Suppose the cold weather has poorly treated you, or you are inflicted with nasal allergies causing your nose to block as a result of the humidity level of the air. In that case, you must have been contemplating on whether to buy a humidifier or dehumidifier for a stuffy nose.
Almost everyone knows that humidifiers moisturize the air while dehumidifier does the opposite. But it might be a little bit complicated when choosing one of the two that match precisely the medical condition of a cold sufferer.
However, picking one of the two has to do with the individual need and the symptoms observed. In this article, we will discuss briefly what you need to know about humidifiers and dehumidifiers; then, I will give a final verdict on the device to pick for a stuffy nose.
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What does a humidifier do for colds and congestion?
Primarily, Humidifier adds moisture to the air. Dry air has been linked with symptoms ranging from headache, sniffles, runny eyes, achiness, and even sore throat. These symptoms are related to cold, congestion, and nasal congestion.
Although humidifiers won’t wholly heal you of the symptoms listed above, they are best at helping people to find relief from any sort of nasal and throat irritation. The best analogy to describe the working principle of a humidifier is when you try to breathe in the warm steam that comes out of your boiling water or when you try to inspire the foggy mist in the air.
Henceforth, Humidifiers can be of 2 different types: the warm mist and the cool mist humidifier. Both add moisture to the air but the different temperatures of humidity—humidifier functions in four models: steam, impeller, ultrasonic, and wick.
When using a humidifier to treat cold and congestion, it plays its role by breaking down the mucus in the throat. This mucus is also phlegm, which impedes breathing and speech.
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What does a dehumidifier do for allergies?
In conditions where the humidity level of the space you reside goes beyond moderate, the dehumidifier’s function is to remove excess moisture from the air to prevent the thriving of mold, dust mites, or any allergy triggers.
There hasn’t been a significant scientific proof of how dehumidifiers can deal with allergy but based on consumer reports and some physician’s recommendation, dehumidifiers have been said to be quick in cleaning up a runny nose and allergic mucous secretion.
The basic idea behind the working principle of a dehumidifier in combating allergies is the continuous reduction of moisture that might enhance the growth of allergy triggers and certain bacteria and viruses.
What does stuffy nose means?
A stuffy nose, blocked nose, or congested nose is a condition whereby the nasal passage is overfilled with mucus to the extent that it is difficult to breathe in and out. It is often a symptom of another problem, such as nasal congestion and sinus infection.
A stuffy nose that lasts a few days might be caused by a minor illness such as flu or cold. If it extends more than a week, it might result from hay fever, chemical exposure, environmental irritants, chronic sinusitis, or deviated septum.
Stuffy nose in the form of nasal congestion can also occur in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is due to the hormonal fluctuation and increased blood flow to the nasal passage.
Will a humidifier help with a stuffy nose?
YES, having the right amount of moisture in the air will go a long way to help stuffy nose and nasal congestions.
As discussed earlier, either cool mist or warm mist humidifiers contribute significantly to the substantial increment in the moisture content of the air. A stuffy nose is also known to be due to allergies that arise from dry air. Therefore, humidification is the best home remedy to relieve a congested nose.
Will a dehumidifier help with a stuffy nose?
A dehumidifier will only get your nose more congested. Although, a dehumidifier to some certain extent can help with solving allergy problem they are never the right option for the blocked nose.
This is because dehumidifier will make the air drier and this can result in thickening of the mucus blocking the nasal passage or even encouraging the survival of some allergic triggers. This might as well contribute to a certain level of difficulty breathing. Let’s take a look at the general demerits of using a dehumidifier
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Disadvantages of a Dehumidifier
Apart from the fact that dehumidifiers can cause the air to be dry
First, they are not generally quiet units except for the small ones that don’t require a placement. This is because the energy used in the extradition of water from space is more than the energy used in providing moisture in a room. This is why a dehumidifier is generally noisier than a humidifier or any other unit of the same capacity.
Secondly, they consume power on the energy bill. Sometimes extra $50.00 may be added to your previous bill after running dehumidifiers in a month. It is advisable to go for the energy star rated dehumidifiers if the need warrants you to get dehumidifier so bad.
How does humidifier help congestion and stuffy nose?
First, dry air has been implicated in forming thick mucus inside the nasal passage due to the conducive environment for allergy triggers to thrive. Humidifiers will supply the necessary moisture to moisturize the thick mucus, thus decreasing the odds of nasal congestion and getting your nose clogged.
Secondly, a humidifier will enhance free breathing and clearing of the nasal passage and throat. This is one of the reasons why humidifier is recommended by a physician to solve the problem of headache that arises from difficulty breathing. However, some humidifiers allow for the addition of essential oils that are effective in enhancing good sleep and relieving nasal disturbances.
Humidifier vs. dehumidifier for cough
Just like a congested nose, a cough also occurs as a result of irritation of the mucosal wall of the throat. Cough can either be a short-term cough as a reflex action to clear the throat of any irritant or, due to a complicated disease, the long-term or persistent cough.
Just like the stuffy nose, a humidifier is the best for cough as well. This is because the cough would disappear at the appearance of anything to moisturize the throat. Since dehumidifiers would rather demoisturize, it will be a bad idea to use it when coughing.
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Humidifier making congestion worse: How possible?
Even after analyzing how beneficial humidifiers could be when it comes to congestion, you must also know that if proper precautions are not taken into consideration when humidifying, it could make congestion worse.
To safely use a humidifier for any purpose, ensure that:
- Clean the humidifier regularly;
- Keep a record of the humidity level in the room so that it won’t turn out to be a damp room;
- Change the water in the tank regularly as instructed;
- Change the filters as well according to instruction;
- Use pure or distilled water regularly.
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What kind of humidifier is best for stuffy noses?
- Steam vaporizers or warm mist:
This type makes use electricity to form steam, which cools off before leaving the unit. However, it might be a risk of burn, and it is advisable to avoid using steam humidifier around children
- Ultrasonic humidifiers:
Instead of using electricity, these units use ultrasonic vibrations to diffuse mist into the air space.
just like the ultrasonic, These produce cool mist humidity by blowing air over evaporating water.
- Impeller humidifiers:
These types are the best for kids, and they work by using rotating disks, instead of heat, to produce mist.
- Central humidifiers:
Also known as the whole house humidifier is connected to the central air conditioning in such a way to cover all the house. They are expensive and effective
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Final verdict: Humidifier or dehumidifier for stuffy nose and allergies
Dry air or lower humidity is one of the major causes of nasal irritation and congestion. Humidifiers work to increase the moisture content of space, while dehumidifier does otherwise. Using a dehumidifier wouldn’t be wise to further contribute to the dry air. However, using a humidifier will go a long way to unstick the thick mucus, thus allowing easy and relieved breathing.