Over 25 million Americans suffer from asthma. While there is no cure for asthma, there are many ways to reduce allergy symptoms…. Including using an air purifier.
But, how do purifiers work to reduce asthma and which purifiers are most effective? Let’s find out more…
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition that causes the airways to your lungs to become inflamed and mucus-filled, making it more difficult to breathe.
Asthma can start at any age. Often people have severe symptoms as children, which then lessen or disappear when their lungs mature. But sometimes asthma symptoms can return or even begin for the first time later on in life.
For some people, asthma is just a mild nuisance, while for others it can be life-threatening.
Asthma signs and symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- Wheezing when exhaling, which is a common sign of asthma in children
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Signs that asthma is probably worsening include:
- Asthma signs and symptoms that are more frequent and bothersome
- Increasing difficulty breathing, as measured with a device used to check how well your lungs are working (peak flow meter)
- The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often
Asthma symptoms can be triggered by a wide range of things including:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Smoke from cigarettes
- Air pollution such as smog, ozone and others
- Wood fires
- Charcoal grills
- Strong fumes, vapors or odors (such as paint, gasoline, perfumes and scented soaps)
- Dust and particles in the air
- Health conditions such as obesity or sleep apnea
- Respiratory illnesses like a cold or the flu
- Weather… particularly dry wind or cold air
- Strong emotions
- Certain medication such as aspirin
How can you alleviate asthma symptoms?
While asthma can be disruptive and even dangerous, there are things you can do to help improve your quality of life.
Know your triggers
Each person with asthma has their own triggers that affect them most severely. Keep a journal of what seems to exacerbate your own asthma symptoms.
Smoking greatly increases your risk of severe asthma attacks. But it isn’t just the smoker who needs to be concerned. Secondhand tobacco smoke can be extremely damaging to airways. Do not allow anyone to smoke in or near your living spaces and avoid indoor areas that allow smoking.
When you’re stressed your body releases hormones that increase your breathing, which can trigger asthma symptoms.
Regular exercise can be very helpful in reducing asthma symptoms. However, it’s important to consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine as some physical activities can actually trigger asthma attacks.
Most people with asthma require two types of medications: One for emergencies that works quickly and long-term, and one for long-term relief. Consult with a specialist to find the best treatment for you.
Fruits, vegetables, and foods that contain high levels of Vitamin D are all helpful in reducing allergy symptoms. Other foods, such as those containing sulfites, may actually exacerbate symptoms.
Carpet, furniture, pets, bedding, and other household items collect allergens and dust which can cause complications with asthma.
Use an air purifier
The right air purifier can be very useful in removing allergens from your air and stopping symptoms before they occur.
What kind of air purifier is best for asthma sufferers?
There are several different types of air purifiers available. While they all claim to help with asthma, some purifiers can actually put more pollutants into your indoor air, potentially triggering asthma attacks.
The best purifiers for asthma sufferers use a True HEPA filter.
HEPA filters are made of twisted fiberglass or plastic fiber designed to take particles out of air circulation. HEPA filters trap particles in different ways according to their size.
Particles larger than 1 micron: As air flows through the filter, the larger particles are heavy enough that the airflow from the filter propels them forward into the fibers of the filter where they get stuck.
Particles that are .3 to 1 micron: Mid-sized particles can fit between the gaps in the filter. But, they are too heavy and slow to follow the airflow around the HEPA filter and end up getting stuck in the fibers.
Particles smaller than .3 microns: While HEPA filters only need to filter particles of .3 microns, they’re also really good at filtering out smaller ones.The smallest particles bounce off of other larger particles in the air in random patterns that send them careening into different directions, where they hit the fibers of the HEPA filter and get stuck.
Will a HEPA filter remove all the pollutants that can trigger asthma symptoms?
No. A HEPA filter will only get rid of particulate matter, not chemicals. Since chemicals in the air can also trigger asthma attacks, it’s important to get rid of them as well. An activated carbon filter is the safest way to remove harmful gasses and odors from your home.
To remove both allergens and chemicals from your indoor air, look for a purifier that combines True HEPA and activated carbon filters.