Q:

What does a humidifer do?

A:

Quick Answer

A humidifier increases the amount of moisture in the air. Humidifiers come in different forms and are often used to alleviate respiratory symptoms associated with the common cold and flu virus.

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Full Answer

A humidifier can help relieve symptoms such as congestion, dry skin or throat, chapped lips, dry cough and bloody noses during the winter and in the summer when air conditioning is in use. A humidifier can be installed centrally in a house or bought as a separate device. Centrally installed humidifiers are more costly but can provide increased humidity throughout an entire house, while a separate device typically only affects one room.

If using a humidifier frequently, it is important to monitor the amount of moisture in the air. If the air becomes too humid, there is a risk of mold, dust mites, or bacterial growth in the affected area. Using a hygrometer to measure the moisture in the air can help reduce the risk of having too much moisture.

Humidifiers can help relieve many respiratory symptoms but can also cause problems if used incorrectly. A humidifier must be cleaned properly in order to prevent mold growth. Unclean humidifiers can make symptoms worse rather than better. Some humidifiers emit hot steam and thus should be used carefully around children.

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