We don’t need to be told twice that allergies mean trouble. Allergy attacks are even worse when you experience them right at your very home, where you should feel safe and free from irritants.
But since we cannot totally avoid allergens and toxins, some people go for home devices that can at least alleviate allergy symptoms. One famous choice is the humidifier.
Can a humidifier help with allergies? What is the best time to use a humidifier to fight off or ease allergy symptoms? Is it safe to sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom? At what point does a home humidifier become bad for your allergy?
Let’s blow off some steam by answering these pressing questions.
How Do Humidifiers Help With Allergies?
Yes, a properly maintained humidifier does help with allergies. Dry air can make breathing difficult for people suffering from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. A humidifier helps relieve allergy symptoms by releasing water vapor to moisturize the air in your home.
There are three benefits of good humidity concerning allergies:
- A humidifier alleviates difficulty in breathing caused by allergies. Dry air does not cause allergies in itself, but low humidity in your home can worsen allergy symptoms and other lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. Increasing the vapor in the environment can stop allergies from progressing to wheezing, coughing, and sneezing.
- Moistened air reduces inflammation of the sinuses. Diminished water from the air can cause mucous membranes of the respiratory tract to dry out and get inflamed. The humidifier can supply the much-needed humidity to keep these membranes working efficiently.
- Increased moisture of the breathing air makes it easier to discharge allergy triggers from the body. As nasal mucosa gets moist, mucus and phlegm thin and loosen. A person suffering from allergies can blow or expel sputum containing germs and contaminants much easier than when the air is dry.
For humidifiers to be effectively used as allergy relief, it is crucial to keep the humidity level in check. Too much humidity can also make your home a breathing ground for molds, mildew, and insects which are classic allergy triggers.
When Should You Use A Humidifier for Allergies?
Twenty-four million Americans were diagnosed to have seasonal allergies in 2018. Seasonal allergies pertain to allergy attacks at specific times of the year. They are also referred to as “hay fever” or “seasonal allergic rhinitis.”
Seasonal allergies are triggered by pollen particles produced by trees, grasses, and weeds. Those who check pollen counts found that pollen production is at a time-high during spring (beginning in March or April), summer (beginning in June), and the beginning of fall (September).
A humidifier in your home or office is primarily beneficial during these seasons to give relief against allergic reactions.
Common hay fever symptoms include a runny or congested nose, red, itchy, and watery eyes, scratchy and irritated throat, coughing, and sneezing, which are pesky and exasperating. The extra humidity may help reduce your allergy symptoms caused by inflammation due to allergy.
How about winter, you may ask?
Although the pollen count is lower during winter, the risk of acquiring seasonal allergic rhinitis is still present, depending on which region you reside in.
Additionally, if combined with the use of heating systems, humidity drops significantly in winter because cold air cannot carry as much moisture as warm air does.
If an allergy attack suddenly happens during the cold season, the allergy sufferer may experience more distress because their mucus membranes and sinus cavities may dry out.
To counteract this, humidifiers work to reduce allergy symptoms by improving the condition of the sinus and mucus membranes.
Why Is It Better to Use A Humidifier At Night?
Now that we have identified which months it is more ideal to use a humidifier, how about which time of day?
Health professionals specializing in allergies state that allergy symptoms can get worse during the evenings. How so?
- Post-nasal drip happens when you lie down. Mucus production increases during an allergy attack. As you lie down to go to sleep, that mucus drips down from your sinus or nasal area to your throat making conditions aggravated.
- Indoor allergens are in your bedroom. While it is not likely you have pollen generators inside your bedroom, you could be exposed to other kinds of allergens such as dust mites and mold hiding in your bedsheets, pillows, mattress, and carpet.
- Pollen still found its way into your sleeping areas. You might have left any windows open where pollen snuck in. If you also slept with your day clothes on and did not shower before bed, you might have brought some pollen with you in bed.
- A pet who sleeps with you is causing your allergy to worsen. If you are allergic to pet dander, sleeping with your beloved dog or cat will expose you to harmful allergens all night. Plus, if your pet wanders around during the day, it may bring pollen inside your bedroom triggering allergies.
- There are fewer distractions at night. Your allergies may feel more bearable during the day because you are busy with daily activities. But the moment your workday stops and you are about to rest, the symptoms feel more overwhelming and troublesome.
Because of these reasons, it is particularly helpful to keep a humidifier or vaporizer close to you as you sleep at night to maintain the ideal humidity level. Adding more moisture to the air as you sleep will bring you relief from your allergies.
But is it safe, though, to sleep with a humidifier on? Or will it lead to more problems?
Can You Sleep With Humidifiers On If You Have Allergies?
YES. Generally, you can sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom without negative effects on your health.
There are several health benefits of sleeping with active humidifiers at night:
- Humidifiers work to reduce allergy symptoms by improving the condition of mucus membranes. As we keep on mentioning, a personal humidifier may help alleviate symptoms of allergy because it moistens your sinus and nasal cavities.
- Humidifiers keep your skin from getting irritated and itchy. Your skin is an important organ, too, and it is at risk of damage when the air is too dry. If you are having an allergy attack, your skin getting prickly and scratchy is the last thing you want to add to your misery.
- Humidifiers minimize snoring. Maintaining good humidity is not just good for the sleep of the allergy sufferer but also for the person sleeping next to them. Because humidifiers re-introduce moisture to the air, it lessens the tendency to snore loudly due to dried-out mouth, pallet, and airways.
When Does a Home Humidifier Become Bad for Your Allergy?
Although we are mostly singing praises for the humidifier in this article, it is also vital to be realistic about what humidifiers can and cannot do.
First things first, while humidifiers help relieve allergy symptoms, they won’t cure allergies. Allergies are caused by allergens and there is still no known permanent cure for allergy attacks. Removing the source of the allergy and taking over-the-counter medication along with maintaining good humidity in your home can relieve the sufferer from the symptoms.
Secondly, it is wrong to think that the humidifier will significantly reduce the growth of allergens. Truth be told, if the vaporizing device is not properly cleaned and maintained, dander, dust, and mold from the humidifier may cause more harm than good.
Finally, it is critical not to overuse the humidifier. Excessive moisture may exasperate allergy symptoms. It is best to keep the humidity level within 30% to 50% for a better impact on your family’s health and well-being.