Don’t Bank on Air Filters to Save You from the Common Cold

Air Filters Do Not Rely on Them to Protect Against Illness

Air Filters Probably Won’t Cut Your Odds for Illness: Study

Don’t Hold Your Breath: Air Filters and Illness

Are you using air filters to keep the air in your home fresh and clean? Well, here’s some news that might burst your bubble. According to a new review, air filters don’t seem to be the superhero we hoped for when it comes to reducing the risk of catching airborne viruses.

Researchers from the prestigious University of East Anglia in the UK did some digging and found that those fancy air treatment technologies we rely on to make indoor spaces safer from infection are pretty much useless in the real world. They analyzed data from 32 previous studies where air treatment technologies like filtration, germicidal lights, and ionizers were tested in places like schools and nursing facilities. And guess what they discovered? Well, let’s just say it’s no breath of fresh air. These filter systems did zilch, nada, nothing to prevent people from catching respiratory or GI infections. Oh, the disappointment!

But hey, before you throw your air filter out the window (or suck it up with a vacuum cleaner), it’s important to understand the big picture. Sure, this study doesn’t bring us the news we wanted, but it’s vital for public health decision-makers to have all the information. We need to take a sniff of reality even if it’s not a pleasant aroma. Dr. Julii Brainard, the lead researcher from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, said, “Our findings are disappointing – but it is vital that public health decision makers have a full picture.” So, while air filters may not be the saviors we were hoping for, let’s not give up on the quest for cleaner air just yet.

Now, brace yourselves for a twist in the story. The researchers pointed out that all the studies they reviewed were conducted prior to the pandemic. That’s right, no COVID-era studies of air treatment made it into the mix. And trust us, we feel your frustration. Dr. Brainard even mentioned that they’re eagerly waiting for those pandemic studies to be published so they can finally evaluate the value of air treatment during these unprecedented times. We’re all on the edge of our seats, Doc.

In the meantime, if you’re desperate for some expert advice on ventilation in buildings (because let’s face it, we’re all a little obsessed with air quality these days), you can check out the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They might just have some breath-locking information for you.

So, to all the air filter enthusiasts out there, remember, the battle isn’t over yet. Just because the current evidence doesn’t support their effectiveness doesn’t mean science won’t surprise us in the future. Keep your filters clean and your spirits high. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll find that holy grail of air filtration. Until then, let’s continue to breathe and hope for the best!

More information – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about ventilation in buildings. Find it here: Ventilation in Buildings

SourceUniversity of East Anglia, news release, Nov. 16, 2023

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