Can Air Purifiers Kill the Flu Virus?

With flu season upon us and the continuing threat of the H1N1 virus, many people are fighting back. In attempt to kill the virus in their homes and businesses, different methods and devices are being tried. One of these devices is one you are already familiar with -- the air purifier. The question is, "Can an air purifier kill the germs that cause the flu virus?"

Ionic air purifiers

The theory behind ionic air purifiers is that they release a steady stream of negatively charged ions into the air. These negatively charged ions electrify the dust, dander, and in the air. Positively charged plates inside the machine attract these negatively charged particles.

Reviews on ionic air purifiers are mixed - some love them, some hate them. If you want to purchase one of these home air purifiers to kill the flu virus in your home, be sure you buy one that also has a UV light to kill airborne germs.

Air sanitizers

Not technically an air purifier, the Germ Guardian UV-C Air Sanitizer makes bold claims for cleaning and sterilizing the air you breathe. According to Germ Guardian, this device kills up to 99% of airborne bacteria introduced into the air through coughing and sneezing.

The Germ Guardian
backs up their claims with tests performed by the Harvard School of Public Health, an independent third-party testing laboratory.

The Germ Guardian UV-C Air Sanitizer claims to disinfect 700 cubic feet of air per hour and kill 99.9% of germs that cause influenza, strep throat, colds, staph infections, tuberculosis, and also destroy bacterial, mold, and fungal spores.

HEPA air purifier

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) developed in the 1940's to filter out radioactive dust particulate contaminants in bomb shelters during the atomic bomb tests. HEPA filters are highly effective and designed to capture particles down to 0.3 microns in size with an efficiency rating of 99.97%

Using the same standards, HEPA filters continue to clean and remove household dust and allergens to improve the air quality in homes and businesses. While effective, HEPA only trap particles and do not kill them.

If you are interested in purchasing a HEPA air purifier to kill the flu virus and other germs, buy a purifier that has a UV light also. By combining these two technologies, you can effectively kill the flu virus.

HEPA air filters

Technically not an air purifier, this is a typical air filter used in combination with your air conditioning unit. An air filter like the Alen A350 Flu & Bacteria Prevention Filter works for 6-9 months and filters the air for your entire home.

This Silver HEPA filter kills up to 98% of bacteria, 50% of viruses that cause the flu, and 650 types of bacteria. Its effectiveness comes from the combination of combining HEPA technology and silver ions, which are antimicrobial. Testing from the Guangdong Center of Microbiology has confirmed these test results.

The bottom line

It is possible to kill or greatly reduce viruses that cause the flu virus in your home, if you choose the right product. Designed with allergy sufferers in mind, most air purifiers will not kill the flu virus.

When searching for a purifier that kills germs, keep in mind you will need a UV light or a filter that uses silver ions to effectively kill viruses. To kill flu germs, clean the air of allergens, dander, and odors, and be cost effective, choose air purifiers that have a combination of air-cleaning and germ-killing filters.


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