Can Your Humidifier Make You Sick?

By Sara Butler

Many people use humidifiers in the winter to keep the air in their home moist. Dry air can be a problem, drying out your skin and your mucous membranes, making you even more susceptible to illness. But if you've been sick a lot, the problem may not be the levels of humidity in your home -- it might be your humidifier. Here’s how your humidifier may be hazardous to your health and what you can do about it.

The Numbers

In studies that have tested humidifiers, fungal growth is present in about 75 percent of them. Eighty-seven percent of them have been found to have bacterial growth, too – a toxic soup of things that can make you sick! When you breathe air contaminated from a dirty humidifier it increases your risk of developing health issues such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma attacks
  • Lung conditions like Legionnaire’s disease

You also have to be careful if you already have a chronic lung condition such as asthma, since it can make your symptoms worse. If you have allergies, you need to keep a keen eye on that humidifier.

How to Make Your Humidifier Safe

There are a few things you can do to continue using your humidifier safely. You should:

  • Clean it often – The water inside the humidifier makes the perfect breeding ground for fungi and bacteria, and they can accumulate pretty quick – within a couple of days. So, make sure you clean the water every day and replace the filters every two months.
  • Clean it right – The right way to clean your humidifier is pretty simple. Use a water or alcohol based cleaner to get the job done. Just don’t forget to unplug it before starting and dry it completely before filling it back up again.
  • Use the right kind of water – Not all water is created equal because tap water just won’t cut it. You always want to use pre-filtered, bottled, demineralized water for your humidifier. And remember, the right kind of water doesn’t mean you get to skip cleaning it regularly or changing the water daily.
  • Know when to replace it – Your humidifier will build up deposits over time that you just can’t get off, and those deposits will only encourage the growth of fungi and bacteria. If your humidifier is more than a couple of years old, then it’s time for a new one!

Your humidifier can be a great tool, but for it to take care of you, you have to take care of it!

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.


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