Spring and summer are tough seasons for people with allergies. That’s when allergens like pollen are everywhere. Those combine with year-round troublemakers such as pet dander and dust mites.
These particles cause what many people call hay fever: coughing, runny noses, and itchy eyes. For seasonal allergy sufferers, these symptoms begin in February or March. And, they can last throughout the summer.
What makes it tough to remedy these symptoms are the substances that cause them. They are tiny and travel quickly. That makes them hard to eliminate.
Pollen, for instance, is the powdery substance that male flowers give off. It consists of tiny grains and is designed to travel easily through the air, so it reaches other flowers.
Meanwhile, dust mites are less than half of a millimeter long. It’s virtually impossible to spot them without a microscope.
Pet dander is tiny as well. It’s merely flakes of skin and bits of fur and feathers. You won’t see it unless there’s a buildup of it somewhere.
These factors make them an unseen enemy. You’ll know it’s there when your allergies flare up. But, it’s tough to prevent them from showing up in the first place.
Fortunately, there’s relief in sight. People who suffer from severe allergies should consider air purifiers for their home. They’ll capture these airborne particles before they become a problem.
Purifiers can be a significant investment. But, they can make a big difference, especially for people with severe seasonal allergies. Combine them with some simple strategies, and your home can quickly become a haven for allergy sufferers.
Why Is An Air Purifier Important For Allergy Sufferers?
Allergy sufferers benefit from air purifiers because it rids their homes of allergens. They trap and eliminate those tiny particles that are airborne. This process prevents them from circulating through the house and settling in for good.
There are more allergy-causing particles inside than outside. There’s naturally less circulation, and less space, than outside. That means particles that enter tend to collect in there.
Then, contaminants get caught on surfaces like carpets, couches and bedding. And, any damp, dark places in a home is a breeding ground for another problem-causer: Mold.
Finally, HVAC systems can contribute to this problem. Once there are particles in the air, they’ll circulate throughout the home. It’s especially a problem with forced-air heating and cooling systems.
Of course, furnaces and air conditioners use filters that block some airborne particles. But, when it comes to tiny ones like pollen or dander, they’re not as effective. We’ll get into why a little later.
That’s where an air purification system comes in. When used correctly, a system like this can get rid of virtually all those particles in the air.
Some people can get by with ventilation and regular cleaning. But, that’s not the case for everyone.
For some people, there’s just more to address. That’s especially true if there are pets or smokers in the house. Others are much more sensitive to these contaminants than others. They’re never able to wipe out enough of those tiny troublemakers to reduce their symptoms.
In these cases, the best bet is to get rid of these contaminants before they settle in your home. Then, it’s easier to manage the much fewer contaminants that are still inside the house.
How do air purifiers work?
Air purifiers work by trapping small particles as they pass through them. Once the particles are in the filter, they’re no longer circulating in the air. They work the same way as a dust mask or air filter mask that a construction worker or firefighter may wear. But, they work on a larger scale and block tiny contaminants in particular.
A vital part of the process is the filter. That is what actually traps the tiny particles. A purifier will use what’s called a High-Efficiency Particulate Air, or HEPA, filter.
A HEPA filter must block 99.7 percent of particles that are larger than .3 microns. That is the standard from the U.S. Department of Energy.
To understand how small .3 microns is, consider this: a piece of looseleaf paper is 180 microns. By comparison, dust mites are around 100 microns, and the smallest pollen particles are one micron.
Also, compare that to the average HVAC air filter. A run-of-the-mill furnace filter catches, at best, particles three to five microns or larger.
On the other hand, a HEPA filter can block those smaller problem particles. The purifier actively pulls air into to it. As the air passes through, the tiny particles are trapped. Then the air circulates back out into the home.
Over time, this process rids the home of airborne contaminants. The more the air passes through the system, the more particles get removed.
Allergy sufferers have the option of purifiers that treat the whole house like a central heating or cooling unit. A less expensive option is a smaller, portable unit that handles just one room.
Choosing one depends on your needs. These factors include the size of your dwelling and how sensitive you are. If you have just an apartment and don’t suffer too badly, for instance, a single-room machine one may do the trick.
But, if you need to treat a whole house, you’ll need the larger system. And, in some cases, heavy allergy sufferers supplement a central unit with one or two portable ones in critical areas.
Either way, an air filtration system like this can have a significant impact on your allergies. Next, you’ll want to combine it with some easy household tips to further reduce allergy symptoms.
How Can I Reduce Allergens In My Home?
Along with using filtering the air, you can take additional steps to rid your home of allergens. The filtration system will do a great job of eliminating particles that are airborne. But, you’ll still need to get rid of ones that settled into your home.
A regular cleaning routine is a great way to reduce allergy-causing particles. Wipe flooring, tabletops, window sills, counters and the tops of doors with a damp cloth. And, vacuum your rugs every week.
Avoid using Venetian, or horizontal blinds if you can. Pollen and dust collect on these easily. Instead, invest in cloth or rolling curtains. They’re easier to clean, too.
Finally, keep your bathroom well ventilated. That helps stop mold, another allergen, from growing. Since a bathroom is often damp, it can be a breeding ground for mold. Good air flow will prevent it from taking root.
Get in the habit of cleaning regularly and correctly. Then, your allergy symptoms should decrease somewhat. And, combining a strong cleaning routine with an air purification system should make a huge difference.