The other day we found out that our youngest had the croup. Pretty nasty sounding cough accompanies the croup, but luckily, it didn't seem that there was much damage. Mostly just dried out from the lack of humidity in the winter air. Our heat pump is badly in need of repair or else it might provide the needed humidity, but that's another story for another time.
So we're supposed to get a "humidifier". Hmm. Seems to be lots of choices. Warm mist, cool mist, humidifier, vaporizer. How to choose? How indeed. According to the helpful lady at Wal-Mart, we should get cool mist (ie, a humidifier). From what I can tell, in the beginning there were only vaporizers. But as time wore on, dainty little hands were burnt from the warm mist produced. You and I both know that warm things don't burn. That mist is downright hot. But I digress.
And so, with the advent of new technology, cool mist products were born. Now there are all sorts of selections and capacities. Auto-shut off, timed humidifying, you can probably even find a model that will brew coffee with that warm mist, too.
So after two nights of use, the cool mist clearance model we found at Target started smelling funny. Not bad funny, and not quite burning funny. It was more of that smoldering smell that electronics sometimes get funny. Which is to say that even if it doesn't cause a fire, it's likely to break soon. So back to Target I went.
But before buying another model, I pulled Google into the mix. Please be aware that if you should search on humidifiers vs. vaporizers, you'll get a lot of hits on products for keeping your contraband moist. If you make it past those, you'll find that generally speaking, there is little to no difference between the two products - except for that burning issue.
While I don't want to seem callous, it occurs to me that a child who happens to learn this lesson the hard way will not be likely to have to learn it again. And our children are generally intelligent enough to at least not burn themselves severely even when they do test our advice. If you have very small children, however, you may want to keep this in mind. Close to the unit, the mist is hot. Try it yourself if you need convincing.
So with all that in mind, here's my own opinion on the matter: Vaporizers are cheap. Ten bucks at Wal-Mart. Humidifiers aren't. Water that is boiled is unlikely to harbor any bacteria of any sort. Warm air to me seems to hold water better than cold air. Normally I find warmer air to be more soothing than cold air. There are no moving parts on most vaporizers, as they just have a little heating element to do the boiling.
You'll also not find a filter on the ten dollar model from Wal-Mart, for the aforementioned reason of not having any bacteria in the mist. And finally, because of the vaporizing action, you can add menthol or a similar additive to the warm mist to help even further. Guess which product we use now? And hey - someone else even agrees!