Why Humidifiers Are So Important To Seniors

by Bethany
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Air moisture drops significantly during the winter in temperate climates, and in arid climates, moisture levels are always lower than average. However, air moisture is necessary to health and air that is too dry can pose serious health risks. Maintaining adequate air moisture is absolutely essential to healthy respiration, skin health, and immune health. Normal ambient air moisture levels also promote sinus health, reduce the time it takes to heal, and allow you to spend less money on heating your home.

Why Humidifiers Are So Important To Seniors

Not only does air moisture help you breathe easier, but it also protects you from disease by making it harder for airborne viruses to survive. But during the winter months or in climates with generally low air moisture, the air dries up and all of these health benefits dissipate like an ephemeral mist. This lack of air moisture is especially dangerous to seniors, who have reduced respiratory capability and are already more susceptible to disease. If you live in an arid climate or want to protect your health no matter how dry the air gets outside, it might be wise to invest in a humidifier for your home. Before picking out a humidifier, however, there are a few things that you should know about these remarkable devices and the advantages they offer for improved health and comfort.

Humidifiers and Senior Health

Seniors are one demographic that should definitely invest in a humidifier for simple health reasons. While viral infections are a pain in the neck for anyone to endure, contracting a virus can be incredibly dangerous for seniors. One 2013 study found that when humidity levels were kept at 43 percent and above, airborne viruses only stood a 14 percent chance of surviving long enough to pass from one person to another. However, in environments below that humidity threshold, it was found that 77 percent of viruses could survive the trip between hosts.

Therefore, using a humidifier to maintain an adequately humid environment is not only an aid for comfort in wintertime or in arid environments but also constitutes a vital part of any comprehensive senior healthcare strategy. Seniors that use these devices are also less at risk to experience nosebleeds and allergy symptoms, and humidifiers can even reduce the symptoms of allergies and hay fever. Humid air also feels warmer than dry air, reducing heating costs and making seniors feel more comfortable no matter what the temperature.

Proper air moisture soothes the skin, relieves chapped lips, and increases the healing time of cracked or dry skin. All in all, the health benefits provided to seniors that opt to welcome a humidifier into their home more than justify the small expenditure of buying one of these machines.

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What Are Humidifiers

A humidifier is a type of electronic device that produces air moisture. Humidifiers contain a reservoir tank filled with water that is gradually emitted into a home environment. These devices plug into the wall and consistently release moisture into the air. Humidifiers are equipped with sensors that determine ambient air humidity and can be set to start and stop at certain humidity levels. While low humidity is dangerous, high humidity can be just as bad, so it’s recommended that humidifiers be set between 40 and 50 percent humidity. Some humidifiers release a visible cloud of moisture into the air while others do their work invisibly. Whatever type of humidifier you decide on, make sure that it is equipped with an antimicrobial filtration system.

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Where Can You Buy a Humidifier

Humidifiers can be purchased almost anywhere that other home appliances are sold. Examples of physical retailers that can be found nationwide that almost always have humidifiers in stock include Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, and Walgreens. Buying a humidifier at a physical store might be the right choice for you if you want to be able to see the humidifier in person before you buy it and ask employees for information or recommendations. Humidifiers can also be online and shipped anywhere in the country. Popular online retailers where you can buy humidifiers include Amazon, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target.

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How Much Do Humidifiers Cost

The cost to purchase a humidifier varies widely with the type of model that you want to buy. You can buy one of these appliances for as little as $20 or less with discounts, but making this decision might mean skimping on quality and efficiency. There are many humidifiers available for around $40, but these mid-range appliances are only capable of raising the ambient air moisture in a single room and you’ll need to buy multiples to humidify your entire home. The most efficient, safest, and cleanest models can command prices as high as $300, with many quality options capable of humidifying multiple rooms coming in at around $100.

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Different Types of Humidifiers

There are many options to choose from when it comes time to select the right humidifier for your home. Some types of humidifiers use heat to release mist into the air, but these devices can be dangerous if touched and are therefore not recommended by most consumer advocacy groups. However, cool-mist humidifier models are cheap and plentiful and come in a variety of types. Some models come with high-capacity tanks, meaning that they need to be refilled less often. Others come with remote controls so that you don’t have to walk across the room to adjust the humidity levels. Still others are equipped with permanent filters that you’ll never have to switch out.

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Benefits of Humidifiers

Humidifiers are one of the cheapest and easiest ways that you can invest in your long-term health. Maintaining adequate ambient air humidity is absolutely essential to normal biological functioning and should be a high priority for health-conscious seniors. But beyond boosting health, these devices also provide a number of benefits to the home. Wood furniture and flooring will crack if the air humidity is too low or too high, but humidifiers protect the wood in your home by providing a stable level of humidity. These appliances also help hydrate houseplants and protect against static electricity which thrives in dry and cold environments.

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Humidifier Accessories

Humidifiers are amazing appliances on their own, but there are a few ways that you can make these incredible devices even more cost-effective and useful. Humidifiers that aren’t equipped with anti-microbial filters generally have to be cleaned about three times a week. However, this cleaning window can be significantly lengthened by adding an anti-microbial insert into your humidifier’s reservoir tank. You can also purchase anti-bacterial treatments in the form of a liquid that is periodically poured into the tank. And if your humidifier isn’t equipped with a permanent filter, it’s definitely a good idea to stock up on a number of replacement filters to prepare for whatever the future may bring.