HUMIDIFIERS, what you need to know!
We pharmacists frequently get questions about choosing a humidifier. Your Nickman’s Pharmacist can help you make that decision but here is some pertinent information.
· Every homeowner should own a hygrometer that measures temperature and relative humidity. The ideal relative humidity for health and comfort is about 40-50%. Most allergists recommend, “before you recommend a humidifier, recommend a hygrometer first!”
· In the winter months, it may have to be lower than 40% relative humidity to avoid condensation on the windows
· If a parent wants a cool mist humidifier for a child who is congested or has a runny nose, keep in mind that it may make their allergies worse, especially if they are allergic to dust mites and mold.
· Dust mites and mold like high humidity levels, so a humidifier will increase humidity and make allergies worse. Mites contain about 70% to 75% water by weight and must maintain this to reproduce. Their primary source of water for dust mites is ambient water vapor
· For dust mite control, you want to keep humidity levels low. An air conditioner or dehumidifier can help to keep humidity levels low -below 50% if possible. (30% is adequate)
FACTS about Dust Mites:
• Adult Mite Lifespan: Up to 3 months
• Reproduction: Female mites lay about 25 to 50 eggs
• Where they live: Mites live in carpet, fabric upholstery, and mattresses.
• What they eat: Human skin scale, animal dander and trace nutrients. Mites need to absorb humidity, since they cannot drink water.
• What causes the allergies: the answer is simple-- dust mite fecal material. Dust mites do not bite, and they are microscopic.
• Temperature Range: approx. 59°F to 95°F
• Relative Humidity Range: approx. 55% to 85%
Reducing exposure to dust mites:
• Use bedding encasements that cover pillows and mattresses with zippered covers, which are impermeable to mites and mite allergens.
• Wash sheets, pillowcases, and blankets in hot or warm water with detergent or dry in an electric dryer on the hot setting weekly.
• Use washable, vinyl, or roll-type window covers.
• Remove clutter, soft toys, and upholstered furniture. Limit stuffed animals to those that can be washed.
• Remove or replace wall to wall carpets with area rugs that can be cleaned/washed.
• Wash bed linens weekly
• Avoid down fillings- encase comforters with fine mesh material
• Reduce humidity levels between 30 -50%
Excess humidity can also cause:
• Damage walls, paint, wallpaper, insulation, and ceilings
• Mold growth on household surfaces, which can cause health issues in sensitive individuals
• Condensation or fog forming on walls or glass surfaces, such as mirrors, pictures or windowpanes.
• Dampness around the humidifier.
Always consult your Nickman’s Pharmacist!
Next edition we will discuss selection and care of your humidifier.