Stop, Drop and Prevention
While there are medications for asthma, the first line of defense should be identifying possible asthma triggers as prevention and environmental control can minimize asthma symptoms from the beginning. Some asthma triggers and ways to manage them are:
- Smoke: Inhaling smoke from cigarettes and cigars can cause an inflammation of the bronchial tubes. This produces an excess of mucus production, which in turn leads to cough and phlegm. Prolonged smoking can also create an irreversible narrowing of the bronchial tubes from inflammation and scarring that can cause permanent breathing problems. Smoke from wood burning and fires also contain harmful gases and small particles, so areas that are affected by fire should be avoided to prevent particles from being inhaled.
- Dust Mites: Dust mites are tiny bugs that feed off your dead skin and can be found in mattresses, carpets, furniture and bedding. They thrive in moist and humid environments and peak around July and August due to the weather. If you have asthma, dust mites can trigger an asthma attack, so prevention is important to keep dust mites at bay. Put airtight plastic dust-mite covers on pillows, mattresses, and box springs and wash all bedding in very hot water (over 130 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry in a hot dryer. It’s also recommended to vacuum your home with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter to trap the microscopic dust mites.
- Pets: Pet allergies are very common, and for the 15 to 30 percent of Americans who suffer from them, relief can be hard to obtain. Pet dander, which are dead skin cells from animals, fur, saliva, and even urine, are allergens that can be transported via clothing and other surfaces, so even if a home has never had an animal inhabitant, the allergens can still become settled into a home. Washing your hands after petting an animal, and using a HEPA vacuum cleaner or air purifier, can be beneficial in helping trap the allergens. Since pet dander can also stick to your walls, wiping down surfaces is also a good step.
- Mold: Mold can be found both indoors and outdoors, and while everyone breathes in airborne mold spores, in some, this can trigger asthmatic symptoms. If you find that you have mold, it will have to be removed from the source, and in some cases, professionally. But once the mold has been removed, it is recommended that an air purifier or whole house air system that uses a HEPA filter be used to trap any airborne mold spores from regrouping and taking over your home again.
While air purifiers can be an asthma sufferer’s best friend, we should not assume that they are all the same.
- HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate air) were developed during World War II to prevent the spread of radioactive particles and are the most effective ways to trap airborne particles, such as bacteria, viruses, smoke and pollen. To qualify as a true HEPA filter, the air filter must be able to capture airborne allergens and contaminants down to 0.3 microns in size, 99.97% of the time.
- Stay away from air purifiers that create ozone, a known respiratory irritant, such as Electrostatic Precipitators and ozone generators.
- A whole-house air cleaner may be used if your home is heated or air-conditioned through ducts. HVAC systems include replacement filters that range from less than a dollar to about $20 and are designed to reduce the accumulation of dust and dirt in the ducts and coils of the system. Simple filters, while inexpensive, need to be replaced every month or two, and only remove large particles, not the small particles in the house that are inhaled into the lungs while the more efficient replacement filters (usually for 6 to 20 dollars each) will remove many smaller particles and are often pleated or coated with an electrostatic charge.
Know your environment before purchasing replacement filters as some can become clogged quickly in dusty environments, reducing airflow through the system and causing a reduction in the heating or cooling efficiency.
- Another option for your home is a permanent whole-house air cleaner, which can be added to an HVAC system, but the cost is several hundred to a few thousand dollars for the unit and the installation. Other disadvantages include frequent maintenance of the plates, the need to keep the fan running continuously (24/7) to clean the air, and the electricity cost and noise associated with the large blower fan running continuously.
Although an air purifier can trap particles, such as dust, pollen and chemicals, it can only trap them in the general area of the air purifier and the room that they are placed in. It cannot trap particles that have already settled onto objects, such as furniture, beds, carpets, and if the source of the allergens is a pet, as animals release dander and fur continually. Depending on the air purifier and the size of your room, most room cleaners take 15-30 minutes to remove particulates in the air, and for the most effective use, it is recommended to have the air purifier operating in your room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Let us help you choose the correct air purifier for your needs. Our knowledgeable, friendly and honest customer service representatives are available to you 24 hours a day. Just contact us or call 888.866.8862.