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Does Humidifier Increase Oxygen According to Science?

Humidifiers are used for increasing the amount of moisture in the air not the amount of oxygen. These devices mystify water through different processes, which is then 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 too. Mind you, this only holds for oxygen humidifiers.

How does a humidifier effect or increase oxygen? This is what we would discuss in this article, as well as other questions regarding humidifier and oxygen levels. For a short answer, however, yes, 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, increased moisture. They are especially useful 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 not only used to increase moisture, but also 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 humidifier, while some can be installed with a furnace.

How does a Humidifier work?

In cold or poor humid weather, the relative humidity could drop as low as 20 percent or even less depending on your area. This causes a lot of discomfort and also leaves your body susceptible to infections. Low humidity creates a habitable environment for viruses to thrive, and when they get into the body, manifest the flu symptoms.

Although humidifiers breakdown 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 states 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 patents which 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 directly to the lower airway. Such oxygen does not go through the moistening and filtering effect that the upper airways provide. However, BTS emergency oxygen guidelines from 2008 also suggest that patients taking in oxygen through tracheostomy can be managed for a short while 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.

Also Read: Best Humidifier for post nasal drip

How can you increase the oxygen level in your room with a humidifier?

Increasing the amount of oxygen level in your room is done by the combined efforts of a portable concentrator and a humidifier. The portable concentrator draws in 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 that is 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 operates normally and creates mists that are released with a high concentration of oxygen, increasing relative humidity, and oxygen level in the air. Remember to use only distilled water in the humidifier and empty the humidifier daily to clean properly.

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. Whereas, Regular humidifiers can only increase the humidity of the air.

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