FAQ

Can A Humidifier Help with Cough?

I must say it’s been a terrible month for me…

Besides staying up late at night to write some articles, my new neighbor’s cough has been a source of concern; it’s distracting and irritating.

Since cough could be highly contagious, I started using my humidifier very often to avoid catching it. 

Also, I approached my neighbor and recommended a humidifier to help with his cough. But he asked me a question, “can a humidifier help with a cough”?

As simple as this response may sound, it got me thinking and inspired me to write an article on the above topic. Thus, if you’re interested to know the answer to my neighbor’s question, then don’t stop reading this article! It will give you relevant information on how to alleviate a persistent cough.

A Cough is a sudden, noisy, deliberate, or no expiration that allows some of the air in the lungs to be expelled. Also, it’s a natural reflex that protects your lungs and releases irritants like smoke and mucus. It can also be associated with colds or flu. 

Coughing can help your body gets rid of foreign bodies, allergens irritants, microbes, mucus, and bacteria from your throat.

A cough can be dry or oily, and either productive (which produces mucus) or unproductive (which doesn’t produce mucus). Fat coughs are usually productive because they produce phlegm, while when a cough is dry, it’s typically unproductive.

What Can Trigger A Cough?

If you want to be able to treat yourself, or a patient with cough effectively, you must first find out the underlying cause of the cough. Below are some things that can trigger a cough:

  • Asthma: Asthma is a common cause of cough, particularly among children. It usually involves wheezing. Hence it’s easily identified.
  • Smoking: Smoking is another major cause of cough among humans. A cough caused by smoking usually has a distinctive sound, little wonder it’s called a smoker’s cough. 
  • Virus: Most often, dry cough occurs in the context of a “cold” or respiratory infection and disappears spontaneously within a few days. Viruses are a common cause of respiratory tract infection, such as a cold or flu. 
  • Drugs: Certain medications can induce coughing. However, this is a less common cause of cough. Drugs like Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that are used to treat heart conditions can cause coughing. Others are Zestril and Vasotec. 
  • Allergies: when people are exposed to environmental irritants such as particulate particles, pollen, dust, chemicals, and pet dander; these can cause overreaction and induce cough.
  • Bacteria: Cough can be caused by bacterial infections, e.g., whooping cough, pneumonia, etc. 
  • Other causes of cough are the common cold, Environmental factors, Environmental factors, chest infection, post-nasal drip, lung infection, heart failure, and Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).

Why l Recommend Humidifiers For A Cough 

Over the years, I’ve found out that humidifiers can alleviate or prevent cough. One of the reasons for my belief is because the device was used to treat my little niece of her persistent cough. Also, I ‘ve come across several testimonies of people online who said using a humidifier alleviated their cough.

Although there are several remedies for cough, using a humidifier has proven to be one of the most effective treatments. So I suggest at the first sign of a cough, you should turn on your humidifier to moisturize the air.

Also, humidifiers come in different sizes. Central humidifiers are designed to humidify the air throughout a home. The portable units are small enough to be transported from room to room. Some humidifiers disperse the cold mist, and others disperse hot steam. 

After some thorough research here are my 4 top humidifiers recommended for managing cough:

  • Vicks Mini filter cool mist ultrasonic humidifier.
  • Elechomes UC5501 Ultrasonic Warm and cool humidifiers.
  • Everlasting Comfort Ultrasonic cool mist humidifier.
  • 4Levoit cool mist Ultrasonic humidifier.
  • Vicks Mini filter cool mist ultrasonic humidifier.

4 Ways to Use A Humidifier To Alleviate A Cough

it’s one thing to use your humidifier at home; it’s another thing to use it properly to alleviate your cough. Below are four ways to use your humidifier against cough:

#1. Clean your humidifier regularly

You must ensure to clean your humidifier, particularly if you’re using the cold mist models. If the machine is not cleaned properly, mold, bacteria, or fungi will accumulate in the water tank and spread through the fog, thereby causing health problems like cough, flu infections, etc.

Furthermore, if you have a portable humidifier, don’t hesitate to empty the water and then refill the humidifier tank daily. Also, you use a clean cloth and disinfectant to clean all parts of the unit exposed to water, then rinse the tank thoroughly before the next use.

This can be done every three days, and it helps to remove dandruff or other deposits.

#2. Use distilled water

You must ensure to use distilled or demineralized water instead of tap water in a dehumidifier. This helps to prevent the formation of mineral deposits in the water tank or other parts in contact with water.

The use of distilled water also reduces the risk of dispersal of microorganisms, viruses, bacteria, and allergens, which can trigger cough in the room.

Although, the health risks associated with mineral dispersal are unclear, the February 2011 issue of Pediatrics reported a case of an infant suffering from lung injury after inhaling mineral dust emitted by a humidifier.

This is why I would always emphasize you use distilled water for your humidifier even if it has a filter. 

#3. Monitor the moisture content

Research has it that when the humidity inside your home exceeds 50%, the moisture of the environment can promote the growth of fungi, microbes, bacteria, etc. Moisture can condense on windows, walls, and carpets. So, if you notice condensation, the air in the room is probably too wet.

Some humidifiers have a built-in hygrometer that you can adjust to the desired humidity level, or you can buy an inexpensive hygrometer to help monitor the humidity in your home.

#4. Do not worsen your condition

If you have a hot steam humidifier, you must always stay cautious when using it, because this model of humidifier is a major cause of burns, especially in children.

Burns can occur when someone approaches too close to the steam or boiling water flows from the tank. I would say Cold steam humidifiers are the best option, particularly for a child’s bedroom.

Final words 

Opinions vary as to whether humidifiers reduce the symptoms of coughs and colds. For example, the US Department of Health suggests that a cold fog humidifier can relieve cough by releasing mucus, but World Health Organization studies have found no evidence to support this treatment with cold fog or hot steam

However, if you use a humidifier, take precautions to avoid potential problems with bacteria, fungi, and dust. Also, you should make sure that extra humidification is good for your condition because colds cause not all coughs. For example, humidification may be inappropriate for a person suffering from asthma cough and susceptible to allergen sources.

Lastly, any troublesome cough that persists for more than three weeks should be evaluated by a doctor.

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