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Cold and Flu Center

Vaporizers for Allergies

author image Tricia Ballad
Tricia Ballad is a writer, author and project geek. She has written several books including two novels, teaches classes on goal setting and project planning for writers, and loves to cook in her spare time. She is living proof that you can earn a living with a degree in creative writing.
Vaporizers for Allergies
Woman sneezing at the office. Photo Credit: Central IT Alliance/iStock/Getty Images

When you or a family member have seasonal allergies, a vaporizer can provide some relief, especially at night. Ideally, indoor humidity should be around 40 to 50 percent. You can test your home's humidity level with a hygrometer, or humidity sensor. These devices are small, inexpensive, and widely available.

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Vaporizer Or Humidifier

There are two basic options for adding humidity to a room: a humidifier, or cool mist humidifier, and a vaporizer, also called a warm mist humidifier. Both work equally well, and vaporizers tend to be significantly less expensive. They work by boiling water and releasing the steam into the air. This action kills the majority of bacteria that may be present in the water or the vaporizer. However, the steam that is released is very hot and can cause severe burns if a young child puts his hand into the steam. If you do not have young children or pets who might investigate the steam, a warm mist vaporizer is a good choice for alleviating allergy symptoms.

Beyond Plain Water

For more severe allergy symptoms that are not alleviated by humidity alone, you can use essential oils and specially made additives with the vaporizer. Menthol and eucalyptus are very effective at clearing nasal passages and opening the bronchial tubes when allergies cause asthma symptoms. There are several brands of vaporizer additives on the market that contain these essential oils. Pour a small amount of the additive into the water in the vaporizer, then turn it on. If you prefer to use your own essential oils, or would like to use another oil, such as peppermint, simply place a few drops of oil near the steam release. Do not put pure essential oil into the vaporizer water, as it will be destroyed when the water boils.

Keeping A Vaporizer Clean

It is essential that you keep your vaporizer clean. When water is left standing in a vaporizer for a long time, mold spores can develop. These spores are released into the air when the vaporizer is turned on, making allergy symptoms worse. Use fresh water daily, and clean out the tank with a 3 percent solution of hydrogen peroxide every three days. Rinse well with several changes of tap water to ensure that the hydrogen peroxide is completely removed. At the end of allergy season, clean the vaporizer and dry all the parts thoroughly before storage.

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