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Air Purifiers and Asthma: What Should You Look For?

Asthma is the term used to describe chronic hypersensitivity of the airways to certain substances in the air we breathe. The disease manifests itself as a feeling of tightness in the chest, dry, tickly cough and shortness of breath. Since the airways in asthma are often particularly sensitive to allergens, air purifiers can help to reduce the symptoms of those affected.

The reason: They filter the substances from the room air that trigger or worsen asthma and thus lead to the typical symptoms. Read the following article to learn how air purifiers help with asthma, which filtration systems are good, and what asthma patients should look out for when considering buying an air purifier.

Table of Contents

Are air purifiers useful for asthma?

Yes, air purifiers can filter the triggers for asthma out of the air, thus reducing asthma attacks.

In Germany alone there are around three million people who suffer from asthma. Children and adolescents are more frequently affected than adults: while only five percent of adults struggle with asthma, around ten percent of children and adolescents do. In the industrialized countries in particular, the number of newly diagnosed asthma patients has risen considerably in the past 20 years. This is mainly due to environmental pollution, which increases the pollution of the ambient air.

To relieve the excruciating symptoms, some asthmatics use air purifiers. Because these devices filter out certain disease triggers, they can actually improve the quality of life for asthma sufferers. It is only important to select the appropriate filter technology and to pay attention to a few things when handling the air purifier.

Triggers for asthma

In order to clarify the question of which air purifier is suitable for asthmatics, we would first like to get to the bottom of the origin of the disease. To date, it is not fully understood what causes the hypersensitivity of the airways. It is clear, however, that there are factors that trigger or promote the symptoms. A distinction is made between allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma.

Allergic asthma

In allergic asthma, the hypersensitivity of the airways is primarily caused by certain allergens. This includes:

Non-allergic asthma

In non-allergic asthma, on the other hand, the body reacts sensitively to non-specific stimuli such as:

  • Sport and physical exertion
  • Bacterial infections or viral diseases
  • Cold air to breathe
  • Perfume
  • Pollutants in the air
  • Cigarette smoke

Mixed forms are particularly common. This means that most of those affected react to both allergens and non-specific stimuli with complaints.

Which air purifier for asthma?

There are different types of air purifiers, the following can be found on the market:

  1. Air purifier with Hepa filter
  2. Activated carbon filter
  3. Air purifier with ionizer
  4. Air washer
    (Combination forms 1-4)
  5. Ozone generator (will not be discussed further, not an option!)

In the following we present them individually and evaluate their suitability for asthmatics.

Hepa air filter

In order to reduce asthmatic symptoms, asthmatics must avoid contact with allergens and stimuli as much as possible. That will hardly succeed 100 percent. However, an air purifier with a HEPA filter can be very useful, especially with regard to pollutants and allergens in the room air.

A high quality HEPA filter is able to filter up to 99.97 percent of the airborne particles, which can be as small as 0.1 micrometers. If the air purifier also works with activated carbon filters or pre-filters, almost all suspended particles that can cause asthmatic complaints are removed from the room air. In this way, they are kept away from the affected person's airways. As a result, the body no longer reacts overly sensitively and the annoying symptoms such as dry cough, shortness of breath and feelings of pressure in the chest do not occur.

Recommendation: Very suitable for asthmatics and allergy sufferers.

Activated carbon filter / combination filter

Similar to a Hepa filter, activated carbon filters also filter components out of the air. These are layers of activated carbon mats, which, when folded, create a large surface area. This can effectively purify the air.

An activated carbon filter must also be replaced regularly so that it can go about its work. There are only a few devices on the market that are only equipped with an activated carbon filter; often a HEPA filter is also integrated.

Recommendation: The combination models are very suitable for asthmatics and allergy sufferers.

Air washer

In addition to air purifiers with HEPA and activated carbon filters, there are also other types of air purifier. Air washers, which remove pollutants from the air with the help of water, are particularly widespread.

Air washers work without a separate filter, but instead bind pollutants and dirt particles in a water tank. This has the advantage that the regular filter replacement is not necessary and you can save costs, but air washers are not as effective as air purifiers with HEPA filters. They filter particles from the air that are larger than 10 micrometers - including dust, pollen, etc. Even smaller particles (fine dust, viruses) remain in the air.

Recommendation: Conditionally suitable - check whether the triggers are too big

Ionizers

Even ionizers are not enough to sufficiently reduce the substances that can trigger asthma. We therefore advise against these air purification systems for asthmatics as well.

Ionizers that produce ozone are absolutely unsuitable. The ozone can irritate the airways of asthma patients and make the typical asthma symptoms even worse.

Since there are air purifiers with HEPA filters that also have an ionizer, asthmatics should read the product description here particularly carefully: Most of the time, the ionizer can be switched on or off at will. However, if it is inevitably always running, such a device is not suitable for asthmatics.

Recommendation: Not suitable

What asthma patients should consider when using air purifiers

If you suffer from asthma and want to use an air purifier with a HEPA filter, you should make sure that the device is yours Room sizefits. If the filter is too small, it will not be able to purify the air in the room to a sufficient extent and thus not rid it of all asthma-causing substances.

It is also important that you have the built-in filter exchanges in time. Otherwise the cleaning performance of the air purifier will decrease and the pollution of the room air will increase. Caution is also advised when changing the filter: the dirty filter can trigger asthmatic complaints. It is best to wear respiratory protection or have this task done by someone who does not have asthma.

The benefits of an air purifier

A particular advantage is that there are air purifier models that have an integrated humidifier so that the dry heating air is enriched with humidity. This is especially important if the heating air makes your asthma worse.

Especially in spring, there is an increased level even in the indoor air Pollen count, which you can counteract with an air purifier so that the air becomes clean again. But also House and fine dust is a big issue because this one is so tiny and even when blown up it is barely noticeable to the naked eye. An added benefit is the elimination of Tobacco smoke. Even if you are not a smoker yourself, it can happen that, for example, people smoke in your family. Even after the last cigarette has been put out, cigarette smoke remains in the air for a long time and can be removed much faster with an air purifier than with conventional ventilation.

But not only the smell of smoke is optimally filtered out of the air, because the air purifier generally takes it with it all smells on. And last but not least, there is one crucial advantage, because too bacteria and Mould can be removed from the room air with such a device.

The disadvantages of an air purifier

Unfortunately, where there are advantages, there must also be disadvantages. An air purifier is no exception on this point. But it makes sense, if you decide to buy, that you know both the advantages and the disadvantages.

  • In the first place are those acquisition cost to note, which are quite high. If you decide on a high-quality air purifier with an integrated humidifier, the price can quickly move into the three-digit range. In addition, you have to have the Change the filterwhich also incurs costs.
  • Since air purifiers are operated by an electronic fan, you must also have the electricity costsconsider. Of course, it depends on how often and for how long you actually use the device.
  • In addition to the costs, however, there is also the potential Noise level not to be underestimated, because there are significant differences in this point, which you should pay attention to when buying.
  • Special care is also required with devices ozone Because these air purifiers are very effective, they can also have a negative impact on your health and your respiratory tract at the same time.