Humidifiers : Is humidifiers good for... - Asthma UK communi...

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Levans29 profile image

Is humidifiers good for asthma? If so would anyone recommend any as I’m getting chest tightness every so often and don’t know what’s causing this thanks in advance:)

10 Replies

As a general rule I would learn more about your particular asthma first as what suits one asthmatic can be a trigger for another. Air handling systems, such as air conditioning, can be a trigger for some, especially if they dry the air too much. Central heating can have that affect too. Low humidity may therefore be a factor but it's a case of monitoring/measuring the humidity and keeping a diary of symptoms along side that. Only then will you know if low humidity is a trigger for you. I personally wouldn't go out and get a humidifier without those checks first. For all you know the trigger could be damp and/or mould and a humidifier would then make the situation worse.

I've had asthma all my life and I'm still learning about it. Unfortunately it can change and triggers can pop up out of nowhere. At times you have to be Sherlock Holmes to work out what your triggers are and even some medications can make it worse - discount nothing.

Asthma UK has good resources to help you understand potential triggers. Here's one just on potential indoor triggers;

A few years ago when my asthma had taken a turn for the worst (and when I was quite naive about it & didn't realise why I was coughing my boots up daily) I was staying with friends. They had hot air heating, it was extremely dry making my asthma even worse. They put on their humidifier but on a very low setting. I used to breath over it which helped a tiny bit. When they went out I turned it right up & found it a brilliant help, almost instant relief. But that's me and I no way can I take cold damp weather either & am allergic to mould.I wouldn't splash out on one, find a way to test or borrow one - unless you're rich of course! The one I experienced was large & egg shaped. (Sorry I dont recall the name).

One test may be: do you love the steam of a shower? I do however, many asthmaticsfind it a trigger & cannot bear it. Peege

SORRY SO LONG, but I feel this is necessary.....................

This is just a warning if you do plan on using a humidifier. Many years ago a table top (Sunbeam) humidifier really did me in. I was using tap water in the humidifier. I thought the white dust all over my monitor, TV screen and other thigs every single day was from the home remodeling I was having done because the workers were not very good at covering things up.

Yet I was feeling like I had the flu, constantly? I went to the doctors a few times and he just treated me like it was the flu yet said he didn't know what was wrong with me and why I kept getting sick.

Weeks after the remodeling was done, I was still getting sick. I was still seeing the white dust all over.

I found it was the tap water I was putting into the humidifier and the minerals in the water were turning into the fine white dust, and here I was directing it right towards me into the room to HELP my breathing. Well after breathing that dust in for 6 weeks, I really damaged my lungs bad. Before that, I cold run, hop, skip, dance, ......I actually thought my COPD diagnosis might have been wrong.

That incident many years ago, set me way the heck back with my COPD.

So just remember no matter the costs, to use distilled water water in the jugs and not water from your house faucets.

(I do not know how homemade distilled water is compared to commercially prepared distilled water. Also there are articles about storing distilled water that state, "Distilled water can pull in minerals from any material it touches. This means it can absorb trace amounts of plastic or whatever substance is in the container that’s holding it.")

Just be aware of using the humidifier with the water you put in.

I am now so paranoid about using a humidifier, I do not want any thing to do with them.

I try to warn anybody the is thinking about humidifiers.

runcyclexcski profile image
runcyclexcski in reply to winded

winded, are there good/cheap methods to get decent quality di water at home? I have access to pharma quality di water in my lab (I can get 20L a day easily), but it would be nice not to have to depend on that.

winded profile image
winded in reply to runcyclexcski

I am in the US and could not find any that would be considered cheap. Use to be $1 US dollar for a gallon which made it $30 a month which is alot. Probably way more now. I don't know what the UK has.

Thank you for telling me this and making people aware as I thought humidifiers were brilliant for lung conditions, will have a look more into it before buying. I hope your COPD is more controlled now for you such a scary thing

winded profile image
winded in reply to Levans29

You are welcome. Yes please research it more and if you do decide to get one, use the distilled water and, or, just watch for the fine white dust on TV and monitor screens. It will 'show up very easily.

make sure to get a steam humidifier, not a nebulizer/ultrasonic/coolmist one as the latter (as pointed out by Winded) will spray the salt around. A steam humidifier only produces (mostly) clean steam. Make sure the humidifier has a humidity gauge in it and automatically shuts down once it reaches the set point. De-ionized water is the best (our local tap water is horrific, not sure if it's a Leicester thing or not). The bigger the tank, the better (and also more costly to run).

You will also need to be careful not to let the humid air stagnate as it will cause mould growth which would make asthma even worse. You have to monitor the humidity constantly and not let it go above, 60%. Also note that cheap humidity gauges are inaccurate, and a number of 60% on one may be measured as 50% on another. Of course ventilation will reduce the humidity, so you will find the humidifier running non-stop and using a lot of energy and water (daily refills, or even more frequent -- my 3L tank goes dry in 4-5 hrs).

I would also check how well controlled your asthma is. When mine is well controlled, I do not care whether the air is dry or not.

winded profile image
winded in reply to runcyclexcski

I do not know what minerals the fine white powder consist of. (It did not taste like salt?) I just know, I am paranoid and too scared to ever use any type of humidifier, ever again. But thank you for your input.

Hi I had air humidifier small one damp in my room, consultant said not ti use it, but a air purifier is good to use for your asthma, I use now and then.

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