5 Air Purifiers to Keep Allergy and Asthma at Bay
Life is hard when you have allergic rhinitis, asthma, and other respiratory health conditions. You feel restricted because you cannot enjoy the outdoors as much as you want. Even if you stay inside the house, indoor pollution can still trigger them and make you suffer for hours or more. This is because the level of pollution inside the building is 3-100 times higher than the outside.
Although your doctor’s prescriptions can help relieve allergy and asthma attacks, it’s always better to do all preventive measures to manage these conditions well. One effective way to keep them in control is to lessen, if not eliminate indoor air pollution by using an air purifier.
Air Purifier: Is It Effective?
When an air purifier manufacturer says: “Our product can eliminate 99% of airborne pollution”, should you believe it? Is it just a plain marketing hype, or there is a basis for that claim?
Firstly, the 99% effectivity rate may or may not be accurate. Remember that companies tested their products in a controlled environment. The setting there is not the same as the indoor spaces in your house. The pollution level is different from your home or in any other places. While it can trap 99% of airborne impurities during product testing, the result can differ when you use it.
Upon knowing this, your next question might be: is air purifier effective?
The short answer is “yes.” If you’re new to air purifiers, you have to understand that these devices are more of electronic gadgets, and not medical apparatus. Hence, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and they occupy the same category as nutritional supplements. They can help make you live a healthier life but cannot treat any medical condition, including allergies and asthma.
The benefit of using an air purifier varies from one user to another. While most users experience positive results, some don’t feel any difference at all. However, this scenario does not mean that the device is not doing its job well.
In various studies, using an air purifier at home reduces the symptoms of the conditions above. It takes some time for you to see and feel the result. The manufacturers focus on what it does to the air, not the body. The device may be efficient in removing microscopic dust, pollen, mold spores, and other pollutants, but it doesn’t mean that it can make you feel better. Your body’s reaction to it depends on many factors that only your doctor has an explanation.
When you suffer from allergies or asthma, it’s always better to do everything connected to environmental allergy control. This includes closing windows and doors when the air quality outside is terrible, encasing your bedding, or using an air purifier to filter the air you breathe.
What to Look for In an Air Purifier?
Different air purifiers are designed to meet specific needs. Air purifiers intended for allergy relief typically use multiple filters (mostly HEPA filters) plus any one or two other methods mentioned in the next sections. On the other hand, brands intended to lessen asthma attacks’ triggers commonly have HEPA filters to remove allergen particles, plus odor and VOC removal technology.
The size of your house or the room where you will use the device directly impacts its performance. As a general rule, use an excellent purifier for a big space. Read the product description and the manual to determine what type of air purifier you need.
Also, consider the air purifier’s change per hour (ACH) rate. This standard refers to the number of times a cleaner can filter the air inside the room. The recommended ACH for allergy and asthmas sufferers is at least four times per hour. With this rate, it gives filters the chance to clean the air and trap microscopic particles thoroughly.
Meanwhile, also consider the device’s Air Delivery Rate (CADR). This rating tells you how much pollution can make the machine clean within a specific area. For instance, a CADR of 600 cfm will clean a room of 600 sq ft quicker than an air purifier with a CADR of only 400 cfm. You can purchase high CADR air purifiers with thousands of positive reviews on various online and physical stores.
Examine the device for its features. An air purifier with Energy Star – rated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is cost-effective and good for the environment. Do you need a machine that you can program using an app? If yes, you have to pick a brand with intelligent technology to connect the device to Wi-Fi. This way, you can command the cleaner to perform a task remotely. You can also set a schedule to enable it to turn on and off all by itself.
Other helpful features to watch out for include: air quality indicators, caster wheels, fan speed, and how often the filters need to be changed.
How Does an Air Purifier Work?
An air purifier works using the principle: suck in dirty air, trap the dust through its filtration system, and push clean air back into the room. This process surmises that a good air purifier must have excellent suction and filtration power.
The fan pulls in the air towards the device. The air then passes through several filtration stages. As the air moves through the filter, microscopic particles are captured, and the clean air is being pushed back into the room. The most common filtration systems are the following:
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA)
HEPA filters can remove as much as 99% of 0.3-micrometre pollutants. They are commonly used in many advanced air purifiers in the market today. This filtration system is proven effective at removing larger particles. HEPA filters must be properly arranged inside the device to ensure that the cleaner only releases clean air back into the room.
Aside from being effective, the HEPA filter does not produce ozone or other harmful byproducts. However, remember to replace the filter as per the product manual. This is to ensure that the filter is working efficiently in the course of operation.
Note: Look for a brand with a True HEPA filter, not “HEPA-like” or “HEPA type”. The last two types don’t work the same as the True HEPA, no matter what the salesmen tell you.