Air Filters Can Help Reduce Allergies and Asthmatic Attacks

by Michelle OConnor

What Causes Asthma?
Asthma is an allergic reaction that can be brought on by a variety of triggers including certain foods, medicines, organisms, dander, mold and airborne pollution. An asthmatic attack can be very frightening for both the asthmatic and their friends and family. While an air purifier alone is not sufficient to remove all allergans and asthmatic triggers from a home, they can be an effective component in your arsenal.

Including Air Purifiers in your Arsenal to help Combat Asthma Attacks
A quality air purifier alone cannot trap all household allergans that may contribute to asthmatic attacks. The reason for this is that not all allergans are or remain airborne. For example, many people with allergies are allergic to dust mite droppings (feces) which fall out of the air and into carpeting, upholstery and linens rather quickly due to their relatively large size. In addition, allergy attacks can be brought on by the presence of certain organisms which are immune to air purification, such as cockroaches.

In a September, 2004 study co-funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and published in the New England Journal of Medicine it was found that a HEPA air filter, when used in conjunction with dust mite proof mattress and pillow covers, cockroach extermination and a HEPA vacuum, dramatically reduced asthma symptoms.

Though no air cleaning system can remove all allergans from a home, studies have shown they can significantly reduce the levels of airborn allergans and irritants, in some cases, by up to 90%. The HEPA filter has long been used in laboratory experiments, and has been proven to reduce the level of particles in the air. Many air filtration systems rely solely on HEPA technology, or, include a HEPA filter as part of a multi-filtration system.

Multi Filter Air Cleaning Systems
There are purifiers available today that combine more than one type of air filtration technology. The HEPA filter is a widely known, effective and popular air filter. Newer technologies include ionization and UV filters, which, when combined with a HEPA, can trap or kill allergans and particles that are much smaller in size than was previously possible. There are some UV filters that can effectively treat airborne pollutants that are down to 0.001 microns in size. The HEPA air filter traps particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. Ionization technology for air filtration works by negatively producing negatively charged ions which attach themselves to contaminants. These contaminants then drop from the air, resulting in cleaner air to breathe. The HEPA operates by physically trapping particles that go through the filter. While the UV method works by killing or destroying germs.

While no air filtration system alone can remove all potential allergans from the air, they can definitely help reduce them. Subsequently helping to reduce the number of allergic or asthmatic attacks an individual may experience. Much of this depends on what the individual is allergic to, what filtration system they choose, and what other allergan-removal methods they employ in their home environment. A quality air purifier can be a valuable tool in fighting allergies and the effects of asthma.