Allergies can affect people year-round. Along with better, warmer weather comes tree pollination and grass pollination. Tree pollination causes seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. Later in spring and summer grass pollination occurs and prolongs allergies. From August to November, weeds cause more problems for allergy sufferers. Allergic Rhinitis affects up to 30% of adults, depending on region, and up to 40% of children. The World Health Organization states that allergies are the fourth leading cause of chronic illness. In this article, we will explore the various ways to reduce allergens and air pollutants with air filtration. AAFA.org
Climate change has prolonged allergy seasons and has even led to more adults experiencing allergy issues for the first time in their lives. This is because the burning of fossil fuels leads to more carbon dioxide in the air. With rising C02 levels, comes more pollen released from grasses, plants, and trees.
Although pollen levels are lower in cities due to fewer plants and trees, pollen can travel many kilometres with winds.
What are some airborne allergy triggers?
While pollen is the biggest trigger of airborne allergies, mould, pet dander, and dust mites are also triggers.
For people affected by allergies, their immune system goes on high alert and responds with antibodies that target the allergens. In this case, the immune system is overreacting thinking that histamines and allergens are dangerous invaders and responds strongly. This response leads to allergy symptoms.
What are some symptoms of allergies?
Shortness of breath
Red, itchy and swollen eyes
Peeling rash that looks like eczema
Is it better to stay indoors to avoid airborne allergens?
While it may be better at times for allergy sufferers to spend more time indoors when there are more allergens in the air, homes and buildings are not impervious to allergens. Allergens can enter homes and buildings through doors and windows because they are not airtight. They also enter HVAC systems and circulate through the air. Also, dust mites, mould, and animal dander are indoor triggers. Also, chemicals from cleaning agents, carpets, furniture, and paint can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air and can cause respiratory problems. Read more about VOCs
What can you do to lessen allergy symptoms?
Get help. If you or a family member notices symptoms of allergies, especially itchiness, contact a healthcare provider who can find the source of allergies, determine how serious the condition is, and provide treatment for your allergies.
Ultraviolet air purifiers
In order to kill bacteria, viruses, and mould spores, UV-C air purifiers use ultraviolet light; however, they do not remove allergens physically from the air. Some UV-C air purifiers emit ozone gas, which can cause breathing difficulties for some people. The EPA refers to ozone as a lung irritant. Lastly, unlike molecular air filters, UV-C air purifiers don’t remove VOCs from the air.
Many allergy medications exist on the market and they can be quite effective in dealing with symptoms. It is important, however, to note that there are side effects from allergy drugs. Sleepiness or drowsiness, reduced coordination, and slow reaction time as well as cognitive deficits. Some non-drowsy medications are available, but it is much better to address the source of the allergens and remove them instead of treating them with medication.
What are the best air filters for allergies?
One of the quickest ways to deal with symptoms of allergies, is to use a high-quality, high-efficiency air filter in your home or building. High-quality air filters can remove pollen, PM2.5, PM1, pet dander, dust mites, mould spores, VOCs, and other harmful particles from the air. These filters trap particles in dense media and this prevents them from circulating in the air.
Air filter solutions such as Camfil’s City Air Purifiers use a combination of HEPA and molecular filters (e.g. carbon air filtration) to remove air pollutants, whether they be allergy triggers or pollution from cars and factories. The ECARF-certified filters are combination filters and are ideal for allergy sufferers. They are all individually certified to meet minimum requirements, such as being able to remove 99.995% of particles 0.3 microns in size.
- Air purifiers with factory-tested HEPA filters are the ultimate solution for allergies in homes, offices, classrooms, gyms, and commercial and public buildings to remove pollen from the air and provide clean, comfortable air
- They are independent of the building’s HVAC system, no specific HVAC requirements are necessary
- Air purifiers easily plug into standard electrical outlets, installation without professional assistance
Air filters must be changed regularly to be effective. Filters are rated from MERV 1-16, after that point, they are rated as HEPA filters. To remove the minimum amount of airborne pollutants, Camfil recommends a MERV 13-A-rated filter. The ‘A’ designation ensures that the filter will retain its efficiency for the life or the filter. Some filter manufacturers report a higher initial MERV rating, but the efficiency can drop significantly after use. See more about MERV ratings
It is also important to consider room size. Air filter manufacturers will specify the maximum size of a room that can be cleaned by a filter. It is important not to exceed its capacity or it will not effectively clean the air.
Another clean air solution to reduce allergens when it is not possible to use a portable air cleaner is to use a six or twelve-inch deep air filter designed in a ‘v’ shape that increases the media area to trap more harmful particles while saving space. The Durafil V-style filter is a high-capacity, high-efficiency V-style air filter designed for installation in built-up filter banks, rooftops, split systems, free-standing units, package systems and air handlers. It is a second-generation filter with improved performance, resulting in the lowest life-cycle cost filter available. Fine fiber ensures the filter will maintain its efficiency throughout its life and has the lowest initial pressure drop of any ASHRAE-grade high-efficiency air filter.
Air filter testing video Camfil – HEPA Filter Test Rig
Why is it important to address poor indoor air quality?
Poor indoor air quality has been associated with diminished cognitive abilities, including diminished focus, memory, and decision-making. Addressing poor indoor air quality can lead to a better quality of life.
What else can you do to reduce allergens in a home or building?
HVAC systems don’t have to work as hard to keep rooms at the right temperature when there is adequate ventilation. They are better at capturing pollutants as a result.
Keep humidity levels constant
The ideal range for humidity is between 35% and 60%. These concentrations reduce the mobility of hazardous gases and particulates as well as the spread of airborne viruses.
To consult with an air filtration expert on the topics covered in this post or for further information, please use this contact form and an air filtration expert from Camfil Canada will answer any questions you may have.
Frequently asked questions about allergies and air filtration:
Are air filters good for allergies?
Yes, air filters can greatly diminish allergy severity by trapping allergy-inducing particles in their media. It is important to use the highest-quality air filters which will be more efficient and will maintain efficiency over time.
Can air filters cause allergies?
Yes, dirty air filters which are of poor quality can cause allergies when they have not been replaced in a timely manner. This is because over time allergens can build up on filter media and can enter the airstream when the media breaks down or buckles inward because they are not rigid enough to withstand building pressure. Also, when filters are not replaced as recommended, airflow can be dramatically reduced, decreasing the number of air changes in a room, in turn, decreasing particles reaching the filter.
Is my air filter making me sick?
Your air filter could be making you sick if it is clogged or dirty and contaminated air is bypassing a damaged filter. If your filter is clogged, it will impede air circulation within your home or building. Poor air circulation results in the build-up of contaminants indoors and can lead to an increase in airborne allergens and respiratory problems.
About Camfil Canada Clean Air Solutions
For more than half a century, Camfil has been helping people breathe cleaner air. As a leading manufacturer of premium clean air solutions, we provide commercial and industrial systems for air filtration and air pollution control that improve worker and equipment productivity, minimize energy use, and benefit human health and the environment. Read more about Camfil Canada
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