Health Watch — Winter: Humidifiers

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about dealing with winter. Dry indoor air can rob the skin of moisture, causing dry skin and making dandruff worse. It can also make breathing more difficult. An indoor humidifier can help, but be sure to use it properly and keep it clean.

Dr. Jane Siegel, an infectious diseases expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says for most people who get a couple of upper respiratory infections a year, just cleaning the humidifier with water and drying it thoroughly on a regular basis should be enough. Those with chronic lung conditions such as cystic fibrosis that make them more susceptible to infection should use disinfectant to clean humidifiers. Cool mist humidifiers may be less likely to become contaminated than hot-steam humidifiers.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in infectious diseases.


December 2007

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