Why You Want A Humidifier In Every Room

by Brandi Jeter Riley
Originally Published: 
A mother wearing a blue shirt sitting on the ground and her two kids lying on the couch near a table...
photo credit: Hero Images | Getty

The scariest experience I ever had in my life was when my daughter, then an infant, contracted the flu. I’m one of those parents who’s all about on-schedule vaccinations, but she was too young for a flu shot. I’d had one, and so did all of the people around her, but still, somehow, she got sick.

For several days, she was listless, but obviously uncomfortable. I didn’t want to sleep because I was afraid her temperature would spike super high or she’d stop breathing. It was absolutely terrifying.

About a year after that, I took her to the doctor for a persistent cough. It was so present that she barely slept at night, and was exhausted during the day. I took her to the doctor who couldn’t diagnose her with asthma because she was so young, but prescribed a nebulizer which helped my baby to breath with clear lungs again.

I learned a lot during those early years of being a new mom. Health issues hadn’t really been that important to me before, because I didn’t have many. In fact, it could probably even be said that I was a little overconfident about my good health, and that I probably took it for granted.

In my early twenties, I lived in a gorgeous studio apartment on the top floor of a tall building. It got so dusty up there, and as much as I tried to stay on top of it, I never really could. Occasionally I’d have a guest who had allergies, and I would do my best to make them comfortable, but honestly, dusting wasn’t really a priority for me.

Fast forward about twenty years. Not only did I marry a man who has a dust allergy, but I have skin that is so sensitive, at one point I wondered if I was allergic to air. My daughter still has a few breathing challenges, and my toddler son seems to be exhibiting those same issues. Also? That memory of my daughter having the flu still haunts me.

I’m open to trying anything at this point to keep my family healthy. Like I said, I’m all about the vaccinations, but I believe that there is value in holistic and natural remedies, too. I’ve tried everything that’s new and trending in the health space, but forgot about one old standby that was suggested to me years ago.

A humidifier.

When my daughter was first going through her breathing issues, her pediatrician suggested a humidifier to add moisture to the air. It worked. Running the humidifier helped her to sleep better at night, and gave her some relief from the coughing. When we moved a few months, I never set it up again. I forgot about the benefits for years, but was reminded recently about its benefits.

Humidifiers are really like the superheroes of all home appliances. You probably know that they add moisture to the air which can aid in better breathing, but they also have so many other super powers that are way underrated.

For example, you know how we’re all worried about the flu? Well, a study a few years ago showed that it’s not the cold that invites the flu during winter months, it’s the dry air. Scientists tested this theory by using a cough simulator to spread the flu virus through air with various levels of humidity. They found that after 24 hours, 100% of the flu virus in the humid air was dead. In dry conditions, 60% still survived! Isn’t that amazing!

All of this time we’re trying to make sure our kids have their heads covered when they leave the house, and they were probably catching the flu because we keep our houses nice and toasty, and dry, during the winter months.

That should be enough to convince you to put a humidifier in every room of your house, but if it’s not, there’s more that they can do.

When I moved to California, my hair and skin were perpetually dry. I’m talking flakes and itching on my face, scalp, and all over my body. I tried lots of expensive creams, drank tons of water, but I didn’t have the glowing skin that I was used to having.

It was that damn dry air again! We had just started using the humidifier to help my daughter breathe better again, and after a few days, I noticed my skin wasn’t as tight. All of those lotions I bought were finally penetrating my skin, rather than just sitting on top.

Humidifiers also help folks who snore sleep better. The moisture they put off helps to keep heat in the air, so during the winter months your heater doesn’t have to work as hard. If you work somewhere with recycled air like a hospital or an office building, humidifiers can help to minimize “sick building syndrome” symptoms like headaches, throat irritation, fatigue, and dizziness. They also help to reduce allergy symptoms.

I know that it seems like there are new “get better quick” stories every day. Trying to discern what’s real or not can be a whole job. The good thing about humidifiers is that there’s no risk. Put some water in a machine, plug it in, and if it works for you, awesome. If not, no harm done.

And really, at best, your skin will glow and you’ll stop snoring. At worse, your plants will thrive in the moist air. Sounds like a win/win to me!

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