Asthma and Air Purifiers

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Asthma is a disease that consists of two main components. These components are constriction and inflammation, both of which occur in the lung passageways. Constriction is when the airways narrow because muscles tighten around them and inflammation is when the airways get irritated and start to swell. When both of these actions occur together, they cause the symptoms of asthma such as difficulty breathing and swelling of the lungs. A person experiencing an asthmatic attack has difficulty catching his or her breath and is usually coughing or wheezing in order to try to breathe.

Asthmatic attacks can occur at any time. Some can be severe and some can simply seem like a shortness of breath. Due to this characteristic of the disease, some people are still unaware that they have asthma and need to treat it. If asthma goes untreated, a person may experience a decrease in lung function. The disease makes a person's lungs work harder and without help or treatment from an outside source, a person suffering from asthma will have weaker lungs. Air Purifiers can help.

There are many contaminants in the air that can be asthma triggers. Some of the contaminants include pet dander, allergens, pollen, dust or chemicals. When these substances are breathed in, asthmatics are sometimes affected and can experience difficulty breathing. An asthmatic affected by seasonal allergies may also find that response to the allergies can lead to an asthmatic attack. The toxins found in indoor air can easily be filtered out of the air indoors with an air purifier.

There are simple things that can be done to prevent asthmatic attacks such as keeping pets outside, not smoking tobacco products in the home or dusting all furniture as much as possible. However, air purifiers are proven to be the most effective way to keep indoor air clean and safe. Most air purifiers are proven to remove 99.7% of all particles found in indoor air. Chemical fumes, tobacco smoke and dust can be absorbed into the filter of an air purifier. With these contaminants no longer present in the air, the probability of an asthma attack is very low for the sufferer.

The High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters, or HEPA filters, that are used in air purifiers are effective in absorbing most toxins in indoor air that can be related to asthma attacks. They are able to remove 99.7% of all particles that are 0.03 microns and larger. These particles can include pollen and dust particles, which are the main cause of asthma attacks among sufferers. If indoor air pollutants are not removed from the air, they can circulate an indoor room with no escape. The pollutants are then breathed in and can cause a severe or minor asthmatic attack. With an air purifier, these particles and pollutants are absorbed and cannot be circulated throughout the air.

What is a 'HEPA' filter?

A 'HEPA' filter is a kind of mechanical filter that means it's a " high-efficiency particulate air" filter. HEPA was invented during World War II to prevent the escape of radioactive particles from laboratories. To qualify as a true HEPA filter, it must be able to capture at least 99.97% percent of all particles 0.3 microns in diameter, or larger, that enter it.

In a 1990 review of indoor air pollutants, published by The American Thoracic Society, it was stated that air purifiers containing the HEPA filter are able to remove a significant amount of particles from indoor air, making the air cleaner and safer to breathe. Asthmatics who use an air purifier in their home are less likely to have an asthma attack since the pollutants that trigger the attacks are no longer present in the indoor air they are breathing.

There is no known cure for asthma and people diagnosed with the disease will have to deal with it for the rest of their lives. However, with the help of air purifiers, people are finding their asthma attacks are becoming a scarce occurrence instead of a daily struggle. By eliminating particles in the air that trigger attacks, air purifiers are helping people with asthma to cope with their daily lives. Asthma may be an uncomfortable disease but people are finding relief in the use of air purifiers.

Ozone generators [not recommended - these types of "filters" are not reliable since their ozone levels usually exceed acceptable levels]. Although ozone technically clears the air of some particles, most groups do not recommend these. (Note: these are not ion-type filters; see "Electronic Filters" above.) These devices all exceed the acceptable level for ozone.

If you have concerns about any air filter you own or are planning to buy, remember to talk to your doctor first, to find out if air filtration -- and what type -- is best for you.