Think back...Do you remember that awful thing that your parents called a "vaporizer"? If your house was like mine when you were growing up, the vaporizer was an appliance that got more than it's fair share of use. It sputtered and the electrodes turned green or even black, but we still used them all the time. Chances are pretty good that your pediatrician is still going to recommend that your child use a vaporizer for a wide variety of respiratory problems. There's really very little you can do for a young child when they are very congested. You don't like to medicate them, yet you want them to breathe easier, sleep well and wake up feeling better. Out comes the vaporizer.
It is important to note that most vaporizers are really humidifiers. Their sole purpose is to add humidity to the air. Increased moisture will provide some relief for congestion. If you want to get some relief from the other symptoms related to congestion, a bad cold, or the flu, you are going to have to add a "medicament" to the water. Most vaporizer/humidifier manufacturers recommend adding a preparation of Menthol and Eucalyptus oil to the water.
Menthol will constrict the blood vessels in the nose, which effectively opens the nasal passages, and eucalyptus oil acts to relieve congestion, soothe a sore throat and slow down a cough. It even kills germs. Be sure to read the label. The main ingredients in most of the menthol eucalyptus preparations sold today are "camphor" and even "turpentine". These ingredients add a lot of smell to the air, but they won't help your respiratory problems. It's also important to note that eucalyptus oil is not water soluble. It will probably just float on the water.
"Warm mist" vs. "Cool mist"
You should note that mold, spores and bacteria are key contributors to allergy and asthma symptoms. For this reason, vaporizers that use water are not recommended for the treatment of allergy and asthma symptoms.
Three Major Things to look for in a Vaporizer