Cool Mist Humidifiers
Treats: Nasal and chest congestion; cough
Why use humidifiers? "Humid air is a great natural decongestant during the overnight hours," says Dr. Miller. Cool mist humidifiers moisten dry winter air, and breathing this in works to soothe wheezy coughs, clears your child's nasal passages, and loosens mucus in his lungs. Running a humidifier in your child's room overnight may help your sick baby finally get some much-needed rest.
How to use humidifiers: First, shop for a room-size home humidifier. There are two main kinds:
- Hot water vaporizers are humidifiers that releases steam heat. Steam vaporizers tend to be lower in price, and most come equipped with a device to add menthol vapors to the warm mist. The big downside for steam vaporizers is the risk that hot water and steam could accidentally burn your child.
- "A cool mist humidifier is the safest choice to leave in a child's room overnight. You don't need to add anything to the humidifier but cool water for it to work," says Dr. Miller.
Keep in mind: Water left sitting in cool mist humidifiers often leads to mold and bacteria growth in the unit. Re-starting a mold-contaminated humidifier could send spores of bacteria into the air. To prevent bacteria from taking hold, clean and disinfect the reservoir tank on a regular basis (according to the manufacturer's directions) and never leave water sitting in the humidifier when it is not running. In addition to these steps, Dr. Miller recommends spraying the unit with a hydrogen peroxide and water solution once a week while in use.