When you or your child suffers with eczema you’ll try anything to relieve the itching and sleepless nights. Can an air purifier help to reduce and/or prevent an eczema flare?
What’s in the Air?
Pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold spores and other household dust particles are regularly in our indoor air. Depending on the season, there can be many more allergens coming into the house. An eczema flare can be triggered especially if you or your child have seasonal allergies, an allergy to dust mites or pet dander. Allergens in the air can settle into the tiny cracks in your skin causing you to start itching. Regular vacuuming of carpets and rugs, keeping stuffed animals clean can all help reduce this load of irritants surrounding you. But it’s nearly impossible to get rid of the microscopic particles that can contribute to an eczema flare. A good portable air purifier with a HEPA filter can capture more of these particles and become an important tool to help you control eczema.
What is HEPA?
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters set the standard for air purification. A HEPA filter removes at least 99.97% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns. They allow only very small particles to pass through them so many air purifiers also have a pre-filter to capture larger particles such as pet hair. Smaller particle allergens such as pollen, mold spores, and dust will get trapped in the HEPA filter making it a good investment for people with allergies and eczema.
What type of HEPA Filter is Best?
The size, material, and construction of the actual filter in the unit will determine the air purifier's performance and make one unit more expensive than another. The more square feet of HEPA filter, the more particulate it will be able to remove. Pre-Filters remove pet hair and other large particles prior to primary filtration and come with nearly all air purifiers. Most pre-filters are either foam or some sort of non-woven polyester, and some have electrostatic properties to increase filtration. If you’re concerned about odors or smoke, look for pre-filters with activated carbon. Regularly changing the pre-filter will help to increase the life span of the other particle filters in the air purifier. It’s also very important to remember to change the HEPA filter as recommended to keep your unit functioning at its best. You may see other filter options out there such as Ion technology, but this is not recommended much anymore as they can emit ozone (a powerful lung irritant, especially bad for children and the elderly).
Additional Features to Look for When Buying.
As previously mentioned, it’s best to look for a unit with a pre-filter and a HEPA filter. If you have moderate to severe allergies, it’s important to look for a unit with a sealed system. This refers to how the unit is constructed and how well the seals or gaskets work to ensure that air entering the air purifier does not leave until it has passed through the filters. Another important feature to look for will be the ACH or Air Exchange Per Hour. The more air exchanges per hour the better the air quality. An air exchange of 4 to 6 per hour is recommended. You’ll also want to look at the CFM number. This refers to the level of air cleaning capacity and is usually designated in terms of cubic feet of air cleaned per minute (CFM). All air purifier manufacturers list airflow ratings (in CFM) for each fan setting at which their machine operates. Know the size of the room your unit will be operating in to make sure it has the best air flow for your space. A good rule of thumb is to choose one with the same square footage or slightly greater square footage than your room.
The placement of the air purifier is also important. Make certain there is enough air flow and space around your unit. And if you plan to use one in a bedroom, it’s recommended to place it 6 to 10 feet from the headboard.
Positive Benefits of Using an Air Purifier.
Breathing less contaminated air, improved sleep and keeping your allergen load low to prevent an eczema flare are all positive benefits of using an air purifier. The drawbacks are few; more energy used and added noise in the room. Although most air purifiers will make some noise when operating at the highest fan level, the noise problem has been lessened in some of the higher end units from companies such as BlueAir, Austin Air Purifiers and IQAir air. There are many great options to choose from at online retailers such as Mission: Allergy. Mission Allergy is a trusted retailer in air filters. We're convinced after doing our research that with so many benefits, an air purifier can be a helpful tool for managing eczema!
Photo compliments of BlueAir Air filters.