Humidifiers are excellent ways to alleviate symptoms associated with allergies. Additionally, they help you wake up with a clear voice and radiant skin. But with all these benefits, these appliances also pose some risks to their users. What are these risks, and should you then sleep with a running humidifier?
Humidifiers work to curb the problem of dry air. Where the air in a room is dry, moisture quickly evaporates from the skin, and it leaves you feeling dull and tired. Furthermore, this lack of humidity triggers respiratory problems which can worsen over time.
These appliances are therefore useful to people who suffer from dryness of the airways, lips, and skin, eye irritation, sinus headaches, amongst other conditions. They also cater to people with bloody noses, allergies, and recurrent coughs.
Some people suffer from allergies more in the hot months when the air fills with allergens. Others suffer owing to the use of air conditioners which take away moisture from the air. In such cases, using a humidifier would prove to be helpful. And some people may wish to run these appliances through the night. But is it safe?
As with most cases, there are two sides to the story. Your humidifier could be safe or unsafe, dependent on the following factors.
How clean is it?
It comes down to the working mechanism of the appliance. You put water in the tank, and you let the machine run. In so doing, it circulates the water in the form of breathable vapor. You thus take in what is in the tank.
Where the tank is dirty, disease-causing microorganisms make their way into your respiratory system. You thus begin to exhibit symptoms related to colds, cases of flu and other illnesses, yet you have precautions in place.
Remember that a moist and warm tank is an ideal breeding ground for germs. It is thus crucial that you clean the device as often as you can. You can do this as per the manufacturer’s guidelines to help you get the most out of the appliance.
Water changes should take place often, as should the filter changes.
Where the humidifier is not clean, you are better off sleeping in dry air than in breathing in germs.
How moist is the air?
Sure, moist air is good, and it will help you wake up feeling well-rested. However, this will depend on the humidity levels as too much of anything can be problematic. Where the levels are too high, you could have trouble breathing, and you could trigger allergy symptoms. Some allergens do well in damp environments, and you would thus be at risk of catching colds or other diseases.
The humidity levels should be at 30-50 percent. Anything that is above sixty is too high. It is thus vital that you often check the levels in the room before using a humidifier. In this way, you can tell whether you need the appliance on or not.
What water is in the tank?
Suppose you need the humidifier to alleviate allergy symptoms, you need to have clean water in the tank. Manufacturers state that you should only use freshwater in these gadgets to prevent the spread of germs. While tap water may be readily available, it is not ideal as it has high mineral levels.
These minerals build up and create breeding grounds for germs. You would thus breathe in contaminated air. In such a case, you should not use the humidifier until you clean it and add distilled water.
Also, the water should not have sat in the tank for long. Ideally, you should change the water every day to avoid encouraging microbial growth.
If the above factors work in your favor, you can use the humidifier at night. If not, it is time to head back to the drawing board and make the necessary changes.