Indoor heat during the winter can have a drying effect on our nasal passages, eyes, mouths, lips and throats. That’s where a humidifier, that puts moisture back in the air, can come to the rescue.

I’ve lived in an area with freezing weather for a long time but it wasn’t until this winter that I discovered how much a humidifier could help my poor dried out nasal passages. I could admit I’m a slow learner or blame it on the fact that I moved here from an area with warm, humid weather all year long where such devices were unnecessary. Regardless, I am now a humidifier convert.

I own just an inexpensive evaporative cool-mist humidifier that I purchased at Walgreen’s for about $20 but it’s made a huge difference in alleviating my crusty, bleeding nasal passages this winter. At first, I wasn’t completely sold on the impact of the humidifier until I attended a conference for a weekend. The first day of the conference I noticed my nasal passages once again becoming dry and crusty. The condition worsened during the second day but once I returned home the problem disappeared. This was my first opportunity to notice the difference because I work at home. To say the least, I was now impressed by my noisy, humble-looking humidifier. Don’t tell my humidifier that I am now looking for a bigger, fancier model.

Here is some information about the main three types of humidifiers if you are considering making a purchase.

Evaporative Cool-Mist Humidifiers

These use a fan to blow moist air through a porous, absorbent pad, called a wick or filter, which must be replaced every couple of months. They are not overly costly or complicated but are considered louder than the other types. They come with various-sized water reservoirs, which you fill with cold water. The size you purchase depends on the amount of area you want to humidify.

Warm-Mist Humidifiers

Water is boiled before being released from these humidifiers. They are the least expensive type of humidifier but consume a little more electricity and pose more of a fire risk than the other types. It’s probably not a good idea to use one around children.

Ultrasonic Humidifier

The most expensive and best-looking, these humidifiers use sound waves to turn water into a cool, cloudy mist. While nearly silent to run, they do have drawbacks. During operation, a dry ice-like vapor is released which may disperse materials, such as micro-organisms and minerals from their water reservoirs into indoor air.

Totally Cheap Humidifier

If you can’t afford a humidifier, put bowls of water around your home. It’s amazing how quickly the water evaporates and how much better your nose and other sensitive areas will feel.

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