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Warm-mist vs. cool-mist humidifier: Which is better for a cold?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cool-mist-humidifiers/AN01577
- With Mayo Clinic emeritus consultant
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.read biographyclose window
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.Jay Hoecker, M.D.
Dr. Jay Hoecker, an emeritus member of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, brings valuable expertise to health information content on primary care pediatrics. He has a particular interest in infectious diseases of children.
He's a Fort Worth, Texas, native, certified as a pediatrician by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was trained at Washington University's St. Louis Children's Hospital, and in infectious diseases at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1989.
"The World Wide Web is revolutionizing the availability and distribution of information, including health information about children and families," Dr. Hoecker says. "The evolution of the Web has included greater safety, privacy and accuracy over time, making the quality and access to children's health information immediate, practical and useful. I am happy to be a part of this service to patients from a trusted name in medicine, to use and foster all the good the Web has to offer children and their families."
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Warm-mist vs. cool-mist humidifier: Which is better for a cold?
When should I use a cool-mist humidifier vs. a warm-mist humidifier for a child with a cold?
from Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.
For their safety, always use cool-mist humidifiers for children. Hot water or steam from a warm-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer can burn a child if he or she gets too close.
Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which helps ease coughing and congestion due to a cold. Warm-mist and cool-mist humidifiers are equally effective in humidifying the air. Also, by the time the water vapor reaches your child's lower airways, it's the same temperature regardless of whether it started out warm or cool.
Another benefit of cool-mist humidifiers is cost. Cool-mist humidifiers are less expensive than are warm-mist humidifiers because you're not paying for the heating element. You may also pay less in energy costs. If you use a humidifier, be sure to keep it clean to prevent the growth of bacteria and molds. Wiping down the humidifier daily with a 10 percent bleach solution — 9 parts water to 1 part bleach — is one way to safely keep it clean.Next question
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- Diagnosis and treatment of respiratory illness in children and adults. Bloomington, Minn.: Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. http://www.icsi.org/respiratory_illness_in_children_and_adults__guideline_/respiratory_illness_in_children_and_adults__guideline__13116.html. Accessed Aug. 27, 2010.
- Buying a humidifier for baby? Keep it clean. Consumer Reports. http://blogs.consumerreports.org/baby/2008/11/buying-a-humidi.html. Accessed Aug. 27, 2010.
- Use and care of home humidifiers. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/humidif.html. Accessed Aug. 27, 2010.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 30, 2010.