Air purifiers are typically marketed towards those with allergies and/or asthma as many air purifiers are designed to remove airborne particles, allergens, and irritants from the air so they won’t cause allergic reactions and they won’t aggravate existing conditions.
Air purifiers are certainly meant to be good for people with allergies, but how effective are they in real life? The question isn’t so much if air purifiers are good for allergies but which air purifiers are good for allergies and which allergies they can help with.
If you suffer from allergies then you will need to look for air purifiers with HEPA filters. ‘HEPA’ stands for ‘High-Efficiency Particulate Air’, and these filters are designed to remove airborne allergens and particles from the air.
HEPA filters are proven to remove 99.97% of airborne particles, so they are a good way of protecting yourself against pollen, pet dander, dust and other allergens. HEPA filters are particularly helpful for people who suffer from hay fever as it can capture pollen before you have a chance to breathe it in.
HEPA filters can effectively remove most particles which measure 0.3 microns or under, but they can be less effective with smaller organisms. Some air purifiers use a mixture of HEPA filtration, active carbon filtration (to remove smells) and ionic generation to remove as many harmful particles as possible.
Ionic generators will send negative ions into the air which will then latch onto positively charged allergens and other harmful airborne substances. This will make the airborne allergen too heavy to stay in the air, so it will either fall to the ground or end up in your air purifiers filter.
Negative ions are associated with numerous health benefits including better blood circulation, improved mood, healthier sleep patterns and reduced stress, but many of these ionic generators also create a small amount of ozone as a side effect. Ozone can be harmful to people with respiratory problems, including people with asthma, so even though there are obvious benefits to ionic generators they may not be the best choice for everyone.
Some ionic generators come with fans, but most of them don’t. This means that ionic generators operate almost silently, but although this sounds like a good thing it does have a downside. Many ionic generators are unable to capture the allergens and so, even though they won’t stay in the air, they will just fall to the floor or onto another surface in your house and they will stay there until you clean them up.
There is also the chance that they will be disrupted and end up back in the air again. Ionic generators have a lot of benefits, but they may not be the best choice for allergy sufferers because they may simply move the allergens rather than destroy or capture them.
UV air purifiers send out safe levels of UV radiation to kill harmful bacteria and viruses. This can be a good way to keep your house safe from infections and illnesses. The UV radiation will effectively sterilise the virus which will ensure that it can’t reproduce anymore and therefore it can’t affect humans or animals. UV air purifiers are often used in hospitals to combat the spread of disease, so although they are not designed for allergies per Se, they can definitely be beneficial for your health.
The downside to UV purifiers is that they also create small amounts of ozone which can make conditions such as asthma worse.
Air purifiers are often advertised as the ‘solution’ for all your allergy-ridden woes, but unfortunately, things aren’t that easy. Air purifiers are certainly a good step towards an allergy free life, but they alone cannot eradicate all the irritants within your home.
Air purifiers can clean your air, but they can’t clean your entire house. Pollen, dust, pet dander and other allergens are not confined to the air and they will also be present on your furniture, carpet, bookshelves, and other surfaces. It is therefore very important that you continue to dust, vacuum and regularly clean your house to ensure your surfaces are clean.
Air purifiers can remove allergens from the air, but they are normally unable to get rid of humidity which can promote mould, mildew, spores and other substances which can be bad for your health. If you are more worried about these things then you are about articles, why not consider buying a dehumidifier instead?
Dehumidifiers are a good choice if you live in a wet or humid environment, but they can also be helpful if your house smells musty, has a lot of condensation, or is prone to mould. Dehumidifiers can be very helpful with regards to damp problems, but they can irritate some people becomes they create an environment which is too dry.
Humidifiers release water or steam into the environment to help reduce inflammation, helps your nose get rid of allergens, and can improve your breathing. Humidifiers can also help combat dust mite. Humidifiers are good for hot, dry environments, but if your house already suffers from humidity and moisture related issues then it is likely to make things worse.
If you’re unsure what type (or combination) of air purifiers, dehumidifiers or humidifiers are best suited for your needs then you may want to check with your doctor to see what he/she recommends.
Carpets are a good source of allergens as it can be hard to get to those deeply embedded particles, so one solution to help improve your allergies is to consider hard floors rather than carpets. Also, remember to change your bed sheets and pillow slips regularly.
Pets make wonderful companions and more often than not they become a dearly beloved member of the family, but if you suffer from severe pet dander allergies then an air purifier is unlikely to solve all of your problems. HEPA filters can certainly help, but they can’t protect against pet hair and dander which has landed on your furniture, floors, clothes, or the dander and pet hair which remain on your pet's skin.
If you are allergic to common domestic pets such as cats and dogs, but you really want a cat or dog as a pet and you couldn’t settle for a lizard, then consider a hypo-allergenic breed. These breeds are not 100% allergen free, but they may well cause less allergic reactions than other breeds.
Air purifiers can certainly help with allergies (especially if the purifier comes with a HEPA filter), but they cannot perform miracles on their own. It is still important that you clean and vacuums your home regularly and you take other precautions against allergies in order to live a full and comfortable life.