published Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Ask A Doctor: My daughter has asthma; does it help to run a humidifier?

By Dr. Tonia Cox, Pediatric

Q: My daughter has asthma; does it help to run a humidifier?

A: A humidifier can be helpful if your child has an upper respiratory infection such as a cold or croup. It can help soothe dry mucus membranes in the nose and inflammation in the throat. However, too much humidity encourages the growth of molds and dust mites, both of which are triggers for many asthma and allergy sufferers. Keeping the humidity around 50 percent is ideal to significantly limit these airway irritants. If you do use a humidifier, only run it while your child is sleeping, and make sure to wash out the reservoir with a dilute bleach solution every other day. Also, make sure to eliminate other common triggers such as cigarette smoke, scented candles, air freshener and perfumes. Ask your pediatrician about other ways you can help your daughter control her asthma.

— Dr. Tonia Cox, Pediatric, Diagnostic Center, member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit an obesity-related question for a medical doctor, email it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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