(Last Updated On: June 28, 2023)

Do I Need an Air Purifier for Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects the lungs and can be triggered by exposure to various pollutants. Air purifiers with HEPA filters are designed to remove harmful particles and pollutants from the air, which can reduce asthma triggers.

While research shows that air purifiers can be effective in reducing indoor pollutants that trigger asthma, they are not a cure for these conditions. They should be used as part of an overall management plan that includes medication prescribed by a healthcare provider.

When searching for an air purifier suitable for asthma and COPD, there are a few things you should consider. First, look for a model with a HEPA filter. HEPA filters are designed to capture 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, making them ideal for removing environmental triggers from the air. This can be an important part of your treatment plan if you are living in the US.

Secondly, consider the size of the room where you will use the air purifier. Make sure you choose a hepa purifier model with cfm filter technology that is powerful enough to clean the entire space effectively and capture small particles, especially if you or someone in your household has COPD.

Lastly, consider any additional features that may be helpful for managing your asthma and COPD symptoms. For example, some models have built-in HEPA purifiers and sensors that monitor indoor air quality and adjust their settings accordingly.

An air purifier sitting in the kitchen

How Air Purifiers Can Help with Asthma

The respiratory system of asthmatics is particularly sensitive to airborne irritants and allergens. Fortunately, air purifiers can help reduce these symptoms by filtering out pollutants from the air. Air purifiers work by drawing in air through a filter or series of filters that trap particles such as dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, and other harmful substances. Once filtered, clean air is released back into the room.

Asthma Symptoms

The most common symptom of asthma is wheezing, which is a high-pitched whistling sound when breathing. Other symptoms may include coughing, chest tightness or pain, shortness of breath, and rapid breathing.

An asthma attack occurs when the airways become inflamed and constricted due to various triggers. During an attack, the muscles around the airways tighten up, making it even harder to breathe.

Common Asthma Triggers

Environmental triggers, both indoor and outdoor, are one of the leading causes of asthma attacks. These allergens include dust mites, pet dander, and pollen.

Exercise is another common trigger for people with asthma. Exercise-induced asthma occurs during physical activity when breathing becomes faster than usual resulting in dry mouth or throat irritation, which leads to coughing fits followed by wheezing.

Stress can also trigger an asthmatic episode because it leads to hyperventilation which causes the airways to constrict. In some cases, strong emotions like laughing or crying can also trigger an asthma attack.

Certain pollutants in the air, including smoke from cigarettes or wood-burning stoves, diesel exhaust fumes, and chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene can also trigger asthma attacks.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Air Purifier for Asthma

HEPA Filter: The Key to Effective Asthma Relief

Air purifiers are an excellent investment for those suffering from asthma, as they can help alleviate symptoms by removing harmful pollutants and allergens from the air. When choosing an air purifier for asthma relief, it’s important to look for one with a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, and these filters are designed to capture 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in size – including common asthma triggers such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander.

Room Size Matters: Understanding CADR

Another important factor to consider when choosing an air purifier for asthma relief is the size of the room where it will be used. This will determine the appropriate CADR (clean air delivery rate) needed to effectively clean the air in that space. CADR is a rating system that measures how much clean air an air purifier can deliver per minute, based on its fan speed and filter efficiency. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want an air purifier with a CADR rating that’s at least two-thirds the size of your room.

ACH Rate: How Often is the Air Being Filtered?

In addition to CADR, you’ll also want to consider the ACH (air changes per hour) rate of your chosen air purifier. This refers to how often all of the air in a room is being filtered through the unit each hour. For those with asthma, it’s recommended to choose an air purifier with an ACH rate of at least four – meaning that all of the air in the room is being filtered every 15 minutes.

Additional Features: Activated Carbon Filters & UV-C Lights

While HEPA filters are essential for capturing airborne allergens and pollutants, some models may offer additional features that can further reduce asthma triggers in your home. Activated carbon filters, for example, are designed to absorb odors and chemicals from the air – making them a great choice for those with chemical sensitivities or allergies. UV-C lights, on the other hand, can help kill bacteria and viruses in the air.

Avoid Ionizers and Ozone Generators

While some types of air purifiers may claim to be effective in removing allergens and pollutants from indoor air quality, they may actually release harmful byproducts into the air that can worsen asthma symptoms. This includes ionizers and ozone generators.

Ionizers work by releasing negatively charged ions into the air which attach themselves to positively charged particles such as dust or pollen causing them to fall out of the air onto surfaces below. However, ionizers can also produce ozone which is a lung irritant and can worsen asthma symptoms.

Ozone generators work by producing ozone which reacts with pollutants in the air to form other substances. However, these byproducts can also be harmful to your health and should be avoided.

Noise Level: Consider Your Environment

When choosing an air purifier for asthma relief, it’s important to consider the noise level of the unit as well. If you plan to use your air purifier in a bedroom or other quiet space, you’ll want to choose one that operates quietly – ideally below 60 decibels. Some models may offer “whisper-quiet” modes that reduce noise levels even further.

Certifications: Trustworthy Standards

Finally, it’s important to look for certifications such as Energy Star or AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) when choosing an air purifier for asthma relief. These certifications ensure that the unit meets industry standards for efficiency and performance – giving you peace of mind knowing that your investment is backed by trustworthy testing and research.

Best Air Filters for Asthma Relief

HEPA Filters

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are considered the most effective for asthma relief. They work by capturing small particles in the air, such as pet dander, pollen, and dust mites. HEPA filters can capture up to 99.97% of particles as small as .3 microns in size.

True HEPA filters are even more efficient than regular HEPA filters. They can capture smaller particles that regular HEPA filters cannot, such as viruses and bacteria. True HEPA filters have been shown to improve indoor air quality significantly and reduce asthma symptoms.

Carbon Filters

Carbon filters can also remove odors and chemicals from the air that can trigger asthma symptoms. Carbon filters work by absorbing chemicals through a process called adsorption, which involves trapping pollutants on the surface of activated carbon.

When used in conjunction with a HEPA filter, carbon filters can provide additional protection against airborne irritants that may cause or worsen asthma symptoms. However, they do not capture particulate matter like HEPA filters do.

Tips for Using an Air Purifier to Manage Asthma

To get the most out of your investment in an air purifier, follow these tips:

  • Put it in your most used room: To maximize the benefits of your air purifier, place it in the room where you spend the most time.

  • Keep windows and doors closed: While running your air purifier, keep windows and doors closed to prevent outside pollutants from entering your home.

  • Clean and replace filters: To ensure optimal performance, clean or replace the filters regularly according to manufacturer’s instructions. Over time, filters become clogged with pollutants they have captured, reducing their effectiveness.

  • Use other asthma management strategies: An air purifier is just one part of managing asthma symptoms. Take medication as prescribed by a doctor and avoid known triggers to stay on top of your condition.

Making the Right Choice for Your Asthma Management

Choosing the right air purifier is crucial for managing asthma and COPD symptoms. People with asthma or COPD can have difficulty breathing due to various triggers, including allergens, pollution, and irritants in the air. An air purifier can help remove these triggers from the air, improving lung health and quality of life.

Consulting with a doctor is essential in developing an effective treatment plan that includes the use of an air purifier if necessary. While not everyone with asthma may require an air purifier, it can be a good idea for those who live or work in areas with poor air quality. According to the American Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAFA), using an air purifier as part of a whole-house approach to improving indoor air quality is recommended.

When choosing an air purifier, look for models that are efficient and have a high CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) for optimal performance. The CADR measures how quickly the unit filters out pollutants from the room’s atmosphere. Higher CADR ratings indicate faster filtration rates; thus, they’re ideal for larger rooms or spaces where pollutants are more concentrated.

In addition to using an air purifier, there are other steps people can take to manage their asthma effectively. For instance:

  1. Identifying and avoiding triggers: People should learn what triggers their asthma attacks and do everything possible to avoid them. Common triggers include dust mites, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, smoke from cigarettes or fireplaces.
  2. Medications: There are several medications available that can help prevent or reduce asthma symptoms.
  3. Regular exercise: Physical activity helps improve lung function by strengthening respiratory muscles.
  4. Quit smoking: Smoking worsens asthma symptoms; therefore quitting smoking is critical in managing this condition effectively.
  5. Keeping indoor humidity levels low: High humidity levels promote mold growth which could trigger asthmatic reactions; hence keeping indoor humidity levels between 30-50% is recommended.

Maintenance and Cleaning of Air Purifiers

To clean your air purifier’s filters, turn off the unit and unplug it from the power source. Then remove the filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on the type of filters your unit uses, you may need to vacuum or wash them.

For HEPA filters, gently vacuuming them using a soft brush attachment is usually sufficient. However, if they are particularly dirty or clogged, washing them with water may be necessary. Be sure to let them dry completely before reinserting them into your unit.

In addition to cleaning the filters regularly, you’ll need to clean your air purifier’s exterior periodically. Dust can accumulate on the surface of your unit over time which can affect its performance and longevity. You can use a damp cloth or microfiber cloth to gently wipe down all surfaces.

Costs of Air Purifier Maintenance

While regular maintenance and cleaning are essential for optimal performance of air purifiers for asthma relief, there may be additional costs associated with this upkeep. For example, some units require replacement filters every three months or more frequently if you have pets or allergies, which can add up over time.

Some air purifiers also consume more energy than others due to their fan speed settings and overall design, so you should research different models before purchasing one to make an informed decision based on your needs and budget.


If you suffer from asthma, an air purifier can be a valuable addition to your home. But while an air purifier can help manage asthma symptoms, it should not replace other forms of treatment prescribed by your doctor.

When choosing a unit, consider the type of filter it uses, its coverage area, and any additional features it may have. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and cleaning to ensure optimal performance over time. By investing in a high-quality air purifier designed for asthma relief, you can take control of your indoor air quality and manage your asthma symptoms effectively.

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