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Clinician’s Corner: Humidifiers

Let’s assume that you bought your hygrometer (humidity monitor) and your child is congested and you want to run a humidifier in your kid’s bedroom.  Your Thompson Pharmacist can help make the best and safest selection and provide tips to care for your humidifier.

TYPES of HUMIDIFIERS

“Cool Mist” These two types of humidifiers generally appear to produce the greatest dispersions of both bacteria and minerals.

  • Ultrasonic, which create a cool mist by means of ultrasonic sound vibrations.
  • Impeller, or “cool mist,” which produces a cool mist by means of a high-speed rotating disk.

Two additional types of humidifiers can allow for growth of bacteria and fungus if they are equipped with a tank that holds standing water, but generally disperse less, if any, of these pollutants into the air. These are:

  • Evaporative: transmits moisture into the air invisibly by using a fan to blow air through a moistened absorbent material, such as a belt, wick, or filter.
  • Steam vaporizer: which create steam by heating water with an electrical heating element or electrodes. “Warm mist” humidifiers are a type of steam vaporizer humidifier in which the steam is cooled before exiting the machine.

Humidifier Care:

  • You must change the water in the portable humidifiers EVERY day
  • Every 3 days you should thoroughly scrub out the reservoir. Rinse with Hydrogen peroxide or dilute bleach solution to decrease bacteria and fungi growth (1 part bleach/9 parts water)
  • Little kids can get “scalded” with the warm steam vaporizers if they get too close. YOU should never buy a “warm mist” vaporizer especially if there are children in the home. Warm mist vaporizers can cause burns if the child gets too close to the steam or accidentally knocks over a device filled with hot water.
  • There is no need to add anything to a warm steam vaporizer. Menthol, camphor (Vicks Vapo-Steam) or benzoin tincture makes the room smell better, but offers no advantage over the increased moisture. Adding these essential oils will ruin a cool mist vaporizer.
  • Look for models with an automatic shut-off feature. Should the water reservoir run dry, the device should turn off automatically.
  • It is best to use distilled water in your humidifier. Tap water contains many minerals that

Stay healthy!  Wash your hands! Always consult your Thompson Pharmacist.