The internal environment in our homes is a function of a number of different elements. Air temperature and cleanliness are the most obvious elements that most people pay close attention to, but they are not the only variables that affect our comfort.
Humidity is another very important element affecting comfort in the home. However, it is also overlooked by many people. In addition to affecting comfort, humidity could also have a number of health effects on your family.
Some of the health problems caused by low humidity include dry eyes that could result in irritation, dry skin that can end up being itchy, nosebleeds, sinus problems and a dry respiratory tract that increases the risk of cold, flu and other infections.
Sinus problems are by far the most common indications of low humidity in the air. They are very uncomfortable, and if not addressed, they can potentially lead to bigger health problems. Fortunately, this is something that can be avoided using a simple humidifier.
What causes low humidity?
Most homes have to deal with low humidity for a few months every year. This is usually in the colder winter months. Low temperatures reduce the amount of moisture that the air can hold before condensation. As a result, when the weather is cold, the air is not able to hold as much moisture.
When the weather is warm, moisture is added to the air naturally through evaporation. In winter, very little evaporation occurs as a result of the low temperatures, further reducing the amount of moisture in the air.
It could also be something as simple as incorrect settings on your dehumidifier so if your area experiences high humidity and you have a dehumidifier in place, be sure to check that you have the correct settings on the device.
How is my sinus affected by low humidity?
The entire length of the nasal passage is covered with thin membranes. These membranes perform the vital function of ensuring that no harmful particles, viruses, and bacteria make it to the more sensitive parts of the respiratory system like the lungs and other internal organs.
For them to function properly, these membranes need to be moist so that the dust particles, viruses, and bacteria can be trapped by the moist, sticky surface. If you stay in a room with low humidity, the dry air that you breathe will cause the moisture on these membranes to dry up.
When the membranes dry, they will not be able to capture these harmful particles hence you will be left exposed to all manner of infections. The dryness also causes inflammation because of friction between the thin membranes and the air as you breathe. Breathing more dry air worsens the situation by irritating the already inflamed membranes hence the discomfort.
How does a humidifier solve this problem?
Humidifiers work by adding moisture to the air. By doing this, the air will be moist enough not to take away moisture from the membranes in your nasal passages hence you will be able to breathe without irritating these delicate parts.
Things to look for in a humidifier for sinus problems
If you are looking for a humidifier to solve your sinus problems, here are a number of things that you should look out for in the humidifier that you choose:
Humidifier capacity is the amount of moisture that can be added in a 24 hour period. If you have a large home with plenty of open spaces, getting a humidifier with a small capacity might not solve your problem. You could find that the humidifier is running at full capacity, but it is not enough to add the right amount of moisture to the air.
Cool Mist vs. Warm Mist Humidifiers
Cool mist humidifiers add moisture to your indoor air by producing cool water vapor. On the other hand, warm mist humidifiers produce steam, which is always at a temperature higher than the room temperature. If you live in an area that experiences warm climates, go for a cool mist humidifier. Warm mist devices are more ideal in areas that experience cold climates because they will warm and humidify the air.
If you suffer from sinus problems, a humidifier with a provision for adding medicine will be very useful. Such a humidifier will vaporize the medicine along with the water and release it evenly into the air. This is perfect for people who suffer from asthma or allergies.
Some humidifiers will leave a thin film of white dust on your furniture and other cold parts of your home. This is known as mineral dust, and it comes from the mineral in the water vapor being released into the air. This dust can have negative health benefits so pick a model that does not disperse any form of mineral dust.