One of the most challenging parts of winter is what it does to your kids. In a never-ending quest to get your kids to stop coughing, sneezing or sniffling, we’ve got the lowdown on a clever, low-cost and very convenient way to put them all behind us.
The main time kids seem bothered by all of these winter ailments, is when darkness falls. Then, it’s often accompanied by a cough that booms around the house between the hours of 7 pm-7 am, jerking parents awake and sending them stumbling deliriously down the hallway in a quest to try and stem a runny nose and cure a cough.
But for little ones without any nose-blowing skills to speak of (or the inability to actually cough properly and be done with it), it’s a tough job.
What parents need is a way to relieve congestion seamlessly, without the need for the tiny patient to actually do anything. And this is where the magic of warm steam therapy comes along.
Steam, Glorious Steam
Many of us may remember suffering a cough or cold as a kid and being shunted into a hot, steamy bathroom by mum or dad. It seems that warm, moist air has long been heralded as a quick solution for coughs, colds and congestion. And the science backs it up.
Humidity, in particular warm steam, works to relieve the symptoms we associate with coughs and colds.
It does so in several ways:
- By ‘liquifying’ mucous secretions. This makes them thinner and easier to expel.
- By warming and relaxing the muscles of the throat, helping ease the ‘cough reflex’.
- By softening and adding moisture to the air. This helps to alleviate a sore, scratchy throat, crusty nose and itchy eyes.
We often add essential oils or other inhalants to the water but it’s not the smelly stuff that does the hard work, it’s the warm, moist air itself.
The delivery method of that warm, moist air has evolved, giving rise to several devices that turn water into that magic, airborne elixir.
This is Where Vaporizers, Diffusers and Humidifiers Come In!
It can be easy to think these all do the same thing but rest assured, they don’t! Each device actually works differently and serves quite different purposes.
So let’s cut to the chase and work out which one is right for you!
If you’ve stood in the aisles of your local chemist, bewildered by choice and wondering if the ‘Petal Diffuser Model 19873’ or the ‘Vicks Vaporizer’ is what you need to get your kids off struggle street, bear the following in mind.
A diffuser’s primary purpose is aromatherapy; diffusing essential oils. Think of them like a super fancy essential oil burner (without the heat).
They do not humidify or heat the air, just scent it.
Diffusing particular blends of essential oils can help a stuffy nose but it won’t help congestion or conditions as there is no humidity or heat.
On the other hand, a vaporiser turns water into warm, bacteria-free steam and humidifies the air and is perfect to help relieve the symptoms of coughs, colds, flu.
Basically, it’s the hot, steamy bathroom in portable form. Vaporizers often use essential oils, in the form of water-soluble inhalants, but diffusing them is just a bonus.
A humidifier is similar to both of the above in that it creates water vapour, but, like a diffuser, it’s a cool mist. It creates moisture in the air but doesn’t actually raise humidity levels to the same therapeutic degree as warm steam vaporizers. As a quick guide, take a look at the size of the water tank. The bigger – the more humidity it will add into the air and therefore more benefit (which explains why little diffusers do so little to raise the actual humidity in the room, if at all.
Cool Mist humidifiers are great for spring allergies and general wellness, with the cool function making them particularly suitable for warmer climates.
If you’re keen to banish the nighttime ninjas of sniffling, sneezing, coughing and wheezing, you need warm, moist air, ideally spiked with an inhalant that contains ingredients like eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint.
How to Choose a Vaporizer
If you’re on the hunt for a vaporizer, it’s important to look for a couple of key features:
- A long operating time: 12-14 hours is ideal as it means you won’t need to fill up overnight.
- Safe to use around children: The Vicks WarmSteam Vaporizer design cools steam by 25% to reduce scald risk. Plus, the inhalant can be added inside the Vaporizer to stop little fingers from accessing the blends.
- Automatic shut off: You want your Vaporizer to shut off when the water chamber is empty.
- An extended warranty: 5 years is ideal as it means you can troubleshoot any issues.
The Vicks WarmSteam Vaporizer* is a great choice. The vaporizer is a gentle, natural solution to help relieve cold and flu symptoms that can be used by the whole family, from tiny newborns through to adults and that’s why.
Best of all, the steam from a Vicks WarmSteam Vaporizer is 25% cooler than conventional vaporizers … another tick for safety first … way to go Vicks!
Vaporizers use specially blended formulas called inhalants like Eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender, which are water-soluble designed not to harm the vaporizer’s parts.
It’s just another reason it’s my pick when it comes to relieving the symptoms of winter coughs and colds in my house!
You can find out more about the Vicks WarmSteam Vaporiser through the Vicks website.
Pick one up at the following stocklist or check your local leading independent pharmacy.
- Baby Bunting
- Amcal Max
- Guardian Pharmacy
- Soul Pattinson Chemist
- HealthSave Pharmacy
- Priceline Pharmacy
- Pharmacy Choice
- Pharmacist Advice
- Terry White Chemmart
This is a sponsored post for Vicks Australia & New Zealand
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, speak to your healthcare professional. Certain trademarks used under license from The Procter & Gamble Company or its affiliates.