Winter sucks for a multitude of reasons, whether you're in a bomb cyclone zone or your whole family has contracted the latest and greatest flu strain. And to add to the misery, winter can affect your body in all sorts of ways, including reducing your blood flow and drying out your skin, nasal passages, throat, and pretty much every other part of your body. Luckily there's an easy way to recover some of the humidity winter sucks out of the air: Humidifiers. You can snag your own humidifier for as low as $30 on Amazon, and the health benefits of humidifiers could well be the solution to all your winter ailments.
It may seem odd that winter air is super-dry, given we're often surrounded by piles of snow, or driving through endless road slush. But the humidity in the air actually drops during the winter, and the resulting dryness can make our bodies super unhappy. Humidifiers can relieve the unhappiness by replenishing the air inside our homes with humidity, therefore taking care of un-fun winter conditions like dry skin, sinus headaches, nosebleeds, and cracked lips.
According to Kristeen Moore and Kristeen Cherney, writing for Heathline, humidifiers can also help alleviate some of the symptoms caused by sicknesses like the cold or flu. And Jeff Flowers, writing for Allergy & Air, shares a study showing that raising the humidity level inside can weaken a significant amount of airborne viruses that may be floating around your home.
However, Moore and Cherney also note that overusing humidifiers can potentially worsen respiratory issues, so if you're going to treat yourself to one, no matter how inexpensive, you've got to know how to use it right.
Compact Appliance's guide to having a humidifier makes it clear you can't just turn it on and leave it; you've got to be aware of how much relative humidity is in your house. You should keep humidity below 60 percent in the summer, and between 25 and 40 percent in the winter. Some humidifiers will come with a built-in meter letting you know how high your home's humidity is, but if your machine doesn't, you can grab a freestanding meter on the cheap.
Spending that little extra cash is going to be worth it because, as Kara Zorn writing for Compact Appliance points out, your symptoms, particularly allergy-related, can get worse if the humidity in your home is too high.
You should also be sure you're cleaning your humidifier per the machine's instructions, because if you don't, Zorn points out, the unit can breed mold, mildew, and bacteria, which will only add to your allergy misery. Another thing that could add to the bacterial count in the air is using tap water, which creates a mineral residue around the room, so you should be using whatever water (generally distilled, demineralized, or purified water) the maker of your humidifier recommends.
While this all may sound overwhelming, it's fairly simply maintenance that will allow your humidifier to do its job efficiently and safely. The VicTsing humidifier, which is $30 on Amazon, is a good starter unit if you're not sure about how exactly a humidifier will benefit you. It holds 300 milliliters of water, covers 25 to 30 square meters of space, and can mist for up to 10 hours, though the unit offers one-hour, three-hour, and six-hour automatic shut-off times.
No matter which unit you choose, humidifiers have benefits that make giving them a shot worth it, especially if you've tried other natural remedies and are still struggling with the consequences of winter dryness. Remember, though, that you should always chat with your health care provider if you're having serious symptoms like ongoing nosebleeds or multi-day sinus migraines.
For the various annoying impacts winter has on your body, a humidifier could be just what you need to make the cold a little more bearable.