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Health Questions

Humidifiers and health

Alternative Names

Health and humidifiers; Using a humidifier for colds; Humidifiers and colds

Information

Increasing the humidity in your home helps eliminate the dry air that can irritate and inflame the airways in your nose and throat.

Humidified air can relieve the discomfort of colds and the flu.

Using a humidifier in the home can help relieve a stuffy nose and can help break up mucus so you can cough it up.

Humidifier tips:

  • Always use a cool-mist humidifier (vaporizer), especially for children. Warm mist humidifiers can cause burns if a person gets too close.
  • Place the humidifier several feet away from the bed.
  • Do not run a humidifier for a long time. If room surfaces are constantly damp or wet to the touch, mold and mildew can grow. This can cause breathing problems in some people.
  • Humidifiers must be drained and cleaned daily, because bacteria can grow in standing water.
  • Do not run a humidifier for a long time. If room surfaces are constantly damp or wet to the touch, mold and mildew can grow. This can cause breathing problems in some people.

Review Date: 11/12/2012
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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