Exposure to dry indoor air, especially during the winter heating period, can lead to dryness and irritation of the upper respiratory tract and skin.
The irritated or damaged mucous membrane, mainly in the upper but sometimes also the lower respiratory tract, is a key point of entry for pathogens that cause respiratory infections. The assumption therefore is that respiratory infections can be prevented by avoiding dry air. In addition, dry air may create an unpleasant environment.
Humidifiers can be used to increase the humidity in rooms ventilated through open windows and help prevent bronchial dryness symptoms of the eyes and skin, and irritation of the upper and/or lower airways in people with hay fever or asthma. They can also prevent infections in the home, in childcare and youth centres or at the workplace.
The European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF) certifies humidifiers as allergy friendly if they bring about a measurable improvement in relative humidity (> 20% to < 70%) when used daily.
The test criteria are based on the question of whether the use of a humidifier results in a health risk for people with prior damaged to the mucous membranes in the upper and lower respiratory tract and eyes. In order to minimise the potential risks when using a humidifier, ECARF grants its Seal of Quality to devices that meet the following requirements: