A sore throat is typically caused by a virus or bacterial infection. It is so pervasive that almost everyone has and will experience an irritated throat at least once in their lives.
While some severe varieties of sore throat need to be consulted by a medical professional, most cases of sore throat can be treated at home with a few simple remedies. One of them is the use of a humidifier.
Do humidifiers help with sore throats? Since sore throats are more frequent in the morning, how can both vaporizers and humidifiers help ease throat irritation? What type of humidifier works best in easing a sore throat? Should you add anything to the humidifier water to make it more effective?
Carry on reading to see what’s the logic behind this simple and easy but effective home treatment for sore throat problems.
Can A Humidifier Help Ease Sore Throat?
A humidifier can help with a sore throat by increasing the humidity level in the air of your home. Taking in moistened air can help soothe inflamed throats. Also, humidifiers may help ease coughing and congestion due to a cold that often leads to throat pain.
There are three specific ways a humidifier is a helpful device in relieving a painful throat:
- Alleviate pain from an itchy throat. A sore throat generally feels like your gullet is on fire. Like on a literal fire, water has a cooling and neutralizing effect on a burning throat. The humidifier increases the moisture content of the air in your home thus easing your throat’s pain.
- Soothe swollen nasal tissue. The ailment of your nose and throat are closely related since the back of your nose leads directly to the windpipe and esophagus. Irritated and infected nasal cavities increase mucus production which may cause post-nasal drip, where mucus drips down at the back of your throat and cause soreness. A humidifier loosens and thins the mucus which makes it easier to spit out instead of being swallowed.
- Reduce congestion and irritation. A stuffy or congested nose will force you to breathe through your mouth as minimal air passes through your nasal region. If you do breathe into your mouth, your throat will be more exposed to dry air and become even more dehydrated, worsening your throat condition. As the humidifier improves the humidity level of the indoor air, your stuffiness decreases, you can breathe through your nose again, and put less pressure on your throat.
Will Humidifiers Help With A Painful Throat in the Morning?
It’s upsetting to be waking up with a stabbing pain in your throat as if you swallowed a mouthful of sand and make breathing feel like work.
There is an abundance of information online explaining why most people are susceptible to a sore trachea in the morning. Some of these are:
- Sleep apnea symptoms such as snoring
- Improper sleeping position
- Reaction to irritants that came through an open window
- Allergies to bedding and other chemicals in the bedroom
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- Congestion due to flu, colds, or viral infection
While you need a health professional to cure legitimate illnesses such as sleep apnea, GERD, and smoking-related issues, humidifiers can help ease the impact of sore throat symptoms prompted by the rest of the root causes.
For example, humidifiers are often the best choice for relieving discomfort and irritation caused by dehydration or not drinking too much water before or in between bedtime. Because we sleep for several hours at night, our throat becomes parched, especially if combined with the cold weather and a running heating system.
Humidifiers replace the much-needed moisture you missed from downing a glass of water by instead spraying the cool mist around the indoor space.
Throat pain due to snoring while sleeping can also be minimized by the use of humidifiers. If the air in your home–particularly your bedroom–is too dry, the throat became dehydrated and irritated easily and triggers snoring.
A humidifier will help in increasing the moisture level in your bedroom by spraying water mist for a quieter sleep.
Although humidifiers do not exactly cure flu, colds, and infections caused by bacteria or viruses, a vaporizing unit can take the edge off the vexing symptoms by reducing itchiness in the throat, thinning mucus, and easing congestion.
What Kind of Humidifier is Best for Sore Throat?
Humidifiers can come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. But which type can help the most when it comes to dealing with sore throats?
Before we delve into what specific kinds of humidifiers are there, let’s first discuss the two major categories of humidifiers: the warm mist humidifier and the cool mist humidifier.
- Warm Mist Humidifiers. As you may have guessed from its name, humidifiers with warm mist heat up the water first, and the steam produced from the boiling raises the humidity.
A common variation of warm mist type of humidifiers is the steam vaporizer. Both function by heating water and releasing it into the air. While these devices are great in proliferating moisture in the air, they are risky when it comes to children and pets because they can cause burns when accidentally touched or overturned.
- Cool Mist Humidifiers. On the contrary, humidifiers with cool mist use a fan to help evaporate or use ultrasonic vibration to break off small particles of water and then scatter them in the air as fresh droplets. Health experts recommend cool mist over warm mist vaporizers in relieving sore throats, dry skin, and congestion.
Here are the common types of cool mist humidifying units:
- Evaporative: Disperses water by fanning water into the air through a filter or an absorbent material. They are typically portable and less expensive.
- Impeller: Produces additional moisture by spinning a disk at high-speed to release droplets.
- Ultrasonic Cool Mist: Raises humidity level by ultrasonic vibration, or in a sound wave with a frequency above the upper limit of human hearing. The vibration causes the extremely small water particles to scatter quietly.
Can I Add Anything to the Humidifier Water to Make It More Effective?
While water in itself is a great humidifying agent, some people found adding other substances to the humidifier water to make it more potent or serve other vital purposes:
- Salt. It is said to aid the water evaporating quicker making the humidification process occur in less time.
- White vinegar. Adding a cup of it to the humidifier water is found to stop the growth of mold and mildew.
- Lemon juice. The smell of lemon extract is milder than vinegar and it is also recommended to add it to humidifiers stuck in storage for a long time before use.
- Vicks, Vaporub, and other essential oils. These are controversial choices to add to the humidifier water. Some people find it soothing to add them in the humid air, but some recommend otherwise as they are deemed to damage the water tank.