Humidity measures the amount of water vapor suspended in the air. What would you guess is the ideal humidity level for your home? According to the Mayo Clinic, the ideal humidity for health and comfort is between 30% and 50%.
Was your guess close?
Do you ever wonder, “What is a cool-mist humidifier used for?” Do you live in a humid or dry/arid environment? Did you know that running a heater or air conditioner in your home makes it drier?
This may come as a surprise, but simply adding a humidifier to your home can improve your comfort and health. Keep reading to learn how to choose the best cool mist humidifier.
The actual amount of water vapor present in the is known as absolute humidity. The air temperature has no bearing on this. The more water vapor in the air, the higher the absolute humidity.
Another measure of humidity is specific humidity. This references the weight or amount of water vapor present in a unit weight or amount of air. This is similar to absolute humidity.
Relative humidity records the amount of water vapor relative to the air temperature. It’s also the actual amount of water vapor in the air compared to how much water the air can hold. All this depends on the air temperature.
Warmer air can hold more water vapor than cold air. Thus, with cooler air and higher absolute or specific humidity, there’s higher relative humidity. If the air is warmer the same amount of water vapor, the relative humidity is lower.
How Low Humidity Impacts Your Body
Our bodies need a certain level of humidity to remain healthy. The body has many natural defenses. However, you must maintain wellness to fight infection.
The Mucus Membranes
Part of the immune system protection relies on the mucus membranes. The upper respiratory tract includes the mouth, nose, and throat. This part of the body is lined with mucus membranes which are a moist layer of tissue.
These membranes trap bacteria and viruses (microbes) so they can't get inside the body. Living in a low-humidity environment causes the lining of the nose, mouth, and throat to become dry. This allows for easier entry of bacteria and viruses.
If the germs get into the upper airway, there’s an increased risk of throat and sinus infections. When microbes reach the lungs, you can get pneumonia, coronavirus, and other infections.
For people with asthma and/or allergies, humidity levels below 30% or above 50% can cause problems. This increases the irritation and discomfort in the upper respiratory tract.
Asthma describes a disease in which the airways constrict or get smaller. One of many causes can be due to irritation from dry membranes. The smaller airways can’t move as much air and increase breathing problems.
The Skin and Hair
Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the body? It creates a barrier to bacteria and viruses. Low humidity makes the skin drier.
This leads to flaking, irritation, rashes, cracked lips, and roughness. Your hair can also become dry and break off more easily.
The eyes can become dry which creates problems especially for those who wear contact lenses. Even if you don’t wear contacts, decreased eye moisture increases the risk of infections.
Excess eye dryness can also cause very painful scratches or abrasions on the cornea. The cornea is the front part of the eye.
Another surprising fact is that imbalanced relative humidity levels can reduce focus and mental stimulation. This abnormal humidity increases the strain on the body. Thus, it must work harder to perform normal functions.
This causes increased difficulty focusing and staying mentally alert. Buildings such as schools, hospitals, and offices must maintain proper humidity control. This protects the students, patients, and staff from health problems and increases productivity.
Lower humidity levels increase the electrical conductivity of surfaces. This means that they hold more static electricity. Do you notice that after walking on the carpet you feel an electric shock when you touch something?
This happens because your body takes up the extra static electricity while you move. When you touch a person or item, the charge is released.
In hospitals, this creates a big concern for patients in cardiac or intensive care units. This shock can create enough energy to make their heart stop or change to an abnormal rhythm.
Different Types of Humidifiers
There are several different styles of humidifiers. It’s important to understand how each one works to choose the best one for you. The following provides a brief description of each type of humidifier.
Cool Mist Humidifiers
The majority of humidifiers sold today are the cool mist type. The Food and Drug Administration states that these humidifiers can help if you have a cold. They shrink swollen nasal passages and make breathing easier.
There are two main types of cool mist humidifiers.
The ultrasonic humidifier creates a very fine water mist using high-frequency sound vibrations. This mist is then sent out into the room and increases the water vapor in the air.
Most ultrasonic humidifiers don’t use filters. This saves time and money since you don’t have to replace filters. This style is also very quiet when it’s running which helps people rest and avoids distraction.
Since this unit doesn’t use hot water, there’s no risk for accidental burn injuries. Again, you must clean the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This decreases the risk of bacteria, viruses, or mold growing in the machine.
The evaporative humidifier is the most common type of humidifier. It’s been in use for decades.
The most basic method for setting up an evaporative humidifier is to place a jar of water in a room. Over time, the water evaporates into the air which increases the moisture level.
An evaporative humidifier unit has a fan. You place water in the base of the machine.
The fan blows air through a moist wick filter located in the water. The water cools in the wick filter. This causes the water to change into vapor which is then pushed via a mist or spray into the air.
You must replace these wick filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The fan makes this style of humidifier noisier than the ultrasonic style.
Warm Mist Humidifiers
Steam vaporizers are also called warm mist humidifiers. This type of unit uses a heating element to bring the water to a boil. This creates a warm mist that rises into the air.
This can help warm your room during cold seasons. The boiling water also tends to kill most bacteria before it is released into the air.
There are several concerns associated with warm mist humidifiers. First is the risk of scalds or burns from the heating element and boiling water.
The warm mist may also cause swelling in the nasal passages. This can make it harder to breathe. It’s important to talk with your healthcare professional before using this type of unit.
What Is a Cool-Mist Humidifier Used For?
A cool-mist humidifier's purpose is to increase moisture in the air. Both cool and warm types provide equal amounts of humidity to the air.
It’s important to keep the machine clean and dry between uses. This prevents the buildup of minerals, mold, and bacteria. Contaminated humidifiers disperse these particles into the air and can increase health risks.
Using distilled or purified water will have a lower mineral count than most tap water.
Cool Mist Humidifier Benefits
Humidifiers keep your indoor space humidity at about 45% or above year-round. Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers help combat airborne viruses and bacteria.
The water molecules attach to the airborne germs making them so heavy that they drop. This decreases the chance of breathing microbes into your upper respiratory system.
These humidifiers can help with breathing problems, such as asthma. If you have ongoing problems with dry skin, throat, or sinuses, extra humidity can help.
It also helps decrease symptoms of seasonal allergies. Extra humidity can even decrease snoring and improve sleep.
Benefits of a Cool Mist Humidifier for Baby
Most babies’ have sensitive skin, especially during the first year. They’re also more susceptible to illness. Discuss using a cool-mist air humidifier with your baby’s healthcare provider.
After spending nine months growing in the womb, bathed in amniotic fluid, the baby’s skin may become dry. In more dry environments, their skin can even become flaky and irritated. Using a cool-mist humidifier in your baby’s room can add moisture to prevent these skin problems.
Infants are more susceptible to infections. Breastfeeding shares antibodies with the baby which helps build their immune system. Yet, they still aren’t without risk.
Adding a humidifier can help improve the mucus layer to fight airborne germs. If your baby does get a cold, they may become very congested. This can make it difficult for them to breathe.
Speak with your healthcare provider about medications that you can give your child. Also, ask about using a cool-mist humidifier to ease the congestion. This can help you and your baby get more rest.
If using a humidifier for a child, it’s best to use a cool-mist style. This decreases the risk of burns if the child gets too close to the machine.
What to Look for in the Air Humidifier?
When shopping for an air humidifier, it’s important to know about the features available. The following provides a list of options to look for in a humidifier:
- Very low noise when operating
- An ultrasonic humidifier for an extra-fine mist
- Large capacity, such as 6 liters, to last for about 50 hours or more
- Filterless to eliminate the cost of replacing filters twice a month
- Essential oil tray so that it can double as aromatherapy
- Automatic shutoff
- Intertek’s Electrical Testing Labs certified to meet safety standards
- Ability to cover 500 square feet of space
- Adjustable dial to control the mist intensity
These key features will ensure the most comfortable and beneficial product. No one wants a noisy, water spewing machine in your baby’s room or when you don’t feel well.
The Benefit of Using Essential Oils with a Humidifier
Many people are using aromatherapy as part of their health regimen. Essential oils are often used with an infuser to disperse their aroma and compounds in the air.
Some humidifiers now include trays to hold essential oils. Thus you can reap the benefits of both the humidifier and the aromatherapy.
Essentials oils are extracted from plant compounds. These oils make up the plant’s natural scent or flavor. You must dilute them before they can be diffused into the air.
Steam or water causes the distillations of the plant oil. Some extracted plant oil is combined with a carrier oil to create an essential oil for diffusion.
Are You in the Market for Comfort-Related products?
This article has answered the question, “What is a cool-mist humidifier used for?” You also have a list of features to use as you shop.
Everlasting Comfort® offers a range of comfort items. These include humidifiers, diffusers, lumbar support, button back pillows, and memory foam cushions.
All products have a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you receive a damaged or defective product, we want to know. We’ll send you a new one free of charge.
There’s a 2-year warranty for our Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. Our mission is your comfort and satisfaction. Contact us today to learn more about our products.