Informational Guide

Does a Humidifier Help With Asthma?

If you suffer are an asthma sufferer then help is often needed. We explore if a humidifier helps with Asthma in relieving symptoms and if you should buy one.

by Josh M

Asthma is a disease that impacts your lungs, causing breathlessness, wheezing, and a tight chest. There are treatments for asthma, but no cure, so it’s all about managing your condition and avoiding triggers.

One of the most common triggers is pollutants in the air, and there’s a strong argument that having control over your air can help manage your asthma.

This guide will help explain whether a humidifier helps asthmatics and give you information about how to use a humidifier to manage your condition.

Humidifier on Table

Many different events and conditions trigger asthma, but it’s usually worst in hot weather. The key triggers change in each season, and here’s what to look at in each:

Many different events and conditions trigger asthma, but it’s usually worst in hot weather. The key triggers change in each season, and here’s what to look at in each:

Spring can be one of the worst months for asthma sufferers because of the amount of pollen in the air. All the plant life, especially trees, release their pollen into the air, and this is a major trigger for asthma.

The pollen levels tend to peak in the early morning and late at night, so it’s worthwhile closing your windows and doors as much as possible to stop pollen coming in. Humidifiers are useful in Spring to help make your asthma easier to manage.

Summer Season

In summer, the heat and humidity can trigger your asthma. The dry air can impact your airways and dry out your respiratory system, so your asthma is more likely to come on.

Similarly, the humidity in Summer can make it harder to breathe and trigger asthma attacks. There’s also higher levels of pollution in the air in Summer which can have a negative impact.

Fall Season

In fall, your most likely trigger is the cold or flu. These conditions spread more commonly in the fall months and can make it difficult to breathe.

There are also some plants that release pollen in the fall, which can irritate your respiratory system. Humidifiers help to improve the quality of the air in your home and stop some viruses and bacteria from spreading.

Winter Season

In winter, your asthma is usually triggered by cold conditions. Cold, dry conditions can irritate your throat, and you’re best off wrapping up warm if you need to go out.

Winter is also usually when pets are inside more often, increasing your risk of coming into contact with allergens and dust mites.

Will A Humidifier Help Relieve Asthma?

Humidifiers help to regulate the air in your home by adding or removing moisture. While humidifiers won’t stop your asthma or provide a miracle cure, they can help still bring many benefits to people living with asthma.

They do this by helping to prevent asthma from being triggered and by helping to relieve the symptoms.

Preventative

When asthma is triggered, it causes a tightness in your chest, throat, mouth, and nose. This and an increase in phlegm can make it difficult to breathe and make life very difficult for asthma.

Humidifiers add moisture to the air to stop your mouth, nose, and airways from becoming irritated. This helps stop your chest from becoming tight and keeps you breathing freely.

The ideal humidity level for asthma sufferers is 30-50%. Keeping it below 50% helps to stop any mold of allergens from developing, which are common triggers for people with asthma.

Symptom relief

When your asthma is triggered, it won’t always impact you the same way. It’s hard to breathe in very moist or very dry conditions, and humidifiers help to limit the impact of the symptoms by regulating the air around you.

This will help you recover more quickly when your asthma is triggered.

Some people argue that humidifiers don’t do anything for asthmatics or that they can actually trigger your asthma more often. This can be the case if your humidifier has bacteria or pollutants within, so it’s crucial that you clean your humidifier regularly.

Woman Sitting on Couch Reaching for Inhaler

Types Of Humidifiers & How They Help Asthma Symptoms?

There are quite a few different types of humidifiers, and each of them has an impact in a different way. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of humidifiers:

Warm mist vaporizers work by turning water into steam and then cooling it slightly, so it comes out as a thicker mist. These are a great way of regulating your humidity accurately, and the warm, moist air can be perfect for asthma sufferers who live in cold environments.

They work particularly well when paired with central heating.

Cool mist humidifiers are really common and use barely any power to run. There are a few different methods used, but they all help make the air seem cooler. This can be useful for asthma sufferers in warm, dry areas and effectively relieve irritation on mouths and noses.

Evaporative humidifiers are by far the most common type of humidifier which has been used for decades. They use a heat source to evaporate water and then a fan to spread it throughout the room. Ultrasonic humidifiers use vibration to create very fine water particles.

No boiling water is needed, and only cold water is expelled into the room.

Ultrasonic humidifiers don’t use boiled water, so there’s a greater risk of contaminants being released into the room. These can often trigger your asthma, and you may be better with an evaporative humidifier.

Evaporative Vs. Ultrasonic Humidifier

Whole house humidifiers are a great option for those who are sensitive to asthma triggers. They help to regulate the humidifier in your entire home, meaning you can move between different areas of your home without risking sudden triggers of cold air.

They’ll help you keep appropriate moisture levels across your home and limit any irritation to your airways. You’ll need to make sure that you have it set to the right level, though, so it doesn’t dry out your airways while you sleep.

Most humidifiers will give some benefits to asthmatics, but warm mist humidifiers are probably the best. It’s imperative to keep your humidifier clean, or the bacteria can have a very negative effect.

Maximum Benefits For Asthma Sufferers

To get the most benefit from your humidifier, you need to maintain it properly. There are some things you need to do and other things you should definitely avoid:

  • Do clean your humidifier regularly. Dirty humidifiers become breeding grounds for bacteria, fungi, and other contaminants which can impact your airways. Therefore, it’s vital you clean them every 2-3 days.
  • Do use distilled water. Tap water contains minerals and other contaminants which can irritate your airways. Over time these blockages can also damage your humidifier.
  • Do check the automatic timer and settings. Make sure your humidifier only runs for a certain amount of time so that your air doesn’t become too dry or moist.
  • Do invest in a good hygrometer. This will make sure you have accurate levels of moisture in your home and can adjust your humidifier accordingly.
  • Don’t set your humidifier too high. If you do, then this can make your house really moist and trigger asthma attacks.
  • Don’t clean with harsh chemicals or bleach. Trace amounts of these can be released into the air and can get into your airways.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Why is cold air bad for asthma?

Cold air causes your airways to become swollen and irritated. Your body also creates a chemical called histamine, which can trigger asthmatic attacks and wheezing.

Are humidifiers bad for lungs?

No. Humidifiers can help protect your lungs by making sure your air is at the proper moisture level.

Can a humidifier worsen a cough?

No. A humidifier can actually help provide some relief from a cough and make it easier to breathe again.

Is a Vicks humidifier good for asthma?

Vick’s humidifiers are designed to help those suffering from sore throats, colds, and coughs. This is useful for those with asthma as it helps to clear the airways.

Does a vaporizer help with breathing?

A vaporizer can make it easier to breathe by maintaining the proper moisture level in your air. This makes it easier to breathe and helps to relax your airways.

Conclusion

The air in your home can impact your health massively, and if you are asthmatic, you need to be even more aware of the conditions around you. Humidifiers won’t cure asthma, but they can help stop the most common triggers by preventing irritation in your mouth, nose, and lungs.

Hopefully, this guide has given you some useful information about the benefits of humidifiers and specifically how they can help asthmatics.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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