Humidifiers for Sinusitis – Boon or Bane?
Dry air irritates the nasal passages and aggravates existing conditions like sinusitis. The mucus discharge is also increased when the air is dry, which spells bad news for asthmatic people. Often, we do not realize that our increasing congestion or more frequent bouts of sinus headaches and facial aches is a result of being in an environment where humidity is very low or the air is dry. One of the most common ways in which our environment loses necessary humidity is when we use heating systems within the home. Heaters suck the humidity from the air and make it dry, leading to irritated sinuses and resultant problems.
How Humidifiers Help
As the name suggests, a humidifier is a device that adds essential humidity to the air we breathe. This humid air is far healthier for those with chronic respiratory ailments such as asthma, allergies and sinus problems. Studies have revealed that the best way to treat chronic sinusitis is to keep the sinus inflammation away and to ensure that proper nasal drainage is enabled. As a sinus attack can cause blockage of the nasal passages and impair nasal drainage, it is clear that preventing or reducing the severity of sinus attacks is a good way to avoid complications. By humidifying the air and preventing your sinuses from getting irritated, humidifiers do exactly this.
Rather than carrying out sinus irrigation on an everyday basis to keep your sinuses moist and clear, it is easier to install a humidifier to keep your entire home’s internal environment sinus friendly. This is particularly essential for homes where central heating is run all day, sucking out all the moisture from the air circulating inside.
Use Humidifiers with Caution
Although humidifiers keep the air moist and reduce the chances of sinus irritation, they may actually exaggerate your sinus problems if you use them incorrectly. For example, unless you have the perfect humidity settings on your humidifier, the air you breathe may either be too dry or too moist to be healthy. When it is too dry, your sinuses are irritated and when too moist, it makes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, dust mites and other allergens, which can cause sinus infections.
Another point to note is that it is critical to use humidifiers with only clean and fresh water. Using contaminated water or water that has been standing in it for days increases the chances of bacteria (that have bred in the water) spreading into the atmosphere. As these can cause your sinus problems to aggravate, it is very important to first learn how to use your humidifier correctly, with recommendations from your physician as well.