Can Air Purifiers Make Allergies Worse?

Most people will come across air purifiers as an alternative way to reduce their allergic symptoms. Air Purifiers are used for allergies such as dust mite, pollen, and pet dander. The science behind allergy air purifiers is that they remove the allergens from the air and thus the sufferer no longer has an allergic reaction.

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This sounds like a magic pill for allergy suffers but the vast majority of air purifiers will actually make their allergy worse. And it’s not just allergies, the wrong air purifier can be harmful and can actually aggravate health conditions like asthma and other respiratory issues.

I often spend time answering questions on Yahoo answers and very often people will ask why their air purifier is actually making their allergy worse. One young woman bought an ionizer air purifier and then told us how it made her allergies worse for the next 6 months. It was only when this purifier broke that her allergies got better.

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Now the problem with many ionizer air purifiers is they will stir up the dust/pollen/pet dander in your room and bring it out of the areas it has been hiding. The Ionization process will then charge the allergen particles and make them heavier. However, if the air purifier has a limited ability to filter the allergens then the problem has only been made worse. Allergens that are stuck in your carpet or behind objects do not cause as many problems as the allergens in the air. It’s the reason why many of us even with no allergies start sneezing after we have been dusting our rooms.

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Another problem with using an air purifier for allergies is that some of the cheaper ionizer based models actually produce ozone which can trigger allergies in some people. In once case – The ionic breeze air purifier produced as much ozone as the amount found during high smog season in downtown LA! Any air purifier that produces any sort of ozone should be ignored by someone looking to remove allergens from the air.

So do air purifiers work for allergies?

It might sound like I am telling you that an air purifier is useless for allergies but I’m not. In fact, I helped to reduce my symptoms caused by my dust mite allergy by using an air purifier. However, it took me many different models and lots of $$ to find one that actually worked. So I have put together a list of things to look for if you really want an allergy air purifier:

1. No Ozone Production – check with independent results to see how much ozone is produced

2. Needs to be able to deal with a room sized at least 500 square feet – but preferable more than a 1000 feet.

3. Needs to be able to remove 99.7% of particles bigger than 0.3 microns. In most cases this will require a true HEPA filter. Again check independent results to see how it works both out of the box and after 6 months.

4. Always choose an air purifier that comes with a pre-filter. Pre Filters stop big particles such as dust, pet hair and general dirt. With a pre-filter it will mean that you won’t have to buy as many costly replacement HEPA filters.

5. Try to find an air purifier that has a silent sleep mode as you will want to keep the machine running whilst you sleep.

Tips to make sure your air purifier helps allergies and doesn’t make them worse

  • Be sure to check if your filters need replacing. A big issue is that people forget that filters need replacing either every 12 months (for cheaper units) or every 5 years for units like the Coway (more $$)
  • Make sure that you only go for an air purifier with a true HEPA filter or equivalent. The main issue for allergy sufferers is the pet and pollen dander which will get caught up in HEPA filters as the holes are small enough to let in air but can capture bigger particles like tree pollen or pet dander.
  • Don’t make the mistake of using a small unit in a large space. Many of the cheaper air purifiers are only built to deal with the air in a small room. If you take one of these units and place it in your large living room – the unit will become overwhelmed and won’t be able to remove the allergen causing particles from your home.

If you are looking for an air purifier that won’t make allergies worse but can significantly reduce the amount of dust and pet dander then be sure to check the list below of our recommendations.

As with all of the air purifier review recommendations we make, we have identified the best deals available right now for 2020 that are in stock and have available replacement filters.

All of the units featured include a true HEPA filter and activated Carbon. As always if you have a very large room or bigger use case – always look to go for our bigger room options.

We have also analyses reviews to identify if any paid or manipulative reviews have been used to artificially inflate the customer’s recommendation score.

1.Best for Most People – LEVOIT Pet Edition
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home Allergies and Pets Hair, H13 True HEPA Filter for Bedroom, 24db Filtration System with ARC Formula, Remove 99.97% Odors Smoke Dust Mold Pollen, Core P350, Gray
  • Genuine Replacements: Search for "p350-rf" or "B087R7ZFPB" for levoit 3-in-1 customized pet filter with ARC Formula to ensure excellent performance
  • Perfect Gift for Pet Families: Ideal for pet allergies, improve your air quality and help you and your pets relieve allergic symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, sinuses and heavy breathing. Ozone-free, approved by CARB, ETL listed and CA PROP 65 certified
  • High Powered: The Vortexair Technology offers an increased CADR of 141 CFM / 240 m³/h, handily covering rooms as large as 219 ft2 (20㎡) and refreshing the air 5 times per hour, perfect for bedroom, living room, dining room or pet room
  • H13-Grade True HEPA Filter: Reduces up to 99.97% of harmful air pollutants, smoke, pollen, mold spores, dust mites and other allergens as small as 0.3 microns from the air. This new fine non-woven fabric pre-filter is more effective than other common pre-filters at capturing floating hair, pet fur, pet dander, dust, fibers, lint
  • Sleep Mode & Timer: The QuietKEAP Technology keeps noise levels as low as 24dB. Set a timer for 2, 4, 8, or 12 hours, then turn off the display light to enjoy a perfect and undisturbed night of sleep. The pet lock button prevents your pets from tampering with any of the other buttons or settings

2. Budget Friendly – $75ish Hamilton Beach TrueAir
Sale
Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier for Home or Office with Permanent HEPA Filter for Allergies and Pets, Ultra Quiet, Black (04386A)
  • High Performance Hepa Grade Filter: Captures 99% of pet dander, dust, dust mites, pollen, and mold / mildew spores as small as 3 microns from the air.
  • Easy to clean: Allergen reducing air purifier has a permanent Hepa-grade filter that easily vacuums clean.
  • Compact, stylish design: Allergen reducing air purifier is perfect in the office or in rooms up to 160 square feet
  • Versatile air care that fits anywhere: Position the unit vertically or horizontally to best fit in your bedroom, den, nursery, hallway or living room at home or at the office.
  • Quiet and powerful: Use whisper clean for extra quiet operation at night, the medium setting or the quick clean setting for more powerful air cleaning.

3. Winix 5500-2 – For those with bigger rooms
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave and Odor Reducing Washable AOC Carbon Filter
  • True HEPA filter captures 99.97% of airborne pollutants; dust mites, pet dander, pollen and other allergens as small as 0.3 microns
  • Washable AOC Carbon Filter, made from activated carbon granulars for removal of household odors. Decibels 27.8 dB
  • PlasmaWave acts as a permanent filter to safely break down odor, allergens, chemical vapors and other pollutants with no harmful ozone
  • Smart Sensors gauge the air and our Auto Mode adjusts the fan to filter the air as needed; with a sleep mode for silent night time operation
  • CADR rated for 360 square feet room size. Suitable for medium and large rooms; kids bedrooms, family rooms and kitchens

4. Coway Airmega 400 – If you need the very best or the largest space
Sale
Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier with 1,560 sq. ft. Coverage
  • Coway Airmega 400 room air purifier is designed to accommodate large room sizes up to 1,560 square feet and cleans the air at least two times per hour when used as recommended.
  • Coway Airmega Max2 filter—combined activated carbon and True HEPA filter—captures and reduces up to 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles in the air, including pollen, pollutants and other allergens. It also reduces volatile organic compounds by more than 99% and reduces fumes such as NH3 and CH3CHO. Includes washable and permanent pre-filter to catch larger dust particles.
  • Coway Airmega’s pollution sensor communicates indoor air quality testing in real-time. The brightly colored LED ring lets you know how clean or dirty your indoor air is, every minute of the day.
  • Coway Airmega has five fan modes: Smart, Sleep, Low, Medium and High. Noise level is nearly silent at lower speeds. Max noise at highest setting is 43.2 dB.
  • Coway Airmega is a smart, energy efficient air purifier with a three-setting smart mode to adapt to its surroundings. Fan speed automatically adjusts based on the room’s air quality and lighting conditions to improve air quality.

Last update on 2020-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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