Do you really need a humidifier?

We got to the bottom of it, so you don't have to
Do you really need a humidifier?

Chances are the last time you thought about a humidifier was when you were a little kid with a cold, mother insisting it would magically cure you. And chances are, you probably don’t ever want to give it another thought with all the humidity we experience in the Middle East.

But we have to ask: Were our mums onto something? Do humidifiers really make a difference? According to studies, the answer is yes – but for reasons you probably don’t know, so hear us out.

The Basics

No matter the type of climate you live in, indoor air can often be very dry due to air conditioners and heaters. This is where humidifiers come in. Humidifiers provide some much-needed moisture to ambient air.

But you can overdo it. While moisture can be a positive thing, it also poses problems as humidity levels above 40 - 50 per cent can encourage the growth of mould. Yikes. To side-step that icky risk, it's important to use a “hygrometer” (you can find one at home improvement and electronic stores) to measure the humidity in your home.

It is also recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency that you wash out your humidifier every third day (with either warm soap and water, or white vinegar, depending on the model you have) to prevent any bacterial nasties from blowing around your room and lungs.

Does it cure the common cold?

Cold and flu viruses thrive in dry air conditions, and studies have found that humidity reduces their spread. While a humidifier may reduce the spread of an illness, it won’t necessarily make your cold go away if you’ve already got one.

A humidifier can however help ease cold and flu symptoms like coughing and sneezing by moisturising your nasal, throat, and lung passages.

Can it help you sleep?

Dry air can cause you to feel congested and uncomfortable by making mucus thicker. If you need a little extra help breathing easy come bedtime, humidifiers moisten the environment, prevent nasal dryness and make comfortable sleep a little easier to attain.

Is it the ultimate skin saviour?

“Humidifiers moisten ambient air and can be useful to hydrate skin appropriately,” says dermatologist S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD - a great solution for those of us with dry skin and hair. Not to mention there’s a possibility that it may have anti-ageing effects too - at least according to a 2007 study showing the connection between humidity and smoother skin. Win-win?

Photos: Instagram and Unsplash