Can Humidifiers Make You Sick?

For millions of Americans, humidifiers are a winter necessity. They’re designed to help keep the air in your home healthy and dry. However, they should be used with caution to avoid negative effects on your health.

According to the EPA and Consumer Reports, there’s a chance that your humidifier could cause cancer or other health issues. In order to properly maintain them, check their maintenance intervals and find a safer alternative.

A humidifier can make you sick if it has mold or bacteria, or it doesn’t work properly. Both of these can happen when the humidity levels are too high.

Can Humidifiers Make You Sick?

Humidifiers can make you sick if there is a high level of humidity in the room that can worsen the air quality and cause respiratory problems. The poorly maintained humidifier can also develop allergies like flu, asthma, or pneumonia and cause long-lasting sickness. 

How Humidifier Cause Sickness?

Dirty Humidifier

The proper cleaning of your humidifier is important to maintain its effectiveness. It can help keep the air in your home fresh and contribute to the overall cleanliness of the unit. Also, keeping the water in your home unpurified can remove mineral deposits and residue from the inside.

It’s also important to use demineralized or purified water when it’s used for your humidifier. This type of water has a lower mineral content and is less likely to contribute to the development of residue.

A warm mist humidifier uses an internal heating element to produce steam, which then flows into the air. A cool-mist humidifier uses a fan to evaporate the water, which then cools the air. Evaporative cool mist humidifiers are more energy-efficient and are typically less prone to malfunction.

The warm air conditions of a warm mist humidifier can promote the growth of bacteria and other organisms, which can make us sick. To prevent this from happening, regular maintenance is required to keep your humidifier free of bacteria and mold spores.

Unfortunately, using a dirty humidifier can also contribute to the development of respiratory infections and worsen the symptoms of these conditions. It can also cause fatal lung injury.

Instead of a warm mist humidifier, opt for a cool-mist one. It’s more sanitary in nature and can help keep the air in your home fresh.

High Humidity

Instead of a warm-mist humidifier, opt for a cool-mist one. They’re more sanitary and can help keep the air in your home fresh.

High humidity levels can also contribute to the development of airborne viruses and bacteria. Experts generally recommend that the ideal humidity level should be between 30% and 50%.

When the humidity levels reach over 50%, it can cause condensation on the walls and furniture, and it can increase the likelihood of the development of dust mites and bacteria.

Related: Are Humidifiers Good for You?

Traditional Humidifiers

Ultrasonic Humidifiers

Through ultrasonic vibration, these devices produce a cool mist. Unfortunately, they often end up with a white film on the surface, which can cause a variety of health issues if it gets airborne. Water particles are also commonly found in tap water.

A study conducted at the University of Utah revealed that an infant developed a serious lung injury after inhaling the white dust from a humidifier. The incident prompted the university to warn about the potentially harmful effects of this product on children.

Not regularly cleaning the inside of a humidifier can create the ideal conditions for the growth and development of bacteria and mold. This can then be airborne and contribute to the respiratory issues caused by these pollutants.

Vaporizer Humidifiers

Although they’re not as dangerous as traditional ones, hot vaporizers can still cause burns and cause respiratory issues.

It’s important to regularly clean and maintain your humidifiers to prevent the development of harmful bacteria and mold. Doing so can help prevent the recirculating water from the reservoir from producing new mold and bacteria that can enter the air.

Due to the high risk of getting burned, children should not use humidifiers around children.

Evaporative Humidifiers

Evaporative humidifiers were selected as the safest type by the EPA. They were able to prevent airborne bacteria and minerals from entering the air.

Evaporative humidifiers are also more energy-efficient. They can self-regulate and prevent over-humidification, which can lead to higher humidity levels and allergic reactions.

Although evaporative humidifiers are the best choice, they should still be cleaned regularly to prevent the growth of mold.

Non-Traditional Humidifiers

The Venta Airwasher

Due to the unique design of the Airwasher, it doesn’t fit into the traditional category of humidifiers. Instead, it uses cold evaporation technology to provide a better and cleaner air quality. This eliminates the use of filters and helps conserve the air.

Tips To Maintain Humidifier

Change the water daily

It’s important to regularly change the water in your humidifier to prevent mold spores and bacteria from growing. Also, wipe down the reservoir every day to remove any impurities.

Use distilled or de-mineralized water

Instead of using traditional tap water, use de-mineralized or distilled water to fill your humidifier. These types of mineral particles will keep the air in your home cleaner.

Clean thoroughly

To clean your humidifier, use a soft-bristled brush to thoroughly clean the inside of the unit. Then, wipe down the components with a clean, damp cloth.

Use a natural cleaning solution

This step can help minimize the buildup of mineral particles and keep the air in the home cleaner. It’s also beneficial for people with respiratory conditions like asthma.

Related: The Humidifier That Is Easy To Clean

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