Can a Humidifier Make a Cough Worse?

Can a Humidifier Make a Cough Worse?

Coughing is a common problem for many people, which could degenerate into other health issues if not treated. Humidifiers are household appliances that increase the moisture content of the air. Over the years, the correct use of humidifiers has been found to suit health issues like cold and allergies.

Many people might also wonder if a humidifier will soothe their cough or make it worse. This is the aim of this article. We will discuss the impact of a humidifier on coughs. Does it make it worse or relieve a cough? Before we examine the detail of this, we must know what causes a dry cough.

What Causes Dry Cough?

Several illnesses characterize the winter period. This is not surprising as the cold weather stresses the body and the immune system. This creates tension, making the body pretty susceptible to infections and the flu.

Besides, when the temperature gets excessively low, we tend to rely on artificial heating appliances. We need this to keep our indoor temperature at a reasonable level. The result of this is a dry heat that causes other health hazards in the home. This also explains why coughing is pretty common during the winter.

Breathing dry air affects the lung. There are lung fluids that protect our nasal passage and airways. It keeps the passage moist so that you get to breathe effectively. When you breathe in dry air, this fluid evaporates faster. You get a dry airway with this, which might swell up and irritate you. This is why you develop a dry cough.

Will a Humidifier Help With Cough?

Many people are interested in knowing the impact of humidifiers on a dry cough. Many people wonder if a humidifier will make a cough worse. According to medical practitioners, a humidifier does not make a cough worse. On the other hand, it can help relieve chronic coughing. 

When you start coughing, a warm or cool mist humidifier will provide optimum relief. Ideally, even if a humidifier will not improve your cough, using it will not hurt in any way. While the result of many people might differ, it is important to be careful.

The experience you will have when using a humidifier as a relief for cough depends on many things. The duration of the cough and the way you use it matters. The next section will shed light on the operation of a humidifier and how it helps relieve cough. 

How a Humidifier helps With Cough 

One of the major causes of cold, cough, and sore throat is when your nasal passage or through becomes dry. The reason for this is simple – the moisture needed to grease your nasal passageways comes from the air you breathe in. If the air is dry with low moisture content, the nasal passageway will not get enough lubricant.

Here are some of the ways a humidifier helps relieve people of cough 

  • Humidifier introduces moisture into the air. This lubricates and moistens the nasal passageway, making it easy to breathe.
  • The humidifier reduces inflammation which also helps to breathe.
  • The humidifier reduces swelling in your nasal airways.
  • It also reduces sinus congestion.

We recommend the use of a warm mist humidifier for people that wants relieve with a cough. There is a section below that will shed more light on the types of humidifier recommended for alleviating cough. You can get relief by using a warm mist humidifier as it kills microorganisms and germs that could trigger cough and illness.

Also, you can use medicines and other addictives like Vicks in a warm mist humidifier. This passes the medicine to the nasal airways with the diffuser. We will discuss more on this in later sections.

Is a Whole House Humidifier Good for Cough?

There are many types of humidifiers, and a whole house is a common type. It adjusts the relative humidity of the entire room in the house. This means that you get purified air in every room in your home. With this, everyone does not have to crowd in the same room to enjoy the effect of the humidifier. 

A whole-house humidifier operates pretty differently from the point of use humidifier. The unit is linked to the furnace, and you can operate it using the thermostat. As a result, the entire family do not have to cluster in a room or carry the humidifier from room to room.

Also, it does not make noise because it employs the furnace fan to get moisturizing mist across to various rooms. 

Humidifier Type Recommended for Relieving Cough 

Thanks to the improvement in science and technology, there are various types of humidifiers. As a result, users might be confused about the best choice of humidifiers to relieve cough.

The next section discusses the types of humidifiers


Warm Mist Humidifiers


The humidifier heat stored water and turn it to steam. The steam is introduced into the room, which clears the nasal package, helping you breathe easier. This way, it relieves cough without making noise.


Cool Mist


In contrast to heating water to steam as used in the warm mist humidifier, the cool mist traps contaminants using a filter. This makes sure that the air that gets to the room is free of microorganisms.

We recommend this humidifier for people living in warmer climates as it helps cool the room. The slight reduction in temperature makes breathing easier, easing cough in sufferers.


Whole House Humidifiers


These are big humidifiers that serve the entire house. It differs from the two humidifiers above in size and the mode of operation. Every room in the house can enjoy moisture when you use whole-house humidifiers. These units work best with distilled water and regular maintenance. Also, be sure to change the filters regularly.


Ultrasonic Humidifiers


This is the latest version of a humidifier that enjoys modern technology in delivering moisture to users. It distributes moisture using the combination of a metal diaphragm and ultrasonic vibration.

While the various types of humidifiers described above come with unique advantages and disadvantages, the best choice depends on personal preference. A warm or a cool-mist humidifier, however, works best for relieving cough. The next section sheds more light on this.

Warm and Cool mist Humidifier for Cough 

If you want to buy a humidifier for health purposes, we recommend going for warm mist humidifiers. This can be traced back to their mode of operation because they warm the moisture (mist) before delivering it to the room air. This way, it kills off bacteria and other microorganisms that might want to harm you or worsen your cough.

This way, you breathe in a high-quality air which is devoid of pathogens and germs. With less or no microorganism in the air, the higher your chances of fighting illness, including easing cough. 

Precautions When Using a Humidifier as a Cough Relief

Without a doubt, we are confident that a humidifier will provide relief for cough. However, you must keep a couple of things in mind. For instance, illness and diseases are common. Also, do not expect your illness to disappear immediately you turn on the device. Yes, you will feel comfortable, but the cough will not disappear overnight.

Also, a clean humidifier is a healthy humidifier. In other words, for you to be healthy, you cannot escape the maintenance of your humidifier. Make sure you follow all the maintenance instructions recommended in using your humidifier. Change the water daily and use only distilled water. Do not use harsh detergents to clean it.

Also, sophisticated humidifiers come with additional features and might require extra maintenance routine, compared to the normal ones. Using your humidifier without care, cleaning, and maintenance is asking for trouble as it can worsen your cough rather than relieve it.

There are some classes of the humidifier (mainly ultrasonic humidifier) that release white dust into the air. This, however, is a factor of the type of water you use. You can avoid this problem by using distilled water in your humidifier rather than using tap water.


Coughing is a pretty common occurrence in people that is common in winter. It is evident, as discussed, that a CLEAN humidifier can help relieve the symptoms. Humidifiers introduce moisture in the air, which provides mucus and fluids that cushion the nasal passage, making breathing and coughing easy.

The aim of designing a humidifier is to create a comfortable and habitable indoor space for man. It does this by increasing the moisture content in the air. This improves the overall quality of air hence making people breathe normally.

Kindly note that the humidifier will not get rid of your cough symptoms immediately. Besides, a dirty and under-maintained humidifier might also worsen your symptoms. As a result, be sure to observe all recommended maintenance procedures suggested in the manual.

On a final note, there are humidifiers specifically targeted at relieving symptoms of cough. You can consider these models if your main aim of getting a humidifier is to relieve cough symptoms.

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