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How to help your little one breathe easy this winter

Trying to get some rest with a stuffy nose and a persistent cough is hard on grown-ups, let alone babies and children.  With a lack of medication options, it can leave you feeling helpless when baby has a cold and they’re unsettled during the night.

Thankfully there's a natural solution to providing all-night relief from the symptoms of coughs and colds.

The Euky Bear Steam Vaporiser creates a soothing flow of warm, humid steam that helps to loosen nose and chest congestion, allowing easier breathing throughout the night.  Moisture in the air also helps to soothe a dry, sore throat and itchy eyes for a more comfortable sleep.  And being a natural water based therapy, it’s suitable for all ages.

Here's a few other surprising facts about warm steam you may not have known...

1. Warm steam vaporisers are the best choice for colds.

Vaporisers are devices that produce warm steam, as opposed to devices that produce a ‘cool’ mist, and the ones which simply diffuse essential oils (but don't humidify).  They each have unique attributes and therapeutic benefits, so to find out which is most suitable device for you or your family, this is a great article.

Basically, warm steam is king of colds because:

  • It ‘liquifies’ mucous secretions, making them thinner and easier to expel.

  • It warms and relaxes the muscles of the throat, helping ease the ‘cough reflex’.

  • Adds moisture to the air which helps to alleviate a sore, scratchy throat, crusty nose and itchy eyes.

You can use aromas in warm steam vaporisers in the form of 'inhalants' which are special essential oil formulas which are designed for vaporisers.  But it it truly the steam that gives the most therapeutic benefit, and inhalants are optional.

2. Dry air is a viruses' best friend

We normally think that the damp makes us ill, rather than protects us from disease.   But in the case of colds and flu it’s the opposite.

Thanks to the laws of thermodynamics, cold air can carry less water before it reaches the “dew point” and falls as rain. So while the weather outside in winter may seem wetter, the air itself is drier as it loses moisture.  And a steady stream of research over the past few years is proving dry conditions offer the perfect environment for cold and flu viruses to flourish.

Laboratory studies have shown that in moister air a flu epidemic struggles to build momentum, wheras in drier conditions it spreads like wildfire.  In fact, comparing 30 years’ worth of climate records with health records, research shows flu epidemics almost always follow a drop in air humidity.

3. Higher humidity may halt viruses spreading

Although there’s no firm evidence yet, the science is convincing.

Let’s look at the dynamics of coughs and sneezes.  Any time we splutter with a cold or flu, we expel a mist of particles from our nose and mouths.  In moist air, these particles remain relatively large and drop to the floor. But in dry air, they can break up into smaller pieces – eventually becoming so small that they can stay aloft for hours or days.  (It’s a bit like the mist you get when you turn a garden hose to its finest spray.)  The result is that in winter, you are breathing a cocktail of dead cells, mucus and viruses from anyone and everyone who has visited the room recently.

What’s more, humidity actually seems to be toxic to the virus itself.   Perhaps by changing its acidity or salt concentration, moist air may deform the virus’s surface, meaning that it loses the weaponry that normally allows it to attack our cells. In contrast, viruses in drier air can float around and stay active for hours – until it is inhaled or ingested.

4. Get the bugs before they get you

 Mayo clinic research has found that simply running an air humidifier (or vaporiser) for one hour could kill around 30% of the viruses floating around in the air.  (imagine the impact on disease hot spots, like school classrooms and GP’s waiting rooms!).  For those of us who can’t even seem to escape colds bought home by our own loved ones, it’s good news too.

The take out?  Running a vaporiser at home, at school or in the office could help ensure one person's cold doesn't become everyone's.

5. There's a 'perfect' humidity level for good health

According to the American Society for Microbiology, a relative humidity of at least 50%, and up to 75% appears to result in the shortest virus survival and the least secondary transmission from surfaces.  This is much higher than Australia’s average humidity, especially in winter. 

Researchers in this study prefer warm steam for humidifying, noting that “Modest amounts of heat and adequate moisture can provide effective disinfection of surfaces while not harming surfaces, electrical systems, or mechanical components, leaving no harmful residues behind.”

 

To see the Euky Bear vaporiser range, click here.

Euky Bear would like to credit the BBC article, "The real reason germs spread in winter", by David Robinson 19/10/15 for source information.