• By Laurel Kelly

Consumer Health: Humidifiers can help — or hurt — your health

December 27, 2019
vapor from a humidifier in a bright living room with a window and plants in the background

Humidifiers and your health
Dry sinuses, bloody noses and cracked lips. Humidifiers can soothe these familiar problems caused by dry indoor air. Humidifiers also can ease symptoms of a cold or another respiratory condition. But be cautious. Humidifiers can make you sick if they aren't maintained properly or if humidity levels stay too high. Learn more about humidifiers and your health.

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Also in today's tips ...

Protecting yourself from cold and flu viruses
The viruses that cause colds and the flu are more resilient than you may think. Viruses may remain active for several hours, and longer on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces than on fabric and other soft surfaces. Other factors, such as the amount of virus deposited on a surface, and the temperature and humidity of the environment, also determine how long cold and flu viruses stay active outside the body. There are some simple things that you can do to protect yourself, though. Learn more from Dr. James Steckelberg, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases physician.

Video: 'Flu Shot Prevents Heart Attack'
If you have heart disease, flu season can be a dangerous time. Complications from the flu, including pneumonia, respiratory failure, heart attack and death, are more likely in people with heart disease. The flu also can worsen preexisting conditions, such as heart failure, diabetes or asthma. Learn more from Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist.

Can vitamin C improve mood and decrease anxiety?
The link between vitamin C and mood might seem surprising, but people who have vitamin C deficiency often feel fatigued or depressed. Studies have shown improved mood and lowered anxiety from taking vitamin C — even in one group not known to have low vitamin C levels. Learn more from Dr. Brent Bauer, director of Mayo Clinic's Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program.

Cellphones and cancer: Is there a link?
The possible connection between cellphones and cancer is controversial. Many years' worth of studies on cellphones and cancer have yielded conflicting results. Currently, there's no consensus about the degree of cancer risk — if any — posed by cellphone use. Learn more from Dr. Edward Creagan, an emeritus Mayo Clinic medical oncologist and palliative care specialist.

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