HOW AIR FILTERS HELP GET RID OF SEASONAL ALLERGIES
One of the biggest reasons for regularly replacing your home’s air filter is to ensure that you have clean air inside your home. While some air contaminants are easy to filter out and remove from your air – dust, dander, and smoke – things like allergies are often smaller and more difficult to trap.
Every year, many people suffer from seasonal allergies. In this post, we’ll look at the causes of seasonal allergies and how a quality replacement air filter can help mitigate and get rid of seasonal allergies.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
If you have allergies, you probably notice that attacks are more frequent at certain times of the year. What you’re dealing with is called a “seasonal allergy.”
Seasonal allergies are very common. They are “seasonal” because they result from plants and trees releasing pollen during specific times of the year. Many plants pollinate in the spring, but some release pollen during summer or fall. For seasonal allergy sufferers, winter often provides a reprieve since plants are dormant and aren’t pollinating. Typically, people also spend less time outdoors during the winter, which reduces their exposure to potential seasonal allergens.
If you are susceptible to seasonal allergies, it’s because your body registers the pollen as an outside invader – a potential threat to your homeostasis.
Pollen triggers the immune system into “attack mode,” causing the all-too-familiar allergy symptoms, like sneezing, coughing, congestion, watery eyes, aches, and fatigue.
Seasonal allergies can be severe enough they feel like a cold or even the flu, but the root of the problem is very different. Viruses cause colds and flu. Once the virus is eliminated the symptoms subside.
With seasonal allergies, the symptoms can be prolonged because pollen is causing the reaction. During certain times of the year when trees are pollinating, it can be difficult to avoid exposure.
The Most Common Airborne Seasonal Allergens
Nearly every plant produces pollen. Trees, grass, and weeds are the primary sources of seasonal allergies. These plant species create fine pollen particles that travel by the wind. Larger pollens (30+ microns) tend to fall to the ground, making them less problematic for allergy sufferers than smaller pollens that float in the air and can easily make their way into your respiratory system.
If you suffer from allergies, there’s a good chance it’s one of these:
Tree Pollen Allergens
- Highest Pollen Counts: Early spring
- Top Allergens: Alder, Birch, Cedar, Oak, Poplar, Willow
- Micron Size: 10 to 100 microns
- Highest Pollen Counts: Late spring, summer
- Top Allergens: Ryegrass, Bermuda grass. Timothy grass
- Micron Size: 2.5 to 55 microns
- Highest Pollen Counts: Late summer, fall
- Micron Size: Average 17 microns
How Seasonal Allergies Make Their Way into Your Home
You know where allergens come from, but how do they get inside your home?
Some allergens originate indoors inside your home. Examples include:
- pet dander
These are year-round allergens and irritants that can be a problem at any time.
Seasonal allergies are a little different since they originate outside. They can make their way inside your home a few different ways.
Seasonal allergens can:
- Enter your home through open windows and doors as outside air circulates into your home
- Be brought inside you house via clothing, shoes, furniture, etc
- Make their way inside from your friendly family pet – dogs and cats can pick up allergens on their coat and bring them indoors
Essentially, anything that enters your home can bring pollen inside and make allergy symptoms flare up.
Seasonal Allergy Symptoms Can Linger Long After Outdoor Exposure
It could be that the seasonal allergens aren’t actually inside your home.
When you are exposed to allergens outside, the symptoms can last long after you make it back inside.
Although it’s possible to suffer from allergy symptoms regardless of the air filter you use, if you get allergy attacks, we recommend sourcing the best home air filter for allergies possible.
How Air Filters Help Get Rid of Seasonal Allergies
Have you seen an advertisement for an allergy air filter?
For the most part, an allergy air filter isn’t different from traditional air or furnace filters.
Some manufacturers dub their filters “allergy air filters” because they can capture common allergens at various micron sizes.
An air filter's design allows it to capture air particles and contaminants as the air flows through the filter material. This helps purify the air, keeping contaminants out of the HVAC system and out of your respiratory system.
The key to mitigating seasonal allergies is using an air filter that can capture fine pollen particles, but not every filter has that capability.
The Best Air Filters for Seasonal Allergies
The best home air filter for seasonal allergies often comes down to a few key build factors, not the type of allergies you have or a specific brand of filter.
Pollen particles can range from 2.5 to 200 micron. The smaller the particles are the worse it is for your allergies. The smallest particles can travel the farthest and can easily make their way into your nostrils.
The goal is to use an air filter that can filter out particles as small as 2.5 microns. To figure that out, take a look at the MERV rating. It will tell you if an air filter can capture the smallest pollen particles. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20. A higher rating means it can filter out smaller particles.
To capture most pollen, you’ll need an air filter with a MERV rating of 9-12. Filters in this range can capture particles as small as 1 micron. If you want to capture even more allergy triggers, use a MERV 13 air filter. However, refrain from using an air filter with a higher rating. It isn’t necessary for allergen removal and could restrict airflow through the HVAC system.
Air Filter Maintenance
No air filter lasts forever.
You’ll either need to replace the air filter or clean it (depending on the filter material and design.) Upkeep is essential, as once an air filter is full, it can no longer clear contaminants out of the air.
This means that seasonal allergies could make their way through an old air filter or no longer be filtered out if your air filter is clogged or dirty.
Air Filter Fit
Another problem that can hinder any air filter from doing its job is improper fit.
The air filter needs to fit the filter compartment perfectly, or unfiltered air will flow through the HVAC system and into your home. That’s why measuring and sizing your replacement air filter is the key to maximum filtration for seasonal allergies.
Learn more about air filter or furnace filter sizes.
The Best Furnace Filter for Seasonal Allergies
As we’ve mentioned before, there’s not much difference between the terms “air filter” and “furnace filter.” What makes a great seasonal allergy air filter also makes a great seasonal allergy furnace filter.
That said, they need to have a MERV rating of 9-13, fit well, and be replaced or cleaned regularly.
Other Things You Can Do to Prevent Seasonal Allergies
Choosing the best air conditioner filter for allergies is one of the most impactful steps you can take to prevent seasonal allergies. However, if you really want relief, there are a few other things you can do:
Wash your hands and face regularly
Wash hair daily before bed
Clean your home regularly
Keep the windows and doors closed
Don’t line dry clothes outside
Leave shoes outside
Brush off pets outside before bringing them indoors
If you take these steps and still suffer from allergies, it may be time to consider medications. There are over-the-counter allergy medications that work for most people. For serious seasonal allergies, you may need a prescription from an allergist.
Start feeling relief from seasonal allergies today. Find the best air filter for allergy sufferers at Filterbuy. MERV 13 air filters and custom-size air filters are available online!