The good news: A humidifier dispenses water vapor or steam, adding moisture to the air you breathe. When you inhale the air through your nose, the moisture helps decrease irritation, and therefore inflammation, of your nasal passages.
The bad news: A humidifier that is not properly maintained can make your allergies and sinusitis worse.
So the question is: What must you do to keep your humidifier safe?
First, there are two types of humidifiers: cold and warm mist. While both are effective, it is recommended that homes with children avoid the warm mist units because if they are knocked over, there is a risk for getting burned. Cold mist units come in three types:
- Evaporative models (most common) use a fan to blow air over a wet wick.
- Ultrasonic humidifiers use a vibrating nebulizer to emit water.
- Impeller models produce mist using a rotating disk.
All three types of humidifiers are beneficial; however, in order to keep them properly maintained and free from mold, bacteria and other allergens, here are some important things to keep in mind:
Doctors recommend that the humidity level in your home stay between 30 and 50 percent. Any number below that results in dry air, and any number higher creates an atmosphere that is actually conducive to mold and bacteria. It also provides just the right climate for dust mites. If your unit doesn’t come with a gauge, you can buy an inexpensive hygrometer to use for monitoring your humidity levels.
Use demineralized or distilled water in your humidifier tank. Tap water contains minerals that will settle in your tank’s reservoir and cause bacterial growth. Empty the tank and fill it with clean water for every use.
Wipe down the tank every day if possible. The Mayo Clinic suggests cleaning the entire unit every 3 days, removing “any mineral deposits or film from the tank or other parts of the humidifier with a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution, which is available at pharmacies.” Make sure to rinse well before using the humidifier.
Replace filters regularly per the manufacturer’s recommendation, or sooner if necessary.
Make sure you use the appropriate filter – using the wrong size or shape may cause leakage and will therefore be ineffective.
There is no arguing that humidifiers are an effective way of opening up your nasal passages and helping you breathe more easily. They are a useful complement to the perpetual cycle of allergy and sinusitis treatments involving decongestants, antihistamines, corticosteroids and nasal irrigation.
However, if you are ready to break that cycle, CT Sinus Center has a permanent solution.
When it comes to sinus and allergy relief, we are the leaders in our field. Our state-of-the-art, patient-centered care may be just what you need to get you back to feeling like yourself, minus your considerable sinus treatment routine. Schedule an appointment today to come in and speak with one of our expert physicians. We will take the time to talk to you about your symptoms and treatment options. You may be eligible for balloon sinus dilation, an in-office procedure that reshapes your nasal passages to allow increased airflow and natural draining and healing. In other words, it will put an end to your cumbersome (and expensive) sinus-care cycle forever – in as little as one hour.
Call (860) BALLOON today and take the first step to breathing easy.
For more information on all things sinus and allergy, visit our website and blog.