Health skeptics claim that you don’t need an air purifier in order to live healthy. Just open the windows, they say, and let the fresh air in. While that is perfect advice for people who live in a rural setting, it is anything but for those who live in a city of any size. Between the traffic, lawn maintenance equipment and industrial zones, the outdoor air in cities is hardly fresh.

And unless you do something about it, so is the indoor air. Experts say that may be even worse, because of all the off gassing of various chemicals, the pet hair and dander, and the crowded quarters for pathogens. But if you buy the right kind of air purifier – which will not be from your local discount department store, and will initially set you back a few hundred dollars – you can breathe healthy air every moment you are in your home. With that, here are five reasons an urbanite needs an air purifier.

1. Fresh air.

I live in one of the most polluted cities in the United States, the greater Dallas, TX, metroplex. Before I bought an air purifier, I couldn’t’ tell the difference between inside and outside air. After beginning to use one, I would come inside after a morning walk and a wave of mountain fresh air would hit me.

2. Reduced smoke.

If you smoke, you need to quit. But while you’re in the process, you can keep guests from having to inhale second-hand smoke by keeping the air purifier running. The ozone knocks the smoke particles down to the ground.

3. Reduced odors.

Intense odors such as from cooked fish, onions or broccoli are best tackled by spraying vinegar around the room or house. But an air purifier keeps the general odors from pets and people down so that they are less noticeable to outsiders. It also quickly removes the fumes coming from fresh paint.

4. Fewer allergy symptoms.

A high-quality appliance will keep allergy-causing elements such as pet dander and pollen out of the air. In fact, some people who were previously unable to keep a cat or dog because of allergies found that they had no problem once they were using such a product.

5. Improves overall health.

An excellent purifier will keep chemical gas and pathogen levels down. You may notice that you suffer from fewer colds and flues, and perhaps even notice an increase in energy. Why? The best ones out there increase the oxygen in the air, which in turns increases the amount of life-giving oxygen your cells ultimately receive.

So, what do you thinking? Do you need and air purifier? While you certainly can live without one, unless you live in a rural area, your health will be better off if you make that investment.