Used by many dermatologists, wellness experts, and beauty enthusiasts, a humidifier is fast becoming the new must-go wellness therapy for a zen lifestyle.
Many dermatologists, wellness experts, yummy mummies, and beauty connoisseurs have fallen in love with humidifiers. For very good reasons. They claim the wellness therapy helps them unwind to enjoy a restorative sleep and maintain their inside out glow.
To better understand this rather exciting therapy, let’s find out what a humidifier is, its potential benefits to your wellness routine, which type of humidifier best suits your needs, so you can enjoy all the benefits of using one at home or in your business.
This post contains independently selected affiliate links. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission. See our disclosures here to find out more.
WHAT IS A HUMIDIFIER?
A humidifier is an appliance used to add moisture to the air to make it easier for people to breathe, especially in dry and cold climates.
The home therapy works by infusing moisture in the air through evaporation, most commonly with cool water or warm steam vapour.
WHAT IS A HUMIDIFIER FOR?
A humidifier can be helpful in:
- Preventing dry skin and chapped lips
- Combating viruses and bacteria spread in the air
- Relieving cough, nasal congestion and headache
- Easing common cold and flu symptoms
- Soothing bloody noses and irritated vocal cords
- Easing snoring
- Alleviating asthma and allergy symptoms
- Keeping your home feel warmer
- Supporting your scalp and hair health
Adults and children tend to use a humidifier during sleep or their relaxation time to support the body’s immune system rejuvenation and repair process. This may be beneficial in improving the quality of their sleep or down time.
POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF HUMIDIFIERS
Prevent Dry and Itchy Skin
A well hydrated and moisturised skin highly contributes to soft and supple healthy skin and graceful ageing. Dry skin caused by constantly dry air in your home and surroundings is more prone to dullness, cracks, and wrinkles.
Consequently, keeping the air moist in your home with the help of a humidifier, alongside the use of a good moisturiser, may help reduce transepidermal water loss your skin experiences at night time.
A humidifier may be particularly useful in alleviating skin itchiness and scratches experienced by people suffering from eczema. Used in conjunction with unscented moisturisers, it may help their skin retain moisture for them to enjoy a better sleep time.
A humidifier may also be helpful in maintaining your scalp and hair health by helping to lock in moisture to support hair growth and alleviating irritation triggered by an itchy scalp.
Combat the Spread of Airborne Viruses
Maintaining your home humidity level between 30% and 50% as recommended by the Mayo Clinic helps reduce the spread of airborne viruses and bacteria in your living environment. Generally, humidity levels tend to be lower in the winter and higher in the summer.
Research has discovered that an indoor humidity level of at least 43% helped decrease infectivity levels of the influenza virus to between 14.6% and 22.2%. On the other hand, when indoor humidity level was below 23%, the influenza virus retained a higher infectivity level at between 70.6% to 77.3%. (Noti et al., 2013).
This suggests that your home needs an adequate level of moisture to prevent the movement of germs. A humidifier releases water vapour that permeates airborne particles, thereby stopping them from floating around in the air. In turn, this combats the spread of influenza and other respiratory related illnesses.
Ease Cold and Allergy Symptoms
A humidifier may be very useful during the cold and flu season. This is because it helps ease cold and flu symptoms such as headaches, blocked sinuses, or a sore throat. By supporting the lubrication of your nasal passages, a humidifier may help you breathe more easily, resulting in an improved quality of sleep and a faster health recovery from the cold and flu.
A study that examined the link between our sleep habits and our resistance to a common cold found that a poor quality of sleep and a shorter sleep time weeks preceding exposure to a rhinovirus leads to a lower resistance to illness (Cohen et al.,2009).
153 healthy men and women aged 21 to 55 took part in the research for 14 consecutive days. Participants who reported an average sleep duration below 7 hours were 2.94 times more likely to develop a cold than those with at least 8 hours of continuous sleep time. People who reported a poor sleep quality below 92% were 5.50 times more likely to develop a cold than those with better sleep quality rated at 98% and above.
Consequently, maintaining a good sleep quality for at least 8 consecutive hours, with the help of a humidifier, may help strengthen your resistance to the cold and flu symptoms.
If you suffer from allergies associated with the quality of the air in your home or changing seasons, a humidifier may be a very welcome addition to your home health therapy.
With dust and the pollen floating in the air particularly during the summer months, a humidifier may be helpful in getting rid of various allergens that may trigger your nose, ear, throat, eyes, or skin irritation. Added moisture in the air with the help of a humidifier will help combat dry air or polluted air that are very irritating to people dealing with sinusitis.
Help Clear Nasal Passage
A humidifier may help improve the sleep quality of people who suffer from snoring by providing added moisture in the upper airway dilator muscles that soften during sleep.
“Snoring is caused by a vibration of soft tissue in the upper airway induced by respiration during sleep” (Stuck et al., 2015).
When dry airways are better hydrated, this helps ease your breathing during sleep by reducing pressure on the muscles that surround the upper airway.
Keep your Home Feel Warmer
Adequately humidified air may help your home feel warmer especially in the colder months. This relates to the fact that an appropriate level of moisture in the air may cause you to sweat at a much slower pace, leaving you feeling warmer throughout the day. This in turn may help you to consume less energy whilst at home, ultimately lowering your energy bills.
TYPES OF HUMIDIFIERS
There are many different types of humidifiers available to buy. Some are better than others when it comes to health benefits, cost, maintenance, and the size of the space you want to add moisture to.
Humidifiers come either as portable devices or as console units that are designed to add moisture to the entire home.
The main types of humidifiers are:
- Central humidifiers
- Impeller humidifiers
- Steam vaporisers
- Ultrasonic humidifiers
Central humidifiers: these are fully integrated in your home’s heating units or air conditioning systems. Central humidifiers do not release steam. They are the most expensive type of humidifier.
Evaporators: they release moisture through a moistened filter and are powered by fans to add moisture in the air from a single-unit system. Evaporators are less expensive than central humidifiers, and are suitable to humidify one room at a time. They attract mould easily and their fan-powered system may not be suitable for asthma sufferers.
Impeller humidifiers: they operate via a system of rotating disks that run at high speed. These devices are reasonably affordable and generally child-friendly, because they release a cool mist and carry no risk of burns.
These units ought to be used in moderation by people with asthma and allergies, as they may potentially cause breathing difficulties when used excessively.
Steam vaporisers: these are the most affordable type of humidifier. The portable devices are powered by electricity to boil water, cool it, and then release it into the air.
Ultrasonic humidifiers: these devices make use of ultrasonic vibration to produce either a cool or a warm mist for your home based on their design specifications. They vary in price based on their sizes. People who have children, prefer to opt for ultrasonic humidifiers with a cool mist to avoid the risk of burns. They also use less electricity than warm mist humidifiers.
HOW TO USE A HUMIDIFIER AT HOME
To maximise the use and the longevity of your humidifier, there are a few practical steps you need to take on a regular basis.
- Use demineralised or distilled water in your humidifier to avoid mould and bacteria growth. This is because humidifiers may potentially release minerals and microorganisms that may be more conducive to mould growth.
- Change water in your humidifier daily to prevent mould and bacteria growth. Standing water may be more prone to encouraging the proliferation of bacteria and mould.
- Clean your humidifier weekly from the inside out with mild disinfectants to kill bacteria that may be lingering outside your device. Unclean humidifiers may cause coughs
- Change your humidifier filters regularly as recommended by your product manufacturer if your device comes with filters because not all humidifiers are designed with filters.
- Avoid putting essential oils in your humidifier – these might trigger your device malfunction and potential respiratory problems if a person in the room is allergic to essential oils used.
When you choose to use a humidifier at home, it is important to ensure that you keep within the recommended 30% to 50% indoor humidity level to avoid causing dampness in your home and worsening your respiratory problems.
Excessive use of a humidifier at home can lead to water condensation on your walls and may promote mould and bacteria growth in your living spaces. Use a hygrometer to determine the level of humidity in your rooms.
Humidifiers with warm mist can cause burns. They are best avoided if you have babies and children at home.
Share This Post
Dry skin/itchy skin (n.d.)
An introduction to indoor air quality. (n.d.)
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016, May 16). Humidifiers: Air moisture eases skin, breathing symptoms
John D. Noti et al (2013, February 27), High Humidity Leads to Loss of Infectious Influenza Virus from Simulated Coughs
Use and care of home humidifiers. (1991, February)
Sheldon Cohen et al (2009, January 12), Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold
Boris A Stuck et al (2014, April 13), Diagnosis and treatment of snoring in adults-S2k Guideline of the German Society of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24729153/
Controlling Eczema by Moisturizing