If you are anything like me the minute your child starts to get a runny nose, or any sign of congestion you whip out the humidifier, fill it up and plop it right in their rooms.  Where it is run all day and night till that dreaded cold has disappeared from your child’s life.  Which is exactly what I was doing one day when my husband looked at me and said what does the humidifier even do?  I had no idea.  I just knew when I was a child this is what my mother did but really didn’t know the science behind the use of a humidifier.  


Optimum Humidity Levels

Indoor humidity levels should be kept at 30-50%.  You can get a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels in your house.  During the winter months when the air outside is dry it can also make the air in your house dry as well.  It is important though to keep an eye on the level of humidity in your house when using a humidifier.  High humidity can cause problems as well.  Especially for people who have asthma or allergies.  Germs tend to spread easier in dryer weather.  So using a humidifier can actually help prevent you from getting sick.  


Types Of Humidifiers

There are different types of humidifiers you can buy.  Most common is the steam vaporizers.  Which uses electricity to change water into steam that has cooled before coming out of the system into the room.  There are also warm mist humidifiers that put out a warm mist into the room, which sometimes you can add essential oils to.  Be careful when using a warm mist humidifier in a child’s room.  When touched they can cause burns. 

Central humidifiers are built into the home’s heating system.  Knowing how to use these are important to make sure humidity levels stay within the normal range. 

Other humidifiers are ultrasonic humidifiers, impeller humidifiers, and evaporators.  Evaporators pull surrounding air into the humidifier, moisturize it and push it back into the room.  These are good options in warmer areas, because in the process it cools the air.  You will want to find out what type and size of humidifier is best for where you are placing it and what you are attempting to accomplish.  

Once you pick a humidifier make sure you read the care instructions.  A dirty humidifier has the chance of growing mold or bacteria.  Clean your humidifier often.  You can clean it with distilled or demineralized water.  Change the water in the tank often.  Rinse the tank every three days or so.  Also make sure you change filters in the humidifier as well.  If the humidifier is too old, consider replacing it.  Before storing your humidifier after use, rinse some vinegar through the system to get rid of any hard water residue.   


When To Use A Humidifier

When you have a cold some of the first symptoms are a runny nose, congestion or a cough.  The use of a humidifier can help ease these symptoms.  The extra humidity will help break up mucus.  The extra moisture also helps moisturize the nasal, throat and lung passages.  It can help someone with a cold sleep better by adding the extra moisture into their passage ways. 

Using a humidifier can cause a dry cough to turn into a progressive one.  Meaning that the dry cough has changed into one that breaks up phlegm or mucus.  

Humidifiers also can help other ailments caused by the dry air.  Such as dry skin, cracking lips, and bloody noses.  All of these with a little extra moisture can be managed better.  



Finding the fine line between the right amount of humidity and too much can be tricky.  Getting a good hygrometer to measure the humidity in your house is important when using a humidifier.  Making sure you have an appropriate sized humidifier.  As well as cleaning it appropriately.  Using a humidifier while the air is dry though can be beneficial in helping heal from a cold, as well as stop the spread of germs.  


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