Recently, I profiled a story by Korky Vann, a correspondent for the Hartford Courant who specializes in shopping issues, and it seems like I wasn't the only one who took notice of her article. On February 19, she wrote a follow up piece due to the overwhelming response she received from readers around the country, as the article was syndicated in several news sources.
One particular question that caused Vann to write a new report was posed by a reader who questioned the safety of cool mist humidifiers. In particular, Vann cited a phone conversation that alerted her to Legionnaires Disease, a sickness that proliferates when people breathe water that has been contaminated by bacteria.
To follow up on whether or not hot or cold humidifiers would most safely prevent this kind of sickness and other ailments, Vann contacted Dr. Howard Smith, a pediatric doctor who practices in West Hartford.
While the issue may still be one of preference – as I believe that either can be used so long as the humidifier is kept clean, Smith cast his vote for warm mist humidifiers as the safest option.
"Warm-mist humidifiers distill the water and only emit water molecules," Smith told Vann in an interview. "It is impossible for bacteria and mold to piggyback on water molecules, and, therefore, the output is completely safe. Cold mist humidifiers, on the other hand, are like paint sprayers, and they take whatever is in the water reservoir and make a droplet out of it."
But, while we may disagree on this issue, one thing is for certain. Those who purchase low-cost humidifiers at discount shopping outlets need to ensure they clean their units regularly. While humidifiers can cut the cost of home heating and provide a host of other health benefits, these products, like most on the market, need to be used and handled responsibly.