Do air purifiers help with allergies?
Do air purifiers help with allergies?
You now probably understand how air purifiers and HEPA filters work: air from a space gets pulled into the purifier, potentially harmful particulate matter is trapped, and clean air is then circulated back out into the space. So what does that mean for the particulate matter that causes allergies to flare up?
Understanding allergies and allergens
First, it’s important to understand what allergens are. There are different types of airborne allergens that can have an effect on you, including pollen, animal dander, and seasonal and environmental allergies. When these particles are in the air you breathe or simply come into contact with, they can trigger a response by your immune system, causing symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and sometimes more severe reactions as well. According to the CDC, allergens and other irritants can have detrimental effects on existing or even dormant asthma conditions, too.
Certain allergens like pollen, which are essentially “tiny seeds,” floating through the air, may be unavoidable outside or can enter your home through an open window or door. Animal dander is caused by the movement and byproducts of pets on furniture or in the space that you occupy. Some of these particles are small enough to be trapped by air purifiers but some are too large.
Air purifiers and allergies
In short, air purifiers can definitely help remove allergens and irritants from the air. The particulate matter that is small enough to be trapped by an air purifier will help reduce any contact you may have with it and the purifier will, in turn, circulate clean air. A study to determine the effect of air purifiers on asthma from the European Respiratory Journal concluded that air purifiers reduce asthma flare-ups by removing irritants and allergens from the air (via ERJ).
However, air purifiers cannot solely remove all allergens from a space since not all allergens are airborne. Animal fur, saliva, urine, and larger-sized pollen that cannot be filtered through an air purifier will remain in the space unless other action is taken to remove it. Such action may include but is not limited to: avoiding the presence of animals and pets; thoroughly cleaning any furniture, floors, or other surfaces that have come into contact with animals; and relying on air conditioning and reducing open windows or doors during particularly heavy seasonal allergy periods.
The ACAAI recommends finding a local allergist and getting tested for any allergies you may have, if you’re unsure. It certainly can’t hurt to know what may negatively affect you so you can make any necessary life changes accordingly.
Choosing the right air purifier for allergies
If implementing an air purifier into your space is something you’re considering either for the purposes of having cleaner air, reducing allergens, or both, keep in mind that simply picking the first air purifier you see might not be the best option for you.
Reporting on air purifiers, allergies, and Covid-19 by Rolling Stone emphasizes important factors to take into account when selecting the right air purifier for your space: room size, lifestyle, estimated usage, budget, and other potentially useful features all determine what the perfect air purifier looks like for different people.
You’ll also want to consider what your primary objectives are for installing an air purifier in your home. Healthline details the various types of air purifiers currently available and the differences in their functionalities. For example, HEPA filters like Rensair remove a lot of different and generally larger particles from the air. But if removing odors from the air is more important to you than large particulate matter, you might consider a carbon-based filter.