Many people experience conditions like dry skin and sore nasal passage during the winter. Thankfully, they can get relieved from these by using a humidifier. This is because it introduces moisture into the surrounding, which soothes the above issues. Sadly, a humidifier might also produce dust and mold, which is not helpful for people with allergies.
A dust mite is one of the major indoor allergies which thrive in the presence of moisture. As a result, when you introduce moisture into the atmosphere, it provides the perfect habitat for dust-mite to thrive. This is why you need to keep your humidity at a specific range to check the spread of these menaces.
People with allergies need to look for ways to improve indoor air quality. This is where a humidifier comes in. This article will examine the correct way to use humidifiers such that it will help with allergies.
Do humidifiers help with allergies?
Dry air is not friendly to people with allergies. This is also true for people with sinus infection and chronic sinusitis. It could trigger issues like irritated nasal membranes. By regulating your immediate environment, you can alleviate sinus issues and, in the long run, stop it permanently.
Many people might want to know if a humidifier helps with allergies. Before answering this question, we must understand how a humidifier works. Humidifiers increase the level of humidity in the air. When the moisture level in air increases, it helps with allergies. As a result, if you are uncomfortable or developing irritated nasal passage because of dry air, a humidifier can help.
You, however, do not want your moisture level to be too much as it could worsen your condition. It provides the perfect condition for indoor allergens like mold and dust mites to thrive. The following highlights discuss why you need to have the right humidity level using a humidifier:
- With humidity levels below 30%, your throat, nose, and nasal passage will not dry out. When your surrounding air is dry, it causes dry and cracked skin inside the nose. This makes breathing uncomfortable as it irritates the nasal passage.
You will probably sneeze and sniff with dry air, worsening your allergy conditions. This is one of the reasons to use a humidifier as it helps moistens the air, alleviating the symptoms.
- An optimum humidity level is vital to your body’s internal defense mechanism. With the right humidity level, the body will be energized to create a healthy mucus layer in your nose and throat.
This mucus layer ensures no contaminant gets to your lung or respiratory tracts. As a result, the tendency to develop allergies that might trigger cold or other infections reduces.
- It also reduces air particles. When you have the right humidity levels, the number of airborne pathogens reduces. This is because, in air, water vapor condenses on particles. This causes the water droplets to settle away from the air, getting rid of pathogens via this process.
The more there is moisture in the air, the more this happens. This process has been known to reduce allergens present in the air considerably.
Using Humidifiers for Allergies: Potential issues
Without a doubt, we have established that a humidifier can help relieve problems with allergies. This, however, is not a perfect solution. There are some issues you need to be aware of when using this approach.
If you use your humidifier the wrong way, it can increase humidity levels. This will create damp air or even make moisture to settle on various surfaces in the house. Such wet surfaces, over time, will become moldy. Mold gives out mold spores that do not help allergy in sufferers.
This is why you need to monitor the relative humidity in your space. We recommend the use of humidifiers with humidistat or investing in a hygrometer to keep tabs on the humidity level. When humidity gets in excess, it comes with severe consequences that might make buying a humidifier a disadvantage.
In addition, a poorly maintained humidifier will encourage bacteria and mold. In essence, when such a humidifier is working, it will introduce mold and other bacteria into your space. This contaminates your indoor air.
Dust mite also triggers allergies in some people. They, however, die when the humidity level goes below 80%. The implication of this is that people suffering from dust mite allergies might not need a humidifier.
Using Humidifiers for Allergies: Precautions
Without a doubt, a humidifier will provide extreme relief for people during the cold and dry months. This helps remove some of the discomfort associated with this seasonal change. You, however, should be mindful of maintaining the humidity level at the optimum level, ideally 30 to 50%. Also, cleaning and maintenance should be according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Ignoring these care routine might complicate things for you.
When you have too high humidity levels, it makes it comfortable for some allergens to thrive. Mold, dust mites, and mildews, etc. will thrive and end up causing issues and triggering allergies.
In addition, a humidifier running with contaminated water can be pretty dangerous for users. Also, when water remains in the reservoir for too long, it can breed microorganisms like fungi and bacteria. Your humidifier acts as a distribution device for this, which gets into the lung when you inhale air. As a result, the inhabitants might develop lung issues, flu problems, etc.
Given the above, we have the following precautions recommended by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission in effectively using your humidifier to alleviate asthma symptoms.
- Prevent film and Scale to develop in Your Humidifier
Make sure you use the right cleaner to descale and clean the interior of your unit. Always change the water in your humidifier frequently. Before filling the tank, empty and drain it. Some built-in tanks might not be removable.
- Avoid using Tap Water.
Tap water contains a lot of minerals, which will only result in the buildup of Scale. This will introduce dust into your breathing space. As a result, de-mineralized water or distilled water is the best bet. Interestingly, there are demineralization filters or cartridges that you can use to take care of this in your unit.
- Avoid Overusing the Humidifier
In your bid to relieve allergies with your unit, you might feel the need to keep the humidifier working for as long as possible. This is a bad idea as it is not ideal for your relative humidity to rise above specified limits. The perfect humidity level is between 30 to 50%. When it rises above 60%, it can cause a whole of the problem, in addition to triggering allergies in other people. As a result, make sure you measure your relative humidity often and do not overwork your humidifier.
- Always Clean the Humidifier Well and often.
Make sure you unplug the device before having any cleaning operation on it. In addition, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s direction on cleaning the humidifier. If you will clean your humidifier with any chemical, disinfectant or chlorine bleach, be sure to rinse it WELL. This is important so that you will not inhale any harmful chemicals. Besides, clean the tank with a brush or any effective scrubber. Be gentle, however, as you do not want to damage any sensitive part like the motor. Also, the filter should be replaced as soon as possible, following the manufacturer’s specifications.
- And finally, in storing your humidifier, make sure you clean and drain the tank. Also, when you are about using it after storing, clean it, and get rid of dust from the unit.
In using a humidifier to help with allergies, be sure to consider humidifiers made to serve this purpose. Such humidifiers come with anti-bacteria components; hence they will not let dirty water compromise the integrity of your indoor space.
There are allergy humidifiers, for instance, that employs ultrasonic technology. These types of humidifiers create cool mist and also destroy all microorganisms. Other types of humidifiers boil the water intending to kill germs and microbes since they will hardly survive at high temperatures. Such humidifiers rely on mechanisms like silver ions to sterilize the water tank and prevent the buildup of mineral deposits inside the unit.
Without a doubt, a humidifier can help with allergies. I hope this article has answered your question and cleared some confusion on the issue. On a final note, it will be a good idea to consider humidifiers specifically designed to help with allergies.
Also, make sure you get a humidifier that can take care of your entire space. This way, you are always covered. Also, be sure to keep tabs on your humidity levels. Having higher levels of humidity will not help your cause. It can even result in some unwanted issues, as discussed in the article.
A clean humidifier is a healthy humidifier. A clean humidifier is primal if you need relieve from allergies. Using a humidifier without cleaning and poor maintenance might not improve your allergy symptoms.