Do Humidifiers help with Asthma?

This blog post was updated on the 4th May 2020.

a boy with asthma

Even if you have perfect lungs, poor air quality inside your home can wreak havoc on your ability to breathe.

As your brain needs oxygen to continue doing just about everything required to keep you alive, breathing is rather important. Yet, for hundreds of millions of people around the world who suffer from Asthma, dry and polluted air filled with allergens can be especially bothersome – possibly even life-threatening.

These irritating, airborne substances can include chemicals, smoke, wood dust, metal salts, dander and more. While it’s great to rid the air of unwanted particles, sometimes the problem lies with the dryness of the air, turning these lung irritants into microscopic projectiles that transform your home into a battlefield.

If you suffer from asthma or severe allergies, I’m sure you’ve already looked for all the possible ways to alleviate the symptoms of asthma and have questioned whether humidifiers are good for asthma.

Adding extra humidity to the air may seem like a fantastic idea…at first.

So..are Humidifiers bad for asthma?

At first glance, it seems like a no-brainer that adding extra moisture to the air through a humidifier will help lubricate the soft tissues of your airways which have become dry and irritated. There are many articles out there that acknowledge this and recommend buying humidifiers to help in this situation.

However recent studies have shown that whilst humidifiers can be beneficial, they have a tendency to become a breeding ground for airborne allergens which are the primary cause of asthma triggers. The extra moisture they add to the air can and regularly does build up inside the device, leading to the cultivation of molds, spores and other allergens like dust mites.

It is highly advisable that you consult with your doctor first before purchasing a humidifier as you may actually exacerbate the problem.

But hold on…Humidifiers can still help asthma sufferers…

Whilst we can’t ignore the dangers of having a dirty humidifier in your home, other studies show that when used in conjunction with air purification devices, you can actually get all the benefits of a humidifier without the negative side effects of adding toxic allergens to the air.

If you already use a humidifier, you might be interested in learning more about how an Air Purifier can help reduce the risk of adding more airborne allergens to your indoor air. If so, Check out our guide on Asthma and Allergy air purifiers.

What is the best type of humidifier for Asthma?


First, you need to understand that there are fundamentally different types of humidifiers in terms of how they operate. But, they all serve the same purpose, and that is to add moisture to the air.

Four of the most common types include evaporate, steam vaporizers, ultrasonic and impeller-driven. The latter two produce a nice, cool mist, with the ultrasonic working silently thanks to the ultrasonic waves it uses to get the job done. As the name implies, steam vaporizers (spoiler alert) heat water with an electrical element to vaporize it, resulting in a warmer air. Last but not least, evaporative humidifiers use a fan. But all of these, can become breeding grounds for mold, mildew and dust mites without regular and very thorough cleaning.

But now we have a breakthrough!

Recently manufacturers in the indoor air business have become aware of the problems associated with dirty humidifiers and the allergens they might be spreading around our home and have come up with a great solution. A 2 in 1 air purifier and humidifier device that both adds humidity to the air, whilst also cleaning it – ensuring the device itself is not adding any impurities to the air. Naturally it will still need cleaning from time to time, but this breakthrough in modern technology for all allergy sufferers.

We can’t recommend buying one of these combi devices enough. They are fantastic and solve all the problems associated with regular humidifiers. 

If you do suffer from asthma and allergies. If you would like to see some of the units we recommend, then check out our other post about it: humidifier and air purifier products.

a humidifier and air purifier in one

Is it beneficial to increase the humidity in my home?

To put it simply, if you’re doing it the smart way, which is humidifying the clean air that’s been produced by a quality air purifier, then yes.

Adding moisture to the air will help your skin, relieve some symptoms and discomforts of allergies, reduce inflammation and help moisten the delicate tissues of the nasal mucosa (inside your nose). But, there’s a catch – higher humidity levels in the air can promote the growth of mold and germs if the air is dirty. This is why you need a combination device.

People who have asked whether or not humidity is good for allergies have often lived in an area with seasons that don’t vary much, or they haven’t traveled. Anyone who has been exposed to a wide range of climates and humidity levels can tell you how much of a difference it can make.

Dry air can cause your body to produce excess amounts of mucus, irritate your nasal passages (to the point of triggering an infection), allow dust from surfaces to become airborne easier, and send your asthma into panic mode.

In short – dry air can be really bad. You want to find the ideal level of humidity for your rooms, and many of the top-rated machines are designed with sensors and indicators to keep things in check.

Is a humidifier good for seasonal allergies?

Many of the over-the-counter drugs, remedies passed down from grandparents and even breathing masks (think zombie apocalypse) can be avoided during cold and flu season by simply purifying and humidifying your air, allowing your mucous membranes to do their job effectively.

A properly cleaned and maintained air purifier & humidifier device can curb the potency of dry air irritants, alleviate coughing, sore throats and running noses, and help keep your fingers out of your dry, irritated eyes and nasal passages.

There is evidence that a higher humidity level can increase the spread of bacteria. We recently looked into this when making our new guide on air purifiers to fight bacteria.

Putting Asthma in its place

This condition can be worsened by frequent exposure to triggers. While a person who suffers from asthma may exhibit a variety of symptoms – pressure and tightening of the chest, slowness and fatigue, chest pains, unproductive coughing and wheezing – an attack can come on suddenly and without warning.

Although suffering from allergies is never fun or a walk in the park, asthma attacks are definitely no laughing matter, and can have serious consequences, especially when frequent. You and your loved ones should takes steps to protect yourselves.

Many of the triggers are avoidable through thoughtful action and a decent air purifier, coupled with the right levels of humidity in your home or office. Eliminating the irritations of pollen, dander, dust mites, smoke, dust, chemicals and more can give asthma a beating – never letting it spring up to begin with (or, at least reducing the frequency of symptoms).

With a little planning, some research (we’re happy to provide you with nuggets of wisdom), and a sound investment in the right humidifier and airpurifier, you can turn asthma and allergy experiences into a thing of the past.

This article was written by Fin Tatello – check out his author bio here