Do Air Purifiers Help With Allergies?

Published on 08/02/2022 · 6 min readAllergies can really take a toll on your life. But in your own home, they shouldn't have to! Read on to learn about how air purifiers can help with allergies.
Joe Wheeler, Air Quality Expert
By Air Quality Expert Joe Wheeler

Photo by Alex Jones

Are you allergic to the dust on your desk or the dog hairs floating through your home? Having the right air purifier in your house may help you to breathe better. If you suffer from allergies, you likely have already taken steps to get relief. This may include more frequent cleaning, vacuuming, and removing rugs from your bedroom. It also helps to make your pets sleep in a different room and wash your bedding often in hot water. If your home has good outdoor air ventilation and your humidity levels are appropriate, the next step is to add the right air purifier to your indoor spaces.

What are common types of indoor allergens?

Indoor allergies are allergies that are triggered by allergens commonly found in your home or other indoor locations, including the office, classroom, garage, or gym. Indoor allergies can be difficult to avoid due to the increasing amount of time we spend inside of our homes with remote work, online classes, and more affordable home entertainment. These allergies are very common and can cause severe and debilitating symptoms for some. An allergy, or allergic reaction, is when your body’s immune system overreacts to an allergen.

The most common types of indoor allergens include:

  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Insects
  • Mold

To improve your indoor air quality, start by first trying to reduce the number of allergens that enter your home. Try to avoid contact with these allergens as much as possible and increase the flow of outdoor air into your home.

Can air purifiers help with allergies?

Photo by Samson Katt

Indoor air purifiers are not a treatment for allergic reactions but may reduce the amount of allergens present. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a portable air cleaner is one of the most effective ways to improve indoor air quality in a single room or area.

Indoor allergy symptoms include:

  • Itchy, stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy, watery, swollen, bloodshot eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest

Everyone can enjoy and benefit from an air purifier, but if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, adding an air purifier that filters known allergens may help to alleviate symptoms.

What type of air purifier is best for allergies?

Photo by Nubelson Fernandes

When selecting an air purifier for allergies, ensure it has a True HEPA filter and is rated for the space it will be in. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air, and a true HEPA filter is the only certified filter to capture 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size. This includes allergens like pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and dust. It is typically recommended to select an air purifier that has a coverage capacity of at least 100 to 200 square feet greater than your given room’s size.

Quality and high-performing air purifier brands include Levoit, Winix, Molekule, Rabbit Air, and Aura.

In addition to a True HEPA filter, you may also want to select an air purifier that is certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundations of America (AAFA).

To be certified by the AAFA, an air purifier has to meet the following criteria:

  • The air cleaner can reduce bio-allergens in a defined space.
  • The reduction in bio-allergens is a result of actual removal and not just re-distribution.
  • The air cleaner does not contribute to ozone levels in the home.

When selecting an air purifier, you need to know the square footage of your space to determine if the unit is the right size. You can also look for the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) to determine how many particles and square feet a purifier can handle. This can be confusing and difficult at first and where an Air Purifier Expert at Curated can help out. They can help walk you through measuring your spaces and make sense of the different air purifier specifications.

An alternative rating to CADR that some manufacturers use is Air Changes Per Hour (ACPH). Air change per hour is how many times an air purifier can clean a room in one hour. For example, an air purifier rated at two air changes per hour can clean a room once every 30 minutes. If you suffer from allergies, four air changes per hour are recommended so the air in the room is cleaned every 15 minutes.

The Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 air purifier has an ACPH rating of two for 625 sq. ft. or four air changes per hour at 313 sq. ft.

Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Air Purifier

Do you need a special allergy filter?

All air purifiers with a True HEPA filter are efficient at removing and reducing allergens 0.3 microns in size and larger. Most allergens like pollen and dust are between 20 and 30 microns in size. Pet hair can range between 75 and 200 microns, but pet dander can be much smaller at 4 microns. So, a special allergy filter is not typically needed for the air purifier to be effective at removing and reducing allergens.

How do air purifiers even work?

Air purifiers work by pulling in air, trapping harmful contaminants, and then pushing the clean air back into the room. In addition to helping with allergies, air purifiers can also help with the following:

  • Asthma and other respiratory issues
  • Improved sleep
  • Air pollution
  • Odors
  • Airborne viruses and bacteria
  • Home construction and remodeling odors
  • Pet hair and dander
  • Dust
  • Wildfire smoke

Air purifiers can typically have between one and six layers of filtration. These layers can include a pre-filter, medium filter, activated carbon filter, HEPA filter, customized filter, and a negative ion filter. The Rabbit Air A3 air purifier is a great example of an air purifier that has six layers of filtration and is certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundations of America.

  • Pre-filter: traps and reduces large particles like dust, pet hair, and pollen.
  • Medium filter: traps and reduces airborne particles larger than 1 micron in size.
  • Activated carbon filter: traps and reduces odors and gasses referred to as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
  • HEPA filter: traps and reduces particles 0.3 microns in size.
  • Customized filter: a filter that can be tailored to a specific contaminant like germs, toxins, odors, or pet allergens.
  • Negative ion: negative ions help your air purifier by latching onto airborne particles and weighing them down so the other filters can more easily trap them.

Rabbit Air A3 Air Purifier

Each of these filters works to remove indoor air pollution to improve your overall indoor air quality. The best air purifiers always include at least an activated carbon filter and a True HEPA filter. Air purifiers with an ionizer that releases ozone into the room are not recommended as they can worsen allergy symptoms, but air purifiers with ionizers that contain the ozone at low levels inside the machine are considered safe.

Conclusion

An air purifier is one of the best options to reduce the number of allergens in your home when combined with proper ventilation. This can lead to greater indoor air quality, better breathing, and a healthier home.

Using an air purifier may reduce allergens that trigger allergic reactions. Many medical experts and research studies highlight their effectiveness. With all air purifiers, the filters do need regular maintenance by cleaning or replacing filters.

If you have questions on how to choose the right air purifier for you, or have any other indoor air quality questions, message an Air Purifier Expert here on Curated and we would be happy to help you out.

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