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Tech Products That Fight Seasonal Allergies

posted by Elizabeth Harper on March 27, 2013 in Health and Home, Cleaning, Health & Fitness, Guides & Reviews :: 0 comments

Anyone who has allergies, whether it be to dust, pollen or pet hair, knows how much of a nuisance they can be to live with. However, whatever your allergy woe, there are products that can help.

Here are four ways to keep your household free of allergens.

Clean your house with a HEPA-filter vacuum

Dyson DC40

Dyson DC40

Hands-down the easiest allergy fix is to keep your house clean and allergen free. That means vacuuming up dust, dirt and allergens that have been tracked in. For that, you'll want a vacuum with a HEPA filter, which removes at least 99.97% of particles greater than 0.3 micrometers from the air, including dust, pollen, pet hair and other allergens.

Our favorite HEPA-filter vacuums come from Dyson, with their powerful suction—just what you want for pulling up dirt. Dyson comes recommended by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, British Allergy Foundation, National Asthma Council Australia, Asthma Society of Canada, Service Allergie Suisse. Our pick is the Dyson DC40 upright vacuum cleaner. At $499 (on dyson.com and Amazon), it's not a budget buy, but we can't understate the importance of a clean house to keeping allergies in check.

The only thing we don't like about the Dyson is that it's bagless. And while Dyson touts that this means allergy sufferers never have to touch a grimy bag full of dust, emptying a dust bin tends to cause a mushroom cloud of dust in your trash. If you can't cope with a bagless vacuum, we recommend Miele vacuums. While they lack Dyson's impressive list of recommendations, Miele makes high quality vacuums—at a high quality price. In addition to HEPA filtration, Mieles have a sealed system which ensures that dust or dirt sucked up stays inside its AirClean FilterBags and nothing winds up back in your house. When the bag is full, just take it out and drop it in the trash. In addition to the bags, which you can expect to pay a few dollars each for, the Miele S8590 Alize canister vacuum, our favorite, will set you back $649 (on Amazon).

Clean your air with a purifier

Honeywell Enviracaire HEPA Air Purifier

Honeywell Enviracaire HEPA Air Purifier

Once your house is clean, the next thing to do is target the air. A good air purifier with a HEPA filter will pull allergens right out of the air, which means less allergy misery for you. We like Honeywell air purifiers, which offer good air quality at a reasonable price. The Honeywell Compact Air Purifier with Permanent HEPA Filter HHT-011 has a washable HEPA filter you'll never have to replace and is perfectly capable of keeping a small room (85 square feet) allergy free. And for $48 (on Amazon), it's easy on the wallet, too.

If you have a larger space, though, you'll want a larger unit: the Honeywell Enviracaire HEPA Air Purifier works for larger rooms up to 390 square feet and uses the combination of a charcoal filter and a HEPA filter to remove more allergens than the smaller model. On the down side, the filters do need replacing. It will set you back $143 (Amazon), but that's still a low price in exchange for breathing easy.

Avoid air that's too humid or too dry

Frigidaire FAD504DUD 50-Pint Dehumidifier

Frigidaire FAD504DUD 50-Pint Dehumidifier

Maintaining the right level of humidity in your home is important if you're an allergy-sufferer. If the air is too humid, it can encourage the growth of mold and dust mites. But air that's too dry can irritate the lungs, especially for those who already suffer from allergies or asthma. Fortunately, no matter what direction the air in your home tends to go, there's a gadget that can help.

For air that's too humid, you'll want a dehumidifier. The Frigidaire FAD504DUD 50-Pint Dehumidifier is our favorite, and with the ability to pull 50 pints of water from the air a day, it should suit most rooms. Its water bucket will need emptying as it pulls moister from the air, but if you set it up near a drain it can run continuously without any effort on your part. This model will set you back $172.60 (on Amazon), though smaller units can be found for less if they suit your needs.

If you have the opposite problem, you'll want a humidifier, instead. The Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier is an excellent option for a bedroom—where you'll most likely want to keep it—and can be had for just $44 (on Amazon).

Keep clothes & linens clean with an allergy-friendly washing machine

LG WM2250CW

LG WM2250CW

Washing bedding regularly—once a week—is key to keep it free of allergy irritating dust and dust mites. Additionally, washing clothing, especially outerwear, frequently can help prevent members of the household from tracking allergens in from the outside. You'll also want to keep bathmats, towels, curtains, cushion slipcovers and throw rugs as clean as possible by throwing them in the wash, if you can (be sure to check the manufacturer's care instructions first).

A regular cycle in hot water should suffice, but if you're in the market for a new washer, LG's front load washers have a special Allergiene cycle which uses steam to remove 95% of allergens. LG's Allergiene models are are the only ones currently certified as Asthma & Allergy Friendly by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America. These high-tech washers start at $799 and go up from there.

And now we can only wish you the very best of luck in making your way through the minefield of allergy-irritating pollens that come with Spring season.

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