Can An Air Purifier Make You Sick? Here are 6 Important Factors To Consider

Last Updated on: 11th December 2023, 07:47 pm

Air purifiers are amazing tools that improve the indoor air quality of your home and keep the air clean and healthy.  These devices are specifically designed to remove dust, pollen, allergens, and harmful pollutants from the air that may cause illnesses such as asthma, allergies, or other respiratory symptoms.

However, many people wonder if an air purifier can make you sick. If you’re one of those who are skeptical about these devices, then you’re in the right place. In this article, you’ll find out whether an air purifier makes you sick and aggravates your allergy symptoms.

We’ll also walk you through some important factors that you should consider to help you choose the right air purifier and use it properly to ensure you get the maximum health benefits without making things worse.

Table of Contents

can an air purifier make you sick

Can An Air Purifier Make You Sick?

The short answer is no. An air purifier will not make you sick if you use it properly or the right type of air purifier. Air purifiers are designed to purify the indoor air of dust, allergens, and harmful contaminants. However, if you do not use them correctly or run an air purifier model that produces ozone as a by-product, you might experience that your air purifier is making things worse.

Here, we’ll discuss the 6 important factors to consider that will help you select the right model. These will also inform you about using your air purifier correctly to get the most out of your device without facing any health issues.

Let’s dive into it.

1. Select the Right Type of Air Purifier

Some types of air purifiers in the market produce ozone gas as a by-product as a part of their purification process. According to the EPA, ozone is a lung irritant. Long-term exposure to this gas may worsen respiratory problems. Children or elderly people who have preexisting respiratory problems are more vulnerable to this.

Ozone generators are sold in the market because the manufacturers claim that these air purifiers clean the air by removing chemical or biological contaminants. Other types of air purifiers, known as ionic air purifiers or ionizers, generate small levels of ozone as a by-product.

If you’re worried about your health, avoid these air purifiers. This is because, even in small amounts, ozone may cause lung irritation. Other possible effects include coughing, sore throat, or shortness of breath.

So, which type of air purifiers are safe?

can an air purifier make you sick

 If you’re looking for effective and reliable air purifiers, choose those that use HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) air filters. These air purifiers filter the air without releasing harmful ozone gas into the air you breathe.

HEPA filters are made of interwoven layers of thin fibers. These air filters can effectively remove 99.97% of air pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. Air purifiers with HEPA filters have an internal fan that draws air into the device, removes pollutants, and releases purified air into the environment. So, HEPA filter-based air purifiers don’t cause any health issues.

2. Use the Air Purifier in the Right Way

Air purifiers can enhance or improve indoor air quality as long as they are used properly. Many owners do not know how long they should run their air purifiers. It is suggested to leave the air purifier on all day. Do not turn off the device when the air quality has improved. If you turn it off, the indoor air quality will return to its previous state, which may worsen your allergy symptoms.

3. Air Purifier Placement

Some might think placing the air purifier right next to where you’re sleeping or sitting would be the best option. However, if you’re noticing that your allergy symptoms are being aggravated due to your air purifier, it might be possible that you’re sitting too close to your device.

This is because many air purifiers use an internal fan that pushes and pulls the surrounding air through the air filters. In doing so, you’re likely breathing unhealthy air. To avoid this, you should place the air purifier in such a place so that the device will pull contaminated air away from where you’re sitting.

4. Air Purifier Size

You should choose the right size of the air purifier according to the space you want to purify. A small air purifier won’t be able to clean a larger space effectively. The air contaminants will remain, and you’ll breathe unhealthy and polluted air. This, in turn, may make you feel sick.

5. CADR Rating

While purchasing an air purifier for your home or office, check its CADR rating. CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) is a measurement that describes the performance of an air purifier. It measures how effectively an air purifier can remove allergens, pollen, and smoke from the surrounding air.

An air purifier with a higher CADR rating can quickly remove pollutants from your space. If your air purifier has a CADR rating below 100, it won’t be able to filter the air efficiently, and the airborne contaminants will linger in your room, making you feel sick.

6. Air Filter Maintenance

can an air purifier make you sick

Improper maintenance and not changing the air filters on time can make you feel unwell. If you do not change the filters on time, dust and debris may build up in the air filter. The filters can become clogged and decline your air purifier’s efficiency. As a result, dust, pollen, or allergens may recirculate in your space and make you feel sick.

Bacteria that accumulate in the filters may release toxins into the surrounding air that you breathe. Also, mold spores may accumulate in the air filter because they feed on the dust trapped in the filters. These mold spores can circulate back into the air and cause potential health issues. Therefore, it is essential to regularly clean or change your air purifier filters.

Related post: Effortless breathing: How to clean your Dyson air purifier filter in 6 steps.


Why does my air purifier give me a sore throat?

Air purifiers that use HEPA filters provide clean and healthy air for you to breathe. This actually helps with a sore throat because disease-causing bacteria are eliminated from the air. On the other hand, ozone generators or ionic air purifiers may cause throat irritation, particularly in those who have asthma or other respiratory symptoms.

Should you leave an air purifier on all night?

It is suggested to leave your air purifier on day and night to maintain the improved air quality in your space. If you switch off the air purifier, it will stop purifying the air and the air quality will return back to what it was previously. In this way, the airborne pollutants will remain in the air you breathe.

Can air purifiers make you cough?

While some types of air purifiers such as ionizers may cause throat irritation, they don’t make you cough. You might be coughing because of other reasons. For example, the air you breathe may contain allergens, bacteria, or dust. In this case, a high-quality air purifier may help reduce coughing.

Bottom line

The main purpose of your air purifier is to provide clean and healthy air to breathe. An air purifier will not make you sick if you know how to use it properly. It is good to avoid ozone-generating air purifiers or ionizers that may make you feel unwell. A high-quality and well-maintained air purifier will reduce sickness symptoms by eliminating harmful contaminants such as pollen, dust, or allergens.

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