Catching a cold in the winter is a common scene and sadly, there’s no cure to it, except to let the virus die out but, you can relieve the symptoms. There are plenty of ways to alleviate the symptoms yet one of the vital remedies is to add moisture to your indoor air.
Your home should have a balanced indoor humidity around 40-60% in the winter to make breathing more comfortable especially when you have a runny nose and dry cough.
A humidifier assists in reducing nasal congestion associated with a cold or flu by adding enough moisture into the air and also relieving other symptoms like dry and itchy throat.
Apart from that, a humidifier also stops the spread of flu-causing germs and viruses by killing these potential elements. There are many humidifiers out there that can easily and automatically detect the exact humidity conditions indoors and set the proper level when necessary.
Does A Humidifier Help With Cold?
Yes. Keeping a humidifier running increases air moisture at home which clears out any congestion brought about by cold symptoms.
A humidifier indirectly helps ease cold signs by making sure you have a comfortable indoor environment by maintaining the humidity levels at 40-60%.
According to research done in 2013, infectious influenza virus from a simulated cough is decreased to 14% in a room with a humidity level of 40% and higher.
While rooms with 23% of humidity levels increase the potential risk of getting cold up to 75%. It’s at this season that a humidifier plays a vital role in keeping you healthy.
Humidifier vs Vaporizer, Which is Better For Cold?
Dry, cold air can bring in a lot of health issues especially to those who are prone to getting sick or have asthma and allergy. Homes with extremely low-humidity conditions may also depreciate their overall value by destroying furniture and fixtures.
Yes, low-humidity is not just something you should brush off. It pretty much does a big deal in our everyday health and comfort.
There’s quite a stir in the argument of which appliance is better when it comes to treating cold symptoms. To set the records straight, both the humidifier and vaporizer help you add moisture to the air and can deliver the same amount of humidity, only in different ways.
Vaporizers can only do a handful of things and can only be used during the cold season. Whereas, humidifiers can be used in all-season or depending on your humidity concerns.
To be definite, steam vaporizers and ultrasonic humidifiers are evenly effective in moisturizing the air and into your nose and sinuses when they get dried out. The focus here is to utilize humidity as part of your cold treatment by using them correctly and maintaining it safe and clean at all times.
When it comes to benefits, I should say that the humidifier has plenty more since you can use it all-year-round and has many more added features.
Should I Use Warm Mist or Cold Mist?
There was a moment when my friend got sick the first time he arrived in the country during the wintertime. Since he knew my line of work and my obsession with humidifiers, he called and asked for help as to what kind of humidifier should he use to treat his runny nose, sore throat, and cough. He was actually caught up between choosing warm mist or cool mist.
Although this may seem like a funny story, yet many of my readers are also having the same dilemma. The majority of my readers favor warm-mist because of the relief they get from the steam.
The truth here is that both the warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers are equally efficient in humidifying the air. This is because, by the time the mist reaches our lower airways, they get the same temperature regardless.
And, this is the most crucial aspect that everyone tends to overlook. The clearance of the lower airways is important in finding cold relief and it can be done with either a warm or cool mist humidifier.
3 Critical Reasons to Get A Humidifier When You Are Getting A Cold
Common cold and flu heal by themselves after a certain period, usually at an average of seven to ten days, or depending on an individual’s immune system. There’s no cure to it, however, we can reduce the symptoms by taking over-the-counter drugs or you can use the natural approach.
Having the flu in the winter may seem common but I say not during these times when viruses are out there attacking people with vulnerable health. According to the WHO, there are roughly 290,000 to 650,000 people who got killed due to seasonal flu worldwide.
Rest is vital when you have a cold. This gives your body enough time to regain its strength and much-needed pause. Heed to your body’s call for rest for at least 3 days.
Next is staying hydrated. Drinking lots of fluids during the winter is also important to keep your body working at its optimum.
But, if your indoor air is dry and static, the signs of cold and flu could get worse and you may need to act on it.
That is why having a humidifier handy could best give you relief when you are sick. You see, taking medicines for a cold can give you relief for a few hours and you need to take a follow-up to be sure it’s completely healed.
Partnering medications with a humidifier will help you get well sooner than expected. It’s because you are not just treating cold signs but also indoor comfort.
Here are my top 3 critical reasons as to why you need to use a humidifier when you have a cold:
#1 Helps you breathe easier
Breathing seems to be a difficult task when you have cold symptoms. This could worsen when your indoor humidity level is below 40%.
Nasal congestion is the most common sign that you’ll experience when the weather’s too cold for your body to handle. Even at home, the air can get stuffy and you might find it harder to breathe.
And the more you breathe in dry air, the more your throat gets inflamed and infected, making your cold worse.
But, when you keep the moisture within the 40-60% range, you’ll breathe easier and will feel that your nose and throat are cleared from any constraints.
Make sure to keep change the water daily and clean the unit on a regular basis.
#2 Stops the Spread of Cold-Causing Virus
Congestion, body malaise, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, are just a few symptoms of a common cold. Good enough, signs and symptoms actually vary from person to person. Children under twelve years are prone to catching a cold while adults can get at least two or three colds in a year.
Many types of viruses cause the common cold but rhinoviruses are the most usual suspect.
Cold virus particularly enters your body through your eyes, mouth, or nose, and can be spread out when you talk, sneeze, and, cough.
And during winter, this type of cold-causing virus thrives even further when there’s low humidity.
The best part about using the humidifier at home is that it creates a healthy indoor environment which means, it automatically cancels the spread of the cold-causing virus.
You can choose a humidifier with a built-in humidistat or those that can automatically adjust the humidity levels.
If someone at home is having a cold, you can quickly stop getting infected by turning on the humidifier to assist you in fighting off the signs and symptoms.
#3 Sleep Better
Getting a night of good sleep when you have a cold is close to impossible because of congestion. While sleep and rest are essential when you have a cold, it seems too difficult to find comfort when your nasal passages are blocked.
A humidifier helps you sleep better by keeping your throat and nasal passages free from blockages and well-hydrated. Nasty mucus stays inside the nasal airflow and sometimes down your throat when you have a cold and they tend to get dried and keeps you from breathing smoothly.
When this happens, you’ll experience dry cough and will sneeze a lot, worsening the symptoms. Inhaling well-moisturized air hydrates your nasal channels and quickly removes these annoying blockages. Once your nasal channels and throats are cleared, coughing and sneezing are also minimized.
The humidifier leaves the air moist as well as the throat and nose making it easier to breathe and sleep better.
What Kind Of Humidifier Is Best to Use To Combat Cold?
Although any type of humidifier is effective in treating cold symptoms, experts from Mayo Clinic agree that using a cool-mist humidifier is safe for everyone to use to combat low-humidity and provide relief from cold symptoms.
Using a cool-mist humidifier is highly recommended for families and those living with their fur babies. But, if you prefer a steam warm-mist humidifier instead, always, take necessary precautions upon using the device.
There are plenty of warm mist humidifiers with spill-proof and child lock features to better provide you comfort and relief.
Here’s the thing, humidifiers do not just add air moisture, some models also include an essential oil tray wherein you can add a few drops of your favorite to further ease congestions.
Such scents that could alleviate the side effects of cold are mint, ginger, lemon, eucalyptus, and chamomile. Apart from giving you relief from cold symptoms, these scents are believed to reduce seasonal illnesses for babies too.
Maintenance is Vital
Cold can be triggered by viruses while some symptoms are from allergens. You can’t afford to get sick in the current conditions we are in today, especially if you are living with parents and children.
This is why it is highly necessary to maintain your unit clean and disinfected at all times. Letting the water sit from the tank for a long time breeds bacteria and mold which can be dispersed into the air.
While some have a hard water supply that accumulates mineral build-ups which are also critical in making you sick. I suggest that you first check out the manufacturer’s guide on how to maintain the unit and integrate safe and best practices in keeping it at its best.
Adding demineralization cartridges for filter-free units can greatly help while replacing or washing the filter regularly is safer for filtered humidifiers.
I love the wintertime because it’s when you get to spend holidays with friends and family but I also find it the most uncomfortable season.
It’s during this season that cold and flu spread faster than the train and you don’t need to suffer through nasal congestion and other cold symptoms this winter. Mind you, a simple cough can actually lead to asthma if taken for granted.
All you need is to get yourself an excellent humidifier to help you get relief quickly. In finding the best humidifier to reduce cold signs, both the warm and cool mist humidifiers are effective.
However, it’s with the cool-mist humidifier that you’ll find safety. But, there are also warm-mist units that you can choose from with upgraded features such as non-spill and child safety.
Plus, having an extra feature that allows you to add essential for extended relief is a great deal!
But, just like the rest of the appliances. thoughtful maintenance will allow you to maximize its benefits.
One of the simple ways to do this is to monitor the humidity levels in your home to avoid over humidifying and cause condensation and make you sicker. Although high humidity loosens out congestion, leaning on the safe side is always a good choice.
Lastly, keeping the unit clean while in use is necessary in order to keep it running effectively and free from further illnesses brought about by a dirty unit. Well, this post does not mean to replace medications with a humidifier.
What I would like to emphasize here is the benefit of having quick relief from congestion brought by cold and at the same time, make you feel comfortable at home by enjoying a balanced indoor humidity.