How Indoor Air is Harmful
Indoor air pulls a one-two punch. Hot, dry air dries out the mucus membranes of the throat and nose and makes them less effective barriers against infection. Hence, more colds and coughs. Then, after your child gets sick and congested, he stops breathing through his nose and breathes through his mouth.
"The nose is a great humidifier, even in the desert," says Dr. Gerald Loughlin, MD, chairman of the pediatrics department at Weill-Cornell Children's Hospital in New York City. "The mouth doesn't humidify the inspired air as well as the nose." So, that arid air continues to dry out the membranes in nasal passages, airways and sinus passages, increasing congestion and discomfort.
How can you keep the air in your house from being bone dry in the winter? The most popular solution—and one that parents have turned to for decades—is to place a portable humidifier in a child's room. But the solution is not an easy one, because there are many kinds of humidifiers to choose from.