Fall weather and holiday travels can mean a higher incidence of allergy- and cold-related illnesses such as eczema and asthma. Our youngest child suffers from eczema, asthma, and food allergies making Fall a trying time for our family. This year, in addition to our ongoing use of eczema clothing, wet wraps, and Vaniply Ointment, we are investing in an air purifier for our son’s bedroom.
Here is some information about what to look for when choosing an air purifier. We hope it is helpful for those of you suffering from similar issues this time of year.
What’s in the Air?
Pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, and other household dust particles are regularly found indoors. Many more seasonal allergens gain entry as well, often triggering eczema for the allergy sufferer. These allergens settle into the tiny cracks in your skin and cause itching. Vacuuming carpets and rugs, keeping stuffed animals clean and to a minimum can help reduce this load of irritants. While it is nearly impossible to eliminate all of the microscopic particles that contribute to an eczema flare-up, a good portable air purifier with a HEPA filter can eliminate many of them, making it an important tool in helping to 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. Only the tiniest particles can pass through. Many air purifiers also have a pre-filter to capture larger particles such as pet hair. Smaller particle allergens including pollen, mold spores, and dust are 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 filter in the unit determines the air purifier's performance and cost. The more square feet of HEPA filter, the more particulate it removes. Pre-filters remove pet hair and other large particles prior to primary filtration and are included with most air purifiers. Most pre-filters are made of foam or non-woven polyester. Some have electrostatic properties to increase filtration. Pre-filters with activated carbon can eliminate odors and smoke. Regularly changing the pre-filter increases the lifespan of the other particle filters in the air purifier. Also, changing the HEPA filter regularly keeps the unit functioning at its best. Other filter options such as Ion technology are available but they emit ozone, a powerful lung irritant, especially bad for children and the elderly.
Additional Features to Look for When Buying.
As mentioned, it is best to look for a unit with both a pre-filter and a HEPA filter. And for moderate to severe allergies it is important to look for a unit with a sealed system, which refers to how the unit is constructed. Seals or gaskets work to ensure that air entering the air purifier does not leave until it has passed through the filters in a sealed system. 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 four to six cycles per hour is recommended. The CFM number 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. Know the size of the room the unit will be filtering to make sure it has the best airflow for the space. A good rule of thumb is to choose one with the same square footage of the room or slightly greater.
Placement of the air purifier is also important. There must be sufficient airflow and space around the unit. If using an air purifier in a bedroom it should be placed six to ten feet from the headboard.
Benefits of Using an Air Purifier.
Breathing less contaminated air, improved sleep, and keeping the allergen load low to prevent an eczema flare are all benefits of using an air purifier. The drawbacks are minimal: more energy use and added noise in the room. Most units will make some noise when operating at the highest fan level but higher-end units from companies such as BlueAir, Austin, and IQAir air reduce the noise.
Mission: Allergy, Achoo Allergy, and Amazon are all great online retailer options. Of course, always consult your physician if you have questions. Here are our top picks in various price ranges that we’ll be looking into:
Alen BreatheSmart Flex Customizable Air Purifier
GermGuardian AC4825 3 in 1 Air Cleaning System with True HEPA Filter
PureZone 3 in 1 Ture HEPA Air Purifier
Austin Air Allergy Machine HEGA Air Purifiers
Please remember information on our blog is not designed or meant to replace a physician’s advice. Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions. AD RescueWear does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.