Wintertime is coming upon us; we all know what that means. It’s Holiday season with the chance of a snowstorm, the temperature is becoming colder and the air is becoming dryer. Everyone around you is coughing and sneezing and wishing they were in their beds watching a movie and drinking some hot chocolate; it’s flu and cold season. How does one survive through the winter without getting a cold? How can we protect our immune systems and help it become stronger once we get sick? According to science, the answer could be as simple as getting a humidifier.
A humidifier is a device that you can put in any room or building to increase the moisture in the air. There are several different types of humidifiers. Central humidifiers are built directly into your home heating and air conditioning systems. These can humidify you whole house along with the heating and air. Next, there are ultrasonic humidifiers. These are small machines that you can place on a table in a room that produce a cool mist. Impeller humidifiers also produce a cool mist, put the mist is produced a different way. Evaporators are also small machines that contain a fan that blows air through a wet wick, filter or belt. Lastly, a steam vaporizers use electricity to create steam that cools before leaving the machine.
The humidifiers’ steam that increases the moisture of the air is what can help protect you from the common cold. They are often used for relieving dry skin, sinus congestion, dry throat, nose irritation, bloody noses, irritated vocal cords, dry cough, and cracked lips. All of these are symptoms of the common cold or the flu. Humidity should stay between 30 and 50 percent in order to reduce these symptoms. If you set the humidity too high, it can actually worsen the problem or create new ones.
Jeffrey Shaman and his collogues experimented they effect that using a humidifier has the flu. They did an observational study, examining the rate in which humans get influenza in wintertime compared to other seasons, while observing the humidity conditions surrounding the rate of the flu. They claim to be using the human population as a whole in their data, which also is a large randomized trail, does have some problems because not everyone is diagnosed with the flu that has it. After collecting and comparing all their data, they concluded that the wintertime increases the chances of getting the flu due to the levels of humidity in the air.
Clearly, as long as you keep your humidifiers clean and not at too high of a percent, no harm can come with having one. They help relieve sinus health by decreasing the dry air that doesn’t allow our sinuses to drain properly. They keep our nasal passages lubricated, speeding up our immune systems ability to heal the common cold, flu, and even asthma. The moisture from a humidifier even keeps the throat from drying out and helps relieve us from snoring. The moisture in the air keeps our bodies less chapped and dry, and more hydrated, leading to beautiful, nondehydrated skin. What more can we ask for in the cold and dry wintertime?