Buying an air purifier for hay fever

Hay fever is a condition that affects many people all over the globe. Studies suggest that anywhere from 10 to 40% of the global population is impacted by allergy and hay fever, with upwards of 20% of individuals living with a debilitating form of their condition that may trigger asthma, anaphylactic shock, or even possibly death due to an allergic reaction. The same study further suggests that these rates are rising, and that by 2025, half of the entire European population will experience symptoms of allergy1. What is hay fever? How does air pollution play a role? Read on to learn more.

A woman sneezing

Introduction to hay fever

What is hay fever?

Hay fever, also referred to as allergic rhinitis (or ‘AR’), is an allergy that leads to symptoms similar to the common cold; however, unlike a cold, hay fever is not caused by a virus. It is caused when the body mistakes a harmless substance (like an everyday allergen) for a harmful one, alerting the immune system. When you are exposed again to the same pollutant that triggered the alert, antibodies send a message to the immune system, leading to the release of molecules, like histamine, into the bloodstream2.

According to a 2014 study, 57% of adults and 88% of children with hay fever suffer from sleep disturbances, resulting in daytime fatigue and reduced cognitive function3.

Common triggers of hay fever

Hay fever triggers consist of everyday outdoor and indoor allergens like pollen, dust and dust mites, pet hair and dander, and/or mould spores. This, of course, may not be an exhaustive list of triggering allergens. Some people experience year-round symptoms that wreak havoc on their well-being.

Symptoms of hay fever

As mentioned above, hay fever symptoms may very closely resemble those of the common cold. Some of the most common symptoms of hay fever include:

  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, ears, throat, and/or roof of mouth
  • Coughing
  • Swelling under the eyes
  • Postnasal drip

More severe, persistent symptoms of hay fever may include body aches and/or a fever. These symptoms may hinder daily activities, sleep, and quality of life. Over-the-counter remedies may be helpful in fighting unpleasant symptoms of hay fever.

A woman blowing her nose

The impact of air pollution on allergy severity

Multiple studies have begun focusing on the effects of air pollution particles (indoor and outdoor) on allergy severity. A study out of the University of Manchester performed over a five-year timeframe (2016 to 2020) found that environments (homes and offices) with higher concentrations of air pollutant particles, particularly urban areas, had a profound impact on allergy symptoms. Those living in cities had allergy symptoms (such as a runny nose, wheezing, and eye discomfort) twice as severe as their rural counterparts4.

Results of a 2011 study suggest that air pollution plays an important role in the development and exacerbation of asthma and allergies. Air pollution, particularly particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), has been linked with respiratory symptoms and reduced pulmonary function for individuals starting at 11 years of age5. Ozone and NO2 exposure also reduces lung function and induces respiratory symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath. Exposure to any of these pollutants (at home or at work) as a result of road traffic leads to diminished lung function in adults, a significant risk of asthma exacerbation, and a dramatic increase in the prevalence of allergic diseases on a global scale6

Yet another study in 2023 found another link between air pollution exposure and the development of allergies and allergic conditions, especially hay fever. The study noted a significant risk between PM2.5, PM10, NO2, and NOx and the development of hay fever. The biggest risk of developing hay fever was for those with both a genetic history of allergies and/or hay fever (genetic susceptibility) and long-term exposure to air pollutant particles at home, at work, or outdoors7.

Benefits of using an air purifier for hay fever

Purchasing an air purifier to combat hay fever is an excellent investment for alleviating symptoms, improving sleep quality, and supporting respiratory health.

Alleviates symptoms of hay fever

Air purifiers help reduce the unpleasant symptoms caused by hay fever. Studies that have focused on this very subject have published promising results. One study found that air purifiers equipped with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) were associated with several hay fever-related symptoms including activity limitation and eye and nasal symptoms by reducing PM and allergen concentrations8. Another study states that HEPA air purifiers help ‘significantly reduce medication requirements for allergy-inducted allergic rhinitis’ by lowering PM2.5 concentrations9.

An air purifier’s ability to filter airborne allergens leads to a reduction in allergen concentrations (pollen, dust, pet dander, mould spores, etc), germs (viruses and bacteria), and, thus, triggers of hay fever. Fine particles and pollutants like allergens irritate the respiratory system, inducing and exacerbating hay fever symptoms. This benefits overall health, and air filtration reduces exposure to airborne pollution-caused diseases.

Enhances sleep quality

Nighttime symptoms caused by hay fever cause disrupted sleep, poor rest, and fatigue. Placing an air purifier in your bedroom at home to remove hay fever-exacerbating allergens helps relieve symptoms like congestion, sneezing, and itchy throat, leaving you feeling more rested in a healthier sleeping environment. Alleviating allergy symptoms and filtering airborne irritants have a positive impact on the body, helping you to relax and improving sleep quality.

A man sleeping in his bed

Supports respiratory health

Respiratory complications are common due to constant exposure to allergens. Thanks to an air purifier, symptoms associated with chronic respiratory issues like asthma are significantly improved. A cleaner indoor environment in the home and workplace may help hay fever sufferers by providing improved air quality. This may ease respiratory conditions for individuals of all ages, but especially for the elderly and children, two of the most at-risk groups when it comes to the negative effects of air pollution (alongside pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals). Furthermore, for those with pets, an air purifier helps remove pet hair and dander, creating a healthier living environment particularly for those with pet allergy symptoms.

Factors to consider when choosing an air purifier for hay fever

Type of filters

Air purifiers equipped with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air)-certified filters are considered to be the gold standard of air filtration. This air purification technology is guaranteed to remove 99.97% of particles down to a size of 0.3 microns. However, they are in fact capable of removing much smaller particles – down to a size of 0.01 microns – as well. Read more about the 0.3 micron barrier here.

If, as a hay fever sufferer, the main goal is to remove allergens like pollen, dust and dust mites, pet hair and dander, and mould spores from the air, a HEPA filter is the one of the best air filtration technologies on the market. HEPA filters also remove particulate matter (PM), airborne chemicals and gases like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), unpleasant odours, and smoke. All of these air pollutants contribute to the onset and severity of hay fever, and removing them from the air with an air purifier is a great way to improve overall air quality and comfort for sensitive individuals.

Noise level

When purchasing an air purifier for hay fever, it is important to invest in one that offers low operation volume. This is especially important for hay fever sufferers who may already be experiencing reduced sleep quality and who want to breathe clean air in their bedrooms at night. A quiet air purifier promotes better sleep. Eoleaf devices offer Night mode, keeping the device running quietly at lower fan speeds, but still providing effective air cleaning.

Ease of use and maintenance

All air purifiers require filter replacements. The frequency may vary between models and brands which is one of the many reasons it is so important to do your homework before purchasing an air purifier. Air purifiers are an investment, so it is important to purchase a high-quality device and to take care of it (the importance of regular filter changes cannot be understated!).

Eoleaf’s devices offer high-quality filters, meaning that our filters require replacement less often than devices equipped with lower-quality filters. Our devices require filter changes once a year, and replacing filters is the only required maintenance needed on an annual basis. For an added convenience, all of our filter layers are found within one convenient filter block, meaning that there is no need to purchase multiple, separate filters (like HEPA and activated carbon filters) and follow separate replacement schedules in order to maintain your device’s effectiveness. Furthermore, anyone can perform Eoleaf filter changes, and it requires less than five minutes of your time! Cleaning your indoor air has never been so easy.

Smart features and additional benefits

Modern air purifiers come equipped with a variety of smart features and additional benefits that make your life and quest for clean air easier. Smart sensors track the level of pollutants in the air on a continual basis, automatically adjusting the fan settings when it detects new pollutants (Automatic mode). This feature ensures optimal air quality at all times.

Eoleaf devices also offer gesture control, voice commands, app compatibility, and Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connectivity to ensure a convenient user experience.

The Eoleaf difference

Here at Eoleaf, we are proud to offer some of the most advanced air filtration technologies on the market. Our 8-step air purification system ensures that all three types of indoor air pollution is removed from your air, safeguarding you, your loved ones, and your coworkers from the dangers of air pollution. For any questions regarding choosing the right device for you, reach out to our team of air purification experts. Also, refer to our in-depth Buying Guide in order to understand all of the considerations that should be made before investing in an air purifier.

 

Eoleaf's AEROPRO 100 with two people on a couch behind it

Frequently asked questions

How do HEPA filters in air purifiers combat hay fever symptoms?

Air purifiers with HEPA filters help combat hay fever symptoms by removing airborne irritants and triggers that cause hay fever. The most common triggers include every day allergens like pollen, dust and dust mites, pet hair and dander, and mould spores.

Can air purifiers remove all types of allergens, including pollen and pet dander?

Air purifiers that are equipped with HEPA filters are extremely effective at removing all types of allergens, including pollen and pet dander. They are third-party tested to remove 99.97% of all air pollutants down to a size of 0.01 microns in a single pass.

What is the ideal Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) for an air purifier to effectively alleviate hay fever symptoms?

The higher the CADR rate of an air purifier, the more effective it is at removing air pollutants from your indoor space that may trigger hay fever symptoms (especially allergens) Eoleaf devices offer an impressive CADR compared to its competitors (like Dyson or Philips): up to 420 m3/h for our AEROPRO 40, 570 m3/h for our AEROPRO 100, and 670 m3/h for our AEROPRO 150.

How often should the filters in an air purifier be replaced for optimal performance against hay fever?

This answer depends upon the model of your air purifier. High-quality air purifiers require filter changes less frequently than low-quality air purifiers because they offer more durable filters. Eoleaf devices require filter replacements only once a year.

Are there air purifiers that are specifically designed for hay fever sufferers?

Any air purifier that contains a HEPA-certified filter, especially if it contains other supplementary technologies, is designed for the specific needs of hay fever sufferers. Eoleaf devices contain 8 different filtration technologies, making them capable of removing all types of indoor air pollution particles, especially allergens that trigger hay fever.

Do air purifiers for hay fever need to run all day, and what is the impact on energy consumption?

High-quality air purifiers are designed to run all day, but it is also acceptable to leave it running for just a few hours per day, depending upon your needs. Energy-efficient air purifiers have a minimal impact on energy consumption, keeping your energy bills low and avoiding unpleasant surprises each month. Read more about our recommendations regarding how long to leave your air purifier running per day here.

Can smart air purifiers automatically detect and adjust to high pollen levels in the air?

This depends upon an air purifier’s specifications. Modern, smart air purifiers are equipped with an Automatic mode that automatically increases its fan speed when it detects an influx of air pollution, pollen levels included.

How do activated carbon filters in air purifiers benefit hay fever sufferers?

Activated carbon filters are one of the only technologies capable of removing chemical pollution (like VOCs), a form of air pollution that HEPA filters do not. Chemical pollution is one of the three main types of air pollution particles that aggravate respiratory conditions, including hay fever, and is emitted by everyday objects like cleaning products, DIY materials, and new furniture. Removing chemical pollution and odours is an activated carbon filter’s specialty and may provide further relief to hay fever sufferers.

Is it necessary to have an air purifier in every room for hay fever sufferers?

Not necessarily. If your air purifier comes equipped with wheels and/or straps (like Eoleaf’s devices) for easy portability, it is possible to move your device from room to room where the need for air purification is greatest. It is also possible to place a device with a large capacity (like our AEROPRO 150 which filters spaces of up to 120 m2 or 1300 sq ft) in a central room of the home or workplace and open the doors to the other rooms in order to filter the air in those rooms as well.


Resources

1 Statistics and figures: Allergy UK: National Charity. Allergy UK | National Charity. (n.d.). https://www.allergyuk.org/about-allergy/statistics-and-figures/ 

2 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, July 7). Hay fever. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20373039 

3 Pawankar R. Allergic diseases and asthma: a global public health concern and a call to action. World Allergy Organ J. 2014 May 19;7(1):12. doi: 10.1186/1939-4551-7-12. PMID: 24940476; PMCID: PMC4045871.

4 University of Manchester. (2023, February 22). People in urban areas have worse hay fever symptoms, analysis suggests. Manchester 1824. https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/people-in-urban-areas-have-worse-hay-fever-symptoms-analysis-suggests/ 

5 Schindler C, Keidel D, Gerbase MW, Zemp E, Bettschart R, Brändli O, Brutsche MH, Burdet L, Karrer W, Knöpfli B, Pons M, Rapp R, Bayer-Oglesby L, Künzli N, Schwartz J, Liu LJ, Ackermann-Liebrich U, Rochat T; SAPALDIA Team. Improvements in PM10 exposure and reduced rates of respiratory symptoms in a cohort of Swiss adults (SAPALDIA). Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2009 Apr 1;179(7):579-87. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200803-388OC. Epub 2009 Jan 16. PMID: 19151198.

6 Takizawa H. Impact of air pollution on allergic diseases. Korean J Intern Med. 2011 Sep;26(3):262-73. doi: 10.3904/kjim.2011.26.3.262. Epub 2011 Sep 13. PMID: 22016586; PMCID: PMC3192198.

7 Luo, P., Ying, J., Li, J., Yang, Z., Sun, X., Ye, D., Liu, C., Wang, J., & Mao, Y. (2023). Air pollution and allergic rhinitis: Findings from a prospective Cohort Study. Environmental Science & Technology, 57(42), 15835–15845. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.3c04527

8 Jia-Ying L, Zhao C, Jia-Jun G, Zi-Jun G, Xiao L, Bao-Qing S. Efficacy of air purifier therapy in allergic rhiniti. Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol. 2018 Dec;36(4):217-221. doi: 10.12932/AP-010717-0109. PMID: 29549698.

9 Park KH, Sim DW, Lee SC, Moon S, Choe E, Shin H, Kim SR, Lee JH, Park HH, Huh D, Park JW. Effects of Air Purifiers on Patients with Allergic Rhinitis: a Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, and Placebo-Controlled Study. Yonsei Med J. 2020 Aug;61(8):689-697. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2020.61.8.689. PMID: 32734732; PMCID: PMC7393300.

Eoleaf's range of air purifiers

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