ZocdocAnswersWhat does a humidifier do for your breathing?

Question

What does a humidifier do for your breathing?

I have some shortness of breath, especially when I'm trying to fall asleep. My friend recommended a humidifier. Would this help me? What exactly do they do? What about a dehumidifier?

Answer

If you are having shortness of breath when you are trying to fall asleep, then you need evaluated by a physician soon to find out the root cause. Neither a humidifier or a dehumidifier will be able to help you with this problem. The only time I recommend a humidifier to someone is if they get nose bleeds from dry air or a dry throat when they sleep. Dehumidifiers are used in places that are damp to prevent mold from growing (for example in a damp basement). Shortness of breath when you are trying to fall asleep is not normal. If you are getting this shortness of breath from lying flat, then this could indicate that something is wrong with your heart. If this feeling of shortness of breath is relieved by sitting upright, then you should definitely get your heart checked out. On the other hand, lying flat can also cause stomach acid to seep into your lungs. If you have reflux disease, or heart burn, this can be worsened by lying down and could cause the sensation of shortness of breath. If this sensation is accompanied by nausea or a sour taste in your mouth, this possibility should be considered. Since it is unclear what may be causing these symptoms, you should first schedule an appointment with your primary care physician who can help sort out this issue.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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