Amarillo experts warn against using tap water in humidifiers

VIDEO: Amarillo experts warn against using tap water in humidifiers
Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 5:47 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - In the midst of winter in an already dry area of Texas, humidifiers are not an uncommon household item. After a recent study surfaced, local experts warn against the risk of using tap water in them.

“It might provide some irritation to the airway for example, so people that are on the spectrum of asthmatic or reactive airway illnesses, they might find themselves with a little more work of breathing a little more wheezing. People might find that allergy symptoms are triggered somewhat by things that are in that water content that they just don’t appreciate and don’t know about,” says Rodney Young, M.D. Texas Tech Family Medicine Physician.

Health experts say when you go to fill up your humidifier instead of using water from the tap, use purified or distilled.

“Health risks that can affect you on using tap water would be the microorganisms getting into your humidifier; it does go into your lungs,” says Trini Valdez, Director of Valmed Home Health and Pharmacy.

Experts say many are unaware of these risks and advise taking precautions when using these products.

“If people are using tap water directly in them, then they’re potentially just spraying those microbes into the air and they can directly inhale them, and that would be a higher concentration than they might normally be exposed to in the environment,” says Doctor Carolyn Bouma, Associate Professor of Biology at West Texas A&M University.

Health experts say that people who have increased risk of respiratory issues are more likely to be impacted.

“We have a lot of mineral content in our water. So if you do that long term, you’re gonna cost yourself the lifespan of your pretty expensive health care. Also, you put yourself at risk of some of those long term irritation to the airway potentially infectious complications,” says Young.

Bouma says using tap can put you at, “Risks of a sinus infection, risk of a blood borne infection, risk of potentially meningitis.”

She goes onto say, “It’s important and it’s beneficial to people’s health to use those humidifiers, to raise the humidity in their living environment, but you do want to use it in a safe manner because they do produce that mist.”