If you're someone who deals with the wrath of indoor allergies, you may do just about anything to make your home environment less miserable. You might only use air-conditioning, swear by dust mite pillowcases, wipe down surfaces every day, and clean your carpets regularly — which are all great habits. But getting an indoor air purifier can be a simple measure that makes your home less of an allergy dungeon.
Air purifiers are best for people who are sensitive to indoor allergens, like dust mites, animal dander, or molds, explains Miguel Wolbert, MD, a board-certified allergist in Midland, Texas. They won't necessarily fix all of your allergy issues all the time, but they can certainly help. For example, if you come and go during the day (to go to work or run errands), then you're constantly changing your environment from "outside air" to a "filtered environment," so it's not going to make a huge difference, he says. However, when you're home for prolonged periods of time, like while you're sleeping, then air purifiers can effectively clean the air, and possibly keep your symptoms under control.
But before you buy an air purifier, keep in mind that you have to be "motivated to upkeep the filters properly," Dr. Wolbert says. That means cleaning the filter regularly to remove the particulate matter that goes through it — otherwise the air purifier can't do its job. "Look for ease of use, how much cleaning goes into the product itself, and how much space it can filter," he says. Stick to devices that use HEPA filtration, because those can capture particles 0.3 micron and greater, which is necessary for animal allergens and mold spores, according to the American Academy of Asthma & Immunology.