Fitness & NutritionHealthcare Tips

Health Benefits of a Humidifier in Winter

December 22, 2022
Woman laying on a couch in front of a humidifier.

As Hoosiers, we may feel like we battle stifling humidity from May to August. But once fall rolls around, the dry air takes over. The dry air of fall and winter brings with it an increase in many problems, some of them being infections and asthma. It’s time to call in our old friend the humidifier to the rescue. 

Humidifiers are devices that help to add moisture back into the air. During our Indiana winters, air becomes drier in the outdoor environment even as the snow and ice pile up in backyards and roads. However, indoor air isn’t much better. Our cozy, heated homes are also drier, which is why it pays to balance out the problem by adding a humidifier into your family’s life. 

So many health benefits, so little time

A humidifier is a one stop shop for helping a few dry air ailments during the wintertime. Those who suffer from asthma, for instance, may find an increase in attacks due to the dry air. Check with your or your children’s doctor to see if adding this moisturizing component could help to decrease the prevalence of winter asthma attacks. You may even be able to give allergies the boot.

Humidifiers also help to ease infections in two different ways. First, viruses tend to travel more easily through dry air, making it more likely that you or your family will become ill during the fall or winter. Air that has some moisture in it will cause viruses to combine with air particles and simply drop to the ground. If you already have a respiratory infection such as bronchitis, a cold, or the flu, a humidifier can help to ease symptoms and help your body fight the infection. You will find less incidents of bloody noses and scratchy sore throats, too.

Moisturizing the air of your home or office is also a great way to maintain glowing skin during the drier months that have us feeling naturally itchier. Our bodies are made mostly from water so when winter’s dry air pulls moisture from us, it causes that dry skin we all know and (don’t) love. Your lips and eyes will also thank you, as these two places in the body show dryness and irritation during winter months as well.

I’m ready to humidify…now what?

Once you are ready to purchase a humidifier, where do you start? First things first: You need to figure out whether you want a warm air or cool air mist. Cool air mist can lower the temperature in a space a few degrees, making it feel more comfortable for those who run hot (hello, menopausal women), or have a home or workspace that can easily become too warm. Warm air, on the other hand, can help to keep an area feeling cozy during the colder months of the year. In the end, it is up to you to decide, and one humidifier doesn’t necessarily have more benefits than another when it comes to your family’s health.

Humidifiers can range greatly in price, which is why it may feel confusing when you do your research. The first thing you need to do is figure out the size of the space you are trying to humidify. You will want to achieve an approximately 30-50% humidity level, so if you have a small room of about 300 square feet, a small humidifier will do the job. Medium humidifiers are great for spaces measuring 399-499 square feet and larger ones are for anything 500 square feet and up. 

If you have small kids or pets, you may want to consider where your humidifier will be placed. Different models offer different options, including tabletop and floor positioning. Cleaning is another factor, as warm mist humidifiers may require more frequent attention. Consumer Reports is a great resource to use to get the low down on which type of humidifier could work best for your situation, including a detailed look at some of the top brands out there. 

Between shorter hours of daylight and blustery weather, winter is difficult on our bodies for many reasons. Don’t let dry air be a problem for you and your family. Get your hands on a humidifier that works for you and find yourself breathing easier this season.

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