Can A Dehumidifier Cause A Cough?

There are people who associate bad cough with a dehumidifier. That is simply not true and in this post, we will debunk any inaccurate info to prevent you from being misled. Learn about the many types of cough and what could be triggering the symptoms. More importantly, we will address the elephant in the room, can a dehumidifier help a cough or make it worse.
Short answer


Is a Dehumidifier Good For a Cough?

A dehumidifier will not cause a cough if is running in a damp environment. When used correctly, a clean dehumidifier can help a cough by reducing mold, bacteria, and viruses in the air. Without the excessive moisture, the cough-induced microorganisms will not thrive and trigger bronchitis that coughs up thickened, discolored mucus. A dehumidifier can also help you breathe better and alleviate symptoms like nasal congestion, postnasal drip, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, hoarseness, sore throat, headache, cold, flu. There is less chance of a cough spreading to another person.

Can a Dehumidifier Make a Cough Worse?

A dehumidifier will not worsen a cough but it may cause dry air when used incorrectly. Dry air can cause irritation to your throat and lengthen a cough. A dehumidifier will remove excess moisture in the air while adjusting the room’s temperature and humidity. Dry air is not good for cough and so does over-humid air. To avoid running a dehumidifier in a dry environment, get a hygrometer to find out what is the room humidity level. The ideal humidity level for a cough is between 30% to 50%. If the room dampness level falls below 30%, consider using a humidifier instead.

What Is a Cough?

Cough is a voluntary or involuntary expulsion of air from the lungs to remove irritations like phlegm or mucus. A cough will last between 1-3 weeks depending if is acute, subacute, or chronic. A viral infection cough will normally go away on its own as our body's immune system will deal with it. However, a chronic cough that lasts more than 8 weeks can be due to other health complications like COPD, heart issues, and lung cancer.

Here are the 7 types of coughs with overlapping symptoms:

  • Dry cough (nonproductive)
  • Chest/ wet cough (productive)
  • Nocturnal/ night cough
  • Croup cough
  • Pertussis/ whooping cough
  • Asthma cough
  • Bronchitis

5 Steps On Maintaining a Dehumidifier For Cough

A poorly maintained dehumidifier will have a reverse effect on cough and your health. Routine cleaning is a must to ensure the dehumidifier is in good, working condition. To get the best out of the moisture removal machine, here are a few simple maintenance tips and tricks that everyone could follow.

  • Rinse and empty the water tank daily. This helps reduce mineral deposits and the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria, germs.
  • Wipe and clean the dehumidifier weekly. Use chemical-free ingredients like vinegar or baking soda to remove stubborn residues.
  • Choose the right type of dehumidifier based on your needs. A refrigeration dehumidifier will work well in most situations. You can also opt for a desiccant or thermoelectric dehumidifier that has a smaller capacity but easier upkeeping.
  • Keep all windows and doors closed to prevent external moisture from flowing in.
  • Leave 2 feet of gaps between the wall and dehumidifier to avoid airflow disruption.

What Triggers a Cough?

Whether the tussis is productive or nonproductive, there are many factors that could trigger or worsen a cough. The most common cough triggers in a household include:

  • Asthma
  • Smoking
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Drugs
  • Allergies
  • Environmental

While a dehumidifier can help a cough to a certain extent, the quickest way to relieve cough is to take suppressants, decongestant, a cough drop to ease throat irritation. A cold medicine would help postnasal drip cough and you sleep better. Add honey to warm water or herbal tea can help reduce throat itchiness. Take a hot steamy shower to loosen mucus in the throat. An air purifier would also come in handy in removing irritants that can trigger a cough. Last but not least, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to help moisture the nasal passageways.


Max Fernandez

Growing up in New Orleans, one of the highest relative humidity in the United States, Max knows a thing or two about humidity. Besides reviewing dehumidifiers for living, you will find him gyming in the basement.