Are Air Purifiers Helpful for Asthma relief?
People who suffer from asthma believe that a great way to eliminate the particulates that are airborne, is through the use of an air purifier. Since these air borne particles do aggravate their conditions, they grab onto this idea as a short or long term remedy and buy portable units are not that expensive. These are often even recommended by their doctors.
The many studies, conducted by the American Lung Association, the EPA and Indoor Air Research would disagree and state this is not necessarily the case. Many of these air purifiers do advertise their products as helping asthma suffers, but they, especially the portable units very often are only marginally effective in this regard.
In their search for a better alternative, these suffers need to check out some information released by the independent studies available.
Independent Studies Indicate that Other Factors Are Involved
The New England Journal of Medicine did find a beneficial effect of an air purifier in homes with children suffering from asthma. The way an air purifier works is that air enters the inflow port and is forced out of the exhaust port, regardless of the filtration system involved. In other words, air – with particles in it – must be airborne and come into range of the purifier. The problem is that many allergen surfaces, such as furniture and floors (especially where there is pet dander, fur, hair, or dust mites) are out of reach of the purifier until they become airborne.
One of the recommendations is to try and remove the offending allergen sources to enable any system that is used to work properly. Shedding pets, cigarettes and mold as well as mildew sources should be removed from the home. All of these, as well as others determined by your allergist will impact your ability to clean the air thoroughly, regardless of what air cleaning system you are using or plan to install.
All of these, of course, are party to aggravating any allergies any member of your family, or visiting friends may have.
A Few Words About Federal Testing Is Appropriate
It is interesting to note that studies, conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have discovered that not all particles that are dangerous to your condition will be filtered out by many purifiers because of their size. Most filters can remove elements that are almost as small as .3 microns that is the size of many dangerous allergens and germs. A human hair, by comparison, is 100 microns in size. The commercially available air purifiers can remove most of the air borne particles, larger than 3 microns, but that leaves many still lingering in your home.
A Popular Idea Is To Use An Ozone Generator, But Not So Fast!
Ozone can increase short and long term asthma symptoms because of the toxological properties ozone has that hamper and/or outright restrict lung functions. The EPA discovered this in studies, even on otherwise healthy people. There have been no studies conducted on ultraviolet (UVGI) or photo catalytic oxidation cleaning (PCO) systems, but their concern is that they would prove to be as non-effective as Ozone systems in reducing the smaller-than-the-eye-can-see particulates that impact asthma suffers.
Medical Observations Should Be Considered When Looking for the Best Air cleaner or purifier.
In their review of the effectiveness of indoor air cleaners, the WebMD website points out that these only work in the room in which they are located. It goes on to recommend that the most effective filtration system utilizes High Efficiency Particulate Air filters as the best medium to use. These are, again, limited to only the air that can be induced into the system to be effective.
Several Points to be Considered for Further Study
New England Journal of Medicine – adding an air purifier helped air quality but didn’t totally alleviate asthma symptoms due to allergens & asthma triggers still located on surfaces and not in the air.
Adding an air cleaner/purifier helped but did not eliminate sources of allergens because of triggers still deposited on surfaces. This from the New England Journal of Medicine.
The Environmental Protection Agency – air purifiers reduced particles in the air considerably but did not filter allergy and asthma triggering particles smaller than .3 microns
The EPA states that air cleaners reduced particles in the air but usually does nothing to the dangerous allergens smaller than the .3 microns the studies were based on.
WebMD: HEPA filters helped but this only in a limited way.
All commercially available air purifiers can help clear the air of most asthma inducing elements, but this is only a partial remedy for asthma sufferers. A complete cleaning regimen must be introduced into the daily activities of members of the family to remove settled allergens on surfaces that are stationary and not subjected to enough air turbulence to dislodge them naturally.