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HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter and are designed to trap 99.97% of all particles as tiny as .3 microns. These tiny particles that inhabit our homes and offices include: dust, dust mites, mold, pollen, insect parts, ashes, bacteria, animal dander, hair and dead skin, among others.
If you or someone you know suffers from allergies, you probably already know. The result of breathing too much dust into your lungs can cause a host of symptoms, often resembling the flu: stuffy nose, sneezing, swollen and red eyes, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, headache and even body aches. In some cases, exposure to airborne contaminants can lead to even more serious health problems and disease.
Vacuum cleaners are a wonderful convenience for household cleaning and they do a great job of getting the dust out. In the process, however, they stir up settled and embedded dust into the air so it can be vacuumed. Then, the air path that flows through the vacuum must exit the vacuum through it's exhaust.
All of this means that if you don't have adequate filtration, some of the dust you intended to get out, will end up airborne where it can be easily breathed into your lungs.
To really get the Dust out and KEEP it out, look for a vacuum with a HEPA filter that will trap 99.97% of all particles down to .3 microns.