Is ultrasonic humidifier hurt people

Not all humidifiers ensure healthy indoor air

14.11.2006

Humidifiers should provide a better indoor climate, especially in the winter months, but some are hygienically questionable. This is what scientists from the University of Duisburg-Essen report, who examined eight devices on behalf of Ökotest.

Especially in winter, air humidifiers should ensure a healthier room climate in order to prevent problems with the mucous membranes or rough skin. But not all devices keep this promise, some are even harmful to health. This is the conclusion reached by scientists from the University of Duisburg-Essen on behalf of the consumer magazine Eco test examined eight electrical devices. "Two of the devices tested accumulate over 100,000 bacteria per hour in one cubic meter of air," explains Dr. Michael Barczok, resident pulmonologist at the Lung Center Ulm and media officer of the Federal Association of Pneumologists (BdP). "A bacterial emission of this magnitude is to be regarded as hygienically questionable, especially since in comparison the bacterial load of normal city air is around 100 germs per cubic meter." In addition, there have also been positive test results, for example some manufacturers have equipped their devices with heating elements, to kill the bacteria at temperatures around 70 degrees.

Ultrasonic nebulizers in particular are strongly discouraged
"Allegedly, even with humidifiers that atomize the water with ultrasound, a significantly improved hygiene can be achieved - but I have had completely different experiences," emphasizes Barczok. “Last winter alone, I had four near-deaths in my practice due to inflammation of the alveoli - so-called alveolites, which were caused by ultrasonic mist humidifiers. Therefore, we strongly advise against using ultrasonic nebulizers, which are currently sold by many shops with esoteric articles! ”In acute alveolitis, fever and shortness of breath occur four to nine hours after contact with the pollutant. If the pollutants persist over a long period of time, those affected can also develop an allergy to the pollutants and then suffer from so-called humidifier fever - this is an allergic, chronic inflammation of the alveoli that is accompanied by coughing and a pronounced feeling of illness.

Even simple means can humidify the room air
Instead of such devices, very simple means can also help to keep the humidity in the rooms sufficiently high - for example large hydroponics, a drying rack in the living room or an open bathroom door after a shower, ”recommends Barczok. In contrast, opening the windows in winter has little effect, as the outside air is usually too dry at low temperatures.