Allergy symptoms like dry eyes and a stuffy nose caused by airborne pollutants wreak havoc on countless people every year. Many of those people turn to allergy medication for temporary relief. However, improving the quality of your air is the real solution to managing allergies.
Air purifiers have gained popularity as a potential solution for allergy sufferers seeking relief. But do they really work? (spoiler alert- they do) Below, we’ll take a look at how air purifiers work to remove allergies and improve air quality so you can say goodbye to allergy symptoms and breathe easy.
How Do Air Purifiers Help with Allergies?
Before we get into it, you should always seek professional medical advice if you are having issues with allergies or your respiratory health. However, until you can get to the doctor, an air purifier can help.
An air purifier can easily remedy allergies that are triggered by airborne allergens like pet hair, pollen, and dust. That’s because air purifiers equipped with the right air filters work to improve air quality. The best air purifiers can remove the most common airborne allergens, which will ultimately help with allergies.
The way an air purifier works all comes down to air filtration. This device draws in the surrounding air and airborne irritants, 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
When it comes to alleviating allergy symptoms, not all air purifiers and filters are created equal. While activated carbon filtration helps to remove gas and odor, and UV filtration uses UV light to inactivate microbes, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters (also used in vacuum cleaners) are the most effective at combating seasonal allergies.
HEPA purifiers have a multilayer network of very fine fiberglass threads that work by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful indoor pollutants. True HEPA filters are designed to capture tiny particles in the air as small as 0.3 microns.
This includes common allergens like pet dander, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other pollutants. In fact, the best HEPA air filter can remove up to 99.97% of these particles from the air, making them an excellent choice for allergy sufferers. Just be sure the filter has a CADR (clean air delivery rate) that matches the size of the room your air purifier will be.
With their superior filtering capabilities, HEPA filters significantly improve indoor air quality and can alleviate allergy symptoms. So if you’re looking for an air cleaner to help combat allergies, choosing one with a HEPA filter is the way to go.
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 airborne particles from the air inside your home 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 air 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 cleaner 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 cleaner 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 replacing an air filter, 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 and respiratory symptoms 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%
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.
Which airborne particles are the worst for people’s health?
The airborne particles that are worst for people’s health include pet dander, pollen, mold, VOCs, and particulate matter.
Ultrafine particulate matter is also harmful because its 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?
The room in your house that’s most allergy prone is the bedroom because the most common indoor allergen is dust mites.
Along with using your air purifier, you should also 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?
Air purifiers do help with asthma symptoms. 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?
The best place to put an air purifier in your house depends on where you spend the most time. 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?
Air purifiers do help with dog and cat allergies. 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 a dehumidifier?
An air purifier is better than a dehumidifier 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.
So, can air purifiers help with allergies? Yes, they can! The main goal of air purifiers is to remove indoor air pollution, and when it comes to combatting allergies, one with a HEPA filter is the way to go. The best air purifier can reduce – and even eliminate – the most common allergens, including dust, pet dander, mold, and pollen.
Last Updated on March 19, 2023
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