Overly humid conditions foster the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi, potentially leading to lung and sinus infections. Moist environments are conducive to the spread of these pathogens.
  • Coughs: Excessive moisture in the air from humidifiers can irritate the throat and lungs, leading to persistent coughing. This can be especially problematic for individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions.
  • Allergies: High humidity levels can trigger allergies by promoting the growth of allergens like dust mites and mold. These allergens can aggravate nasal passages and respiratory systems.
  • Dry Skin: Ironically, improper use of humidifiers can lead to dry skin by disrupting the natural moisture balance in the air, especially if the humidity level is not well-regulated.
  • Dry Mouth and Throat Pain: Excessive use of humidifiers can dry out the air, leading to dry mouth and throat pain. It’s crucial to maintain an optimal humidity level to avoid these issues.
  • Irritated Nasal Passages: Over-humidification can cause nasal passages to become irritated and congested, potentially worsening symptoms for individuals with sinus issues.

Your Humidity and Your Health (Comfort)

How can a humidifier give you a sore throat?

According to the government, the ideal humidity level in your home should be between 30 and 60% according to the government, depending on the season. In the hot months, the humidity level could rise as much as 60%. It also usually comes down to 30% in the cold months.

This seasonal fluctuation could be uncomfortable, which is why many people invest in a humidifier. Your humidifier brings the humidity to a comfortable level when it drops below 30%. Extreme humidity levels can affect health negatively. Many people develop skin problems like eczema with excessively low humidity, which leads to dry skin. This is a sign to invest in a humidifier.

But can a humidifier give you a sore throat? Not really, but pretty high humidity does trigger asthma and allergies.

From the above, it is clear that humidifiers can help relieve sore throat and dry skin rather than causing them. This is due to the device’s capacity to increase the humidity level in your house. It also alleviates other effects of cold-like stuffy nose and nose congestion.

For your humidifier to help relieve cold, cough, and sore throat, it is essential to maintain the right level of humidity in your house. In addition, you should also avoid using humidifiers excessively, as too much use can lead to respiratory issues.

People with allergies or asthma should contact their healthcare provider before using a humidifier. When a humidifier is used correctly, it might ease breathing in people with allergies and asthma. The problem, however, comes with a dirty humidifier. Excessive humidity can result in increased allergens, which could worsen asthma symptoms.

A Clean Humidifier is a Healthy Humidifier 

If you develop health problems because of your humidifier, there is a significant probability that the humidifier is compromised. In other words, bacteria and molds could worsen asthma symptoms, trigger allergies, and even lung infections. 

It should not be surprising that a humidifier can trigger these health issues when considering its operation mode. It captures stored water and evaporates it using a network of damp wicks. Finally, the machine expels the moistened and infected air into the living space, raising the humidity level in the air.

There is no problem with this if the humidifier works with perfectly clean, distilled water. However, the problem is that the water reservoir provides a conducive habitat for mold and bacteria. Once the water reservoir and saturated wick in your humidifier get compromised, your humidifier becomes a distribution system for mold and microorganisms.

As these microorganisms enter the air, they search for a new breeding place. Bear in mind they need a moist, warm place to nest – often, your sinus cavities and lung become their habitat. While this is rather scary, it is not a license to stop using your humidifier. Instead, the point of action is to ensure that you have a clean humidifier that does not become a breeding ground for mold and microorganisms. This calls for a regular cleaning routine and maintenance service. 

How To Avoid Sore Throat From Using a Humidifier

We have established that a clean humidifier is primal to sound health. This means you need to take steps to prevent fungi and bacteria from taking over your humidifier. Make sure you follow the tips recommended by the manufacturer. Also, we have the following tips for portable humidifiers, which can help

Use distilled water 

Tap water is not ideal for use in humidifiers due to its level of mineral deposits. These deposits support the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. When released into your home, you will see these minerals as white dust in and around the furniture. In addition, everyone living in the house could breathe in the minerals distributed in the air. 

We recommend distilled or demineralized water due to its low mineral content. In addition to that, you should consider using a demineralized cartridge.

Change the humidifier water often

One thing that compromises your humidifier is allowing film deposits in the humidifier. As a result, you must refill the tank daily with clean water. Make sure you empty the tanks and dry the surfaces. This is very important if you are using ultrasonic humidifiers.

Clean the humidifiers twice a week

Ideally, we recommend cleaning the appliance once every three days. Make sure you unplug it before doing any cleaning operation on it. You can use hydrogen peroxide solution to remove mineral deposits from the tank. You can also consider chlorine bleach or any effective disinfectant based on the manufacturer’s direction. After cleaning, make sure you rinse effectively to prevent harmful chemicals from compromising your outdoor air quality.

Regularly change the filters

Every humidifier has a manual that directs the owner on simple precaution measures. One such is the frequency of changing the humidifier filter. Make sure you stick to this. Also, watch out for dirty filters and reverse as soon as you can. The filters in your HVAC system should also be changed frequently.

Don’t use the Humidifier around wet areas

When using a humidifier, there is a possibility the area becomes damp. This might cause moisture to settle on windows, drapes, clothes, window blinds, and surfaces. Make sure you reduce how frequently you use the machine.

Avoid running your humidifier for too long 

In using a humidifier, moderation is crucial, even if you are sick. It is essential to strive for an optimum humidity level of around 30 to 50%. There are many cheap humidifiers these days that do not have humidistat. As a result, there is no way the homeowner can measure the humidity in their space. This makes it easy for the humidifier to work excessively. 

Working your humidifier for too long provides the perfect ground for bacteria and other microorganisms to thrive. In addition to weakening the integrity of every wooden structure you have, there is a mold problem that comes from using the humidifier for too long.

With the above in mind, it makes sense to invest in a humidistat to keep tabs on your home’s humidity level. 

White dust is not the only problem 

Some humidifiers claim to be antibacterial. However, the Consumer Reviews Council has disclosed that they are not very effective in handling bacteria and other microorganisms.

The problem with humidifiers is not the minerals in the water and the microorganisms. Part of the maintenance culture for your humidifier is regular cleaning. When you clean it with chemicals, those chemicals are distributed into the air and end up in the lungs. And of course, these chemicals are poisonous; hence, they could be toxic to humans, especially children.

As a result, you should be extremely careful when cleaning or washing your humidifier. Avoid using any detergent or chemical that could compromise your indoor air quality. This calls for effectively rinsing the water tank and other essential appliance parts. 

Humidifiers: are they worth the risk?

Without a doubt, a humidifier is essential for every home and comes with some health benefits. If you will use a humidifier, be sure to maintain it effectively. Make sure you follow every cleaning instruction the manufacturer recommends in the manual. 

Many people, however, might need help to follow the stringent cleaning and maintenance routine essential to keep their appliance safe. It is not surprising as life gets in the way. As a result, we recommend using an evaporative humidifier. It does not emit microorganisms and minerals. You, however, must be willing to change the filter often. 

So can a humidifier give you a sore throat? As evident, a humidifier does not cause a sore throat. However, without proper maintenance, a dirty humidifier comes with a couple of health issues. You can escape some of the associated health risks of using a humidifier by following the recommended maintenance tips in this article. Remember, a clean humidifier is a safe humidifier.