Air pollution, pollen, dust and even pet dander (a substance shed from the body of certain animals, and is similar to human dandruff) are all triggers for allergies and for asthma attacks. Aside from placing baby in a plastic bubble, an air purifier may be the best line of defence to spare your baby from the impurities. Sadly our environment is severely polluted.
City dwellers especially are exposed daily to toxic and harmful pollution that is caused by smoke, car emissions and fumes, etc. Air that is polluted can be a major cause for a wide variety of serious respiratory problems for a newborn infant or for a small baby. Not only is the baby at risk of developing adverse respiratory conditions but breathing in the polluted and unhealthy air is placing the baby at a greater risk for developing dozens of allergies and even asthma.
Infants and toddlers who are exposed to air pollutants may develop serious respiratory problems that will remain with them throughout their lifetime and due to the severe level of pollution, many parents are investing in air purifiers and humidifiers which will permit their children to breathe in clean, treated and purified air. If you believe that air purifiers or humidifiers were only necessary for children who were already diagnosed with allergies or suffered from asthma – think again, these devices are becoming more and more common and are being used a lot more by concerned parents who believe that prevention is better than cure! Just as it is important for a newborn baby to be fed, clothed and kept clean, it is as essential to make sure that the air which an infant inhales is clean and pure.
Knowing the difference between humidifiers and air purifiers!
Prior to rushing out and buying every air purifying device on the market, it is important to understand the difference between an air purifier and a humidifier. As the name suggests, an air purifier purifies the air, which means that any harmful pollutants and impurities such as smoke, dust, pollen, chemicals and all other harmful airborne impurities, including bacteria and mold spores, are removed from the air. Most of these impurities cannot be seen and these unseen or invisible dangers lurk in every home, no matter how fastidious a mom may be.
Air purifiers are equipped with delicate filters that essentially act as fine sieves, filtering out and removing all unseen impurities present in the air. When air flows into an air purifier, the fine filters are able to trap the smallest of particles. In technical terms, the unit for measuring air particles is microns. One micron is equal to 1/25,400 of an inch – the human eye is unable to see anything which is smaller than 10 microns. The advanced filtering technology that is delivered by the modern air purifier means that up to 99.97% of all airborne particles which are bigger than 0.3 microns are trapped by the purifier’s filters. In comparison, a standard filter of an air conditioner is capable of only filtering particles that are 10.0 microns or larger.
Due to the filtering capabilities of the air purifier, once the air has been purified – the infant is inhaling air which is virtually 100% clean and unpolluted. The more air which passes through the sieve-like filters of the purifier, the purer it becomes.
Unlike the air purifier, a humidifier does not purify the air but simply increases the moisture or humidity in the room. Over the last few years, humidifiers have undergone many changes and there are quite a few types of humidifiers available. A steam humidifier is often called a vaporizer as the unit boils water and releases the warm steam into the room. The steam humidifier is one of the most cost-effective humidifiers on the market, and besides the affordability of the unit, inhalants (including natural remedies, such as eucalyptus, etc.) can be added. The steam produced will help to alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu and since the moisture level is increased, stuffy or congested noses are relieved, as are dry and scratchy throats. Many families who are living in Johannesburg or the Highveld find that the humidifier lessens the harshness of the typically dry and harsh Highveld winters.
The impeller humidifier is an alternative to the steam humidifier. This humidifier is equipped with a rotating disc that revolves the water through a comb-shaped diffuser. The diffuser breaks the water down into fine droplets that float in the air.
The ultrasonic humidifier makes use of a metal diaphragm that vibrates by vibrating at an ultrasonic frequency which in turn produces fine water droplets (almost similar to mist). Since the ultrasonic humidifier is one of the most advanced type of humidifiers, its operation is silent which means it causes little disruption in the home.
Unlike the air purifiers, the humidifiers do not purify or clean the air; they simply increase the humidity level and are very effective at relieving the symptoms of colds and flu. Besides being very beneficial for flu or cold sufferers, some parents have found that by using a humidifier in their own bedrooms they can help ease snoring as the moisture produced by the unit, moistens the sinuses and mucous membranes and in so doing reduces snoring. It is important however, not to overuse a humidifier as excessive use may cause the room to become too humid and the excessive moisture in the air may cause mold growth.
Humidifier or the air purifier?
If you are uncertain as to which unit to purchase – a good rule of thumb is that if there is a definite family history of allergies and asthma, the air purifier is the best bet. The air purifier can offer benefits for the whole family and may be used from the moment a baby is born. A humidifier is a great investment for the family and may always come in handy (when the child is suffering from flu or from a cold) but the air purifier will serve as the first line of defence and by purifying the polluted air, it will help baby to breathe easy!