Can Air Purifiers Make You Sick? Find Out Here!

June 22, 2022

Is It Possible For An Air Purifier To Make You Sick?

Disclaimer: The content below is written to share our experience and should not be regarded as medical advice. Please consult your Doctor should you have any questions.

Air purifiers are well-known for their wide range of health benefits, whether it's helping remove allergens from the air that can trigger asthma in people, or reducing bad odours around the household. 

However an air purifier can have some negative health effects if they are not used properly, or if you buy an air purifier which has emits an amount of ozone, these can all give you symptoms of sickness, but air purifiers themselves will not make you sick if used right.

We have gathered some common myths and issues that air purifiers can give if you buy the wrong type, and we have additionally added in some tips to prevent your air purifier from making you feel sick below.

Can An Air Purifier Be Bad For My Health? 

Air purifiers are not bad for your health, they are beneficial to your health as they remove harmful allergens from the air as well as pollutants and irritants that can cause other respiratory health issues.

Types of air purifiers that use ozone molecules to clean the air can make you sick such as; UV-C air purifiers, ionizers and ozone generators themselves, this is because the ozone they emit can have negative side effects such as nose bleeds, coughing, respiratory system issues and more as they attack our human cells when inhaled. 

Air purifiers that use a HEPA filter purifier or carbon filter will not emit ozone pollutants, and when used correctly in the right space with the right maintenance can improve air quality, not make it worse. 

Common Myths About Air Purifiers & Sickness

Despite air purifiers being most beneficial to ourselves, people still like to speculate on whether or not they can make common health issues worse and cause irritation to people. 

Does An Air Purifier Remove Co2

We have busted some common myths below about air purifiers and sickness symptoms so as you can figure out for yourself whether the two are related, some of these myths might be true as we mentioned above if you are using your purifier incorrectly or an ozone type model.

Is My Air Purifier Making Me Cough? 

Many people assume that if they start coughing while their air purifier is on that the two are related, but an air purifier would only be helping you stop coughing, not encourage it, as they get rid of unwanted particles in the air that can cause coughing such as dust and dust mites. 

Some ionic air purifiers might cause throat irritation to people, so once again, these are to be avoided and you should switch to HEPA and carbon filters to avoid this effect.

If you have developed a cough since using your air purifier, this might be due to a virus or flu, which a purifier will help filter these airborne particulates out of the air so as it can avoid affecting other members of your household.

Is My Air Purifier Giving Me a Nosebleed? 

If you have developed a nose bleed when using your air purifier, the most common culprit is likely to be dry air, but this is not caused directly by your purifier, as when the popular product is cleaning the air, it does not take out any moisture or change humidity levels. 

Using a humidifier together with your air purifier can help make the air from the air purifier filter even better to breathe in and stop the dry air from drying out your nasal membranes. 

Is My Air Purifier Giving Me a Headache? 

HEPA type of air purifier models can reduce your chances of having a headache, not encourage them by removing bad irritants from the air and pollutants that can cause sinus issues. 

Amounts of ozone from UV-C or ozone generators can indeed cause headaches, but the small number of byproducts emitted from ionizers would likely not be enough to cause headaches, sickness symptoms from air purifiers that have ozone will only happen with high amounts, but you should still avoid ozone when you can.

Is My Air Purifier Making Me Have a Sore Throat?

Ionizer air purifiers can give you a sore throat, especially if you already have existing medical conditions such as asthma, as the way these machines clean the airborne particles can bring minor throat irritation. 

HEPA and carbon air purifiers will not give you a sore throat, they will prevent sore throats from happening as these types of air purifiers do not emit ozone and instead take out the airborne particulates that cause sore throats.

Ways Your Air Purifier Can Be Making You Sick 

An air purifier will never directly cause you to get sick if you are using one which does not emit ozone, but when used the wrong way, or when not maintained right, there could be a possibility for it to give you sick-like symptoms. 

We have put together a list of some ways your purifier might be making you sick without you realising below. 

You Aren't Changing The Filter Enough 

One of the most common ways an air purifier could making you sick is if you are not changing the filter when you should be. Changing the filter on your machine is basic maintenance for types of air purifier that use a HEPA system. 

Bacteria that can get stuck to the filter in your air cleaner can transmit toxic gases back into the air you breathe, making you feel bad and also reducing the overall efficiency of the purifier. Mold spores can also potentially grow on the filter, meaning your dirty filter will be blowing the spore air particles back into the air.

Your Not Using It Correctly

An air purifier can take time to work and should not just be used once or twice to clean the air, it should be used for longer periods so as it can clean the air to its maximum capacity, this could be up to two hours for a large room or a shorter amount of time for a smaller space. 

Irritation in people will often occur after you switch your purifier off, as the air will start to go back to normal and become full of bad airborne particulates again.

It's Not The Right Filter 

Using a standard HEPA filter and not a TRUE HEPA filter will not work as well when getting rid of harmful allergens in the air, as they can't filter as small of particles, making you feel sick. 

Avoid using air purification products that have ozone emission too as it can filter the air, but also release bad ozone into the air which can cause sick-like symptoms. 

You Aren't Cleaning

Just because your purifier can get rid of harmful airborne allergens and unpleasant pollutants in the air, this doesn't mean you shouldn't be cleaning, especially if you are using a purifier that doesn't have a filter and uses an ionization process to clean. 

The ionization process in purifiers causes harmful allergens and other bad particles to gather as dirt on surfaces as the negative ions drop-down, meaning you will need to do more cleaning more often, otherwise you might get sick.

You Are Too Close To The Machine

Being too close to your air purifier can make you breathe in troublesome pollutants, especially if the purifier is set behind you, as this where particles will get sucked in too, making you sick. You should also avoid having it too close to you as it could cause dry skin or a dry nose after long periods. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Air Purifiers & Sickness 

Why does ozone air machine exist if they are dangerous? 

Ozone air machines are meant for professional use only and are preferred for getting rid of the effects of big chemical spills as they work fast and effectively to destroy bad particles, many ozone emissions in purifiers nowadays are of a safe level, but they should still be avoided when possible.

How small of particle size can a HEPA filter catch? 

A true HEPA filter can catch a particle micron size as small as 0.3 microns which is good enough to catch the majority of dust particles.

Why am I getting a headache when using my air purifier?

Having a headache from your air purifier is very rare, and might be caused if you are too close to the purifier and are in the way of the bad particles that are flowing into the machine to be cleaned. 

The filter of your purifier could also be dirty which might be emitting bad particles back out into the air that can cause headaches.

Final Words 

Overall, air purifiers might make you sick if they emit ozone molecules of high levels which can cause throat irritation and other negative side effects. HEPA and carbon air purifiers will not make you sick unless they are used incorrectly or not well maintained, other than that they will only provide you health benefits. 

Kirsten Carter
Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.

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