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Ask the Allergist

How can I manage cold dry air in my home?

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I’m moving to Colorado soon. It’s extremely dry when it’s not snowing. When I visited in the past, I’ve had issues with dryness (skin, eyes, hair). So, I want to look at a humidifier for my home.

Dry air can dry out the mucus membranes that line the respiratory tract including the nose, throat, and lungs. It can trigger asthma and cause itchy, dry skin. A cool-mist humidifier can help with dry air and keep humidity at a more comfortable level. Here’s a link to AAFA’s Asthma & Allergy-Friendly certified humidifiers. It is important to keep the humidity at 50% or below. Higher humidity can increase mold growth and dust mites. Mold and dust mites can cause asthma and allergy symptoms. Remember to clean the humidifier as recommended by the manufacturer to prevent mold from growing in the device.

Air Quality, Indoor Air Quality
Answered by

Douglas T. Johnston, DO, FAAAAI, FACAAI, is an allergist/clinical immunologist at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Assistant Professor at Edward Via School of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). He has lectured at national and international medical conferences and has publications in several medical journals, including “Clinical Immunology,” “World Allergy Organization Journal,” “Journal of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology,” “The Journal of the American Medical Association,” and the “New England Journal of Medicine.”

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Comments (2)

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@Tia74, I have some general recommendations (below) for you based on what you've shared so far, but I believe I would be able to give you better advice based on your specific situation if I had a few more details.

If that's of interest to you, please contact me at the AAFA Support Center via phone (800-727-8462) or email (


  • If you live in a home where you have access to the HVAC filters, you should make sure they are being replaced when they're dirty
  • If you don't have access to the HVAC filters where you live, try to contact the landlord/building manager/maintenance to address this
  • If you have a gas stove, always turn on the fan on the range hood and cook on the back burner(s) as often as possible
  • If the outdoor air quality is good, open your windows from time to time when possible to ventilate the home
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Wash/clean your bed linen, curtains, and furniture regularly
  • If/when you buy new furniture, try to avoid purchasing cloth furniture

I’ve had a water heater leak… I’m living with open walls, dusty cement floors and attempting to find estimates and repairs… for over a month now.  
Ive purchased an air purifier to help with my asthma.  I have it in my bedroom.  
is there anything else you can recommend?

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