The 5 Best Humidifiers For Sinus Problems

Sinus pain can be agonizing. Unlike a common cold, which at least has the decency to pass when you sleep it off and take the right medications, managing chronic sinus pain is a bit trickier. Luckily, investing in one of the best humidifiers for sinus problems can help.

“Unlike acute sinusitis, which is usually caused by infection, chronic sinusitis often has more complicated symptoms, and the causes can be multifactorial or difficult to determine,” says Dr. Vinh Nguyen, a family medicine physician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

Nguyen says sinus problems aren’t always related to infections. “Abnormal anatomy of the nose or the sinuses can contribute to chronic sinusitis. These include nasal polyps, sinus polyps, or a deviated septum. Environmental allergies are also much more common in people with chronic sinusitis. Also, a small number of people have chronic sinusitis, because of immune system problems. If you have chronic sinus pain or congestion, you should see your doctor to get a further evaluation.”

So, what can you do to help? Well, for one thing, make it a habit to sleep with a cool-mist humidifier in your room.

“Adding moisture to the air that you breathe using a humidifier can help to relieve sinus congestion by loosening up the mucus secretions of the nasal passages,” Nguyen says. “We recommend cold mist humidifiers for sinus congestion and cold symptoms. Warm mist humidifiers have not been shown to reduce symptoms, and may result in burns.”

This list of highly-rated cool-mist humidifiers include options for large rooms, medium-size rooms, and anyone who travels a lot and needs relief on the go. There’s even a humidifier that doubles as an essential oil diffuser. Trust us: your sinuses will thank you.

1. The Best Standard-Sized Option: A Cult-Favorite Humidifier That Moisturizes The Air For 16 Hours

With more than 14,600 reviews, this cool-mist humidifier stands out from the rest because it boasts features like high and low speed settings that allow you to adjust the amount of mist you need for your space, an optional soothing night light, and a generous 1.5-liter tank that moisturizes the air for 16 hours at a time. This humidifier is ideal for medium-size rooms like bedrooms and offices and it has a 360-degree mist nozzle so you can direct mist in any direction.

2. The Best For A Large Room: A Super Quiet Humidifier That Holds More Water For Longer Relief

Enjoy up to 17 hours of sinus pain and cold relief with this powerful cool-mist humidifier that holds up to 5 liters. You can select sleep mode for middle mist output or choose among low, middle, and high settings. The automatic shut-off feature turns this humidifier off the second it’s emptied of water so that it won’t overheat. But the reason so many people seem to choose this humidifier over others is because, in addition to holding more water, it’s super quiet and doesn’t have stimulating bright lights or a nightlight.

3. The Best Compact Option: A Humidifier That’s So Compact You Can Keep It On Your Desk

This affordable cool-mist humidifier is smaller than most, portable, and perfect for trips — but it runs for a surprisingly long time (30 hours). You can expect a mostly bare-bones design with low and high cool-mist settings and an optional night light. But it also boasts a few sweet tech advancements like Silver Clean Protection to fight mold and mildew and Ultrasonic Technology for a quiet experience that won’t keep you up at night or disrupt your train of thought at work.

4. The Best Humidifier-Diffuser Hybrid : A Large-Room Option With An Essential Oil Tray

Why choose a cool-mist humidifier with one great benefit when you can score one that does it all — including serving as a soothing essential oil diffuser? This large-room humidifier features a separate aroma tray where you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. The tank holds 6 liters of water and the knob adjusts the mist output for up to 50 hours of continuous use. It also has a built-in ionizer to keep bacteria, microbes, and allergens in check.

5. An Energy-Saving Option: These Unique Cordless Humidifiers That Don’t Even Require Batteries

Imagine being able to toss these cool-mist humidifiers into your travel bag to use anywhere you roam — even overseas — without having to worry about how many volts it requires. This pair of adorable humidifiers are completely cordless and won’t even require batteries. Simply pour water into the ball or clay sphere and allow it to work its magic purifying the air. Each set comes with a small and large humidifier and, because these aren’t ultrasonic, a filter is not required — which makes these a breeze to clean.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.

If the cold weather has poorly treated you or you are inflicted with nasal allergies causing your nose to block, as a result of the humidity level of the air, you must have been contemplating on whether to buy humidifier or dehumidifier for stuffy nose.

Almost everyone knows that humidifiers moisturize the air while the dehumidifier does the opposite. But it might be a little bit complicated when choosing one of the two that match precisely with the medical condition of a cold sufferer.

However, picking one of the two has to do with the individual need and the symptoms observed. In this article, we will discuss briefly what you need to know about humidifier and dehumidifier; then, I will give a final verdict on the device to pick for a stuffy nose.

Also Read: Best humidifier for asthma and allergy

Content at a glance

what does humidifier do for colds and congestion

Primarily, Humidifier adds moisture to the air. Dry air has been linked with all sort of symptoms ranging from headache, sniffles, runny eyes, achiness, and even sore throat. These symptoms are related to cold, congestion and nasal congestion.

Although humidifiers won’t wholly heal you of the symptoms listed above, they are best at helping people to find relief from any sort of nasal and throat irritation. The best analogy to describe the working principle of humidifier is when you try to breathe in the warm steam that comes out of your boiling water or when you try to inspire the foggy mist in the air.

Henceforth, Humidifier can be of 2 different types which are the warm mist and the cool mist humidifier. Both add moisture to the air but the different temperature of moisture. Humidifier functions as four different models which are steam, impeller, ultrasonic and wick.

When using a humidifier to treat cold and congestion, it plays its role by breaking down the mucus in the throat. This mucus is also in the form of phlegm which impedes breathing and speech.

Read Also: Best humidifier for dry nose

What does a dehumidifier do for allergies

In conditions whereby the humidity level of the space you reside goes beyond moderate, it is the function of the dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air to prevent the thriving of mold, dust mite or any allergy triggers.

There hasn’t been a significant scientific proof of how dehumidifiers can deal with allergy but based on consumer reports and some physician’s recommendation, dehumidifiers have been said to be quick in cleaning up a runny nose and allergic mucous secretion.

The basic idea behind the working principle of a dehumidifier in combating allergies is the continuous reduction of moisture that might enhance the growth of allergy triggers as well as some certain bacteria and viruses.

What is stuffy nose means

Stuffy nose or blocked nose or congested nose is a condition whereby the nasal passage is overfilled with mucus to the extent that it is difficult to breathe in and out. It is often a symptom to another problem such as nasal congestion and sinus infection.

A stuffy nose that lasts for a few days might be caused by minor illness such as flu, cold. If it extends more than a week, then it might be as a result of hay fever, chemical exposure, environmental irritants, chronic sinusitis, deviated septum.

Stuffy nose in the form of nasal congestion can also occur in the first trimester of pregnancy. This is due to the hormonal fluctuation and increased blood flow to the nasal passage.

Will humidifier help stuffy nose

YES, having the right amount of moisture in the air will go a long way to help stuffy nose and nasal congestions.

As discussed earlier, either cool mist or warm mist humidifier contribute significantly to the substantial increment in the moisture content of the air. Stuffy nose is also known to be due to allergies that arise from the dry air. Therefore, humidification is the best home remedy to relief a congested nose

Will dehumidifier help with a stuffy nose

A dehumidifier will only get your nose more congested. Although, a dehumidifier to some certain extent can help with solving allergy problem they are never the right option for the blocked nose.

This is because dehumidifier will make the air drier and this can result in thickening of the mucus blocking the nasal passage or even encouraging the survival of some allergic triggers. This might as well contribute to a certain level of difficulty breathing. Let’s take a look at the general demerits of using a dehumidifier

Also Read: Best whole house steam Humidifier

Disadvantages of a dehumidifier

Apart from the fact that dehumidifiers can cause the air to be dry

First of all, they are not generally quiet unit except for the small ones that don’t require a placement. This is because the energy used in the extradition of water from space is more than the energy used in providing moisture in a room. This is the reason why dehumidifier is generally noisier than humidifier or any other unit of the same capacity.

Secondly, they consume power on the energy bill. Sometimes extra $50.00 may be added to your previous bill after running dehumidifiers in a month. It is advisable to go for the energy star rated dehumidifiers if the need warrants you to get dehumidifier so bad.

How does humidifier help congestion and stuffy nose

Firstly, dry air has been implicated in the formation of thick mucus inside the nasal passage due to the conducive environment it gives to allergies trigger to thrive. Humidifiers will supply the necessary amount of moisture that is needed to moisturize the thick mucus, thus decreasing the odds of nasal congestion and getting your nose clogged.

Secondly, a humidifier will enhance free breathing and clearing of the nasal passage and throat. This is one of the reasons why humidifier is recommended by a physician to solve the problem of headache that arises from difficulty breathing. However, some humidifiers allow for the addition of essential oils that are effective in enhancing good sleep and relieving nasal disturbances.

Humidifier vs. dehumidifier for cough

Just like the congested nose, cough also occurs as a result of irritation of the mucosal wall of the throat. Cough can either be a short term cough as a reflex action to clear the throat of any irritant or due to a complicated disease, the long term or persistent cough.

Just like the stuffy nose, a humidifier is the best for cough as well. This is because cough would disappear at the appearance of anything to moisturize the throat. Since dehumidifier would rather demoisturize, it will be a bad idea to use it when coughing.

Also Read: Best humidifier for snoring

Humidifier making congestion worse: How possible?

Even after analyzing how beneficial humidifiers could be when it comes to congestion, you must also know that if proper precautions are not taken into consideration when humidifying, it could make congestion worse

To safely use a humidifier for any purpose, ensure that:

  • Clean the humidifier regularly;
  • Keep a record of the humidity level in the room so that it won’t turn out to be a damp room;
  • Change the water in the tank regularly as instructed;
  • Change the filters as well according to instruction;
  • Use pure or distilled water regularly.

Also Read: Best Humidifier for sleep Apnea

What kind of humidifier is best for stuffy nose

  • Steam vaporizers or warm mist:

This type makes use electricity to form steam, which cools off before leaving the unit. However, it might be a risk of burn, and it is advisable to avoid using steam humidifier around children

  • Ultrasonic humidifiers:

Instead of using electricity, these units use ultrasonic vibrations to diffuse mist into the air space.

  • Evaporators:

just like the ultrasonic, These produce cool mist humidity by blowing air over evaporating water.

  • Impeller humidifiers:

These types are the best for kids, and they work by using rotating disks, instead of heat, to produce mist.

  • Central humidifiers:

Also known as the whole house humidifier is connected to the central air conditioning in such a way to cover all the house. They are expensive and effective

Read Also: Best humidifier for Croup cough

Final verdict: Humidifier or dehumidifier for stuffy nose and allergies

Dry air or lower humidity is one of the major causes of nasal irritation and congestion. Humidifiers work to increase the moisture content of space while dehumidifier does otherwise. I wouldn’t be a wise decision to further contribute to the dry air by using a dehumidifier but using a humidifier will go a long way to unstick the thick mucus, thus allowing easy and relieved breathing.

Important Read:

  • How to help croup cough
  • Do you need a humidifier for baby
  • Do air purifiers dry out the air
  • Dehumidifier placement upstairs or downstairs
  • Best steam whole house humidifier
  • Best Dehumidifier for COPD

Humidifiers Don’t Do Lick Of Good Helping Colds

NPR: Pediatricians often recommend using a humidifier to treat coughs and colds. But as NPR’s Nancy Shute reports, it might not be doing as much good as you think.

NANCY SHUTE: Kids get a lot of colds in the winter, and mine is no exception. When my child is sick, getting out the humidifier is the least I can do.


SHUTE: And I’m not the only one. Some doctors run the humidifier when their kids are sick. And Stephen Teach is one of them. He’s an asthma expert at Children’s National Medical Center.

STEPHEN TEACH: Colds are incredibly common. We can expect the average child to get between six and eight colds from September through the spring, and the options that moms and dads and pediatricians have to treat these colds are relatively few. And as a parent myself, I can tell you that we did these all the time when our children were young.

SHUTE: But an article in this week’s Pediatrics says humidifiers don’t do kids a lick of good. Teach, actually, agrees.

TEACH: There’s no evidence that use of a humidifier decreases a child’s symptoms when they have a cold.

SHUTE: Erwin Gelfand is head of pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver.

ERWIN GELFAND: There’s a lot of old wives’ tales about humidified air and how beneficial it is, because I think everybody thinks that if you have humidified air, it’s easier to breathe.

SHUTE: Instead, Gelfand says there are lots of reasons to not use a humidifier. Those old-fashioned steam vaporizers can be dangerous.

GELFAND: A big risk, but the hot ones are burns. And, you know, for kids, many kids got burned with the old hot steam humidifiers.

SHUTE: The newer ultrasonic humidifiers can spread germs, mold and toxic metals.

GELFAND: So you can imagine in a humidifier that those bacteria, those molds may be growing as well, and what you’re doing is you’re dispersing them into the air.

SHUTE: Humidifiers come with lots of instructions for cleaning them with bleach and vinegar and using distilled water. That’s supposed to make them safer, but we probably aren’t doing a very good job.

GELFAND: Most people don’t get at where the water is dispersed. So even though you think you’re cleaning it, you’re probably not eliminating a lot of the stuff that’s growing there.

SHUTE: Stephen Teach says that’s especially true for the millions of kids with allergies and asthma.

TEACH: What we do know is that humidification of the home environment will encourage mold growth. And, of course, mold is a very common trigger for children with asthma.

SHUTE: Despite all that bad news, doctors know that when the kids get sick, we parents are still going to turn on the humidifier. But they like us to know that everybody in the family already has a great humidifier, and it’s as close as the nose on your face.

GELFAND: We humidify the air we breathe, right? That’s why we go through the nose. We have the hairs in the nose filter out, you know, large particles, and we do humidify the air before it goes down into the lung.

SHUTE: Hmm. I’m glad to know that my nose is up to the job.


SHUTE: Nancy Shute, NPR News.

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The single most effective way to unclog your nose

  • Cold and flu season is fast approaching.
  • Break out the antibacterial gel.
  • You’re unlikely to avoid getting ill altogether, so here are a couple of techniques to try if you get a blocked nose.

It’s coming up to that time of year where everyone in your office is going to have the sniffles. No amount of hand gel or avoiding the communal kettle will stop the cold virus getting you — there’s just too many germs around.

If you do get struck down with a cold, one of the most annoying symptoms is a blocked nose. It can linger around even when you feel better, and it feels like you spend most of your weekly budget on tissues.

Rather than endlessly blowing your nose (which you’re probably doing wrong anyway), there are a few techniques for clearing a blocked nose you can try.

According to Prevention magazine, there is one superior method. In a video, the health site explains the tongue tap technique. First, you press your tongue to the top of your mouth and then press between your eyebrows on your forehead. Press, tap, and release for about 20 seconds.

“What it does is it rocks a bone called the vomer bone back and forth, and it actually clears everything that’s congested,” said Amy Rushlow, the managing editor of Prevention.

You can also try putting your head back and pinching your nose, then holding your breath for as long as you can. Take a breath when you finally have to, and your sinuses should be clear.

“Your brain realises that you’re not getting in enough oxygen, so your survival mechanism kicks in, clearing your sinuses so you can get in air,” said Rushlow.

You can watch the whole video below.

There are a few other tried and tested methods to clear a blocked nose on Medical News today. They include:

  • Taking a hot shower — The steam from the shower may help drain mucus away, although it’s just a temporary fix.
  • Flush out the sinuses with neti pots — They have been used for hundreds of years to clear nasal passages of mucus.
  • Eucalyptus oil — Place a few drops of the oil into a cup of boiling water and inhale the steam.
  • Try a decongestant — They are available over the counter and work by narrowing the small blood vessels in the nose, which reduces swelling.

How to get rid of a stuffy nose: Ten possible treatments

In many cases, nasal congestion is only a temporary problem. So what causes that stuffed up feeling? Some of the following conditions can lead to a stuffy nose:

Viral infections

The common cold, which is due to a viral infection, is one of the most common causes of a stuffy nose. There are several viruses that can cause a cold, with the rhinovirus being the most common.

In addition to a stuffy nose, a cold may also cause sneezing, sore throat, and cough.

Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is very common. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 40 to 60 million people in the United States have the condition.

Allergic rhinitis occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to a substance that is usually not harmful. Common triggers of allergic rhinitis include pollen, dust, and pet dander.

Besides a stuffy nose, symptoms may include sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes. It’s not clear why some people develop allergic rhinitis, but having a family history of allergies is a risk factor.

Occupational rhinitis

Occupational rhinitis is similar to allergic rhinitis. It can develop when someone has a reaction to a substance in their work environment. Symptoms may include stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and coughing. People who work around chemicals, wood dust, and grain may be at an increased risk of developing occupational rhinitis.

Pregnancy rhinitis

Pregnancy affects many parts of the body, and that can include the nose. During pregnancy, hormones including progesterone and estrogen increase. The rise in hormones along with increased blood flow can cause swelling of the mucous membranes inside the nose. Symptoms may include stuffy nose and sneezing.

Pregnancy rhinitis can occur at any time during pregnancy. Symptoms usually go away shortly after delivery.

Atrophic rhinitis

Atrophic rhinitis occurs when there is thinning and hardening of the mucous membranes inside the nose. The thinning tissues make it easier for bacteria to grow and lead to an infection. Crusts also may form inside the nose.

The condition is most common in people who have had multiple nose surgeries.

It’s the middle of November and there’s a good chance you have already succumbed to your first sniffle of the winter (even though technically, it is still autumn.)

Yeah… If you’re prone to colds and the flu, this time of year is a terrible slog of Russian roulette regarding which patches of air are safe to breathe.

But according to Prevention magazine, there are a few ways to mitigate a stuffy nose that don’t involve taking any medication at all.

The first is simply tipping your head back, pinching your nose and holding your breath – like so:

(Picture: Prevention Magazine)

MORE: Junior doctors are asking people to pledge their support with #NHSselfie

Hold your breath for as long as you possibly can, then when you finally take a deep breath your sinuses will clear. Apparently this works because your brain kicks into survival mode realising you’re not getting enough oxygen, and so gets to work clearing your sinuses.

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The second option is slightly more complicated, but still easily done even from an office chair.

First, press your tongue against the roof of your mouth. After you’ve done that, tap two fingers on your forehead between your eyebrows and your nose. Repeat the whole sequences (press, tap, release) again and again for about 20 seconds.

Press (Picture: Prevention Magazine)

Tap, release and repeat (Picture: Prevention Magazine)

MORE: 8 models suffering with IBD star in intimate video proving you can still be sexy with a stoma

According to health mag Prevention’s managing editor Amy Rushlow, the way this works is by rocking a bone in your skull called the vomer bone back and forth, encouraging all the gunk in your sinuses to drain.

Does this work? Miraculously enough we are all fit and healthy at the moment so can’t really test it out, but let us know if it works for you.

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Humidifier for stuffy nose

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