Does Air Purifier Help Cough Or Make It Worse?

Little do people know that air pollution could be the cause of your tussin getting worse. If that is the case, can an air purifier help a cough? 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 in dealing with night and dry cough? We will answer all that plus pro tips on how to get the best out of an air cleaner. Start breathing better and enjoy the clean air that you deserved.
Short answer
Air purifier will help a cough.


Do Air purifiers Help Cough?

With a good set of air filtration, an air purifier will help relieve cough and other respiratory illnesses by cleaning indoor air. Cleaner air means there are less 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. 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, 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 a home appliance that cleans air therefore it can’t make you sick, worsen a cough, cause a sore throat or dry out the air. In fact, an air purifier can alleviate a cough by removing allergens in the air via its filtration system.

However, an ozone generator that sometimes markets as an ionic air purifier can worsen your respiratory system. Inhaling to ozone can aggravate a cough, cause throat irritation, shortness of breath, and 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.

What is the Best Air Purifier for Cough Symptoms?

There are 6 types of air purifiers out there ranging from HEPA air purifier, carbon air purifier, UVGI cleaner, PCO cleaner, ionizer, and electrostatic precipitators. 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 that you can get right now. Remember to bookmark this page as the list will be updated from time to time.

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

In short, air purifier are good for coughs but it will not provide a cure. Our body will have to fight off the illnesses on its own. Seek medical treatment if your cough condition is deteriorating or has last 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. Depending on the condition, A tussis can be acute, subacute, and chronic. 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, bronchitis. Chronic coughs that will last more than 8 weeks and can adverse health effects e.g. smoking, asthma, GERD, COPD. 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)
  • Air pollution (haze, wildfire, traffic jam)

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 that 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 pool 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 can do so much more to your respiratory system. It can promote a clean and healthy environment to fight off a cough. To get the best out of an air purifier, here are some pro tips that everyone should follow.

  • Find a good spot - Place the air cleaner in a location where you spend the most time in or has bad air quality. 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. For those that come with a washable pre-filter, gently vacuum it when it is clogged with dust and hair.
  • 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 particularly in a polluted area or during the pollen season.
  • Leave it on all the time - Even if you are away for work or out 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 so 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 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 supported 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 matters. To help relieve uncontrollable cough at night, here are few simple steps to help you sleep through the night.

  • Take OTC medicine, suppressants, decongestant, or cough drop. Cold medicine would also help to 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 a HEPA filter can help remove allergens that are the cause of many coughs.
  • Humidifier adds moisture into the air to help 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.