The Misery Of Allergies
As a young boy I was one of the kids who had to stay indoors to avoid the misery that came with sneezing, sniffling and asthma which came from pollen, grass and leaves. Weekly shots at the allergist and medications were a weekly routine. And even though I was only age 11 (1969) I began to experiment with air purifiers and air cleaners of all kinds. When you can't breathe you'll do anything for relief.
Here are the primary types of air purification, with a quick rundown on their effectiveness for pollen allergies.
My first was an air ionizer, negative ion generator to be more precise. Good for some forms of mildew, pollution, and odor, but not very good for pollen or dust since there is nothing to collect the pollen in the air. RATING FOR ALLERGIES: POOR
Ozone generators were my next experiment. Good for odor, mold, and mildew, but again not good for gathering pollen and dust. Too much ozone will irritate the lungs, especially in asthmatics. Ozone machines did little for allergies. Today's primary Ozone brand is Ecoquest (formerly Alpine). RATING FOR ALLERGIES: POOR
Electrostatic Plates or "Truman Cells"
My next was an electrostatic machine with positive and negatively charged plates. Oreck calls it a "Truman Cell" ( for Harry Truman during WWII is all we can figure) but they're all over the market and often called "ionic" or "electrostatic". Good for pollution since carbon from car exhaust is charged, and they're washeable. Since most pollen and dust carries little charge however they are not effective for pollen or dust RATING FOR ALLERGIES: POOR
Carbon and/or Zeolite
These type of air purifiers are primarily for smoke, chemicals, odors and fumes since these organic minerals absorb and trap gases. But they do not trap dust and pollen. RATING FOR ALLERGIES: POOR
HEPA is the first choice for pollen allergies because it traps and holds pollen and dust. Doctors and Allergists recommend it most. The downside is you have to replace it every year or so. So make sure you find affordable replacement filters as some companies can soak you after you own their Hepa air purifier. I would avoid the expensive ($500-800) air purifiers like IQAIR and Austin Air which are primarily HEPA. They're just too over-priced for a HEPA filter, and even though they are well made you can find a comparable ones for under $300. RATING FOR ALLERGIES: EXCELLENT
WAIT BEFORE YOU BUY A HEPA AIR PURIFIER
So while HEPA is the primary method of air purification for pollen allergies and asthma today you can find affordable air purifiers that use multiple technologies including HEPA. The reason you want more than HEPA is that pollution, mold, mildew and other contaminants (besides pollen and dust) all burden your immune system and can make pollen allergies worse. Little-known brands like AliveAir and Airpodcleaner use a large HEPA filter plus 8 other technologies including Electrostatic, Carbon, UV (to kill mold and mildew) protecting your body and making cleaner, purer air. Some of these models also use advanced pollen and dust sensors which detect pollen and dust levels and adjust the purification accordingly.
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