Using a Humidifier to Manage Eczema

Using a Humidifier to Manage Eczema

Elizabeth Scott

If you have eczema you know dry air during the winter months only makes your skin feel worse. You may be suffering more than necessary if you aren't using a humidifier. Adding moisture to the air in your home and office will make a big difference in the feel of your skin and nasal passages. In fact, a humidifier is an essential tool to help you manage eczema. It's the same reason moisturizing treatments like wet wrap therapy work for eczema. Dry skin has more cracks just like a desert landscape, but add in moisture and the skin barrier will become smoother, keeping allergens out and lessening the chance of an eczema flare.

When using a humidifier to manage eczema pay attention to the moisture levels in the room. The optimum level is between 30 to 50 percent. Anymore than that and you risk encouraging mold and dust mites! And when it's too high the room can feel uncomfortable. It's probably best to use your humidifier at night as that's when you'll have the most time to be exposed to the humidity.

Once you decide to make the purchase of a humidifier to manage your eczema, it can be downright frustrating to choose the right one! Be prepared when making your purchase by knowing the size of the room you want to use the humidifier and where it will be placed. This information will determine the size of unit to purchase. There are also whole house humidifiers but the most affordable and easy option is to purchase a portable unit. And then you must decide - do you want to use warm mist or cool mist. Below we share some information to help you decide.

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Warm Mist Humidifier

A warm mist humidifier uses electricity to create steam that cools before leaving the machine. The water is boiled before it enters the air, so the mist is less likely to contain bacteria. You may see units labeled as "germ free" which have a built-in ultraviolet light or nano-silver antimicrobial feature that kill germs and spores in the water before it’s vaporized. There are also warm mist units that use a replaceable filter. A warm mist is not recommended for a child's room as it can make it stuffy and the hot steam can be a hazard.

Cool Mist Humidifier

Cool mist humidifier technologies vary but in general a cool mist humidifier works by adding a cool mist of evaporated water to the air. An affordable option, the evaporation humidifier uses a fan to blow air through a wet wick, filter, or belt to trap mineral dust and bacteria before the water evaporates into the air. Ultrasonic humidifiers cost a bit more and emit moisture by ultrasonic vibrations. Some of these units also have built-in antibacterial technology. But don't be fooled into not cleaning your unit. It's still important to clean as recommended by the manufacturer. Some ultrasonic units may emit a white dust. This is mineral from the water. Most ultrasonic units use demineralization cartridges which reduce mineral deposits from tap water and will reduce or eliminate the white dust. You can also use distilled water if you are concerned about this white dust. Ultrasonic humidifiers are known to be more quiet than evaporation humidifiers.

Cleaning is Important

No matter which type of unit you choose, it's imperative to keep your humidifier clean to prevent other health issues. If your unit uses filters consider buying replacement filters at the time of purchase. It's important to change filters as recommended and you'll be glad to have them on hand when it's time to change.

Maintain your humidifier regularly, and you lessen the risk of spreading bacteria and mold, which can exacerbate allergies and asthma symptoms. Most units can be cleaned daily by emptying the water and wiping out the water basin. Depending on the type of unit you own, it may be recommended to remove water scaling with vinegar and disinfect with a bleach solution weekly. It's a good idea to clean your unit again before storing for any length of time.

Although it can be an added cost and a bit of maintenance, you'll find that a humidifier is a great way to help manage eczema. Along with a good  eczema emollient and eczema clothing, a humidifier should be on your list of winter eczema essentials. And with so many options on the market today, it's easier than ever to manage eczema with a humidifier.