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Can An Air Purifier Make You Sick?

When you have fallen ill for no apparent reason, you will be suspicious of everything in your home and an air cleaner is always the first one to take the heat. This is because many people are confused about how an air purifier works, proven by the tons of emails we received asking if their air purifier is causing them to have a sore throat, cough, headache, nose bleed et cetera. While the simple answer is NO, an air purifier is not the blame, there are many other factors that cause us to feel sick. What are the causes and what can you do about it?
Short answer
No, you cannot get sick from an air purifier.

 

Can You Get Sick From An Air Purifier?

An air purifier can’t make you sick as it is a simple device designed to clean the air from harmful particulates. It will also not cause headaches, sore throat, cough, nosebleed, or weaken your immune system. On the contrary, an air purifier is good for your health as it can alleviate allergy symptoms and halt germs from spreading in the air. You will breathe better, sleep well, and live healthier with an air purifier by your side.

The only thing you need to worry about is an ozone generator that emits high concentration levels of harmful ozone. Notorious for causing sickness, throat irritation, chest tightness, and aggravate respiratory conditions including our lungs, asthma. An ozone generator is NOT an air cleaner and it is not approved by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in occupied spaces.

Can Air Purifier Cause Headaches?

An air purifier will not give you a headache but instead, it can ease the symptoms by removing the airborne irritants. Dust, debris, dust mites, mold spores, pollen, pet dander, germs, and odors are some of the known environmental factors that can trigger a chronic or sinus headache. A HEPA air purifier will capture 99.97% of the allergens as small as 0.3 microns before it flows into your body and affects the blood cell circulation. To better manage your headache, consult a doctor for prescriptions like antihistamines, migraine, or anti-inflammatory medications.

Can Air Purifier Cause Sore Throat?

An air purifier can help relieve sore throat rather than causing it. Sore throat (pharyngitis) is often caused by viral infections such as a cold or flu that spreads airborne. A HEPA air purifier will capture the germ, bacteria, and viruses in the air thus greatly reduce the exposure risk. To add on, an ionizer will not cause throat irritation contrary to many beliefs. It will only disperse negative ions into the air that is harmless to our body.

Can Air Purifiers Make You Cough?

Whether is a dry/ wet cough, croup, or whooping cough, an air purifier will not cause or worsen it. In fact, it can help relieve cough by removing airborne triggers via its multi-layer air filtration system. You can learn more about how does an air purifier help with cough here.

Can Air Purifier Cause Nosebleeds?

An air purifier will not cause nosebleeds but it may aggravate the symptoms under poor conditions. When an air purifier is operating in a humid environment, it will recirculate the damp air in the room and irritate the nose. This can lead to postnasal drip, inflammation, sinusitis, and nosebleeds. To prevent this from happening, you will need a dehumidifier that can help reduce the room humidity level. On the other hand, dry air can also cause nosebleeds particularly during the winter season. It has nothing to do with an air purifier as it does not dry out the air. You will need a humidifier to add moisture back into the air at a comfortable 30% to 50% level.

How To Use An Air Purifier To Protect You From Falling Sick?

An air purifier can be the difference of you from constantly falling sick to living healthily. If you are planning to purchase one or has already owned an air purifier, below are a few simple steps you can do to get the best out of it.

  • Avoid ozone generator - As mentioned earlier, it is not approved by the federal government and can do more harm than good. Go with a HEPA air purifier instead that is proven to be effective and safe without producing any byproducts.
  • Clean or replace the filters on time - All air purifiers that use mechanical filtration require regular maintenance for optimal performance. A clogged filter will not be able to capture inflow particulates and the air cleaner will circulate the allergens back into the air. For filters that can be washed, do it every 2 weeks or when the filter is dirty. For non-washable filters like a HEPA, replace in accordance with the manufacturer’s guideline.
  • Leave it on 24x7 - It is recommended to let an air purifier run day and night to maintain the room air quality. When you switched off the air purifier, the airborne pollutants will slowly build up thus increasing the risk of allergies being triggered. Use the highest fan speed for the first couple of hours and revert back to a slower speed. For models that come with Auto mode, you can let the air purifier decide what is the best speed needed to purify a room.
  • Daily housecleaning - From vacuuming, washing to mopping the floor help removes non-airborne particles stuck on the floor, sofa, bed, and wall. A clean house means there are fewer dust particles in the air and less work required for an air purifier. You will breathe better and less likely to fall sick.
  • Pick the right model - There are many different types of air purifiers that use a variety of technologies. Consider the CADR, filtration type, recommended room size based on your needs. The higher the ratings, the more efficient is the air purifier. Also look into the filtration set such as HEPA VS HEPA-type, carbon filter, UV-light, and ionizer. A small air purifier may not be capable of dealing with the airborne pollutants in a room and protect you from viruses.

Final Thoughts

The reason there are still people who think an air purifier is harmful is due to the many false online reports. Those unethical reports are all directed at an Ozone generator rather than an actual HEPA air purifier. Lazy journalists who wanted to get their post out quickly did not go through the fact checks and blindly follow what is already available. In the end, many readers are left confused and misled by the inaccurate information.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.