Where to Put a Humidifier When You’re Sick

Where to Put a Humidifier When You’re Sick

The best place to put a humidifier when you’re sick is in your bedroom. Running a humidifier in your bedroom while you sleep can help thin out mucus secretions and relieve congestion, coughing, and other cold and flu symptoms.

According to the Mayo Clinic, humidifiers work by increasing moisture in the air, which can soothe irritated respiratory passages and make it easier to expel mucus. The moist air also prevents tissues in your nose and throat from drying out, which can worsen coughs and sore throats.

Why Use a Humidifier When Sick

There are several key reasons why using a humidifier can be beneficial when you have a cold, the flu, bronchitis, sinusitis, or other respiratory illnesses:

  • Helps thin out mucus secretions in your sinuses, nose, throat, and chest so they are less sticky and easier to expel when coughing or blowing your nose
  • Soothes irritated and inflamed airways, reducing coughing and throat clearing
  • Prevents delicate nasal and throat tissues from drying out, which can worsen coughs and sore throats
  • Allows you to breathe easier when congested so you can get more restful sleep
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The Benefits of Using a Humidifier in Your Bedroom

There are several key reasons why your bedroom is the ideal place to put a humidifier when you’re sick:

  • You spend a lot of time sleeping in your bedroom, so you get maximum exposure to the moist air over many hours
  • It’s easier to concentrate the moisture in a smaller enclosed bedroom space versus humidifying the whole house
  • You can place the humidifier near your bed on a nightstand and adjust the mist direction so it blows towards you
  • Running a humidifier in your bedroom helps keep the environment comfortable for restful sleep

Where to Position the Humidifier in Your Bedroom

The best places to position a humidifier in your bedroom include:

  • On your nightstand near the head of your bed
  • In a corner of the room near an electrical outlet
  • On a dresser, table, or stand across from your bed
  • On the floor near, but not directly next to heating vents

Avoid placing the humidifier:

  • Directly next to your bed where the mist could blow directly in your face
  • On the floor where it’s more likely to get knocked over or splashed
  • Next to electronics, wood furniture, or anything that could be damaged by moisture

Tips for Running a Humidifier in Your Bedroom

Here are some tips for getting the most out of using a humidifier in your bedroom when you’re sick:

  • Run the humidifier continuously while sleeping and when home in your bedroom
  • Refill the water tank daily and change filters regularly as directed
  • Use a warm mist setting for extra comfort, especially if congested
  • Adjust the mist output to keep your bedroom at a comfortably humid level
  • Keep your bedroom door open to allow the humidity to circulate into other rooms as needed
  • Clean the humidifier weekly to prevent mold, bacteria, and mineral deposits from building up

Ideal Humidity Levels for Your Bedroom

According to the EPA, the ideal indoor humidity range for health and comfort is between 30-50%. Using a hygrometer to monitor humidity, aim to keep your bedroom in the 40-50% range when using a humidifier.

Here are the recommended humidity levels for your bedroom:

Season Recommended Humidity Level
Summer 40-50%
Spring/Fall 40-50%
Winter 30-40%

In dry climates or during the winter when heat is running, aim for 40-50%. In more humid climates or during the warmer months, 30-40% is sufficient.

Potential Downsides of Humidifiers

While humidifiers can provide relief when sick, there are some potential downsides to be aware of:

  • Mold and mildew growth – Excess moisture encourages mold growth. Be sure to clean and disinfect humidifier regularly.
  • Bacteria buildup – Stagnant water can breed bacteria. Use purified water and clean humidifier often.
  • Skin dryness – Very high humidity can cause skin to dry out. Keep bedroom humidity under 50%.
  • Condensation – Cold surfaces like windows can accumulate moisture. Wipe down damp windows.

With proper maintenance and monitoring of humidity levels, you can minimize risks and get the benefits of humidification when sick.

When to Stop Using the Humidifier

Once your cold, flu, sinus infection, or other respiratory illness symptoms have gone away, you can stop using the humidifier. The NHS recommends running a humidifier only when needed for symptom relief, not continuously.

Extended high humidity can encourage dust mites, mold, bacteria, and fungi growth in your home. It also increases condensation which can lead to potential mold issues over time.

So in summary, placing a humidifier in your bedroom while sick can help relieve congestion and coughing so you can sleep better and recover faster. Position it near your bed and run it throughout the night for maximum relief. Once symptoms resolve, you can stop humidifying to avoid potential moisture-related issues in your home.

Choosing the Best Humidifier for Your Bedroom

The type of humidifier you choose for your bedroom will depend on factors like:

  • Room size
  • Noise level
  • Automatic shut-off
  • Runtime per tank fill
  • Ease of cleaning

Some top options to consider include:

Ultrasonic or Impeller Humidifiers

These humidifiers use a vibrating metal diaphragm to create water droplets and disperse them into the air. They are very quiet, but may produce white dust if used with tap water instead of distilled water.

Evaporative or Wick Humidifiers

A wick filter absorbs water from a reservoir and air is blown over the filter to evaporate the water. No white dust, but requires more frequent filter changes.

Warm Mist Humidifiers

These humidifiers boil water, creating steam vapors which provide comforting warmth. Especially helpful for congestion relief.

Other Features to Look For

  • Adjustable humidistat
  • Large tank opening for easy filling and cleaning
  • Automatic shut-off when empty
  • Quiet operation for bedroom use
  • Built-in hygrometer to monitor humidity

Investing in a good quality humidifier designed for easy daily cleaning will provide the best results in your bedroom when sick.

Safety Tips When Using a Humidifier

Follow these tips for safe operation of your bedroom humidifier:

  • Place on a waterproof surface in case of leaks
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets
  • Plug into a GFCI outlet in case of electrical issues
  • Use cool mist option around children to avoid burns
  • Monitor humidity levels and adjust output as needed
  • Clean and disinfect humidifier regularly
  • Turn off and empty water tank when not in use to prevent mold
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions for use and care

When to See a Doctor About Congestion and Coughing

While a humidifier can provide temporary relief when sick, consult with your doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen. Seek medical care if you experience:

  • Fever over 100°F lasting more than 3 days
  • Extreme fatigue, dehydration, or difficulty breathing
  • Cough producing yellow, green, or bloody mucus
  • Wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest pain when coughing
  • Sinus pain and pressure lasting more than 7 days
  • Symptoms lasting more than 2 weeks or recurring illness

For chronic allergies, asthma, sinusitis or other respiratory conditions, discuss humidifier use with your doctor to determine if it may be beneficial for ongoing relief.

Best Practices for Maintaining Your Humidifier

To keep your humidifier working safely and effectively in your bedroom when sick, follow these maintenance practices:

  • Daily – Empty tank, refill with cool distilled water, wipe down exterior
  • 2-3 times per week – Clean tank, filter, and other parts with hot water and vinegar
  • Weekly – Disinfect interior and exterior of humidifier with bleach solution
  • Monthly – Replace wick filters or clean ultrasonic disk
  • Seasonally – Deep clean and dry out humidifier when not in use

Follow your product instructions for proper cleaning methods. Neglecting maintenance could allow mold, bacteria, and mineral deposits to accumulate and send particles into your air.

Alternative Humidity Options to Consider

If you find using a humidifier challenging, other options for adding moisture to the air in your bedroom include:

  • Bowls of water placed near heating vents or radiators
  • Hanging wet towels around your room
  • Placing wet washcloths over heating vents
  • Using a vaporizer or steam inhalation treatment
  • Taking long steamy showers
  • Investing in a whole house humidifier attached to HVAC system

While not as effective as a humidifier, these methods may provide some symptom relief and added moisture when sick.

In Conclusion

Placing a cool mist or warm mist humidifier in your bedroom and running it overnight while sick with a cold, flu or respiratory infection can provide relief from congestion, coughing, and sore irritated airways.

Position it near your bed on a nightstand or dresser, and refill it daily with purified or distilled water to provide moisture throughout the night as you sleep. Clean it regularly to prevent buildup of bacteria and minerals.

Monitor humidity with a hygrometer and aim for 30-50% humidity based on climate and season. The moist air will help thin mucus secretions and prevent dryness that exacerbates coughs and congestion.

Use your humidifier as needed when sick until symptoms subside. Just be sure to maintain it properly and discontinue use when feeling better to avoid potential mold and mildew issues from too much indoor moisture.

Published by

Dennis Reed

Dennis Reed Owner and Author @ BreatheBetterAir.org