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 only 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 7pm-7am, 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, and in particular warm steam, works to relieve the symptoms we associate with coughs and colds. It does so in a number of ways:
- By ‘liquifying’ mucous secretions, making 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 which 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, however, giving rise to a number of devices that turn water into that magic, air borne 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 in a different way and serve 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 like bronchitis or croup as there is no humidity or heat.
A vaporizer, on the other hand, turns water into warm, bacteria-free steam and humidifies the air and is perfect for treating the symptoms of coughs, colds, flu, bronchitis & croup.
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 an added 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 without any heat.
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 night time 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.
- Scald reducing technology: The Vicks Vaporizer Revolutionary design cools steam by 25% to reduce scald risk. Plus, the inhalant can be added inside the Vaporizer to stop little fingers 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 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 Warm Steam Vaporizer is 25% cooler than conventional vaporizers … another tick for safety first … way to go Vicks!
Just another reason it’s my pick when it comes to relieving the symptoms of winter coughs and colds in my house!
Thanks to our friends at Vicks, one lucky reader will win for themselves a Vicks Warm Steam Vaporizer Prizepack, valued at over $100.
To enter, simply complete the entry form below and answer this simple question in the comments below: Have you used a Warm Steam Vaporizer before? If so, which one and what did you use it for?
This has been a sponsored post for Vicks Australia & New Zealand