a woman sits in her living room working on a laptop. Air wafts towards a dehumidifier.

Dehumidifiers For Asthma

Too little moisture in the air and too much moisture in the air can be both be asthma triggers. Humidity is a common asthma trigger; the complicated part is that different levels of humidity can be a trigger for different people. The outdoor air is uncontrollable and can be unpredictable, but luckily there are some things you can do to manage the indoor air of your home. Dehumidifiers may help improve asthma symptoms by removing excess moisture from the air, controlling mold growth, and creating an environment that is less hospitable to dust mites.

How can a dehumidifier help with asthma?

Interestingly, there is currently no clear cut evidence or research that shows that a dehumidifier can help reduce asthma symptoms. Taking humidity out of the air inside your home runs the risk of creating an environment that is too dry. This could actually cause you to experience a dry throat and coughing!1

Climate

That being said, if you live in a very humid place, like in the southeastern U.S. or Hawaii, a humidifier may prove to be beneficial to you year-round. Summer tends to be the most humid season of the year for many places, so using a dehumidifier during this time of the year might be necessary. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, the winter can be very rainy, so a dehumidifier may be helpful during this season.2

Dust mites

Another reason a dehumidifier may be helpful for those with asthma is due to the fact that dust mites enjoy an environment that is humid. Being allergic to dust mites is another common asthma trigger. By reducing the moisture in the air within your home, this can help create an environment that is less hospitable to dust mites.3 Those who don't have asthma but have an allergy to dust mites may also have a use for a dehumidifier.

Mold

Lastly, a dehumidifier can be a method of controlling mold growth within your home. Mold allergies can also be a trigger for asthma, and too much moisture in the air can increase the risk of mold growing within your home.4,5

Different types of dehumidifiers

There are a variety of different dehumidifiers on the market, ranging from size and price. Here are the three main types:2

Refrigerator dehumidifier

These are the most common types of dehumidifiers. These draw in moisture from the air which condenses on a metal plate and cools the air in the process.2

Desiccant dehumidifiers

These humidifiers draw in moisture from the air, and there is a material inside of the unit, a desiccant, that absorbs the water.2

Whole-house dehumidifiers

This is a dehumidifier system that gets installed into the house. These are considered the most efficient dehumidifiers, especially for a larger space.2

There are other varieties of dehumidifiers used for different, specific purposes. Bedroom dehumidifiers are typically listed for sale as being "small and quiet." These are meant for smaller spaces, like a bedroom, and don't make as much noise as the larger dehumidifiers.2

Technically, all dehumidifiers help control mold growth, but there are also dehumidifying ventilation systems that remove condensation throughout the whole home. However, these are typically larger and more powerful than other dehumidifiers. Because of this, they will be on the more expensive side.2

Is a dehumidifier right for your asthma?

Depending on where you live, a dehumidifier may be needed year-round, or just during a certain season. Removing some of the moisture from the air may improve your asthma symptoms, prevent mold growth, and discourage the increase of dust mites.

Curious about other ways to manage the air within your home? Read about air purifiers and humidifiers.

Editor's note: A dehumidifier can remove mold spores from the air and prevent new mold from growing, but it will not remove existing mold.4,5 If you are regularly exposed to existing mold, talk to your doctor about how this may be affecting you.

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