Humidifiers are devices used to raise the humidity, or water vapor content, of the air inside a room or building. You can use one of these devices to offset the effects of excessively dry air in your home. If you have allergies, a humidifier may be especially useful in relieving your unpleasant symptoms.
How Do Humidifiers Work?
Outdoor humidity can vary from an extreme low of 0 percent to an extreme high of 100 percent. However, in most residences, indoor humidity falls into a narrower range somewhere between roughly 20 percent and 70 percent. A humidifier adds water vapor to indoor air through one of several methods. Most models use a system that increases humidity levels by gradually evaporating a supply of water into the air. Another type of humidifier, called a vaporizing model, adds moisture content to the air by creating steam. Both evaporating and vaporizing humidifiers use filters to stop the minerals found in water from passing into the air. Two less common types of humidifiers, ultrasonic models and impeller models, don’t filter out minerals. Some humidifiers cover a single room or area, while others can cover an entire household.
Impact on Allergies
Allergies produce some of their most unpleasant effects, including inflammation and congestion, by drying out the mucous membranes inside your nose. If your household has a low humidity level, use of a humidifier can potentially decrease the severity of these symptoms by increasing the amount of moisture available to your inflamed, irritated membranes. What’s more, when you relieve nasal inflammation and irritation, you make it easier for your mucous membranes to perform one of their chief functions by guarding your nasal passages against any other allergy-causing substances still circulating in the air.
Striking a Balance
If the air inside your home is too humid, you can actually increase your risks for problems triggered by mold and airborne dust mite waste, two other well-known sources of allergic reactions. That’s because both of these allergens prefer a relatively moist environment. For this reason, you must strike a balance between excessively low humidity levels and excessively high humidity levels. The precise levels that work best in a home may vary. However, for most households, indoor air humidity between 40 percent and 48 percent keeps mucous membranes sufficiently moist while keeping dust mites and mold in check.
For more information on ways to keep your indoor air healthy, make sure to return to the pages of this blog regularly.
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