Itchy throat, runny nose, scratchy throat — these are all symptoms that might indicate the onset of COVID-19, but if your nose is leaking like a faucet for weeks or months, it’s likely allergies.
“Seasonal allergies refer to when the body’s immune system overreacts to outdoor stimulants, including mold spores and pollen,” says Dr. Jeffrey Dlott, a medical director at QuestDirect. Albeit different and not contagious, symptoms of seasonal allergies can feel similar to cold symptoms as they include “sneezing, coughing, a runny or stuffy nose, and itching in the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat,” Dr. Dlott notes.
Meet the Experts
Dr. Jeffrey Dlott is a medical director at QuestDirect.
David Hill is a senior design manager at Dyson.
Though most people associate seasonal allergies with the onset of spring, for many sufferers, it’s practically a year-round issue: Tree pollen is prevalent in late March, grass pollen pops up around May, weed pollen descends during the late summer months, and ragweed can affect people from late August to the winter.
In addition to natural allergens, Dr. Dlott says forced heating and air conditioning can trigger an allergic response, too. This is because they “can stir up allergens and circulate them throughout your home.” Because of this, it is important to use “high-efficiency filters and follow regular HVAC maintenance schedules to keep from making seasonal allergies worse,” he explains.
Though most people associate seasonal allergies with the onset of spring, for many sufferers, it’s practically a year-round issue.
Dr. Dlott says finding out exactly what you are allergic to can make a big difference. “Testing for allergen sensitivities is important, especially if you’re not sure what triggers your symptoms,” he explains, noting how this can not only help you familiarize yourself with what triggers your symptoms but can also “inform the proper steps for allergy management, prevention, and relief.”
Whether or not you know what triggers your allergies, the best, natural way to reduce symptoms is by investing in a high-quality air purifier. “For those with allergies or other air sensitivities, a purifier can rid the air in your home of the allergens and other pollutants,” says David Hill, a senior design manager at Dyson.
According to The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, an air purifier with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter is best for cleansing the air. “A HEPA filter works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke,” says Dr. Dlott. Plus, if you’re constantly worried your symptoms are indicative of COVID-19, air purifiers can reduce airborne contaminants according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Though it’s important for to remember that an air purifier alone won’t cure allergies or prevent contracting COVID-19.
Air Purifiers for Allergy Relief
The most significant benefit of air purifiers is that they are made for cleansing and purifying the air, which is highly beneficial for anyone with seasonal allergies. According to Hill, the average adult can breathe in over 10,000 liters of air a day indoors. “To put this into context, we eat around one liter of food and drink two liters of water [per day],” he explains. With how much indoor air we consume, it’s important to “prioritize the quality of our indoor air,” he adds.
It’s impossible to look at the benefits of air purifiers without considering the benefits of HEPA filters since they are such a prominent and most recommended feature of an air filter. HEPA filters are best known for how well they purify the air of allergens. This includes the seasonal allergens that Dr. Dlott mentioned and other allergens like pet allergies. Additionally, HEPA filters are recommended for those with asthma as clean air is much easier on your system. In addition to allergens and pet hair, air purifiers are great to have on hand for cleansing the air of common household pollutants, toxic elements (such as forest fires), and more.
If you struggle with seasonal allergies and looking for the best HEPA air purifiers to protect against further exposure and help manage symptoms, here are our top picks.
This is one of our favorite options if you’re looking for an air purifier that is small but mighty. This option is a compact yet powerful device with multiple filter choices so you can target specific concerns, including smog and VOCs, wildfires and smoke, and pet dander and odors. It’s also ultra-quiet, sleek, and easy to use.
This Dyson version uses smart technology to sense, diagnose, and report on airborne particles automatically, is designed with sealed HEPA filters to target 99.97% of fine particles (including allergens), and has a heating and cooling option so you can use it all year round in comfort. It also syncs with the Dyson Link app so you can stay up to date on the air quality of your home.
This air purifier is where fashion meets function. The stylish device is designed to respond to particles and VOCs, features a patented PECO technology that traps and destroys air pollutants, and can treat up to 1,000 square feet. You can also sync the air purifier to your phone through the brand’s app to find more information about your air quality.
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