Air Purifiers for People with COPD
COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a lung disease in which the air ways are blocked partially which makes it harder and painful to breathe. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are also two diseases that fall under COPD. Most of the time, these two occur together.
Many people believe that these diseases only occur to people who are smoking. However, there are many cases in which non-smokers are also suffering from COPD and the diseases under it. People who are always expose to contaminants in the air or with a history of respiratory infections or genetic predispositions to conditions such as emphysema may be at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Can Air Purifier Help?
Even the cleanest homes can have pet dander, pollen, fumes and dust. If you or someone in the house has COPD or other respiratory problems, these airborne contaminants can make it tougher to breathe. According to Environment Protection Agency, the exposure to these air contaminants may aggravate COPD and premature deaths.
Air purifiers are able to help by providing better and cleaner air quality. A portable air cleaner or air purifier can reduce asthma and allergy symptoms. Since many people who have COPD have problems with allergies and sensitive airways, it can be worth it to get an air purifier. However, people who have already damaged lungs or airways need medical treatments. Even if there is not a big difference in the illness, it can be beneficial.
The right air cleaning system may effectively eliminate large percentage or particles that are associated with COPD problems. The wrong air cleaner may be ineffective or dangerous. Here are some tips from the IQAir, the Americal Lung Association’s air cleaning partner which can help you choose the right air purifier.
- Avoid air purifiers that are using ionization to purify the air. Ionizers are generating ions that attach to airborne contaminants. It gives them charges in order to attach themselves to surfaces such as furniture and walls. Air purifiers with ionizer filters can release thousands of charged particles. According to EPA, air purifiers that are generating ions can only increase the particles that can go in your lungs which will eventually go in your bloodstream.
- Select Mechanical Filtration air purifying technology. American Lung Association recommends the use of air purification technology which includes HEPA filtration systems. This air purifier can eliminate particles from the air by capturing them on filters. The particles will remain on the filter until cleaned or replaced.
- Avoid air purifiers that produce ozone. Ozone can irritate the lungs and can eventually damage the lungs. This is dangerous especially for people who have COPD and other respiratory problems. This is the reason why American Lung Association as well as other institutions warns customers to avoid ozone-producing units.
- Choose an air purifier that is confirmed to protect from ultrafine particles. Ultrafine particles are the 90 percent of all particles that you breathe and are considered by scientists to be the most dangerous of all. Most of the air purifiers are not able to eliminate them and ultrafine particles can pass quickly in our circulatory system. People with COPD may be at higher risk when they are exposed to ultrafine particles. Make sure that you verify from the manufacturer that the air purifier can filter these ultrafine contaminants.
- Do not depend on CADR only. The rating system in air purifiers were created by trade association of appliance manufacturers. It does not include the long-term effectiveness of the unit. Some air purifiers have high ratings but the efficiency decreases up to 50% in few months.
Prevention is the key to remain healthy. Having an air purifier at home, especially in bedrooms and workplace can help in preventing lung and airway damages. If you or one of your loved ones is suffering from COPD, air purifiers can make the air they breathe easier. The stressed airways would not have to be more stressed by needing to filter tiny particles.
It is recommended to use HEPA air purifiers for COPD in order to filter particulates as small as 0.03 microns at 99.9 percent efficiency.