Asthma is a chronic disease condition that affects the airways of the lungs and the symptoms are similar to those caused by allergies. People living with asthma have inflamed airways that can become even worse if something triggers the symptoms. Asthma is incurable, but you can manage it. This article tells you all you need to know about asthma and if you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier for asthma and allergies.
Asthma causes the inflammation and narrowing of the airways in the lungs. They also produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult for air to pass through. Symptoms of asthma present themselves as periodic attacks characterised by the tightness of the chest and difficulty in breathing.
Now, asthma is characterised with difficulty in breathing. When something triggers your asthma symptoms, it makes it difficult for you to breathe correctly. You start coughing and wheezing, and you develop shortness of breath. An increase in physical activity sometimes causes this.
Asthma affects 1 in 13 people worldwide. According to CDC, more than 25 million people in America have asthma. This means 7.7% of adults and 8.4% of children in America have asthma. That is how prevalent the disease is. Asthma attacks can be controlled by taking medication or by using a quick-relief inhaler.
Allergies and Asthma: What you need to know
Having known a little about asthma, it is necessary to also know that allergies isn’t the same as allergens and asthma. Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts unfavourably to a foreign substance. This may be Food, drugs, etc can cause them.
But the most common ones are caused by exposure to tiny airborne particles that can cause you to sneeze, cough and can make your eyes water. These materials that cause allergies are called allergens.
Allergens include pollen, dust, pet dander, cockroach waste, etc. When these symptoms occur, you tend to have difficulty in breathing and a tightness in your chest. This has been liked to asthma. There is a type of asthma that is triggered by allergies. It has been found that over 70% of adults with asthma also have allergies.
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Different Types Of Asthma
This Asthma classification is based on the different kinds of causes. These are:
This type of asthma affects millions of kids worldwide. Most kids who have asthma develop it before they are five years old. Children are more likely to have asthma that occurs with frequent “attacks”.
Sometimes the attacks occur daily and are severe; others only happen due to a heightened sensitivity to allergens, which is common in children. Mild asthma usually resolves itself without treatment, while severe cases can follow a child into adulthood.
This type is more critical than the one common in kids. It is more persistent, and the sufferers are more prone to attacks. They require daily management of breathing and prevention of the symptoms. It is more common among obese people and can show up in women after the age of 20.
This type of asthma is also more prevalent amongst smokers, older people and pregnant women.
This type of asthma presents itself among people that work in jobs that involve inhaling dust, fumes and other potentially dangerous materials that affect breathing.
This is common among employment in industries, laboratories and bakeries. This type of asthma can trigger adult-onset asthma or bring back childhood asthma. The sufferers usually have red eyes and a runny nose.
The sufferers of this asthma tend to have constant and persistent asthma symptoms and difficulty in breathing. These symptoms are typically controlled by medications and avoidance of likely triggers. Some, however, still find it difficult to control their symptoms with available asthma medications, so they use newer drugs.
This type of asthma only occurs as a result of the allergens present in the sufferer’s environment. They are more severe during pollen season or in cold air and during winter. They still have asthma, but they only experience symptoms during those periods.
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Asthma and Humidity Level: Can a low or High humidity Triggers Asthma?
The humidity levels in your home can play a big role in your breathing quality. Humidity is how much water vapour is present in the air. Humidity levels that are too high or too low can affect us in different ways.
It has been found that a healthy level of indoor humidity is about 30% to 50%. Anything higher can cause faster growth of microorganisms like dust mites and mould, which are 2 of the most common allergens. If it is too low, it can cause dry skin, dry and cracked lips and throat and sinusitis.
While very high humidity may cause nasal congestion and difficulty in breathing, especially for asthmatic patients, low humidity has its issues.
When the air is too dry, it causes the mucous membranes in the sinus to dry up. This causes the sinus to become irritated and increases your chances of catching a cold or flu.
Also, viruses are more likely to survive longer in dry air than in humid air. Very low humidity can increase feelings of congestion and make breathing harder, thereby triggering some asthma symptoms. To avoid this, during periods where the air is very dry, for example, winter, increase the humidity level in your home using a humidifier or vaporiser.
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What does a Humidifier do for Asthma?
Humidifiers are devices that add water vapour to the air to increase the level of relative humidity in the environment. They can help alleviate symptoms of dry air, like dry skin, breathing problems and sinusitis.
When humidifiers are appropriately used, they can be very useful. If they aren’t cleaned properly, they can spread germs and airborne allergens that can affect the health of your family. Also, if the humidity levels get too high, they can aid the growth of microorganisms and mould.
If the air is very dry, especially in the winter, and it triggers your asthma conditions, a humidifier can help alleviate the symptoms. However, it shouldn’t be allowed to get too high because the air that has a high level of humidity can be too heavy to breathe for asthmatic patients.
What does a Dehumidifier do for allergies and Asthma Attack?
A dehumidifier is a machine that removes water vapour from the environment. They are used to reduce the humidity in your home. They are especially useful in areas and seasons with high humidity.
A dehumidifier can help alleviate the discomfort faced by asthmatic patients breathing in denser air. It can also reduce the feeling of congestion caused by high humidity. A dehumidifier can also reduce the growth of microorganisms and mould in the home.
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What is the best Humidity level for Asthma?
High humidity is hard to breathe for people with asthma. Humid air activates nerves in the airways that make them get narrow. This makes it hard for asthma patients that already have narrow airways to breathe.
It is stagnant enough to carry pollutants and allergens that can trigger your asthma symptoms. These allergens thrive when the humidity levels are very high, like 60% to 80%. To control the humidity levels, you can install a hygrometer or humidistat to regulate it.
However, a low humidity level can also trigger asthmatic symptoms. The best humidity level for asthma and allergies is anyone from 30% to 50%. Anything lower or higher can affect you negatively.
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Bottom Line: Dehumidifier or Humidifier for Asthma and Allergies
Using a humidifier or dehumidifier for asthma and allergies largely depends on the current level of humidity in your home. It also depends on the season. During seasons of very high humidity, a dehumidifier might be your best bet. It reduces the humidity in your indoor air to an acceptable level.
During periods of low humidity, a humidifier increases the humidity in your home and alleviates the symptoms of dry air. As long as it’s used correctly and cleaned regularly, there won’t be any danger of spreading allergens.
The choice of humidifier or dehumidifier also depends on your region. If you live in an area with a temperate or arid climate, the best humidifier fir asthma and allergies is a better choice. Meanwhile, if your region has a high humidity level, the best humidifier for COPD, asthma and allergies is more useful.
You can also use both. Use a humidifier during periods of low humidity and a dehumidifier during periods of high humidity. Whatever you do, the goal should be to keep the humidity level at a healthy level so as not to trigger your asthma and allergies.