You would not be alone in assuming that the British house ought to be much healthier than its prewar or Victorian counterpart. The great advances that have been made over the past 100 years in building materials and overall quality of design would naturally lead one to believe that the modern house should be a healthier place to live.
Whilst it is true that overall building standards have improved substantially, not every aspect of modern housebuilding has been beneficial for the people who live inside those homes. One unfortunate consequence of these techniques has been an increase in the number of people suffering from allergies related to internal atmospheres.
This all comes down to ventilation. For the past 50 to 70 years, the amount of air that we allow to flow between the interior and exterior of our homes has been greatly reduced, mostly in a laudable effort to improve the energy efficiency of houses. Unfortunately, this has had the dramatic consequence of increasing the amount of moisture that is trapped within the average British home.
High levels of moisture in households is the primary cause of high levels of household allergens, particularly dust mites and mould spores. In order to reduce household humidity levels, a dehumidifier can be used or changes to lifestyle, such as not drying clothing indoors, will help.
Experts are now of the opinion that many of the chronic respiratory problems often put down to modern living are, in fact, directly associated with high levels of household allergens. Research has very clearly shown causal links between atmospheric moisture, allergen populations and the increased incidence of chronic nose and throat problems.
There are several technologies that are used by the major manufacturers of air purifiers. Some of these, like the Blueair range utilise very efficient and effective filters, although these will need changing on a regular basis. Other manufacturers, such as Airfree, have created designs that negate the need for filters by destroying allergens in miniature incinerators.
Air purifiers are not a magic solution however. Most air purifiers are only effective within a given space and will certainly not be able to deal with a whole house. In most cases, an air purifier should be used in the room which is most problematic, often a bedroom, and left there. This is because even the very best products on the market will take 2 to 3 weeks to properly purify the air in the appropriately sized room.
From a personal perspective, the efficacy of air purifiers is simply not in doubt. Having suffered from chronic sneezing in the morning for many years, I started using an Airfree air purifier some months ago and, to date, I have experienced a complete clearing up of the previous symptoms. Air purifiers really do work.