Airborne pollutants are one of the most common triggers of allergy symptoms. When things like pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, and pollen are in the air, the frequency of allergies reaches sky-high limits.
If you’re currently suffering from allergies or you foresee dry eyes and a stuffy nose in your future, you’re probably in search of a way to alleviate the symptoms. Maybe you’ve resorted to Claritin, Benadryl, and all other allergy meds on the market. But the real way to deal with your allergies is to focus on the root of the problem: air quality.
Many people swear by using an air purifier for finding relief. So do air purifiers really help with allergies? Find out here in this complete guide to air purifiers for allergies.
Common Causes of Allergies at Home
According to an overview on allergies from Mayo Clinic, “allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance — such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander — or a food that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people.”
There are many different things that can cause this immune system response, and some of the most common causes can be found in the air we breathe. This includes:
An allergy to pollen is extremely common. As the season changes and plants release pollen grains into the air to fertilize other plants, the pollen is carried by the wind and can trigger responses like dry eyes, sneezing, congestion, and itchiness.
When mold is present, tiny mold spores are released into the air. The best way to alleviate a mold allergy is by eliminating mold from the home, or at the very least, reducing it.
- Dust Mites
Dust mites are tiny bugs that feed on dust and dead skin cells. Breathing in the waste product released by dust mites can trigger allergy symptoms like a runny/itchy nose, scratchy throat, cough, and congestion.
- Pet Dander
A lot of pet owners have invested in air purifiers for pets, especially those with an allergy to pet dander. Pet allergies are extremely common, but they don’t have to stop you from owning a furry friend, thanks to air purifier technology.
How Do Air Purifiers Help with Allergies?
An air purifier can easily remedy allergies that are triggered by airborne allergens like pet hair, pollen, and dust. That’s because air purifiers work to clean the air. They’re able to remove some of the most common airborne allergens, which will ultimately help with allergies.
So how does an air purifier clean the air to help with allergies? It all comes down to filtration. This device draws in the surrounding air, passes it through a filtration stage (or multiple stages), and then expels the now-cleaner air back into the room.
Types of Air Purifier Filtration for Allergies
There are a few different types of air filtration that can alleviate allergy symptoms. For example, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters work to remove tiny particles from the air and are highly effective for capturing even the smallest matter.
Activated carbon filters, on the other hand, remove gas and odor from the air. Then there’s UV filtration, which uses UV light to inactivate harmful microbes.
HEPA filters are the most effective for combating allergies, mainly because they’re designed to eradicate microscopic air particles that often trigger allergies. The best HEPA filters can remove as much as 99.97% of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.3 microns, which basically includes everything from pollen and pet dander to bacteria and mold.
Things to Keep In Mind When Choosing an Air Purifier
Before purchasing an air purifier to help with allergies, there are some big considerations to factor into the buying process:
- Find an air purifier that is specifically targeted at allergy relief.
Some air purifiers are designed to remove even the smallest particles from the air as well as large particles like pet hair. To purify the air as much as possible, make sure to buy one with multiple filtration stages, including a HEPA filter.
- Find an air purifier that is the correct size for the area.
All air purifiers have different ratings for coverage areas. While one air purifier might be rated to cover a maximum of 150 square feet, other models can cover large rooms and basements.
- Look into air purifier certifications.
Air purifiers with certifications like the Energy Star logo and AHAM seal show that the machine has been tested and approved by reputable sources.
- Consider noise levels.
Most air purifiers give off a light humming sound or a bit of white noise. Some, however, are louder than others, and even if the one you choose works well to clean the air, you don’t want it to be a disturbance. Try to find an air purifier that has a noise level rating of 50 decibels or less.
According to the Consumer Reports air purifier buying guide, it’s also important to consider the cost of replacement filters, especially if you’re on a budget.
“As a general rule, you should replace filters (or clean those that can be cleaned) every six to 12 months for pleated filters and every three months for activated carbon filters,” says Consumer Report.
“The costs of filters vary widely… they range from $20 to more than $200 a pop.”
Tips for Reducing Allergens in the Home
Buying an air purifier is a great starting point for reducing allergens in the home, but there’s more you can do. Here are a few more tips for minimizing indoor allergens:
- Replace your furnace filters often (every 90 days is recommended)
- Change your bedding and wash your sheets at least once a week (especially for reducing dust mite allergies)
- Keep your house clean and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter at least once a week
- Try to keep pets off of furniture (especially fabrics)
- Avoid air fresheners – they can emit volatile organic compounds that can trigger allergies
- Monitor humidity levels in the home – use a humidifier for allergies to prevent dryness and a dehumidifier if levels reach above 50%
People Also Ask (FAQ)
Which air particles are the worst for people’s health?
The list of the most harmful air pollutants includes pet dander, pollen, mold, VOCs, and particulate matter.
Ultrafine particulate matter is especially harmful, and according to IQAir, this is “the most dangerous particulate matter because their tiny size makes them extremely inhalable. Once inhaled, they get deposited into your lungs and absorbed directly into your bloodstream.”
Which room in the house is the most allergen-prone?
When it comes to indoor allergies, WebMD says that the bedroom is “the most allergen-prone room in your house, because the most common indoor allergen is dust mites.”
In addition to using an air purifier, the best thing you can do to reduce the risk of dust mite allergies is to wash your bedding often and try to avoid bedding that isn’t washable (like quilts and throw pillows).
Do air purifiers help with asthma symptoms?
Using air purifiers for asthma is extremely effective.
According to Healthline, “one way is to reduce your exposure to allergens in the environment that can trigger your asthma. An air purifier may help reduce exposure to environmental triggers.”
Where’s the best place to put purifiers in the house?
This depends on where you spend the most time and where an air purifier is most needed. For example, if your living room is prone to pet dander because that’s where your dog likes to hang out, this would be a great place for an air purifier.
For more information on air purifier placement, check out our guide on Where to Place Air Purifiers.
Do air purifiers help with dog allergies? Do air purifiers help cat allergies?
Many pet owners ask themselves the question, does an air purifier help with pet allergies? The answer is yes! Pet hair and dander are easily caught by the prefilter stage of air purifiers, and if the prefilter is unable to capture dander, the additional filtration stages – like HEPA and carbon – will take care of it.
Which is better for allergies, air purifier or dehumidifier?
When comparing an air purifier vs dehumidifier, air purifiers usually win when it comes to allergies. However, if your allergies are caused by mold, a dehumidifier might be the better choice. Mold thrives in high-moisture areas, and a dehumidifier works to remove moisture from the air.
To recap, air purifiers are an excellent option for alleviating allergies. The main goal of air purifiers is to clean the air, and clean the air they do! The best air purifiers can reduce – and even eliminate – the most common allergens, including dust, pet dander, mold, and pollen.
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