How to choose the right humidifier for your needs

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The National Institutes of Health recommend the use of moisturizers to relieve nasal congestion caused by colds , flu , and sinus infections . Whenever you have congestion, a moisturizer can help. They add moisture to the air, which in turn hydrates the skin (including the nasal passages) and loosen some of the mucus from the sinuses. This makes it easier for you to breathe and drain mucus. The key is to keep your humidifier clean and in good repair so you don't create an environment that makes you sick rather than helping you recover .

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There are two main categories of humidifiers: warm mist and cool mist. Basically, they do the same thing, but in different ways. Each has its own pros and cons, so you will need to decide which type is right for you.

The National Institutes of Health now recommends the use of cool mist humidifiers for everyone, but especially in homes with children because of the risk of burns when using warm mist humidifiers or steam vaporizers .

Cool Mist humidifiers

Cold mist humidifiers are an effective way to hydrate your home and reduce congestion, dry throat and skin. There are three types of cool mist humidifiers .

  1. Impeller: uses a high-speed rotating disk to release water droplets into the air.
  2. Evaporative: transfers moisture to the air by means of a fan that blows through the absorbent material.
  3. Ultrasonic – Creates a cool mist using ultrasonic vibrations.

While cool mist humidifiers do not pose a burn or fire hazard, these devices also raise concerns. If not cared for properly, cool mist humidifiers can build up bacteria, mold, and mineral deposits, which then dissipate into the air.

It is very important to properly clean the humidifier according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Other ways to make sure you and your family are not at risk include:

  • Change the water in the collection tank daily.
  • Thoroughly clean the humidifier every three days.
  • Use distilled water in the tank, not mineral water from the tap.
  • Control the humidity level in your home. Hardware stores sell hygrometers for home use. The ideal humidity level in your home should be between 30% and 50% . Humidity greater than 60% promotes the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus.

Hot mist humidifiers / steam evaporators

If you still prefer to use a hot steam humidifier and there are no small children or people in your home at high risk of burns, be sure to take proper care of your humidifier and follow all safety precautions.

Steam evaporators and hot mist humidifiers heat the water and then release it into the air. Some medications can also be added to inhalation vaporizers.

Both are effective in relieving nasal congestion, but should be used with caution. Since they both have heating elements, they can cause burns and even start a fire. Be sure to follow these guidelines when using warm mist humidifiers.

  • Keep them out of the reach of children and near flammable objects.
  • Never place a hot humidifier or steam vaporizer on a carpet or other soft surfaces.

Whether you choose to use a warm or cold humidifier, always follow the manufacturer's instructions and keep it clean. The last thing you should do is get an even more serious infection from something that should make you feel better.

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