The moment the temperature drops outside, you and your family start to feel it: cold & flu symptoms. Stuffy noses. Coughing. Sore throats. Everyone seems to be coming down with a cold. While there is no cure for the common cold, there are things you can do to make you and your family feel better. Notable New York City-based physician Dr. Keri Peterson says that one step people can take during cold & flu season is to “keep humidity levels in your home between 40 and 60 percent. This can help reduce the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air.”
A simple remedy to help you navigate through cold and flu season is to use a humidifier, which might help boost your family’s wellness this winter, too. Here’s how:
- Higher humidity levels can hamper the flu virus. A 2010 study* showed that maintaining comfortable humidity can help reduce flu virus survival. Amazing, right? Chances are, the flu virus will enter your home (the worst uninvited guest!) in the coming months, but a good humidifier can help reduce the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air. Remember, though, that even the best humidifier needs to be cleaned properly, and regularly, to help maintain good health, so look for a model with wide openings that make it easier to clean, like Vicks Filter Free Cool Mist Humidifier.
- Humidifiers help provide relief from cough and congestion. Congestion is often caused by inflammation in the airways, and sinus inflammation can be triggered by breathing too-dry air. When a child comes down with a cold, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends running a cool mist humidifier to provide temporary relief from cough and congestion. For even more symptom relief, use Vicks VapoSteam® with the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier or Vaporizer. Vicks VapoSteam® releases a medicated steam with cough suppressant to help relieve coughs for children ages two and older.
- Humidifiers help keep your throat and nasal passages hydrated. Comfortable humidity helps keep throat and nasal passages hydrated, helping you breathe better. If you do get sick, keeping your nasal passages and your throat moist could help you heal faster, and may reduce symptoms like coughing and sneezing.
- Better night’s rest: By keeping your throat and nasal passages hydrated, humidifiers can help create a more comfortable sleep environment, so you can sleep through the night. A better night’s rest can help your body be better prepared to fend off illness, as well as recover more quickly if you do get sick. For additional comfort, add Vicks® VapoPads® to your humidifier for hours of soothing menthol vapors.
- A humidifier helps break up mucus. Dealing with mucus is the worst. The longer it stays, the more you cough, the more inflamed your airways become. Proper humidity helps break up the mucus, making it easier to expel, while also keeping the throat and nasal passages more comfortable (which can in turn help reduce symptoms like coughing and sneezing).
Humidifiers are an essential addition to keep your family well-rested, and comfortable throughout cold and flu season. Make sure to change the water daily and clean them regularly to provide optimum levels of healthy moisture throughout your home.
What other steps do you take to keep your family healthy during cold and flu season?
*A study by Environmental Health and Engineering (Environmental Health 2010, 9:55) shows that keeping air at relative humidity levels between 40-60% can reduce the survival of flu viruses on surfaces and in the air. When used as directed, most humidifiers achieve and maintain 40-60% RH.