Personal Air Purifiers: What You Need To Know About Its Effectivity
You may have seen it dangling around the necks of people walking on the street. Suddenly, almost out of nowhere, personal air purifiers have come a thing. Whereas during pre-pandemic, such things were virtually unheard of, now everyone's been telling everyone else to get one. But does it really work? Can this little electronic necklace really give people a substantial defence against the virus?
What is it?
From as early as last year, President Rodrigo Duterte had been seen wearing an electronic necklace while on duty. When asked, then-Presidential Spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, stated that it was air purifier meant to protect him "from persons within his proximity who have coughs and colds". While doctors then had expressed scepticism over its effectivity, the device has only grown in popularity from the context of the pandemic.
Most manufacturers claim that a personal air purifier is capable of creating a bubble of "clean air" around the wearer's head. They are said to eliminate airborne germs, bacteria, toxins, dirt, and — possibly — viruses. The science behind is that these devices emit negative ions that sweep away unwanted particles. This promise is appealing enough, though as many experts agree, it's not to be treated as an alternative to health protocol.
Is it effective?
In answering for this efficacy, many say no. While the Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary, Maria Rosario Vergeire, says there is "nothing wrong with using them", the DOH itself does not endorse it due to "lack of evidence for its efficacy". They stressed that the best weapon against infection is still following health protocol such as social distancing, frequent washing of hands, and the wearing of face masks.
In a more strongly worded opinion, Hong Kong's Consumer Council says: "Don't waste your money". While there is some legitimacy to the science, Gilly Wong Fung-han, the council's chief executive, says that tests are done to prove such claims are often set up in unrealistic circumstances. Testing spaces often did not reflect the true-to-life daily reality experienced by the very consumers wearing them.
Read also: Coronavirus Tips: Do Face Masks Really Help Prevent Covid-19?
Everyone has varying experiences with personal air purifiers. While there's nothing inherently wrong in trying it out, those curious should remember that basic health protocol is still the best to follow in order to avoid virus infection. Those looking to try it as a weapon against dust, pollen, allergens, or pollution may want to consider getting a larger air purifier for the room as these have more power to eliminate such.