Although humidifiers are essential for staying healthy during climate changes across the year, misusing the device could quickly turn its supposed benefits, sour. Humidifier sickness also known as humidifier fever is a real thing and can be easily caught by some actions you might take or not take. All these would be discussed extensively in this article, including actions you might have done to implicate humidifier sickness symptoms.
Symptoms exhibited by a humidifier sickness sufferers resembles what you experience at home in extremely humid seasons. The Humidifier simply creates a poor environmental condition, enough for disease-causing microorganisms to thrive and cause you harm.
Also Read: Easy to clean Humidifier for baby
First of all, Can Humidifier truly make you sick?
A humidifier is not primarily designed to make you sick but to make you healthy; Neither would it make you sick when it functions normally.
However, there are some cautions to apply when using a humidifier, or you risk getting sick. Therefore, yes, you can fall sick as a result of running a humidifier.
A poorly maintained humidifier can quickly become a microorganism juice box, while an “over-ran” humidifier could also invite microorganism breeding.
Two major Causes of humidifier sickness
The two major reason for experiencing a humidifier sickness symptoms and they are
- Poorly maintained units that breed dirt and microorganisms overtime
- Over humidification of the air which promotes the survival of molds and other microorganisms.
A humidifier most times contains water tanks, which is drained in bits to be converted to mists. Even if it doesn’t, water still flows through the humidification process, and residues are left behind.
Over time, if these parts exposed to water are not properly and regularly cleaned, they would breed molds or bacteria.
In a short while, the bacteria would find its way into the humidification system, and therefore the mist released. The contaminated mist is breathed in by inhabitants of the home, along with those microorganisms.
On the flip side of things, although your unit might be thoroughly and properly cleaned, you can do wrong in over humidifying the air. Excess humidity is an express invite for mold, bacteria, mildew, and dust mite to thrive. It is only a matter of time before they find their way into your body and cause damages.
Common Dirty humidifier sickness symptoms on your health
Dirty Humidifier gives flu-like symptoms and can also cause lung infections. Flu-like symptoms include fever, congestion, runny nose, fatigue headache, and chills. Not all these symptoms appear at once, and some might not even show at all. It varies for different individuals.
According to a memo released by CPSC (consumer product safety commission) safety alert, “white dust usually contain particles that are small enough to navigate the lungs through the nasal passage. The health effects from inhaling the humidifier white dust are not clear; but any impact on your health will mostly depend on the types and amounts of minerals found in the water used.”
Humidifier Sickness Symptoms – Frequently asked questions
1) How do you know if your humidifier filter is bad or dirty?
Dirty humidifiers are not difficult to spot if you know the symptom that accompanies it. These symptoms are summed up in one word, humidifier sickness.
For people with underlying health problems like allergies and asthma, it can be very problematic and possibly triggered in a short time.
For others, dirty Humidifier has the potential to trigger flu-like symptoms or even cause worse problems like lung infections. In all, you would start to feel different after inhaling mist from a dirty humidifier for a while.
2) Is it safe to use tap water in a humidifier?
YES and NO.
It can be safe to use tap water and also not safe to use such water in a humidifier. This all depends on the type of Humidifier in question.
Some humidifiers are built with filters and other cleaning mechanisms that remove dirt and, more importantly, minerals from the water before humidification. For those kinds of products, any type of water goes. Filters and cleaning systems could have to be changed regularly, too, or you risk the dirt getting back into the water.
On the other hand, some humidifiers do not come with such a cleaning system. They expressly allow water to pass through without any form of cleaning or protection, and after humidification, mist produced comes out with white dust.
These kinds of humidifiers should be used with only distilled water and not tap (hard) water. Running tape water would mean you are breathing in minerals from the water, and would also have to contend with white dust problems.
3) Can you over humidify a room to the level of mold growth
YES. Over humidification is a process in which humidity in the air holds more moisture than it can carry. It is typically a zone where the relative humidity is higher than 60% (the limit for safe humidity recommended by experts).
Over humidification happens when the Humidifier is allowed to run for too long, and it keeps on releasing moisture, although the air is already saturated. Molds thrive in highly humid conditions and would start appearing as black patches in dark corners and walls of your home or even in your humidifier. Constant cleaning or removing the mold is not the solution; instead, reduce the humidity.
How to get mold out of a humidifier? – Humidifier Sickness Symptoms Prevention
There is only one guaranteed way to get mold out of a humidifier, and it is through thorough cleaning. Start by taking apart the Humidifier, exposing all the nukes and crannies where mold might be hidden in. Depending on how dirty the Humidifier is, you can soak it for a few minutes in a cleaning solution before washing. Note that you should only soak plastic parts and not the base that contains electronic circuits. Follow the more detailed cleaning process below:
- Start by unplugging the Humidifier from any power outlet that it is connected to
- Disassemble the unit as much as the design allows you to. Remove the top cover, tank, and any other covering.
- Hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar are powerful domestic cleaning agents that you can use. Pour in a good amount of any into the base of the Humidifier and allow to stay for a few minutes.
- Scrub with a clean toothbrush, ensuring you hit all the important parts and hidden corners of the unit. Scrub away every mineral buildup and mold
- After scrubbing, allow the solution to sit in the Humidifier for about 30 minutes, after which you can empty the unit.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water, and look out for any hidden mold. Repeat this cleaning process all over, if any, is found.
- Allow the clean unit to dry.
- Ensure you clean up the tank and wick with the same process.
Bottom Line – Humidifiers are still Excellent and Beneficial
Humidifiers are excellent products that help you stay healthy when used in the right way. Nevertheless, with poor cleaning habits and no attention paid to the humidity level of your environment, a humidifier can become harmful to your health.