Allergies affect more than 50 million people in the United States. Although many are sensitive to foods, such as peanuts or shellfish, the majority deal with milder versions; their noses begin to run and itch as the seasons change or when they’re exposed to furry household pets. These symptoms caused by airborne allergens are generally not as life-threatening as anaphylactic shock but they can certainly be a nuisance, especially if you can’t even escape them in the sanctity of your own home.
Fortunately, the irritating symptoms caused by airborne allergens can be avoided (or at least reduced) by installing a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter in your home. Let’s take a look.
How Airborne Allergens Affect Our Bodies
Respiratory allergens work by triggering an immune response. Although the purpose of the immune system is to protect us from serious dangers (like bacteria and viruses), sometimes they can interpret a harmless substance — such as dust, pollen, or pet dander — as a threat.
Our immune system then overreacts by producing antibodies that “attack” this allergen, causing wheezing, itching, runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, and potential other symptoms. The better you are able to remove these “threats” from the air, the less severe your symptoms will be.
Frustrating Fur And Pestering Pollen
One of the most common airborne allergens is pet dander. While the average dog is about as smart as a two-year-old human, they shed a whole lot more. Humans shed an average of 50 to 100 hairs every day; compared to most dogs and cats, this number is nothing.
Beyond the daily shedding amounts (which can be quite excessive depending on the breed), seasonal sheds occur twice a year — when the weather begins to warm up, and when it begins to cool down. If you’re allergic to both pet dander and pollen, this might seem particularly cruel; at the same time as one allergy flares up, the other follows.
Your HVAC system comes with air filters that sift dust and hair as they’re moving heated and cooled air throughout your home. This factory filter, however, only does the bare minimum; it isn’t able to catch the particles that make your nose itch.
According to the Energy Star branch of the Environmental Protection Agency, HEPA filters are able to “remove more than 99% of all airborne pollutants 0.3 microns or larger.” A micron is a microscopic particle, less than 1/25,400 of an inch long. So say goodbye to those seasonal sneezes!
Servicing HEPA Filters
Unfortunately, you can’t simply install a HEPA filter and never touch it again; eventually, the filters will become saturated and will clog if not routinely cleaned or replaced. If you have an HVAC system that is equipped with a HEPA filter, you must change it every three months and service your entire unit twice a year to maintain efficiency.
If you are one of the many people affected by alleriges, consider investing in a HEPA Filter. These air-purifying filters will help limit your exposure to airborne allergens and irritants such as animal dander, pollen and dust, making it a whole lot easier to breathe.