can humidifiers make cough worse

Coughing is a common problem for many people, which could degenerate into other health issues if not treated. Humidifiers are household appliances that increase the moisture content of the air. Over the years, the correct use of humidifiers suited health issues like colds and allergies. But the question has arisen about whether humidifiers can make a cough worse.

Many people might also wonder if a humidifier will soothe their cough or make it worse. We will discuss the impact of a humidifier on coughs. Does it make it worse or relieve a cough? Before examining this detail, we must know what causes a dry cough.

What Causes Dry Cough?

Several illnesses characterize the winter period; this is unsurprising as the cold weather stresses the body and immune system, thus creating tension making the body susceptible to infections and the flu.

Besides, we rely on artificial heating appliances when the temperature gets excessively low. We need this to keep our indoor temperature at a reasonable level. The result is dry heat that causes other health hazards in the home. This also explains why coughing is pretty common during the winter.

Breathing dry air affects the lungs. There are lung fluids that protect our nasal passages and airways. It keeps the passage moist so that you get to breathe effectively. When you breathe in dry air, this fluid evaporates faster. You get a dry airway with this, which might swell up and irritate you, leading to a dry cough.

Coughs are also more severe at night. Because mucus can accumulate in the back of your throat when you sleep flat on your back, your cough reflex feels like it is continually being activated. If you have a post-nasal drip, this impact might be significantly severe.

Will a Humidifier Makes a Cough Worse?

Because a humidifier can sometimes exacerbate allergies, you may be unsure if it will help or worsen your cough. But, according to medical practitioners, a humidifier does not make a cough worse. On the other hand, it can help relieve chronic coughing. 

While you may have heard that a humidifier might aggravate a cough, this pertains to warmed, steam-release humidity and has not been adequately explored.

A warm or cool mist humidifier will provide optimum relief when coughing. Ideally, even if a humidifier does not improve your cough, it will not hurt. While the results of many people might differ, it is essential to be careful.

The experience of using a humidifier to relieve a cough depends on many things. The duration of the cough and the way you use it matters.

How a humidifier helps with cough?

One of the major causes of cold, cough, and sore throat is when your nasal passage or throat becomes dry. The reason for this is simple – the moisture needed to grease your nasal passageways comes from the air you breathe. If the air is dry with low moisture content, the nasal passage will not get enough lubricant.

Here are some of the ways a humidifier helps relieve people of cough:

  • Humidifier introduces moisture into the air; this lubricates and moistens the nasal passageway, making breathing easy.
  • The humidifier reduces inflammation, which also helps to breathe.
  • The humidifier reduces swelling in your nasal airways.
  • It also reduces sinus congestion.

What to Look in Humidifiers for Cough?

  • Ultrasonic technology stands out as a top option for humidifiers. Utilizing ultrasonic vibrations to move water from the reservoir into the air, these cutting-edge gadgets work to humidify the air in a dependable and efficient manner.
  • ETL safety certificates: These accreditations are the benchmark for guaranteeing the security of home equipment. You may be sure that your purchase of a product with this mark represents the highest level of safety.
  • Aromatherapy features for greater versatility. Using this tool, you may increase your degree of comfort or relaxation by adding essential oils to the mix. It’s a nice method to make your experience better overall.
  • Large water tank: Look for versions with a six-liter or higher capacity. Such large reservoirs may run continuously for up to fifty hours before needing to be refilled. By doing this, you may avoid having to care for the tank all the time, day or night.
  • Filterless humidifiers: Traditional filter-based systems demand monthly filter replacements, which raises the overall cost and can turn into a hassle. By selecting a filterless alternative, you may reduce maintenance requirements and maintain your attention on reaping the rewards of effective humidification.

Humidifiers Type Recommended for Relieving Cough 

Thanks to the improvement in science and technology, there are various types of humidifiers. As a result, users need clarification about the best choice of humidifiers to relieve cough.

Warm Mist Humidifiers

The warm mist humidifier heats stored water and turns it into steam. The steam is introduced into the room, which clears the nasal package, helping you breathe easier. This way, it relieves cough without making noise.

Cool Mist

In contrast to heating water to steam used in the warm mist humidifier, the cool mist traps contaminants utilizing a filter. This ensures that the air that gets to the room is microorganisms-free.

We recommend this humidifier for people living in warmer climates as it helps cool the room. The slight reduction in temperature makes breathing easier, easing cough in sufferers.

Furthermore, we recommend this type if the individual suffering from cough is a child. As you know, the warm mist heats the water, so cool mist is the right choice for a kids room to avoid any burning accident.

Whole House Humidifiers

These are big humidifiers that serve the entire house. It differs from the two humidifiers above in size and mode of operation. Every room in the house can enjoy moisture when you use whole-house humidifiers. These units work best with distilled water and regular maintenance. Also, be sure to change the filters regularly.

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

This is the latest humidifier version that enjoys modern technology in delivering moisture to users. It distributes moisture using the combination of a metal diaphragm and ultrasonic vibration.

While the various types of humidifiers described above come with unique advantages and disadvantages, the best choice depends on personal preference. However, a warm or cool-mist humidifier works best for relieving cough. The next section sheds more light on this.

Warm and Cool mist Humidifiers for Cough 

We recommend using warm mist humidifiers if you want to buy a humidifier for health purposes. You can trace this back to their mode of operation because they warm the moisture (mist) before delivering it to the room air. This way, it kills off bacteria and other microorganisms that might want to harm you or worsen your cough.

Now, you breathe in high-quality air devoid of pathogens and germs. With fewer microorganisms in the air, your chances of fighting illness, including easing cough, are higher

Precautions When Using Humidifiers as a Cough Relief

Without a doubt, we are confident that a humidifier will provide relief for cough. However, it would help if you kept some things in mind. For instance, illness and diseases are common. Also, do not expect your condition to disappear immediately after you turn on the device. You will feel comfortable, but the cough will not disappear overnight.

  • A clean humidifier is a healthy humidifier. In other words, to be healthy, you cannot escape the maintenance of your humidifier. Make sure you follow all the maintenance instructions recommended in using your humidifier.
  • Change the water daily and use only distilled water. Using tap or unfiltered water might only make the situation worse.
  • Sophisticated humidifiers come with additional features and might require an extra maintenance routine compared to normal ones.
  • Some humidifiers (mainly ultrasonic humidifiers) release white dust into the air. However, this is a factor in the type of water you use. You can avoid this problem using distilled water rather than tap water in your humidifier.
  • A distance of three feet is ideal from the person experiencing cough symptoms, thus it’s critical that the humidifier be close by.
  • Instead of going beyond the recommended amount of moisture, turn on the humidifier whenever the relative humidity goes below 30% to provide the ideal environment for fungus development.


The aim of designing a humidifier is to create a comfortable and habitable indoor space for man. It does this by increasing the moisture content in the air; this improves the overall quality of air, hence making people breathe normally.

So, does a humidifier relieve coughing? They are perhaps the most effective remedy for unpleasant dry coughs.

After using a humidifier in your space, you may enhance your way of life and gain various additional health benefits. Except for those who have asthma, humidifiers are safe to use, so you don’t need to worry about your cough getting worse.

If coughing lasts for more than three weeks, you need to see a doctor.

Finally, there are humidifiers targeted explicitly at relieving cough symptoms. You can consider these models if your main aim of getting a humidifier is alleviating cough symptoms.