A vaporizer or humidifier may help ease your cough. A vaporizer produces steam from boiling water that you breathe in to make mucus less sticky and easier to cough up.
If you have a stuffy nose, it’s hard to breathe. A vaporizer or humidifier may help you breathe better. Plus, it will moisten your mucus and make it less sticky, so coughing is easier.
When should I use a vaporizer or humidifier?
You might want to try these devices if:
- You have a stuffy nose that lasts for more than 2 to 3 days.
- You cough a lot because of an allergy or cold.
- You have croup or asthma.
If you use one, make sure you follow directions carefully as these devices can be dangerous if not used properly, so get help using them.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to fill the device and what temperature setting to use.
- Don’t put anything in the machine that isn’t listed in the instructions, such as lotions or oils. These can release harmful chemicals when they warm up.
- Don’t use a humidifier with a vaporizer if you have asthma. Humidifiers can spread germs, and they add moisture to the air that can cause coughing in some people with asthma. Instead, you can run a hot shower or use wax vaporizers on its own.
When shouldn’t I use a vaporizer or humidifier?
Don’t try using one if:
- You have a croup. The moist air from a humidifier can make this severe illness worse. Call your doctor if you think you have a croup.
- You use a neti pot to rinse out your sinuses. The water or saline in the pot can spread germs, especially cold germs, and cause an infection.
If you’re having trouble breathing, call for help right away. Also, don’t use a vaporizer if:
- You already have thin, watery nasal discharge due to allergies or a cold. This discharge can become infected when it’s in contact with the hot air from a vaporizer.
- Your nose is bleeding. The heat and moisture can make the bleeding worse.
- You have a sore throat. A vaporizer can make your sore throat feel drier, which may make the pain worse.
How do I use a humidifier and vaporizer?
There are different types of humidifiers and vaporizers. They all work by adding moisture to the air you breathe. Here’s how to use each type.
Humidifiers- If you have a cool-mist humidifier:
- Set it on the floor or other low surfaces—you don’t want to burn yourself. Don’t sit too close—keep at least 3 feet away (1 meter).
- Never fill a humidifier with anything but distilled or demineralized water. (Don’t use tap water or bottled water.)
Vaporizers- If you have a cool mist vaporizer:
- Set it on the floor and keep at least 3 feet away (1 meter) from anyone in the room. Never fill it with anything but distilled or demineralized water. Don’t use tap or bottled water.
- Some vaporizers have a reservoir you fill with water, and others have a tank that heats the water inside the machine. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use each type appropriately. Don’t overfill either one, or you could scald someone when hot liquid gets on them.
Don’t leave your device on and unattended. If you have asthma:
- Ensure the humidity is 40% or less in your room—you can check this on an indoor/outdoor thermometer.
- Don’t use a vaporizer during cold weather if there’s snow or ice outside. The humid air inside could freeze and create breathing problems if it gets inside.
When can I stop using a humidifier or vaporizer?
Continue using your device for at least 2 to 3 days after you feel better. The mucus in your nose may still be thick and sticky from allergies or a cold, so keep the moisture around until it’s back to normal.
You may want to have someone check your lungs or sinuses with a breathing device before you stop using the humidifier to make sure your mucus is all clear.
How long can I use my vaporizer or humidifier safely?
When used as directed, an electric rig is generally safe for adults who aren’t allergic to any of the ingredients in them. You can use them for 1 to 3 days at a time.
Humidifiers and vaporizers are both popular for home use. They can help relieve congestion, dry skin, or sinus problems caused by allergies or colds. If you’re having trouble breathing, call 911 right away before trying to use any of these devices at all.