Winter is coming, as they say, and as the heat turns on in your home, and the air gets colder outside, you might find that your nose is uncomfortably dry. And if you already have a stuffy nose or cold, then simply breathing and existing in your home can become a laborious, even painful, task.
Having a humidifier can do wonders for your nose, sinuses, and airways — if it's used properly, explains Miguel Wolbert, MD, a board-certified allergist in Midland, TX. In general, humidifiers can help prevent nasal irritation and nosebleeds, and keep your airways from becoming inflamed, Dr. Wolbert says. And that's a good thing, because "once the nasal passages are more lubricated, then it becomes easier to blow out the irritants, pathogens, and of course allergens that accumulate in them," he says. Think about it this way: If there's dirt on a window, spraying water and then wiping will clean it, he says. "Without the water, wiping the dirt just rubs it in even more." In winter, your sinuses are a dry and dusty window sill, metaphorically speaking.
That means that, if you are going to use a humidifier, you have to be really diligent about cleaning it properly. You want to keep up with wiping away irritants and mold, so they don't propagate with the humidified air, Dr. Wolbert says.
Ahead, find humidifiers at a variety of price points that can help prevent the wrath of dry nasal passages this winter.
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Although this humidifier is a little pricey, you can choose between running warm or cool mist — so it's like having two humidifiers in one.
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The control panel on the front of this humidifier allows you to get a precise reading of the humidity of your room. The mist exits the machine at warm 104 degrees, which is great if your room tends to get chilly.
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The knob on this teardrop-shaped humidifier controls how much moisture the device emits, and the nozzle can be rotated 360 degrees.
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The digital "humidistat" on this tower humidifier makes it easy to set the humidity level to precisely the setting you like, and allows you to see when you might be overdoing it.
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This easy-to-use humidifier and oil diffuser has a color-changing bulb inside so you can adjust it based on your mood or decor. It's about the size of an iPhone 6, so it's best for small rooms or desks.
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Health goths will love this minimalist humidifier, which automatically turns on when the air falls below a 40% humidity level. Dr. Wolbert says about 45% is an ideal level.
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Special germ-killing technology in this humidifier will kill up to 99.9% of water-bred germs, bacteria, mold, and spores in the water. It's bigger than most humidifiers, and works best in medium-size rooms.
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Perfect for your office or desk, this mini humidifier allows you to adjust the amount of humidity using a knob and will turn off when it's out of water.
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Warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers are equally effective, because by the time the mist reaches your lower airways, it's the same temperature regardless of how it started, according to the Mayo Clinic. This warm-mist model has two settings and can run for a full 24 hours on low. Plus, it's about the size of a Wi-Fi router.
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This humidifier has an optional nightlight built in and doesn't make a lot of noise, which makes it a great pick for nighttime use.
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The two nozzles on the top of this model rotate, so you can ensure you're misting the entire room. Keep in mind, you can't use essential oils in this tank.
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This quirky elephant model shoots steam out of its trunk, but don't discount it as a joke: It can humidify a 500-square-foot room.
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This inexpensive humidifier is great for packing on trips or using at your desk. While you can't adjust the level of moisture, there's one button, which makes it incredibly easy to use.
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There are two mist settings and an optional nightlight on this humidifier. Sleek, simple, and to-the-point.