Humidifiers can also be dangerous: Humidifiers can cause Hyp
Humidifiers can also be dangerous: Humidifiers can cause Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (allergic pneumonia)
During the winter months, everything is drier, and indoor humidity levels are greatly reduced. In order to combat the winter dryness, more and more people are adding humidifiers to their list of winter essentials. However, Dr. Fenqin Zhang, a pulmonary specialist at Shanghai Ren'ai hospital, warns that if used improperly, humidifiers may cause allergic pneumonia.
Humidifiers can cause allergic pneumonia.
The first instances of allergic pneumonia trace back to farmers who were breathing in grain mold. Their particular professional environment made them most susceptible to this type of pneumonia. However, this illness is no longer limited to peasant and farmer communities. Ironically, the main culprit is something people perceive to be safe and beneficial: the humidifier. Even worse, many people are still unaware of the fact that humidifiers have been causing allergic pneumonia; we are working to increase awareness. Humidifiers can grow and spread large amounts of fungi and bacteria, we breathe it in, and it can accumulate in the lungs and bring about allergic pneumonia.
Humidifiers should be used with caution
Of course, the best way to avoid getting allergic pneumonia from a humidifier is to not use one. However, for people already accustomed to using a humidifier, this is easier said than done. Knowing how to disinfect a humidifier is extremely important. Owners must regularly clean and sterilize their humidifiers as well as change the water in them everyday. Otherwise, mold can quickly start to grow. It is best to every so often dismantle the humidifier to sterilize it as well so mold and insect eggs do not have a chance to grow.
How to determine whether or not you have humidifier-induced pneumonia
The main symptoms of pneumonia are chills, fever, and feelings of choking or suffocating. In the event that you frequently use a humidifier and you experience any of these symptoms, you could have humidifier-induced pneumonia. Do not try to treat it on your own! This type of allergic reaction is not like a cold and needs to be treated by a medical professional as soon as possible for a complete recovery.
Dr. Zhang's last piece of advice: The pneumonia causing substances in humidifiers are not limited to one specific type and could be fungi, bacteria, mold, germs or insects. Therefore, when you go to see a doctor, is it best to wear clothing that has been near the humidifier and may have some of the substance on it, so he or she can determine the cause of the outbreak and provide the appropriate treatment.