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Indoor allergies can be frustrating and debilitating. Allergies leave you in a thick mist with itchy red eyes and coughing. You dust and clean the surfaces, but you come home anyway and dust or pet hair is causing them. The missing ingredient to help treat indoor allergies may be the vacuum you are using. Since allergies to dust and animals are so common, it is very important to have a powerful vacuum cleaner to suck up any debris that could trigger an attack.
Allergist and immunologist Jennifer E. Fergeson, MD, tells Get Meds Info that people with allergies should buy vacuum cleaners with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters can trap the smallest particles of dust and dander, which is why a vacuum with this tool is best for allergy sufferers. We've listed some of the best vacuums below to help you deal with indoor allergy sources.
For allergy sufferers looking to protect their home from dust and dander, try Dyson Ball Animal 2 for People with Asthma and Certified Allergies (see Dyson website ). If you're looking for something less expensive but just as effective, go for the WindTunnel 3 High Performance Pet Upright Vacuum (see on Amazon ).
What to look for in the vacuum for allergies.
Experts overwhelmingly recommend that people consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter if the priority is to reduce the amount of allergens in the environment. "Most of them do well with vacuums that have a HEPA filter," says Kevin McGrath, MD, spokesman and allergist for the Connecticut-based American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "They will at least filter out some of the allergens that come out of the vacuum cleaner."
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. This means that the filter can capture a large amount of very small particles that, when evacuated by other filters, are likely to simply be recirculated in the air rather than captured. HEPA vacuums can minimize the entry of dust and other allergens from the environment with their filters. But these devices can also "push cleaner air" into the environment, says Melanie Carver, senior spokesperson for the American Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAFA).
Powerful suction is another important consideration when buying a vacuum cleaner, as it determines how well a machine can remove particles from its surroundings. The more suction power, the more dirt, debris, and allergens the device can remove, resulting in higher machine performance. Product reviews can help determine how powerful the device's suction will be.
Dr. McGrath also recommends cleaning the vacuum between uses, as a full container or bag can reduce the suction performance of the device. "Filter bags in vacuum cleaners lose their effectiveness and suction capacity when they start to fill up," he says.
If allergens and other particles enter the environment while using the device, the purpose of vacuuming is completely lost. That is why it is important that the vacuum container is sealed and does not leak, which could lead to the release of particles into the environment. Dr. McGrath also recommends cleaning the container or bag outdoors rather than indoors in case particles are shed. This will help prevent allergens from getting allergens or moving them to the area that you just vacuumed. 'Another option is to open doors and windows and let the air out of the room to remove the allergen that is in the air after vacuuming,' says Dr. McGrath.
If you experience kickback, be sure to clean the machine following the manufacturer's instructions and also clean the filter on the device. This can help prevent kickback during future suction sessions.
There are several vacuums on the market that now include smart features like the ability to connect to your smartphone and move around the house on your own, removing dirt and debris. These devices have some benefits for the user, as well as some design flaws. People who travel may find it helpful to have a vacuum cleaner that can work on its own at the push of a button, especially if they can't vacuum at least once a week. But these devices, like the Roomba (see on Amazon ), often have smaller containers for storing dirt and other particles, which means they need to be cleaned more frequently for optimal use. From the AAFA's point of view, the most important thing to consider when choosing a vacuum is "whether the product meets all of our certification testing standards," says Carver. This includes a vacuum cleaner capable of "removing allergens from the surface" and this integrity is "maintained throughout the air filtration system." All other added features are just plugins that can make life easier for the user.
Frequently asked questions
There are several types of vacuum cleaners, but the main difference between the machines is the vacuum cleaner with or without bag. In fact, both options are capable of removing dirt, debris, and allergens from the environment. Dr. McGrath said the advantage of bag vacuums is that "you can get highly efficient filter bags that prevent many allergens from coming back up the tailpipe." But this option can be more expensive for users since it requires the purchase of new bags. "Vacuum filter bags also lose their effectiveness and suction ability when they start to fill," adds Dr. McGrath. "For this reason and for convenience, most patients use bagless containers."
Dr. McGrath recommends focusing on how dirt and debris is removed from the machine, rather than a bagless or bagless vacuum. 'It is better to empty the vacuum regardless of the type in the open air, not at home. Put it in the garbage bag, close it and throw it away, ”he says.
Carver recommends that people vacuum "once or twice a week" to "reduce allergens" in the environment most effectively. In addition to vacuuming at least once a week, Carver recommends that people find an AAFA-certified vacuum that has been shown to be beneficial for people with asthma or allergies. 'Some poor quality vacuum cleaners spew particles into the air. That is why it is so important to find products that have been shown to catch them, ”he says. If you choose a vacuum cleaner that constantly releases particles into the air, you will find it impossible to vacuum, no matter how often the device is used during the week.
For optimal use, we recommend vacuuming after each use, which includes emptying the bag or container and cleaning the machine. Carver advises people with allergies or asthma to also wear a mask when doing housework, "especially when cleaning a vacuum, where particles can get into the air." The mask will add an extra layer of protection between the person and what is released while vacuuming.
Also, using a damp cloth to clean the vacuum cleaner can help between uses. "Sometimes you can clean the inside of vacuum canisters with a damp cloth, which can also help prevent particles from getting into the air," he says. Replacing or cleaning the filters is also important when vacuuming. "This is often the best thing you can do with bagless vacuums, as they can easily become clogged if not cleaned and emptied regularly," says Dr. McGrath.
What the experts say
'It is better to empty the vacuum regardless of the type in the open air, not at home. Put it in the garbage bag, zip it up, and throw it away. " – Kevin McGrath, MD, spokesman for the American College of Allergies, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) and Connecticut allergist.
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Additional information to this story by Daniel Zellner
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