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The Benefits of Using Humidifiers

Six humidifier uses and their benefits

Low humidity may occur in hot, dry desert climates, or indoors in artificially heated spaces. In winter, especially when cold outside air is heated indoors, the humidity may drop to as low as 10–20%. This low humidity can cause adverse health effects, by drying out mucous membranes such as the lining of the nose and throat, and can cause respiratory distress. The low humidity also can affect wooden furniture, causing shrinkage and loose joints or cracking of pieces. Books, papers, and artworks may shrink or warp and become brittle in very low humidity.

Moreover, Some people experience respiratory symptoms in the summer months, when the weather is hot, and the air contains more allergens. Air conditioners and fans can circulate dry air through the room, and air conditioners remove any moisture from the air. A humidifier may be beneficial during this season.

However, people are more likely to benefit from a humidifier in the cold months, when cold air dries out the lungs, nose, and lips. Also, some types of central heating can dry out the air indoors.

Benefits of a humidifier may include:

1. Preventing the flue

Authors of one study. noted that humidifiers might reduce the risk of catching the flue. After adding the infulenza virus to the air with a simulated cough, researchers found that higher humidity levels (at least 40%) rapidly deactivated virus particles, making them much less likely to be infectious.

2. Making a cough more productive

Dry air can cause a person to have a dry, unproductive cough. Adding humidity to the air can get more moisture into the airways, which can make a cough more productive. A productive cough releases trapped or sticky phlegm.

3. Reducing snoring

Increasing the amount of moisture in the air can also reduce snoring.

Adding humidity to the air by running a humidifier at night may help to relieve some symptoms of lubricated airways.

4. Keeping the skin and hair moist

Some people notice that their skin, lips, and hair become dry and fragile in the winter.

Many types of heating units pump hot, dry air through the house or office, which can make the skin dry, itchy, or flaky. Cold air outside can also dry out the skin.

Using a humidifier to add moisture to the indoor air may help to reduce the occurrence of dry, cracked skin.

5. Reducing allergy and asthma symptoms

Using a humidifier correctly can also be a good way to reduce allergy and asthma symptoms.

People with dry sinuses or airways who are prone to allergic reactions may find that a humidifier relieves their issues.

Authors of a study in the International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health found that teachers exposed to too high or too low levels of humidity in their classrooms had an increased risk of asthma-like symptoms. This increased risk was small, however.

6. Benefits for the home

Moisture from a humidifier can be helpful around the home. Any moisture-loving houseplants may become more vibrant, and wood floors or furniture may last longer. Humidity can also help to prevent wallpaper from cracking and static electricity from building up.

Humid air can also feel warmer than dry air, which could help a person to save money on utility bills in winter months.


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