Does Air Purifier Help Cough Or Make It Worse?

Little do people know that air pollution could cause your tussin to get worse. Can an air purifier help a cough if that is the case? How does it work, and does it alleviate other symptoms like sore throat, flu, and nasal congestion as well? Perhaps more critically, which is the best air purifier for dealing with night and dry cough? All shall be answered below, plus pro tips on how to get the best out of an air cleaner. Start breathing better and enjoy the clean air that you deserve.


Do Air purifiers Help Cough?

Yes, it will. With a good air filtration set, an air purifier will help relieve cough and other respiratory illnesses by cleaning indoor air. Cleaner air means fewer viral infections, bacteria, and viruses in the air to aggravate a cough. You will feel and breathe better without the phlegm and mucus irritating your throat. Besides cough, allergy symptoms like wheezing, hoarseness, sore throat, postnasal drip, cold, skin rash, and nasal congestion will gradually be reduced. An air purifier can also create a safe home for asthmatic persons or people with respiratory issues like allergic rhinitis, asthma, COPD, bronchitis, and emphysema. An air purifier and humidifier combination will further prevent the cough from spreading to other people.

Can An Air Purifier Make a Cough Worse?

An air purifier is an appliance that cleans the air by removing airborne particulate or gaseous pollutants via its filtration system.. Therefore, it cannot make you sick, worsen a cough, cause a sore throat or dry out the air.

However, some ozone generators will sometimes market as ionic air purifiers to confuse buyers. It is a dangerous device that can worsen your respiratory system. Inhaling ozone can aggravate a cough, cause throat irritation, shortness of breath, chest pain, and damage the lungs. When purchasing an air purifier, make sure it is an ozone-free HEPA air purifier that uses mechanical filters to clean the air.

Benefits Of Air Purifiers

Reducing exposure to allergens is the first step in controlling cough, and an air purifier can be the key. Here are the health benefits you will enjoy with an air cleaner installed in the home.

  • Works well with existing air filtration HVAC system to provide a clean and comfortable indoor environment.
  • Help with asthma symptoms, including cough. Works well in children’s bedroom.
  • Subside pet allergies by removing pet dander, germ, and fur. Ideal for home with indoor pets (cat, dog, bird, rodent).
  • Alleviate dust, mold, pollen, and other biological contaminants. By capturing the airborne spores and particles before they spread. It reduces the number of allergens in the indoor environment and protects you from seasonal allergies.
  • Protect your home from outdoor pollution by continuously filtering the incoming contaminants and circulating clean air.

What Is The Best Air Purifier For Cough?

There are a few types of air purifiers in the market that will fall into either one of the following groups:

  • A mechanical air cleaner uses an internal motor fan to draw and capture airborne particles in its fiber filters. Available as part of HVAC filtration or as a portable unit.
  • An electronic air cleaner e.g. ionizers or electrostatic precipitators, electrical charges ions that attract and merge with other ions pollutants to pull them down from the air. The fallen pollutants will be collected via a metal plate.
  • Air cleaning technologies like ultraviolet light found in UVGI, PCO air cleaners, and photoactivatable catalyst neutralize allergens and VOCs in the air.

Each type varies in technologies, sizes, features, efficiency, and pricing. To make it easier for you, we handpicked the 6 best air purifiers for cough symptoms.

  • IQAir HealthPro Plus
  • Airmega 300
  • Alen BreatheSmart
  • Honeywell HPA300
  • Winix 5500-2
  • Rabbit Air MinusA2

In short, air purifiers are good for coughs but will not cure them. Our body will have to fight off the illnesses on its own. Seek medical treatment if your cough has worsened or has lasted more than a week.

What Is a Cough?

Cough is a deliberate or natural reflex that forces air out of the lungs to clear irritants like phlegm and mucus. A tussis can be acute, subacute, or chronic, depending on the condition. An acute cough will not last more than 3 weeks and is commonly linked with a viral infection. Subacute coughs will last between 3 to 8 weeks, and common causes include postnatal drip, and bronchitis. Chronic coughs will last more than 8 weeks and can have adverse health effects e.g. smoking, asthma, GERD, and COPD.

A cough can be a symptom of allergic respiratory disease. An allergic reaction occurs when our immune system creates antibodies to fight a foreign substance inhaled into the lungs, mouth, or through the skin. Below are the most common cough triggers.

  • Asthma (dry, non-productive cough)
  • Smoking (wet, productive cough)
  • Bacteria and viruses (pneumonia, tonsillitis, pulmonary embolism, sinusitis, cold, flu)
  • Drugs (syrup, capsule, spray, tablet, lozenge)
  • Allergies (dust, mold, mildew, pet dander, pollen, VOCs, cigarette smoke, odor)
  • allergic rhinitis
  • Air pollution (haze, wildfire, traffic jams)

The 7 Types of Coughs

A cough can happen due to many reasons, and an air purifier can help in some. To give you a better perspective on what type of tussis you are dealing with, here are the most common causes you need to be aware of.

  • Dry cough - A nonproductive cough that does not produce mucus or phlegm.
  • Chest cough - A productive cough that produces mucus or phlegm.
  • Nocturnal cough - AKA night cough, where mucus pools to the back of the throat during sleep.
  • Asthma cough - A dry, cough-induced asthma that can be deadly, especially in children.
  • Bronchitis - A contagious respiratory infection that causes inflammation in the bronchial tubes.
  • Whooping cough (pertussis) - A contagious respiratory tract infection with a high-pitched "whooping" sound.
  • Croup cough - A contagious and seasonal hoarse-sounding cough.

Tips For Using An Air Purifier For Cough

An air purifier promotes a clean and healthy environment to fight off a cough. Everyone should follow some pro tips to get the best out of an air purifier.

  • Find a good spot - Place the air cleaner in a location with bad air quality or where you spend the most time . The bedroom is a good place to start as we spend one-third of our time there. Otherwise, consider common areas such as the living room, kitchen, office, or basement.
  • Replace the filters on time - A dirty filter is useless in dealing with a cough. HEPA filter and carbon filter require replacing periodically when it is worn out. Gently vacuum the washable pre-filter when it is clogged with dust and hair. Remember, routine cleaning and maintenance will ensure optimal performance from an air cleaner.
  • Keep all windows closed - This is to prevent the filtered, clean air from going out and contaminated air from coming in. It will also help improve the longevity of the air cleaner without overworking it. Very useful in a polluted area or during the pollen season.
  • Leave it on all the time - Even if you are away for work or on a short getaway. An air purifier is designed to run 24 hours a day to ensure the indoor air is always clean. Don't worry about the cost, as most modern air cleaners are energy-efficient. It will not create a big burden on your utility bill.
  • No obstruction - To optimize the clean air distribution, make sure the air ventilation is not impeded by objects. Leave a few feet of gap between the wall or sofa to avoid airflow disruption.
  • Avoid ozone generator/ ozonator - as mentioned earlier, an ozone generator is NOT an air cleaner. It generates ozone that is harmful to our lungs and is not approved by EPA. Instead, go with a HEPA air purifier that is safe and proven to be effective against cough.

Why And How Do I Stop Coughing At Night?

Nocturnal cough or night cough will worsen during nighttime when you lay flat on the bed. When the phlegm and mucus pool back of the throat, the body's natural reflexes will cough out any foreign matter. To help relieve uncontrollable coughs at night, here are a few simple steps to help you sleep through the night.

  • Take OTC medicine, suppressants, decongestant, or cough drop. Cold medicine would also help reduce postnatal drip.
  • To ease throat irritation, add a spoonful of honey to warm water. Tea would work as well.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Sleep through the night with the head elevated.
  • Take a hot steamy shower.
  • Air purifier with an H13 HEPA filter can help remove allergens that cause many coughs.
  • Humidifier adds moisture into the air that helps ease a dry cough.

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.
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