We all know that oxygen is essential to the air we breathe. Our bodies must operate correctly, and we must consume enough of it every day. However, there are instances when the air around us may be deficient in oxygen, particularly in enclosed spaces such as beds or workplaces. People frequently question whether a humidifier may assist in enhancing the oxygen levels in the air in such conditions. In this post, we will look into the link between humidifiers and oxygen levels and see if humidifiers may enhance the amount of oxygen in the air.
Humidifiers are used for increasing the amount of moisture in the air, not the amount of oxygen. These devices mystify water through different processes released into the air. Water droplets contribute directly to the amount of moisture in the air, therefore increasing humidity. One thing a humidifier is not very famous for, however, is the fact that it can also increase the amount of oxygen. Mind you, this only holds for oxygen humidifiers.
How does a humidifier affect or increase oxygen? We will discuss this in this article and other questions regarding humidifiers and oxygen levels. For a short answer, however, running a humidifier increases the amount of oxygen in the air. This is a special kind of humidifier called an oxygen humidifier, and an ordinary humidifier cannot increase the amount of oxygen in the air.
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What exactly is the function of a humidifier?
The primary function of a humidifier is to increase the amount of water vapor and, consequently, moisture in the air. Humidifiers operate through different means, but they all boil down to having the result of increased moisture. They are instrumental in dry seasons or low, humid climates where there is a need to generate moisture.
Know that oxygen humidifiers are different from the regular humidifiers
Oxygen humidifiers are different from the ordinary humidifiers you are used to. Oxygen humidifiers are medical-grade humidifiers that are used to increase moisture and release supplemental oxygen. They are used during oxygen therapy to provide moisture for patients for a long while. These humidifiers are also used with only sterile water.
On the flip side, ordinary humidifiers are what we see all around in homes today. They are strictly for domestic use and mostly use distilled or hard water. These humidifier’s only task is to create moisture to humidify the air in the home. They also come in different sizes and types, like the evaporative and ultrasonic humidifiers, while some can be installed with a furnace.
How does a Humidifier work?
Depending on your area, the relative humidity could drop as low as 20 percent or even less in cold or poor humid weather. This causes much discomfort and leaves your body susceptible to infections. Low humidity creates a habitable environment for viruses to thrive, manifesting the flu symptoms when they get into the body.
Although humidifiers break down water to create mist, they do so through different processes. An evaporative humidifier, for example, heats the water till it evaporates into steam, which is then released into the air, while an ultrasonic humidifier does not require heat. Ultrasonic products break down water through ultrasonic vibrations into a fine mist that is released to increase humidity. Some others use wick filters that absorb water, which is then blown by a fan and dispelled as mist.
The bottom line is that the unit takes in water, breaks it down through a process into a mist, and releases the mist into the air to increase relative humidity.
The Relationship between humidity and oxygen Concentration
The relationship between humidity and oxygen is an indirect proportion. From practical experience, if you have ever been in high humid environments, you would discover that it is quite difficult to breathe in air. Is it because your airways are blocked? No. Rather, it is because as humidity increases, it reduces the ambient oxygen concentrations in the air. To put it into perspective, dry air is typically 20.9% oxygen, and at relative humidity, the air is about 20.4% oxygen. This is a drastic reduction.
That difference is what is responsible for you not being able to breathe well in high humidity. It leads to shortness of breath. As a humidifier releases moisture, some fractions of the molecules of oxygen in the air would be displaced by water molecules, compromising the natural oxygen and nitrogen mixture that we breathe in.
This is why oxygen concentrators are coupled with humidifiers for those undergoing oxygen therapy. This combination creates a balance.
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In other word, does oxygen increment need humidification?
The question of whether oxygen needs humidification to increase or not depends on the specific situation at hand. BTS emergency guidelines released in 2008 state that “humidification is not required for the delivery of low flow oxygen (4L/minute and under) or short term use of high flow oxygen for short periods”. Humidifying high-flow oxygen for patients who require intake for more than 24 hours is not recommended, especially if they report upper airway discomfort resulting from dryness.
On the other hand, oxygen delivered directly to the lungs through a tracheostomy should be humidified since it is introduced now to the lower airway. Such oxygen does not go through the moistening and filtering effect of the upper airways. However, BTS emergency oxygen guidelines 2008 also suggest that patients taking oxygen through tracheostomy can be managed quickly without humidification. A good example is during an ambulance journey after an emergency.
For domestic use, oxygen concentrators normally filter oxygen from the room air that has a different humidity.
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How can you increase the oxygen level in your room with a humidifier?
Increasing the oxygen level in your room is done by the combined efforts of a portable concentrator and a humidifier. The portable concentrator draws air from the external environment and processes it within. This process separates oxygen from other gases in the air and supplies the humidifier with a concentrated form of oxygen.
A humidifier is a separate unit connected to the concentrator through a hose. Concentrated oxygen flows from the concentrator to the humidifier, where it is pushed through the water. The humidifier usually operates and creates mists released with a high oxygen concentration, increasing relative humidity and oxygen levels in the air. Remember to use only distilled water in the humidifier and empty the humidifier daily to clean correctly.
Conclusion – Does Humidifier Increase Oxygen
YES and NO, But this depends on the type of Humidifier. Oxygen Humidifiers are medical Humidifiers, and they are built for increasing oxygen concentration. At the same time, Regular humidifiers can only increase the humidity of the air.