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Use of air-cleaning devices to create airborne particle-free spaces intended to alleviate allergic rhinitis and asthma during sleep.

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Laboratory for Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow Practice, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0111, USA.
Indoor Air (Impact Factor: 4.2). 01/2006; 15(6):420-31. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2005.00387.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Comprehensive quantitative experiments were performed to assess the capabilities of several air-cleaning devices to create a particle-free microenvironment as a therapy for sleeping persons affected by allergic rhinitis and asthma. Six devices were evaluated, of which five were portable and intended to provide general air cleaning for bedroom-sized spaces. The sixth was intended for installation in front of the headboard of a bed and was designed to provide clean air focused in a space occupied by a sleeping person. The air-cleaning methods of the selected devices included high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtering and electrostatic precipitation. Particle concentration measurements for six particle-size ranges and sound intensity measurements were made during 8-h, sleep-simulating periods. The effects of four parameters were studied: (i) device location, (ii) controlled air motion in the laboratory, (iii) airflow rate setting of the air-cleaning device, and (iv) controlled disturbances. To ensure a totally objective study, a special laboratory facility was constructed which enabled complete control of the experimental conditions. The measured concentration histories provided comprehensive evidence of the relative capabilities of the various devices for the specific air-cleaning function. It was found that the device designed to focus the cleaned air in the sleeping space fulfilled its goal and, in that regard, was clearly superior to all of the other air-cleaning devices. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: There is evidence that allergic reactions are triggered by the presence of airborne particles and that these reactions can be mitigated by particle removal. This strategy can be implemented by the use of air-cleaning devices which are capable of creating particle-free zones at locations where human activity occurs. In particular, the creation of a particle-free zone which encompasses the breathing space of a sleeping person holds promise of mitigating sleep-disturbing allergic reactions.

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