Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Do I need a humidifier or a dehumidifier?"

ZocdocAnswersDo I need a humidifier or a dehumidifier?


I don't understand which one I would need, a humidifier or a dehumidifier. I just have trouble breathing sometimes when I am sleeping and wake up with a lot of congestion in my chest. Which one should I use in my bedroom?


A humidifier and a dehumidifier both help improve the air quality in your home. The difference is how they function. If the air in your home is too humid, a dehumidifier works to remove excess moisture. On the other hand, if the air in your home is dry, a humidifier helps add moisture to the air by releasing water vapor throughout the room to increase the humidity level in your home. Both humidifier and dehumidifier can help eliminate respiratory ailments like asthma and chest congestion. A humidifier may be used to moisture the nasal passages and airways when you have chest and sinus congestions due to a cold. But you may use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air and may be useful in treating asthma, which may be triggered by humid air. Chest congestion occurs when your lungs or bronchial tubes become inflamed and produce more mucus than normal. The cause of a chest congestion includes bronchitis, pneumonia, allergy-induced asthma, sinus infection and common cold. With limited information provided, it is difficult for me to determine what has caused your chest congestion to recommend whether you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier. It is good idea to schedule a visit with a primary care physician to have your chest congestion evaluated to determine the exact cause. A chest congestion accompanied by chest pain or shortness of breath may be a sign of a serious medical condition that requires prompt medical care.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.