As temperatures drop and heaters all over the country are being cranked up, it's important to be aware of an insidious trigger of allergy symptoms-- dry air inside the home. Heating systems can have the unwanted and detrimental effect of reducing the moisture present in the air. The resulting dry indoor air can lead to many problems including dry skin, itchy throats, and irritated nasal membranes. If you've ever seen the effects of dry air on wooden furniture, for example, it should come as no surprise that such air is harmful to your own much more delicate tissues.
Allergy sufferers are particularly prone to the discomfort caused by dry indoor air. And individuals suffering from sinusitis must be especially careful to maintain a comfortable level of moisture in the air during the colder months since dry, irritated nasal passages lead to inflammation and flare-ups. Here are some ways to fight the problems associated with dry indoor air.
Monitor Your Home's Humidity with a Humidity Gauge
The first step in maintaining a healthy level of humidity in the home is knowing how much moisture is in fact in your air. A humidity gauge, also called a hygrometer, like the Acu-Rite Digital Humidity Gauge is an indispensable tool in monitoring your home's humidity.
Just exactly how humid should your home be? Experts recommend that indoor humidity levels for allergy and asthma sufferers be kept between 40% and 50%. If the humidity level isn't high enough, you will still suffer the effects of dry indoor air; but humidity levels that are too high encourage mold growth and dust mite propagation. Because of this, we recommend leaning toward the lower side of this range and adjust your humidity up until you reach a comfortable level. Some humidifiers, like the Air-O-Swiss 7135 Ultrasonic Humidifier, contain their own built-in humidity gauges.
Maintain Proper Humidity Levels with a Humidifier
Humidifiers, as their name suggests, add moisture to the air, thereby alleviating the effects of dry air. There are four main types of humidifiers:
Deciding which humidifier is right for your family's needs depends on a number of factors, such as whether warm or cool mist is better for you, whether you desire the option of adding medicine to the humidifier, how quiet you need the unit to be, how often you're able to refill your unit, operating costs, and how much germ protection you want your unit to have.
Our Humidifier Buying Guide can help you choose the unit that's right for you and keep you and your family from the effects of dry air during the cold winter months.
Note: It is extremely important that you follow manufacturer's instructions regarding the maintenance of your unit, especially when it comes to cleaning your humidifier. Improperly maintained humidifiers can introduce mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms into the air that you breathe.
Stop Sinus Problems Before they Start with the SinuPulse Nasal Irrigation System
Dry air is especially problematic for individuals who are prone to sinus infections. Breathing dry indoor air can irritate nasal passages, causing them to become inflamed, ultimately leading to flare-ups of sinusitis.
Sinus rinsing and moisturizing is a simple and efficient way to both prevent sinusitis symptoms and to eliminate sinus infections if they do occur. The SinuPulse Elite Advantage Nasal Irrigation System is a comfortable way to keep sinuses properly moisturized and rinsed. Designed by Swiss engineers, the SinuPulse Elite washes away offending allergens and dirt in the nasal passages, gently moisturizes, clears congestion, and increases healthy blood flow in the sinuses. The SinuPulse may also be used with a throat irrigator tip and a throat mist irrigator tip, an added benefit for treating dry, itchy throats that often result from dry indoor air.
To read more about sinus problems and the benefits of nasal irrigation, see the article,
Knowing about the harmful effects of over-dry air in the home is the first step in taking action. Making sure that you add the right amount of moisture into the air with a humidifying unit and monitoring moisture levels in the air with a humidity gauge can counteract the problems caused by dry indoor air. And for those with particular sensitivities, a nasal irrigation program is a great way to keep sinus problems at bay.