Minimize The Amount Of Snoring And Allergies In Your Home By Using A Humidifier
Unbalanced humidity levels can do a lot of damage to a person's well-being, both during waking and sleeping hours. Fortunately, a well-placed humidifier can relieve some serious health issues caused by dry air and allergens. The relatively inexpensive, portable device is designed specifically to do what its name implies — add humidity to the air. When the humidity level in the air is too low, it can irritate the nasal passages. This can cause or worsen snoring, to the dismay of your partner, and to the detriment of your sleep quality. It can also make allergy symptoms worse, per GoodRx. Not everyone needs a humidifier all of the time, however, so it's important to know whether or not one is advised for your specific circumstances. These can vary by your location, climate, seasonal allergens, and even the quality of your home's construction. Even with humidity, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Snoring can cause several problems. Not only will it keep a partner up at night, but it also disrupts the quality of the snorer's own sleep, making them more likely to be tired and cranky the next day. Fortunately, a humidifier can alleviate — or even clear up — certain types of snoring. In particular, snoring caused by nasal congestion occurs when someone is suffering from ailments like the common cold, allergies, or problems with the sinuses or nasal passage (deviated septum, nasal polyps, sinusitis, etc.), per Sinus Solutions of South Florida. The snoring side effect of these problems can often be treated with the help of a humidifier, per GoodRx.
Not sure if your snoring is related to nasal congestion? It might be if you have a sore throat and/or headaches when you wake up, you're excessively tired during the day or have difficulty concentrating. People with this type of snoring are also more likely to have restless sleep, get up multiple times overnight to use the bathroom, and experience high blood pressure, depression, and other symptoms. If any of these symptoms seem too familiar, it's probably past time to plug in a humidifier for relief. As always, don't hesitate to contact your doctor if you have concerns about your health.
Many people deal with allergies that can cause the nasal cavity to become uncomfortably inflamed. This causes irritation and can also affect the throat while resulting in significant congestion. Similar to those who deal with congestion-related snoring, allergies can be soothed by a humidifier. Carolina Ear Nose & Throat explains that inflammation can be eased by inhaling water vapor in the air to moisten your nasal tissue.
Although a humidifier can bring some serious relief to those suffering from allergic rhinitis, it can also cause problems if not used correctly. This is because too much humidity in the home can help indoor allergens thrive, like mold, mildew, and dust mites. Most humidifiers are easy to maintain, however, with proper cleaning. Ideally, the reservoir of the humidifier should be rinsed and dried after each use. A disinfectant can be used weekly to remove any residue left over from hard water.
A lot of people suffer from dry skin, thanks to baths and showers that are too hot and too long. Not using enough moisturizer and excessive scrubbing can also contribute to the problem. Dry skin due to these and other factors can be reversed by using a humidifier, however, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD). This easy step can also treat or prevent your hair from becoming dry and static-riddled, helping it reach its most gorgeous potential.
In addition, an optimal humidity level may also keep unwanted viruses and bacteria at bay. According to a 2007 study published in PLOS Pathogens, many pathogens thrive in conditions that are dry and cool. Unwanted germs can actually be avoided by keeping your living space at an ideal humidity level, especially during the cold winter months when more viruses tend to circulate. Of course, no humidifier can replace best practices, like thorough handwashing and other personal protection measures — but it can help!
There are some individual factors to consider when choosing to use a humidifier. By and large, most people find that they need one more during the cold weather months when the indoor heating is cranked up and the air is naturally drier. However, summertime air-conditioning can also dry the air out, so some people opt to use a unit year-round. Whether or not you really need a humidifier depends on the general humidity level in your home. Although most people can figure out when humidity is low using anecdotal cues (such as itchier skin or dry hair), it's also easy to use a hygrometer to quickly check the level. The Carolina Ear Nose & Throat notes that humidity levels in the home should be between 40% and 50%. Many hygrometers are inexpensive and can display the current indoor temperature, as well as the humidity level, at a quick glance.
As is the case with all small appliances, there is a dizzying array of humidifier brands and types to choose from. First, it's important to identify your specific needs. For example, if snoring is the issue, select a humidifier that's suited for the full size of your bedroom. If the problem is that your office is excessively dry, choose a humidifier appropriate for a room that's small in square footage.
Among the types of humidifiers on the market, many people opt for a cool mist humidifier, also known as an ultrasonic humidifier. The sound waves actually release a soothing mist, per the Mayo Clinic. Other variations include evaporators and impeller humidifiers. Some people choose to have humidifiers built right into their home HVAC systems. Steam vaporizers are not advised for homes with children, as they actually heat the water up within the appliance, posing a burn risk.
Humidifiers can ease a lot of problems like snoring and allergies, but the downside is that the appliance requires maintenance to keep it functioning at its best. Poorly maintained humidifiers can turn into a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, which are especially problematic for people with respiratory issues. To prevent any problems from piling up, the Mayo Clinic recommends cleaning the humidifier every three days. First, unplug the appliance, then use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to wipe off or rinse out any buildup. Afterward, thoroughly rinse the tank.
The Mayo Clinic also recommends using demineralized or distilled water instead of the tap variety, which may contain minerals that can encourage bacteria growth. Be sure to completely empty the tank every day, and change filters (if applicable) as directed by the appliance's specific instructions. Most manufacturers include thorough, easy-to-understand cleaning instructions to minimize the stress and time involved in humidifier maintenance.