Humidity and Asthma: Does moisture help or hurt?

As a child, your parents may have put a humidifier in your bedroom to help you breathe when you had a cold. Some asthma sufferers grow up with the same home remedy. But others are told that humidity makes asthma worse.

So does humidity actually help with asthma? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

Cold winter air often triggers asthma. This leads some people to think ramping up indoor humidity will improve symptoms. But air that’s too hot and humid can also cause problems for asthmatics. High humidity in the home also makes an excellent environment for mold and dust mites, two common asthma triggers.

If you live in a dry climate, adding some humidity to your home has welcome benefits. More moisture in the air makes it feel warmer, and improves common winter annoyances like dry skin and chapped lips. Humidity also extends the life of wooden furniture and floors that may crack under prolonged dry conditions. 

If you’re interested in optimizing the humidity in your home, here are some things to consider:

Measure humidity

We usually say it’s “dry” or “humid” without knowing the actual humidity level.

If you’ve got a whole-house humidifying system, your thermostat probably gives humidity readings. If not, invest in an inexpensive device that measures humidity, called a hygrometer. This device lets you get an idea of just how dry or humid your home really is, and can prevent you from over-humidifying.

Portable vs. whole house

If your home is too dry, you can choose between installing a whole-house system and using portable humidifiers. Whole-house humidifiers can be expensive to install. But they distribute humidity evenly through the home.

Portable humidifiers are less expensive. They let you humidify specific rooms, which may be more appropriate in homes with only one or two occupants.

Keep humidifiers clean

Portable humidifiers can work wonders in your home. But without proper maintenance they host bacteria and mold that gets distributed into the air.

Once you stop using your humidifier, whether it’s for a day or a week, empty out any leftover water and dry the receptacle fully. Humidifiers that are used often should be thoroughly cleaned once a week with a disinfecting solution. Be sure to fully rinse after cleaning, and allow all components to dry completely before reassembling.

Humidifier filters that trap bacteria and mold should be changed every few months to prevent recirculation into the air.

Dehumidify

A home that’s consistently too humid can trigger asthma symptoms. It also means mold, bacteria, and dust mites more likely to thrive in your home.

Increasing ventilation, fixing leaks, insulating pipes, and turning on fans or air-conditioners can help to dry out the air. Major humidity issues respond best to a commercial dehumidifier that removes excess moisture from the air. Similar to a humidifier, dehumidifying units should be cleaned frequently and kept dry and empty when not in use.

If you don’t want to buy a commercial dehumidifier, there are some DIY options for creating your own. One popular method only requires two large buckets and some rock salt:

  • Drill holes into the bottom of one of the buckets, then nestle it inside the other and pour rock salt inside.
  • The salt draws moisture out of the air, which then collects in the bottom bucket.
  • This method works for short-term humidity issues. But commercial units are more efficient for consistent dehumidifying.

Controlling asthma for less

Optimizing the humidity in your home can help with asthma symptoms, but it won’t replace your regular asthma control medications. At CanadianPharmacyService.com, asthma control drugs like Advair Diskus are available for lower prices than your local pharmacy. Click here to see product listings and to place an order today.

DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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