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Air purifiers can greatly improve the quality of life around the home, but those with allergies and other respiratory problems may need additional guarantees. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to allergies and air purifiers.
Do air purifiers really work for allergies?
Air purifiers work to reduce the amount of pollen in the air, which in turn should relieve allergy symptoms. However, the results will vary from person to person. Exactly how well an air purifier works depends on the size of the room it’s in, the local weather, the air purifier model, and your own personal health. Honeywell even got into legal hot water for exaggerating the effectiveness of its air purifiers, so be wary of bold claims from manufacturers.
For best results, make sure the air purifier you have is in the room where you spend the most time, has a good HEPA filter installed, and it’s on all day. Pollen will seep in through your windows over time or settle on the carpet to be released later. An air purifier won’t work if you run it for a few hours and then turn it off.
Air purifiers don’t work alone either. As a primary defense against allergies, you’ll want to close the windows in the house and change when you come in from outside.
Can an air purifier make allergies worse?
Only ionizing air purifiers can make allergies worse (more on that later). Studies have shown that air purifiers can help people with common allergies by trapping pollen and other irritants in their filters, but there’s still little broad consensus on this issue.
In addition to reducing the effects of allergies, air filters can remove odors from the air and help you sleep better. The effectiveness depends on the type of filter you use. Activated carbon filters, for example, are better at removing odors, but less good at removing pollen from the air. Higher air purifiers will have multiple types of filters to cover all the bases.
What are the side effects of air purifiers?
The only case where an air purifier would do more harm than good is if it uses ionization. Ionizing air purifiers attract pollen to the filters via electrification. A side effect of this is the binding of oxygen atoms and the creation of ozone. Even in small amounts, ozone can irritate the lungs and make your breathing problems worse.
Air purifiers also need power to operate and produce some background noise. You’ll also have to replace the filters every now and then, but that’s more maintenance jobs than side effects.
Do air purifiers work for COVID-19?
Air purifiers are not a foolproof deterrent to COVID-19 but can be part of a wider range of indoor precautions. COVID-19 is spread through airborne droplets and air purifiers can capture those droplets, provided their filters are suitable for particles smaller than 1 micrometer. Good ventilation is a better form of protection, but an air purifier can help when ventilation is difficult to implement.
Air purifiers can help with respiratory health, and not just when it comes to allergies. Just be sure to get one that uses a good HEPA filter and avoid those that produce ozone.