Every year, as the snows melt and we look forward to warmer weather and longer days, many people dread the months of runny noses, itchy eyes and sneezing that lie ahead. Seasonal allergies are a common problem that seems to worsen with each passing year as the climate warms.
While seasonal allergies are rarely dangerous, they can cause sufferers severe discomfort that can be difficult to alleviate. In this article, find out more about seasonal and environmental allergens and discover whether air purifiers can mitigate their effects.
What are environmental allergens?
An allergen is a substance that a person’s immune system overreacts to and classifies as dangerous, even though it is normally harmless. The immune system reacts by releasing histamines, which cause allergy symptoms such as swelling of the eyes, nose and throat and sneezing in an attempt expel the allergen from the body.
Also, allergens are particles that travel through the air and cause an immune response when inhaled, as opposed to substances that are ingested. Unfortunately, this makes them harder to avoid.
Trees, grasses and weeds reproduce by generating pollen, which is spread on the wind or via insects. Pollen spread by the wind is the main cause of seasonal allergy symptoms. Different types of plants emit pollen at different times of year, so the season during which you experience allergies will depend on what kind of pollen you’re allergic to.
Pollen levels also vary depending on location and weather conditions, but generally speaking, warmer, windier weather means worse symptoms for allergy sufferers.
Dust, mold and pet hair
Environmental allergens such as dust, mold and pet hair may be present in a home regardless of the season. Dust are a permanent fixture of houses regardless of how diligently they are cleaned, and pet hair can remain a problem for months after the animal has left.
For those who suffer from allergies, it’s important to take steps to avoid and eliminate allergens wherever possible.
Can air purifiers help with allergies?
Air purification systems are designed to clean the air in a room by trapping or deactivating particulates and pushing the filtered or sanitized air back into the space. Air purifiers with HEPA filters are particularly effective at trapping airborne particles 0.3 microns in size, which are the hardest to trap and the most easily drawn into the lungs.
Best air purifier for allergies
Studies have shown that air purifiers with HEPA filters successfully capture substantial amounts of airborne allergens, significantly improving the respiratory function of asthmatic allergy sufferers. With fewer allergens circulating in the air, people experience fewer symptoms, easier breathing and a better night’s sleep.
Note that for a residential air purifier to be effective at getting rid of allergens in the home, it must have a CADR (clean air delivery rate) that matches the size of the room it’s in, and the HEPA filter needs to be cleaned and replaced regularly.
Other ways to mitigate allergies
- Seal exterior windows and foundation cracks to keep pollen and mold from infiltrating your home.
- Opt for flooring and furniture that can be easily mopped, vacuumed or dusted.
- Avoid having carpets in the home—they are reservoirs of allergens that are difficult to clean adequately. Furthermore, the particles they contain are released into the air every time the carpet is disturbed.
- Wash bed sheets once a week in hot water.
- Over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines can be used to alleviate symptoms, and doctors may prescribe medication for more severe reactions.
Breathe easy with Sanuvox!
Regardless of how diligently you try to avoid them, a certain amount of allergens will always find their way into the house. Using an air purifier to clean the air you breathe can go a long way towards alleviating those troublesome symptoms and improving your quality of life.
Purchasing an air purifier is an investment in your health. HEPA filters are very effective at trapping airborne allergens, and air purifiers with UV technology destroy mold spores, viruses and bacteria that are also found in the air and can pose significant health risks.