Health and wellness come with a big sigh of relief! - Part 6

Keep the air you breathe clean especially in the spaces where you spend the most time. Filtering air while you’re sleeping might be the most simple and effective way to breathe easy.

Air cleaners, air filters or air purifiers reduce or remove small particles from the air and some can even remove gases. Airborne particles are measured in microns. For example, a red blood cell is 5 microns in diameter.

Large particles (larger than 100 microns, visible to naked eye) include: insect debris and dust. Medium particles (1-100 microns, need a microscope to see them) are hairs, pollen, large bacteria and windblown dust. Even particles as small as 10 microns in diameter will pass through the nose and throat and reach the lungs.
Small particles (less than 1 micron, need an electron microscope to view them) include: viruses, small bacteria, smokes, fumes and soot. These are small enough to penetrate into the gaseous exchange in the lungs and get into the blood directly.

Dandelion seeds on green background.An allergy sufferer will instantly identify a trigger, it takes just one breath.

Health and wellness for the allergy-prone

Frequent and dutiful house cleaning can take care of the larger particles and many HEPA filters will remove 0.3 microns or larger contaminants. However, gas toxins and fine particulates that we cannot see may remain airborne and pose significant health threats.
HEPA filters can only be designated as such if they have a minimum particle-collection efficiency of 99.97% for 0.3 microns mass median diameter particles.

Digital image on dark background.

An air purifier should not only collect the contaminants present in the air but also be able to have high air-circulation, this means that it should clean and recycle the air in your room several times per hour, more on that below.

These are 5 top characteristics you should look for in a quality air purifier and what they would do for you:

  • MERV rating – a scale showing how efficiently a filter removes a percentage of particles depending on the size of the particle. Higher MERV ratings mean better filtration of smaller particles (bacteria, mold, pollen). Lower MERV ratings show a low performing filter removing large particles (dust and hair).
  • HEPA filter -  look for the quality of the fiber material, the density of filter media and the tightness of the weave of the filter. A HEPA filter primarily removes particulates from the air
  • CCM standard – meaning cumulate clean mass, as a long-term performance metric. This measures for how long the filters’ air-cleaning power lasts before it starts to lose efficiency. The higher the CCM value, the better long-term performance.
  • CADR rating – stands for clean air delivery rating, a measure of the flow of filtered air tested to industry standards. Covers how many square feet the filter covers, and how many times it changes air per hour.
  • Other services – such as activated carbon to remove gases, odors, chemicals, VOC’s, formaldehyde and pollution.

Portable air purifiers are a great alternative because you can move them from a living space to your bedroom when night rolls around

These are the places at home that might benefit from an air purifier:

  • Living/Family room – A place where we spend most of our family time and where pets hang out the most. It collects easily pet dander, dust, and outdoor toxins.
  • Kitchen – Cabinets full of (hidden) pests, chemicals, cleaners. Bacteria can dwell in cupboards and grow tiny crevices. Toxins and harmful gases can abound if not properly tucked away. Cooking odors can be cleaned from the air for a deodorizing effect.
  • Basement – Typical place where damp, wet and humid conditions can run rampant. This is a potential hot-spot for mold, viruses and the growth of spores.
  • Bedroom – dust mites in your mattress, bedding and carpeting can fuel a raging allergy. This is where you spend about one third of your life while sleeping. Breathing in clean air all these hours may set you up for better days.
Woman with dog on the floor playing.Our beloved pets may be triggering our allergies but an air purifier will take care of that.

Indoor air pollution affects your health and wellness as intimately as getting into your bloodstream

As we have seen throughout this series about the quality of the air you breathe, filtration can be an effective supplement to source control and ventilation to increase your health and wellness.

Exposure to airborne pollutants inside the comfort of our own homes is increasing allergy symptoms, asthma flare-ups and other respiratory illnesses, some of them life-threatening.
Purifying your indoor air is a proven strategy to remove pollutants and improve the quality of your air.

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