Since allergies are triggered by airborne particles, it is natural to assume that air purification devices will help alleviate the symptoms since they constantly filter contaminants from the immediate environment. While this concept is true to a degree, it is necessary to do some research to determine which product is best suited for the kind of allergens that cause the irritation, because not all units produce the same results.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), a non-profit patient advocacy group, the main indoor triggers for allergies are:
If these particles stay suspended in the air, some air purifiers can filter them. However, pet dander and dust mite feces in particular are heavier particles that often settle quickly and do not stay suspended in the air for long. Most air purifiers are very effective at removing tobacco smoke but the best recommendation is not to allow smoking in the house at all.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does recommend air purification products as part of the solution to tackling indoor air pollution that causes allergies, but considers it just part of a overall strategy that includes:
Of course, many allergy suffers are affected seasonally by pollens and other environmental factors. In this case, the correct type of air purification device can prove very beneficial since these irritants are typically large particles that can easily be trapped by a filter.
Air purification technology uses a number of different methods for air filtration, and it is recommended by the AAFA that you consult with your doctor to determine which type of system will eliminate the specific allergens that trigger your symptoms. AAFA cautions consumers about accepting the manufacturer's claims and urge them to investigate the pros and cons of different methods fr themselves with their doctor's guidence. The following air purification products are the most common for residential use:
Even the most advanced residential air purifications systems cannot eliminate all airborne contaminants, especially ones released by contact with items such as pillows, rugs and furniture. The particles have to pass through the mechanism before they can be removed, and it can take even the best air purifier 15-20 minutes to clean the air in typical room depending on the fan speed of the unit.
For maximum protection, whole house air purification systems installed as part of the HVAC unit are highly recommended to filter larger particles combined with portable units with HEPA filtration to filter the smallest particles in rooms where allergy sufferers sleep.
Once you have determined the correct type of air purification system that works best for your particular allergies, you also need to consider the following factors before purchasing:
WebMD on Air Filters - http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/do-you-need-an-air-filter
Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America - http://www.aafa.org/
Mayo Clinic (Asthma Friendly Products) - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/asthma-friendly/AS00033/NSECTIONGROUP=2