Anyone who suffers from asthma or allergies knows there’s no telling when and where those triggers can set off a fit of sneezing or coughing and wheezing in adults and children. Whether it’s inside your home or your car, asthma and allergy triggers are everywhere especially in the spring season when we routinely see a noticeable spike in pollen, dust, mold and other contaminants in the air.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), “no city is free from asthma triggers and some cities are more challenging places to live than others.” Similarly, in the case of allergies, says AAFA, “There is no place safe from allergies in America and some cities are more problematic than others.” (http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=10&sub=99&cont=457)
Fittingly, therefore, each year AAFA asks the President of the United States to officially declare May as National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. And, the first Tuesday of May is World Asthma Day.
While most people who suffer from asthma and allergies know they can use air filters to control the allergens in their homes, few are aware that there is a similar device for their vehicle. Called a “cabin air filter,” this device is especially designed by automakers to ensure that the air one breathes inside a vehicle is clean and free from environmental pollutants when the windows are rolled up.
More than 100 million vehicles on the road in the U.S. today are equipped with cabin air filters. The owner’s manual will tell you if your car is equipped with one or not. Typically, the cabin air filter is located behind the glove box, under the hood near the windshield or under the dash.
Normally, while driving – especially if one happens to suffer from asthma or allergies – the tendency is to roll up the windows to prevent breathing in dirty outside air, however, if the car’s cabin air filter is clogged, the occupants inside could be breathing in six times the contaminants than they would had the windows been down.
A clean cabin air filter keeps the air inside the car clean and protects the driver and passengers against the “bad stuff.” This could include both – the invasion of pollutants from the air outside as well as “blowing” the dirt residing within the clogged air filter back into the interior of the vehicle.