Is a Humidifier Good for Asthma: The Scientific Explanation
Asthma is the leading chronic diseases in children here in America. There is no wonder that many parents are seeking ways on how to help their children suffer less from their symptoms. As one of these parents, I have researched medications and even non-pharmaceutical ways to alleviate its recurrence.
One of the things I have come across is the controversial use of humidifiers at home. This article will give you the insight to answer your question “Does a humidifier help with asthma?” We will discuss what are the roles of humidifiers and important considerations when you have one.
I will also give you a run-through of the pathophysiologic explanations of asthma so we can scientifically evaluate if a humidifier is really beneficial for an asthmatic person.
Review of Asthma
Growing up with asthma, I can relate to the burden parents are trying to relieve their children from having. For parents, they understand that there is also an economic consequence when one of your family members has asthma.
This condition involved the narrowing of the airway due to inflammation. This happens because the pathway is hypersensitive to certain substances. The reaction of your body to these substances varies from wheezing (when you hear a whistling sound as your child breathes), coughing (because of the feelings of obstruction in the airway), shortness and difficulty of breathing, and chest tightness.
What can cause the above-mentioned symptoms, you might ask. There are numerous answers to this question but let me compile them into the following groups.
- First would be environmental irritants. Remember how people can get allergic reactions? This is pretty much like it but think about those that can directly affect the respiratory system like dust mites, smoke, pet dander, insect allergens, molds, household sprays, and fumes.
- Activities and lifestyle (exercise and occupations that exposes you to irritants)
- Body conditions like stress, obesity, having sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and viral respiratory tract disease
- Medications such as beta-adrenergic receptor blockers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
The Role of Humidifiers
After knowing what happens to a person who suffers from asthma and understanding the different causes of its flare-ups, let us now discuss the interplay of humidifiers in an asthmatic person’s life.
Is a Humidifier Good for Asthma?
Humidifier alters the air that we inhale by increasing its moisture level. It was said to ease our children’s suffering from respiratory issues like colds, cough, and even asthma. The next most important question now would be “how?”
Primarily speaking, humidifiers can address the cause or etiology of asthma through the following mechanisms
- The presence of filters allows your air to be somehow purified. The machine screens the air it humidifies before it releases it into your room. With this being said, it can remarkably decrease the presence of molds, dust, and smoke. There are some machines that have special features like an anti-microbial system that can target pathogens or the disease-causing bacteria that can thrive in your houses.
- The humidity brought by this machine safeguards your children from heavy concentrations of sprays (paints, perfumes, insect killers, etc.) Remember that we also mentioned stress as a cause of asthmatic triggers? Humidifiers have calming effects and that is why it is normal to see one in spas or massage centers. In addition to that, humidifiers can also help remove the discomfort of people suffering from asthma by making their airways moisturized. Heavy breathers have the tendency to have dry mouth, nose, and trachea, making it painful to breathe.
You might have seen how useful humidifiers are in your home already by now but you have to understand that are major responsibilities you have to carry out.
Your first assignment is to make sure that you have conducted thorough research about the product that you will buy.
You need to know that there are different classifications of humidifiers available on the market. Would you want the humidifier to be present in your entire house or just one room? Do you need to have special features like evaporators, oil diffusers, rotating disks, steamers, or ultrasonic vibrations?
Consider the fact that steam vaporizers are dangerous if left unattended. Your toddlers can accidentally spill the water inside and burn themselves.
As much as possible, I suggest you to get one with humidity measurement. This allows you to set up the humidity level according to your needs.
Once you have the machine, it is highly important for you to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. You need to set it up correctly and use it accordingly or else, you would end up buying another humidifier unexpectedly.
Last, but the most vital consideration is that you have to commit to its regular cleansing or maintenance.
Do not forget that the reason you bought the humidifier is that you wanted to alleviate the suffering of your family members with asthma. Having an uncleaned humidifier will make the symptoms worse to tell you frankly.
Remember that there is an interaction between water and temperature in this machine. It can be the worst or best habitat for microorganisms (bacteria, molds, and dust) depending on how often you clean it.
We now came to the part wherein we have to emphasize that the answer to our main question “Does a humidifier help with asthma” is yes.
We have established the connection of a humidifier with asthma through scientific reviews.
Getting a humidifier does not only help people with asthma. It is also beneficial for the entire family. On top of that, humidifiers are not age-specific. The benefits of purchasing this machine can be enjoyed by babies, kids, teenagers, adults. Did you know that old people reap the advantages of humidifiers the most as it does not only humidify the air they breathe, it also makes their skin moisturized?
Thank you for reading and I hope that you learned from it. If you do, help promote public awareness by sharing this article!
Last Updated: 26th Apr, 2020