Benefits of Humidifiers in the Cold Winter Months
Winter brings lower temperatures and moisture levels. A home can become uncomfortably dry quickly, especially if the heat is turned on, which is usually unavoidable. Investing in a room humidifier can make the colder weather at home much more bearable.
Benefits of Humidifiers
Humidifiers will certainly improve the comfort level of dry homes. They can also help soothe respiratory conditions if you or a family member has a cold. Low moisture levels indoors can also cause damage to furniture and wooden instruments. Humidifiers may provide relief not only for inhabitants but furnishings as well.
Maintain Skin Health with the Help of a Humidifier
After a winter of pent-up air dried out by indoor heat, the toll on your skin may be all too evident. Heating your home in winter and blasting the air conditioning in summer has the same effect on the skin, and it isn’t good. For those with eczema, dermatitis or any condition that causes the skin to crack, flake or become inflamed, it’s even worse.
That’s why humidifying your home is so important throughout the year. Nothing helps dry skin more than keeping a comfortable, hydrated atmosphere in your home. Room humidifiers provide an easy way to achieve that by adding moisture to the air whenever you want it.
One of the best times to do this is while you and your family sleep. During night hours, humidity is brought back to a comfortable level and helps not only the skin but prevents lips from chapping and helps hydrate the mouth, eyes and nasal areas as well. Without the extra moisture being pumped into your bedrooms, these surfaces can become severely dry and may lose the protective layer of mucus that’s naturally produced by the body.
“Humidifying the air can reverse the process of skin dehydration and is particularly helpful for patients with dermatitis,” said Michelle Tarbox, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University.
Beyond the humidifier
Choosing a room humidifier that’s portable and can be easily moved around the house wherever you need it most is the first step toward keeping your home at a balanced humidity level. Once using a humidifier becomes a regular part of your routine, you can try other ways to reduce dehydration of your skin.
The drying effect of constant hand-washing to ward off flu and cold germs also contributes to skin dehydration, as does the use of harsh home cleansers. According to Tarbox, some moisturizers are more helpful than others. Those that contain ingredients such as essential oils, jojoba, and shea butter are most likely to keep skin supple. Pay attention to your skin type – dry, normal or oily – to determine the best match between your skin and a moisturizer.
In addition, drinking caffeinated drinks such as coffee and alcoholic beverages can deplete your skin of moisture. For this, Tarbox has a rule of thumb – for every caffeinated beverage you consume, drink one glass of water to rehydrate your system.
Getting the Most Out of Your Humidifier
Investing in a humidifier can be very beneficial. If maintained properly and used wisely, humidifiers can make any home more comfortable in the winter.
Find the right room
If you plan on having one unit, decide which room needs it most or move it between more popular rooms. Alternatively, you can purchase more than one unit and leave them in their respective rooms. If you do not plan on getting a humidifier for every room, decide which ones need it the most. Many people prefer keeping a unit in their bedroom to avoid dry throat in the morning. Others like to have one in their living room where the family gathers. Some find it essential to provide one in each child’s bedroom. Find the room that you and your family spend the most time in and assess whether or not it is dry enough to call for a humidifier. Bear in mind that the more humidifiers you have, the more careful you have to be in maintaining optimal moisture levels.
Adjust the settings accordingly
The trickiest part of owning a humidifier is figuring out the optimal level to set it to. It should not be so high that it causes over-condensation, which will promote bacterial growth. However, it should not be so low that it does not provide any beneficial moisture. Start low and increase levels if necessary. Be sure to keep an eye out for moisture accumulating on any surfaces. Wipe these areas off quickly and perhaps lower the settings. Consider investing in a hygrometer to better measure moisture levels in your home.
Remember to clean
A humidifier is wonderful, but also requires a fair amount of work. Remember to wipe off any areas in your home where moisture gathers. An equally important practice is cleaning the humidifier itself. Mineral buildup inside the unit can inhibit its performance, while bacterial growth within the tank can cause unhealthy vapors to be dispersed in the home.
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