Pneumonia can be contracted at any time, usually by bacteria or viruses, and cause great suffering to those inflicted. This nasty lung infection triggers a persistent and painful cough that many seek relief from.
So, unsurprisingly, the internet is full of home remedies, and one such aid is a humidifier. So, if you're suffering from this illness, you may be tempted to try one out.
But, this begs the question: are humidifiers good for pneumonia?
You should also bear in mind that your cough may be from something other than pneumonia, especially if you have a dry cough, sore throat, or nasal congestion, caused by allergens in the air, excessive dust mites, or other microorganism contaminants that affect indoor air quality. You also may have cold symptoms, bronchitis, or the flu, as the winter is commonly known as flu season.
If you want the answer, keep reading. We'll discuss how, why, and if humidifiers provide effective relief from pneumonia's symptoms, and what the best humidifier is to use.
Let's dive in!
First, let’s take a closer look at the infliction itself. Pneumonia is an infection of the lung, usually caused by bacteria or viruses. It triggers the inflammation of the air sacs inside the lungs, which may also fill with fluid or pus.
There are a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, and how badly anyone suffers depends on many factors—namely, the cause, age, and overall health.
Common symptoms are similar to those caused by a cold or fever and can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest Pain
- Coughing up Mucus
You may also experience a headache, feel very tired, or sweat. Some even suffer from nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Call your doctor if you are suffering any of these symptoms severely or if you suddenly start getting worse after the flu or cold.
Walking pneumonia is a milder variant of pneumonia often caused by a virus or the mycoplasma pneumonia bacteria.
The symptoms may not be as severe or as long-lasting as those of a more severe case of pneumonia. You may not need to go to the hospital or even practice strict bed rest.
The Causes of Pneumonia
Pneumonia is caused, in most cases, by:
Bacteria: Bacterial Pneumonia usually only affects one area of the lung and can follow a cold or flu.
Viruses that affect the respiratory tract: These include the flu virus that causes the common cold. Pneumonia transmitted by virus tends to be mild and often gets better on its own in one to three weeks.
Fungal infections: These can lead to pneumonia, especially in people with weakened immune systems. Some fungi exist in the soil in certain parts of the US and can lead to pneumonia.
Aspiration: When you inhale particles into your lungs, including food, saliva, liquids, or vomit, the particles might get infected in your lungs and develop pneumonia.
How to Prevent Pneumonia
The most effective way of tackling pneumonia is by preventing it in the first place. Luckily, there are things you can do to protect yourself from this illness.
Getting your yearly flu shot - Bacterial pneumonia can develop after suffering from the flu. So, it stands to reason that you can reduce the risk of contracting pneumonia by getting your vaccine.
Get the pneumococcal vaccine - This works wonders for preventing pneumonia caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
Keep clean - By this we mean, wash your hands often with soap and hot water and alcohol-based sanitizers (over 60%), especially if you've contacted anyone ill.
Don’t smoke - as you probably already know, smoking damages your lungs, which makes it harder to breathe.
Practice a healthy lifestyle! A balanced diet, exercise, and plenty of sleep are crucial to keeping your immune system healthy. That way, even if you do contract pneumonia, you can recover much more quickly.
Avoid sick people. Be sensible around people who are suffering. Wash your hands, and avoid getting in contact.
How to Treat Pneumonia
Treatment for pneumonia depends on the severity of the symptoms and how you contracted the illness.
For bacterial pneumonia, your doctor is likely to prescribe antibiotics. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully and take all the antibiotic medicine prescribed.
Antibiotics don’t work against viral pneumatic infections, so your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medicines to lower a fever, ease a cough, or relieve pain.
Some coughing can be helpful to clear the lungs, so consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking a cough suppressant.
If a fungus caused your pneumonia, you might be prescribed antifungal medicine. Severe cases of pneumonia could lead to hospitalization, especially if you are severely struggling to breathe.
For milder cases, however, often, the illness will simply require rest and recovery. In milder cases or cases of walking pneumonia, the best thing is to simply keep resting, eating healthy, and staying hygienic at home.
Ease symptoms with over the counter medicine and consume Vitamin C to strengthen the immune system.
Last but not least, controlling the humidity in the air can be a great way to make you or a loved one more comfortable. A humidifier may eliminate dry air, ease the irritation, reduce swelling, and help the lungs clear.
This is not dissimilar from another popular home remedy for respiratory illnesses. Many recommend taking a hot bath so that the steam in the air can help moisten the nasal passages. In the same vein, humidifiers can ease some symptoms.
Are Humidifiers Good for Pneumonia?
We will answer that question shortly. But first, let’s look at what a humidifier does.
A humidifier works differently from dehumidifiers. The latter removes moisture from the home. This usually serves to prevent mold or other harmful bacteria.
Humidifiers, on the other hand, increase the home's humidity level and can enhance the quality of life. In a dry region, adding moisture can making breathing easier and keep your nasal passages moist and combat dryness in the sinuses.
It’s important to note, not all diseases respond positively to a higher indoor humidity level. If you're worried about whether a humidifier will benefit you, it's advisable to check in with your doctor or pharmacy.
A medical pro can tell you whether your illness will improve with more humid conditions.
So, Does a Humidifier Help with Pneumonia?
A good ultrasonic humidifier will moisten the nasal passages and airways by keeping the air at the right level of humidity.
This is often adjustable, and as such, the air conditions can be set to what feels best for anyone suffering from pneumonia.
Humid air has the potential of helping those that suffer from the illness to breathe easier and be more comfortable. This is why humidifiers are so often suggested as a fix for the symptoms.
In the long-term, humidification can help improve quality of life and form an inexpensive way to relieve the symptoms of illnesses affecting the respiratory system. Pills and subscriptions, on the other hand, can get expensive.
Humidifiers can also help relieve dry skin, sinus congestions and headaches, dry throats, stuffy noses and nose irritations, irritated vocal cords, and cracked lips.
If you live somewhere dry, consider a portable humidifier to improve your overall air quality and make it easier to handle respiratory symptoms and discomforts.
Are There Risks to Using a Humidifier for Pneumonia?
This is critical to ask when seeking treatment for an existing and persistent illness. If you’re introducing a humidifier to your home, the last thing you want to do is make your loved one more ill.
In short, there's some danger that humidifiers may develop bacteria, fungi, and growth of mold if the water tank is not properly cleaned. These, in turn, could be inhaled and cause the family to fall ill. However, this development is entirely preventable by cleaning the humidifier regularly.
To do this, soak all the parts of the humidifier that contact water in a 10% bleach solution.
This needs doing every two or three days to stop mold or other bacteria from forming. A good cleaning regime will keep the humidifier safe and hygienic, and you needn’t worry about any risks.
Another issue you might face is white dust. This comes naturally from mineral deposits in normal tap water if you use an ultra-sonic humidifier. You can prevent white dust by using distilled water.
So let’s recap: Humidifiers don't cause pneumonia. Bacteria does. Keep your machine clean, and there are no risks to worry about.
Does a Humidifier Help with Walking Pneumonia?
Walking pneumonia often showcases milder symptoms, which are easily treatable at home. To improve your symptoms, make sure you:
- Permit yourself to rest so that your body has the energy its needs to fight the infection
- Drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated - warm tea, clear soups and water are best for this
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet, with ample vitamin C. Fruit and vegetables, especially citrus, are a great addition to your diet during a cold and can also strengthen your immune system to prevent further illness
- If you smoke, stop, and avoid second-hand smoke
- Stay at home - don't go to school or work until your symptoms go away
You can use a cool-mist humidifier or take a warm bath to help clear your lungs and make it easier to breathe.
Cool Mist Humidifiers
A 2019 South Korean study looked at the link between changes in daily temperature and cases of pneumonia over six years. Studying over 217,000 Seoul patients, they found that ‘pneumonia weather’ is a real occurrence.
Cases usually spike when the weather suddenly gets warm. However, this only happened when the temperature rose to six degrees in one day. Temperatures above this actually protect people from falling ill.
The hypothesis gained from this was that when the temperature rose slightly, people were more likely to dress for warmer weather and therefore started suffering cold shock in the still relatively cold temperatures.
The conclusion is that pneumonia strikes in a sudden cold shock - when the temperature suddenly drops.
If you’re worried about cool mist humidifiers for this very reason, you can rest easy. They are far too small to cause sudden cold shock, and the problem can easily be managed by simply turning them off.
That means you can safely use humidifiers to relieve the symptoms of pneumonia.
Statistically speaking, the result of these humidifiers on pneumonia is minimal. But if it helps ease your symptoms, keep using it!
Should You Use a Humidifier to Ease Pneumonia?
If your symptoms are severe, seek advice from a doctor on how to treat your pneumonia. The truth is that humidifiers may provide some relief, but they are no cure for the illness and will not provide sufficient relief for more severe symptoms.
If you live in an arid area and the air is irritating your throat, a humidifier may be a great way to improve the air conditions and make you more comfortable. Just like a hot bath, the humidity can clear nasal passages and make it easier to breathe.
If the humidity in the bathroom relieves your symptoms, there is a good chance a humidifier, too, may benefit you. If it works, that’s all the scientific backup you need!
Just ensure you clean your humidifier regularly to prevent a build-up of mold and bacteria that could enter the air. Humidifiers are an affordable option for improving the overall breathability of the air in your home and/or office.
Purchase a Good Humidifier to Ease Your Symptoms
So, in answer to the question: are humidifiers good for pneumonia? In short, they're a great and inexpensive way of raising the air quality of your home and office, whether you’re suffering from mild pneumonia or dry air that's irritating your lungs.
Everlasting comfort sells a variety of products that work wonders for lifting your well-being. We also offer a 'Cool Mist Ultrasonic' humidifier with a six-liter capacity - this is ideal for ensuring your home boasts perfect air conditions, and uses ultrasonic vibrations to produce water vapor.
Got any questions? Contact us today and we'll get back to you ASAP!