A cool mist vaporizer is essentially a room-sized air humidifier. It is a small electronic machine that consists of a water reservoir, a disk or drum, and a spout that emits the water vapor created by the spinning disk into the room. Unlike a steam vaporizer, the water is not heated before being dispersed into the room. This makes the vaporizer particularly useful in a child’s room.
The most common use for a cool mist vaporizer is to put moisture into the air for the purpose of relieving a person’s discomfort when suffering from nasal congestion or upper respiratory distress. The debate over which is better, a cool mist or steam vaporizer, is unsettled. Many health care professionals do not recommend cool mist vaporizers because they create a better environment for harboring bacteria than the steam vaporizer. Additionally, they will disperse the minerals naturally found in tap water into the room. However, these drawbacks can be avoided in order to eliminate the risk of serious burns from a steam vaporizer.
For a child’s room, a cool mist vaporizer works as well as a steam vaporizer for relief of symptoms associated with the common cold and other respiratory infections. Using a steam vaporizer poses a risk because children can pull the machine over or reach their hands or face into it, which can result in serious burns. When using cool mist, there is no risk of burns. To eliminate the emission of minerals into the air, people should use only distilled water. To eliminate the risk of dispersing bacteria into the air, clean the reservoir and all mechanisms of any type of vaporizer thoroughly with soap and water between reservoir fillings and before returning it to storage.
If you or someone in your household suffers from sinusitis, allergies, or other common condition associated with dry indoor air, especially in winter, a cool mist vaporizer is a good way to alleviate their symptoms. However, most are not designed to humidify an entire house, only the room in which it is operated. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions before using any type of vaporizer or humidifier.