Illness and allergies can strike at any time– during the dead of winter as well as in the intense heat of the summer– and if you have children, combine dry indoor air and those symptoms can become that much more severe. Miserable children make miserable parents so anything you can do to minimize symptoms for your children is worth its weight in gold.
An easy way to address problems caused by asthma, allergies and colds it to purchase a humidifier or a vaporizer. These handy appliances can make it easier for your child to breathe by alleviating stuffiness, which is particularly helpful for children who are too young to take over-the-counter cold medication.
Additionally, since viruses can easily multiply in cold, dry air, a humidifier can help keep illness at bay by creating an inhospitable environment for viruses.
Humidifier vs. vaporizer
Cool mist humidifier. The most common type of humidifier, a humidifier relies on a fan to blow dry air through a wick filter (that has absorbed the water that you’ve added to the humidifier) to add moisture into the air. The wick also serves to filter the water, trapping larger impurities, like minerals, and prevents them from entering the air.
Warm mist humidifier. Similar to a vaporizer, these humidifiers boil the water to release it as a steam to add moisture to the air. These versions do not have fans, therefore, they are typically quieter than the cool mist humidifier options. While mineral build-up tends to be a problem with warm mist humidifiers because there is no filter, these deposits can easily be removed using vinegar.
Vaporizer. A simpler and less expensive version of the warm mist humidifier, it also uses steam to increase indoor humidity. A vaporizer is usually smaller than the average humidifier and does not use a filter. It also has less gadgets and settings to fiddle around with.
Humidifiers also come in a variety of more elaborate designs– some even use ultrasonic frequencies to create mist, or ultraviolet light to kill up to 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses that might be growing in your humidifier.
Picking between a humidifier or a vaporizer
Both humidifiers and vaporizers have their own benefits and drawbacks to consider, and each factor should be considered before you purchase either one. If price is solely the issue, vaporizers are generally the less expensive option. If you prefer to have more settings to control the level of humidity in the room, humidifiers will provide more options.
With vaporizers, you can add essential oils to the water to indulge in some aromatherapy while humidifying dry indoor air. Medications that help alleviate congestion can also be added directly to the water in a vaporizer to help a sick child breathe a little better. As vaporizers don’t use filters, oils and medication are not screened out. Sprinkle in a bit of Lavender oil to help your child relax.
Warm, moist air is gentler on a compromised respiratory system and on an infant’s lungs. The process of boiling the water to create the mist kills nearly all bacteria and viruses present, ensuring that the mist is safe and clean.
Vaporizers and warm mist humidifiers can also serve as an additional heat source in cold winter months. Instead of cranking up your central heating and drying out the air even more, you can use vaporizers to create warm, ideal humidity conditions in each room.
However, vaporizers (and warm mist humidifiers) should be used carefully around young children or pets. Since these devices use boiling water to humidify the air, there is a risk of the young and the unwary of being burned by the steam or the device itself could be accidentally knocked over. Be sure to place the vaporizer or humidifier well out of reach, especially when children and pets are present.
Cool mist humidifiers are safer to use in households with children because they don’t need boiling water to moisturize the air. However, because they don’t boil the water prior to diffusion, there is a risk of bacteria growing in the standing water and being dispersed in the air. Most manufacturers recommend cleaning these humidifiers with vinegar or bleach every few days.
Low levels of humidity lead to very dry air—which greatly affects people with dry and sensitive skin, young children and those suffering from colds. Indoor humidity should be between 25 percent and 40 percent in the winter, and under 60 percent in the summer. Raising the level of humidity to the ideal percentages can help ease cold symptoms and alleviate dry and cracked skin, particularly during exposure to heated, recycled air during the winter (which can drop the humidity to as low as 10 percent).
Whether you buy a vaporizer or a humidifier, increasing the moisture in the air will help your child breathe better, especially if they are suffering from congestion.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, business owner and yoga enthusiast in Southern California who also writes for VapeWorld. She has three children of her own and finds that using a vaporizer greatly helps reduce their cold and allergy symptoms. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to find more tips like these!