With the COVID-19 threat, we can see people wearing air purifier necklaces with the hope that the device will protect them from the disease. But is it effective? Do air purifier necklaces really work?
Air purifiers, explained
Air pollution is, in no doubt, one of the biggest environmental concerns in the world. In 2012, the WHO reported that air pollution is associated with around 7 million deaths.
When we hear about air pollution, we mostly think about industrial smoke and exhaust gas from vehicles. But the thing is, the air in our homes and offices can also get polluted as well.
The decline in indoor air quality prompted scientists to create air purifiers–machines that sanitize the air to rid it of allergens, toxins, and disease-causing organisms. Air purifying machines sanitize the air differently; some use filters, while others use UV light or ions (charged particles).
But, while many studies have already confirmed that air purifier machines generally work, they are meant for indoor use. If you want protection from outdoor pollution, you have the option to purchase the miniature and wearable air purifier necklaces.
Do wearable air purifiers remove possible pathogen-carrying particles?
The threat of COVID-19 has inspired a lot of people to wear air purifiers. But do air purifier necklaces really work?
Unfortunately, there are very few studies about the effectiveness of air purifier necklaces. Generally, they work by releasing ions that “push” the pollutants away from the wearer’s breathing space, thus creating a bubble of sanitized air around the head.
One study revealed that a wearable air purifier had a particle removal efficiency of 50% in 15 minutes and 100% in an hour and a half of continued use. However, the study took place indoors, under calm air conditions. The investigators were not able to determine the particle removal efficiency outdoors.
Additionally, the study revealed that the bigger stationary purifiers are still more efficient in removing particles. Results showed that stationary purifiers had a particle removal efficiency of 90% within just 5-6 minutes and 100% within 10 to 12 minutes.
Air purifier necklaces and COVID-19
Now, the question is, do air purifier necklaces really work against COVID-19?
Experts say it’s too soon to tell. As mentioned earlier, there are very few studies about the effectiveness of wearable air purifiers. It seems like there’s no research yet about its capability to rid the air of the novel coronavirus.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), properly used air purifiers can reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in confined spaces. However, on their own, they cannot protect you and your family against COVID-19.
DOH on wearable purifiers
In a press briefing, health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergaire stated that portable air purifiers that do not emit smoke won’t cause harm. Hence, there is nothing wrong with using them. However, DOH also firmly clarifies that they are not endorsing or recommending air purifier necklaces, especially in place of masks. The health department reasons that there’s still no evidence to prove the device’s efficacy.
The best weapon against COVID-19 is still to follow health protocols. Wash your hands frequently, wear masks and face shields, and strictly observe physical distancing.
Air purifier necklaces are compact devices that release ions that push air pollutants out of the wearer’s breathing space. At least one study shows that it can remove potential pathogen-carrying particles; however, the bigger stationary air purifiers are still more efficient.
If you’re wondering if air purifier necklaces really work against COVID-19, you will just have to wait and see. Health experts say that we still don’t have enough data about it.
The Department of Health currently says that there’s no harm in using them; however, they still don’t recommend them, especially in place of the minimum health protocols. Currently, the best ways to protect ourselves from COVID-19 is to wash our hands frequently, wear masks and face shields, and practice physical distancing.
Learn more about Respiratory Health here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.