Humidifier for Asthma Relief: How They Help Improve Breathing

It can be difficult to do even normal, everyday things when you suffer from asthma.  Though there are differing levels of severity for asthma, and different things that will trigger a full-on asthma attack in different people, living with asthma can put you in a state of constant anxiety, worried that you may have another asthma attack.

If you’ve had a serious asthma attack--the kind that lands you in the emergency room or at the very least, scares friends and family members, the mere thought of having another can be enough to make you anxious around the clock.  

Factor in changes in weather, different allergens blooming, pollinating, your co-worker’s perfume, or a really intense spin class, and you can wind up one seriously paranoid person if you don’t have a method to keep your asthma under control and out of your mind.  

At Everlasting Comfort, we understand.  We manufacture products that are designed to help keep you comfortable, and help reduce symptoms of asthma so you can feel better.  We pour our hearts into our work so that our products are best able to help you get relief from unwanted symptoms of asthma fast.  

One of the best ways to help alleviate symptoms of asthma so you can breathe and rest easier is by running a cool mist humidifier in your home.  Let’s look at what asthma is for those who don’t know, and how a humidifier can help when you’re suffering.  

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition that affects your airways making it difficult for you to breathe.  This happens because something triggers an allergic reaction that causes your airways to become swollen and produce extra mucus.  This combination of swelling and mucous makes it difficult to breathe and/or catch your breath.  

When someone has asthma, they can be at risk of having an asthma attack.  In other words, a person who suffers from asthma does not typically feel the symptoms of asthma continually or constantly.  Their symptoms usually occur in an asthma attack.  

An attack can be brought on by any number of triggers.  Some of the most common are:

  • Exercise.  When a person with asthma has exercise-induced asthma attacks, it means that they are at risk of an attack when they are keeping their heart rate up and breathing heavily.  This heavy breathing can trigger an asthma attack.  Exercise induced asthma can be scary, because the person is usually already winded and can then feel like it is impossible to breathe.
  • Occupational asthma.  This type of asthma occurs when a person’s work environment triggers an asthma attack.  Common workplace asthma triggers could be fumes, smoke, or other chemicals that someone with asthma is exposed to.  If you have asthma and work in a factory or in a mine, or outdoors around open flame or smoke, you could be susceptible to an asthma attack.  
  • Allergy induced asthma.  This is the most common form of asthma, and is usually triggered by allergens like pollen, pet dander, mold, or anything else that can become airborne.  When the person with asthma is around an allergic trigger, they can develop an asthma attack.  
  • Stress.  Being extremely stressed or anxious can bring on an asthma attack or make your asthma symptoms worse.  
  • Cold air.  Cold air constricts your airways, which can cause you to have even more trouble breathing.  

Symptoms of asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath.  The most common symptom at the onset of an asthma attack is shortness of breath, or feeling like you cannot catch your breath or breathe deeply enough to adequately fill your lungs with air.
  • Tightness and/or pain in the chest.  When having an asthma attack, you may feel heaviness or tightness in your chest cavity and may even experience pain.
  • Wheezing on exhalation.  Most notable during exercise and also a very common sign in children, wheezing while exhaling may be a sign that someone with asthma is having an asthma attack. 
  • Inability to sleep.  If your asthma is severe enough, you may experience symptoms when you lie down to sleep.  This can be very frustrating as it interferes with your sleep cycle and your quality of life.  Asthma symptoms are often much worse at night while lying down.
  • Symptoms that get worse when you are sick.  For someone with asthma, getting a mild cold or the flu exacerbates their asthma symptoms and makes them much more ill than the average person who contracts these illnesses.  Asthma can make a normal cold feel like pneumonia if your nasal and chest passages are tight and congested.

There’s no cure for asthma, but there are ways to manage symptoms.

How Do You Combat Asthma?

The first step in combating asthma is to visit your doctor and develop a course of treatment that works for you.  Your doctor can help determine what makes your asthma worse, and what medicines and treatment options are best for you.  You will likely need medication for your asthma that your doctor prescribes.  

In addition to medication, you can do your part to avoid known allergens and triggers that cause you to have asthma attacks, and you can create an environment at home that promotes breathing easier.  One way to do this is by using a humidifier.

What is a Humidifier?

Humidifiers are small home appliances that help keep the air you breathe moisturized properly.  Because we use air conditioning and heating systems, the air in our homes (and offices) is oftentimes extremely dry.  

Dry air can not only dehydrate your skin and lips, it can make asthma and allergy symptoms worse.  Congested noses, itchy scratchy throats, and coughs that just aren’t productive can worsen at night in dry conditions and make it virtually impossible to sleep. 

If you suspect the humidity level in your home or office isn’t quite right, you can look for signs. 

  • Waking up feeling like your skin is dry, tight, and/or flaky.
  • Having chapped lips that don’t ever seem to go away.
  • Difficulty sleeping because you can’t breathe.
  • Breathing through your mouth because your nose is congested
  • Difficulty breathing; coughing.

How Does a Humidifier Help Improve Breathing?

Asthma patients whose symptoms worsen overnight can get relief from using a humidifier in their home or office.  

It’s important that your home or office maintain a humidity level between 30%-50% for you to breathe comfortably.  When air conditioning and heating units are used excessively when temperatures reach extremes, it can be difficult to maintain this homeostasis of humidity inside.

When the air inside is too dry, your nose and throat become easily irritated.  If you have asthma, this irritation can make your asthma symptoms worse, and can even trigger the onset of an asthma attack.  A humidifier can help ensure that your home maintains a comfortable level of humidity by dispersing water vapor into the air while it runs.

Many patients feel they need only run their humidifier overnight to get relief from their asthma symptoms.  In fact, running a humidifier overnight can help keep nasal passages free from congestion and help keep throats and and nasal passages lubricated, making it easier to sleep and get the rest you need.  

Can Humidifiers Make Asthma Worse?

While using a humidifier will not make your asthma worse, you shouldn’t run a humidifier continuously, or longer than about 8-10 hours.  Using a humidifier for longer periods of time can cause the humidity level in your home to rise to an undesirable level.  Just as humidity that is too low can cause respiratory discomfort, humidity that is too high can also be uncomfortable.  Air can feel heavy and thick, and it can be difficult to breathe. 

Additionally, if the humidity level in your home is too high, there’s a chance for mold and mildew to develop, which can trigger your asthma and make you feel worse.  As such, it’s important to only use the humidifiers overnight while you sleep or during limited hours in the day.  You will also want to ensure you properly inspect and clean your humidifier at least once a week to ensure it is operating properly and to avoid a buildup of bacteria and/or mold which could be harmful if left unattended.  

Summary 

Using a humidifier is a great way to help alleviate the symptoms of asthma, especially while you sleep.  If you are experiencing asthma symptoms in your home or at night, you can use a small room humidifier to help alleviate your symptoms and get rest.  Air that is dry can cause irritation and sensitivity to throats and noses, making it hard for anyone to breathe, but for an asthma patient, those symptoms are worsened and can lead to a full asthma attack.  

It’s important to look for a humidifier that can hold enough water to run at least fifty consecutive hours and does not require a filter.  These types of humidifiers should only need to be inspected, cleaned, and require additional water once a week.  Additionally, you will not need to spend extra money on air filters, which can quickly add to the cost of a filtration system humidifier.  

Happy breathing!

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/symptoms-causes/syc-20369653

https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/living-with-asthma/creating-asthma-friendly-environments/asthma-at-home

https://www.healthline.com/health/humidifier-for-asthma

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