Do Air Purifiers Really Help with Allergies?

Do air purifiers really help with allergies? The answer is yes! Air purifiers can improve air quality and reduce exposure to indoor particles, allergens, and contaminants, which can positively affect respiratory health. Air purifiers work to reduce the amount of pollen in the air, which should help relieve allergy symptoms. However, results may vary from person to person. The exact operation of an air purifier will depend on the size of the room, the local climate, the model of the purifier, and your own personal health. It's important to be aware of bold claims from manufacturers, as Honeywell got into legal trouble for exaggerating the effectiveness of its air purifiers.

For best results, make sure that the air purifier is in the room you spend the most time in, that it has a suitable HEPA filter installed, and that it is running all day. Air purifiers can act as a supplement to a filter and other strategies to help remove particles from the air. They can significantly improve the quality of life in the home, but those suffering from allergies and other respiratory problems may need additional guarantees. Filtration is much more effective at removing mold in the air than an air purifier. When I asked Ted Myatt, an environmental microbiologist who works at the University of Rhode Island and consults for Honeywell, if I would feel healthier after using a household air purifier for an extended period of time, he covered himself. Over the years, the Federal Trade Commission has taken action against several manufacturers of air purifiers for baseless allergy relief claims or for announcing that their devices removed virtually all impurities from the indoor air that people breathed. Therefore, while results may seem encouraging, factors such as location, flow rate and operating time could affect the effectiveness of an air purifier in reducing allergy symptoms.

Filters such as ULPA (Ultra Low Penetration Air) used in certain industrial or scientific environments or in cleanrooms are not suitable for the domestic environment. Consider the size and power of your air purifier; you may want one that you can move from your bedroom to your home office depending on where you spend most time, or a heavy-duty whole-home option if you have multiple allergy sufferers under one roof. You never know how polluted the air inside your home is until you use an air purifier and see the particles accumulated on the filter. Therefore, although there are anecdotal reports, there is little medical or scientific evidence to show that air purifiers help people with allergies. Elizabeth Matsui, a Johns Hopkins professor who is also the chair of the committee on indoor air pollution and allergens at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, noted that pollen doesn't stay in the air for long; it tends to settle quickly in the soil.