Can A Humidifier Make A Cough Worse?

What is the best humidifier for a cough? Household appliances should make life more bearable.

Even health-wise, appliances such as dehumidifiers should make you feel better. However, sometimes, these same items can have a flip side.

So can a humidifier make a cough worse? Yes, a humidifier can make a cough worse, but only when you do not use it properly. If this appliance is not cleaned often, it can encourage the growth of mold, germs which will cause coughs, colds and other respiratory issues.

In any case, if you read our article on humidifier for coughs, you will see that we are of the opinion that you can use warm or cool mist humidifier for cough to get better.

This article may contain affiliate links. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

And indeed a humidifier for cough can help. You see, it injects some moisture into the air that you breathe. Imagine what happens to your airways when you have a cold. They become swollen and sensitive.

Every breath of dry air that you take makes them worse. It makes them to swell and can even make breathing difficult or painful.

Thankfully, a humidifier for dry cough is going to make the air softer, smoother and silkier.

I know… sounds like a bit of exaggeration, but it is the truth! However, be careful not to make the humidity too high.

You need just enough humidity!

Is a humidifier good for a cough?

You bet it can. When you have swollen sinuses, sore throat and other symptoms of common cold, breathing in feels hard, and challenging. That is why many babies inhale through their mouth when they have a cold.

A humidifier is used to increase moisture when the air is dry by emitting steam or water vapor. This usually happens during winter when the air is dry or in summer when the air conditioner or dehumidifier is overused.

does a humidifier help with cough? Think about it carefully. Dry air causes dry skin, cracked lips, sinus congestion, nose irritation, dry throat, and dry cough. Ideally, the humidifier is used to relieve these discomforts.

So, if you are experiencing a dry cough, nose irritation or a dry throat, you should use a humidifier for dry cough. It will add moisture into the air and provide relief.

If you use the humidifier properly, the moisture it produces should give you relief from the cough by loosening the mucus instead of making the cough worse.

What type of humidifier is best for cough?

Warm or cool mist humidifier for cough? This is what many people ask. Both warm mist humidifiers and cool mist humidifiers are good if you can’t stop coughing.

You can use any. It does not matter whether the vapor released is warm or cool because by the time it gets to you, it will be at room temperature.

If you need a high quality humidifier for coughs and colds, try the Everlasting Comfort humidifier that you can buy on

When can a humidifier make a cough worse?

Mostly, we buy best humidifier for baby cough. It is believed it can help in dislodging the mucus. However, we may also ask: Can a humidifier make a cough worse?

Of course it can. Not every time, but it can under several circumstances as follows:

1. When it adds too much humidity

The desired level of humidity level at home is between 30 to 50 percent. If you make it any higher than that, you will have a excess humidity.

Not only does this cause dampness, but it will also worsen respiratory problems such as asthma.

The high humidity encourages the growth of mold, mildew, dust mites and harmful bacteria. All of these cause allergy and asthma attacks.

Always test the humidity levels using a hygrometer. You could also buy a humidifier that has a built-in hygrometer that maintains humidity at the desired level. You can buy a hygrometer on

2. When a humidifier is dirty

Does a humidifier help clear your lungs? Lungs are sensitive. So, when it is dirty, it might not help.

How often should you clean a humidifier for baby cough? Your unit needs to be cleaned regularly. Dirty filters and tanks encourage the growth of fungi or bacteria.

These cause coughs, colds and lung infections when the steam or mist which is contaminated is released.  The contaminants are more harmful to those with asthma and allergies.

Cool-mist humidifiers are the ones likely to release bacteria and fungi, unlike steam and evaporators.

Warm mist humidifiers on the other hand boil water and as a result, they kill any germs and bacteria. They also kill all viruses. They have a downside too, because they cause mineral deposits to build up in the tank.

And that is just why you need to clean the humidifier as often as possible. Clean it three times a week if you are using it daily. If you use it about once in a week, clean it just once.

To clean the humidifier,follow the instructions that the manufacturer provides. We wrote an article on how to clean a humidifier some time back. You can refer to it.

In most cases, you should empty the tank, wipe it and refill it every day.

Clean the filter system, the bucket and other parts that come into contact with water after three days. Use a disinfectant such as hydrogen peroxide, to get rid of the film and other deposits.

Rinse the tank thoroughly before you use it again to get rid of the cleaning chemicals. You don’t want them to be inhaled after being released by the humidifier.

Change the filters regularly as recommended by the manufacturer.

If you are using a central humidifier built into the home’s HVAC, check the manual on how you can do proper maintenance. You can also call a specialist to help you with the whole house humidifier maintenance.

3. If a person is asthmatic – Is a humidifier good for asthma?

An asthmatic cough can get worse when a humidifier is used. An asthmatic person is allergic to allergens caused by humidity.

In that case, if you turn on the humidifier, you will make the cough even worse. If you get asthmatic attacks, you will need to consult with your doctor before using a humidifier.

4. When it is too old

As you use a humidifier, mineral deposits build up and these may later prove difficult to remove. These deposits can encourage bacteria to grow. If these bacteria are emitted with the mist, it can cause or worsen respiratory illnesses such as coughs.

If your humidifier is old, then it is better to replace it.

Can dry air make your throat hurt?

Actually, dry air can do worse than that. It can make your throat hurt, and it can also make your nostrils and airways hurt.

Image of can dry air make your throat hurt

Every breath that you take of dry air can cause a rattle down your airways. The sensitive membrane feels too sensitive and it can be painful when you inhale.

When you start experiencing a scratchy feeling on your throat, you should know it is time to raise the humidity a bit.

Wrapping Up

Can a humidifier make a cough worse? We have seen that it can. However, you have also seen the things that make a humidifier bad for a cough.

Other things why a humidifier can make a cough worse include dust, dirt or when it releases too much vapor than needed. The good thing is that all these are easy to avoid.

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