Research shows that indoor humidity levels in the dry winter air can drop to as low as 10% in some areas of the US. Winter is notorious for its skin-drying, lipping-chapping effect. What’s more, the naturally low humidity levels are only made worse by central heating.
As a result, over 81 million Americans suffer from dry, itchy, or scaly skin in the winter months.
However, dehydrated skin is not the worst of it. Numerous studies have linked excessively dry air and low humidity levels with increased germ transmission.
This alone is one reason you might want to invest in the best portable humidifier you can find. By increasing the humidity levels within your home, you can effectively reduce the chance of germ spread.
This is not the only benefit of having a humidifier, though. From helping babies to sleep soundly (yes, it is possible!) to reducing sinus headaches and protecting your furniture—the long list of humidifier benefits makes these machines an essential for just about any home.
How Do Humidifiers Work?
Before we jump into what do humidifiers help with, if you are wondering 'how do humidifiers work'—let's take a quick look.
Humidifiers are devices designed to put moisture into the air. Some do this via steam, others via spray or mist. Some humidifiers are built into central heating and air conditioning systems. These are called central humidifiers.
Most other humidifiers are portable and can be set up in any room of the house, and moved to different places.
Prevent Dry Skin
One of the most commonly known humidifier benefits is that of alleviating dry skin.
Low humidity levels can draw the moisture out of one's skin, leaving it dry, rough, cracked, or even sore. If you are prone to dry skin, you may already have heard that a humidifier can provide relief.
Besides easing the discomfort associated with dry skin, increased humidity levels can also decrease the appearance of wrinkles, and alleviate the symptoms of various skin conditions, including childhood eczema and irritant eczema.
Research by the Skin Health Alliance revealed that exposure to a 30% drop in humidity for as little as 30 minutes resulted in significant increases in fine lines among test subjects. The research also showed marked decreases of moisture and elasticity within participants' skin.
Further research done in Japan has shown that low humidity levels exacerbate wrinkles and skin aging in both the short and long term.
In addition, dry, hot air (such as that coming out of your central heating) can also trigger rosacea flareups and rashes.
In summary, when it comes to skin, humidifiers can assist with all these issues in one go. While a humidifier is not a magic pill, it's not often that you come across such a simple way to relieve a host of skin issues simultaneously.
Soothe Dry Eyes
Another thing that winter weather and low humidity can dry out is our eyes.
Dry eyes occur when not enough tears are produced to keep up with humidity levels in the air.
If you have experienced dry, irritated eyes in winter, then you know how uncomfortable this can be. Once again, hot air from radiators is not your friend. When it comes to winter weather and dry eyes, one of the things that medical sources recommend is to use a humidifier in your home to raise the moisture levels.
Dry eyes can progress into dry eye disease, therefore its best not to ignore this symptom.
Provide Relief for Chapped Lips
Dermatologically speaking, the skin on our lips is essentially an extension of the skin inside our mouths. Because of this, lips do not have oil or sweat glands.
Without oil secretions, our lips are one of the parts of our bodies most vulnerable to dry conditions. Depending on the level of cold, dryness, and your personal tolerance, chapped lips can become severe, and many even crack or bleed in places.
While lip balms and other lip moisturizing products can soothe chapped lips to an extent, they usually can't protect them entirely from the effects of cold and low humidity.
One of the best ways to get relief from chapped lips is to treat the cause by increasing humidity levels in your home with a humidifier.
Reduce Sinus Headaches
Another affliction in winter is sinus headaches. Low humidity levels can not only dry out your skin, eyes, and lips but your sinuses as well. This can prevent proper mucus drainage and lead to congested sinuses. The increase in pressure is thought to be the cause behind sinus headaches.
Fortunately, this is another area where humidifiers can help.
Experts agree that using a humidifier to up moisture levels in the air is good for overall sinus health and is key to easing nasal congestion.
If you or someone in your family is a frequent sufferer of sinus headaches, investing in the best portable humidifier that fits your budget is a good move.
There is nothing more annoying than a nose bleed. Children are particularly susceptible to them, and, like sinuses headaches, they usually occur most frequently in winter.
Although they seem to come out of nowhere, the root cause behind nose bleeds is dry air. When the nasal membranes become dry, there is a chance that they can rupture. Because there is a rich concentration of blood vessels in the nose, if this happens, it can produce a lot of blood for a small rupture in the membrane.
Nosebleeds are not usually dangerous, except if they are heavy and frequent. However, they are very inconvenient and unpleasant, especially if you or a family member does not like the sight of blood.
As with sinus headaches, using a humidifier to up humidity levels in your home is an easy and effective solution for decreasing the frequency of nosebleeds.
Decrease Dandruff and Itchy Scalp Symptoms
With lower humidity levels can also come other annoying symptoms, such as dandruff or an itchy scalp. While dry air is not thought to cause dandruff directly, it can trigger a flareup and can cause itching and flaking.
Moisturizing one's scalp topically can be tricky, which is why using a humidifier is a great way to ward off these unpleasant scalp conditions.
Ease Respiratory and Flu Symptoms
Medical experts state that dry air can directly cause respiratory ailments such as bronchitis and asthma.
At the same time, low humidity can also exacerbate flu symptoms. These include things like a chronic runny nose, sore throat, coughing, and congestion. Optimum humidity levels (between 30% and 50%), on the other hand, are known to keep the cilia in your nose healthy and effective.
Once again, the easiest solution for protecting your family's airways from respiratory issues and runaway flu symptoms is to increase the moisture level of the air inside your home with a good humidifier.
Combat Germs in Your Home
Not only can dry air make flu symptoms worse, but it can also increase the chances that you get the flu. Science has found that low humidity is the flu virus's best friend.
In dry conditions, viruses have been shown to survive for much longer, in some cases staying airborne for days. This is thought to be the main reason why winter is the flu season.
Fortunately, while you can't change the humidity outside, you can make your home a non-virus-friendly zone by using a humidifier. Experts have estimated that installing humidifiers in school could reduce virus transmissions by up to 30%.
Furthermore, as part of the effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, some institutions are advising the installation of humidifiers in public spaces to slow the spread of the disease.
If you want to learn more about how you can fight COVID-19 with humidifiers, check out this post of ours.
Provide Relief From Allergies
Many allergies are inherently respiratory based. If you suffer from hayfever and other allergies to airborne particles (such as dust allergies), you may find that one of the best portable humidifier benefits is that it provides allergy relief to you in your home.
As with flu symptoms and other respiratory ailments, dry air just makes things worse. Upping the humidity, on the other hand, can ease one's airways significantly and discourage allergy bouts.
If your children suffer from allergies, having a few portable humidifiers around your home is a great way to treat their symptoms without having to resort to medication.
Keep Little Ones Comfortable
Is there a very small member of your family who has trouble sleeping? If so, a humidifier might help.
Many people wonder are humidifiers good for babies—and the short answer is yes. If you keep your home's humidity level within the optimum range of 30% to 50%, this will help your baby in a few ways.
Firstly, it will relieve any dry skin and scalp issues. It will also help with cradle cap and eczema.
If your baby is having trouble sleeping, this might be caused by congestion. Humidifying the air around their cot should give them relief, allowing for easier breathing and better sleep.
Lastly, a humidifier will also protect your tot from germs and soothe dry lips for breastfeeding.
Snoring is often the butt of jokes, but it can a tough condition to deal with, especially if you are co-sleeping. Research shows that snoring is bad for non-snoring partners' health and that it can contribute to divorce rates. Additionally, further study has shown that snoring in children can affect their health.
The good news is that if anyone in your household snores, getting a good portable humidifier might help.
Snoring is caused by a variety of things, including sleeping positions, medications, and alcohol. Sometimes snoring is also triggered by congestion and dry airways.
In many cases, a humidifier can help. If the air in your home is dry, this could be exacerbating or even causing your snoring problem.
Boost House Plants
Besides you and your family, another set of occupants in your house who will thrive with more humid air is your plants.
Most standard house plants originate from tropical regions where moisture levels in the air are high. If you are cranking the central heat to keep the cold at bay, the chances are that your pot plants might be taking strain as a result.
By treating yourself to a good humidifier, not only will you boost your health, but that of your plants as well.
Preserve Your Family's Furniture
Besides plants, some other items will also thank you for putting moisture back in the air. These are wooden pieces of furniture. Dry air is detrimental to wood and can result in cracks and warping. This is particularly true for antique furniture, which is made out of air-dried wood.
Additionally, if humidity levels drop below 35%, hardwood flooring can also suffer splintering and cracking.
So What's the Best Portable Humidifier?
If you live in an area where the air gets dry in winter, a good quality humidifier is a must. There are many different types, including warm mist steam humidifiers or steam vaporizers that have a heating element to produce steam with hot water. There are also evaporative humidifiers, sometimes referred to as an impeller model.
Note that to change the humidity in your home truly, you will need to get a proper humidifier. Some people think that essential oil diffusers will do the same job, but this is not so. Take a look at this post to find out more about the difference between oil diffusers and humidifiers.
To ensure that you are comfy in your home at all times, we have developed what we think is the best portable humidifier—the 6L Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. It is filterless, economical, and features a sleek design. Productive in rooms of up to 500 square feet, the tank lasts for 50+ hours before needing to be refilled. We believe that an ultrasonic humidifier is the best humidifier because they're safe, effective, and quiet.
It also boasts a built-in essential oils tray for easy diffusing and a dial to adjust mist intensity. If you have hard water with a high mineral content, we recommend using distilled water instead of tap water to reduce buildup of mineral deposits in your water tank. You should also clean any type of humidifier on a regular basis.
Invest in Your Family's Health Today
There is nothing more essential than investing in your family's health. Arm your home with the best portable humidifier and keep dry air related conditions and rogue germs at bay.
If you would like to discover further products that will make you and your family more comfortable at home, you can browse our store. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to assist.