Can Air Purifiers Make You Sick?

Air purifiers have been around for quite some time and have made the indoor air safe to breathe in by removing airborne triggers of allergy, including all the dust, and can also help eliminate odors.

Some air purifiers produce ozone while others depend on mechanical filtration to handle airborne contaminants, but can air purifiers make you sick?

No, air purifiers do not make you sick. Regardless of whether they are ionic air purifiers, ozone generating air purifiers, or HEPA purifiers, go through vigorous testing and also bring multiple certifications that declare them safe.

If air purifiers are safe and kill pathogens actively, then why do some users feel certain kinds of sickness when they are around air purifiers? This article will clarify the myths about air purifiers and will also aim to establish why you might be experiencing that sore throat or runny nose when around one.

Are Air Purifiers Making Me Sick?

No, a well-maintained air purifier can actually improve your health instead of making you sick. Depending on the air cleaning technology, you might experience a different feel around the air purifier.

Air purifiers remove harmful allergens including airborne particles and dangerous VOCs from the indoor space. The unfiltered indoor air is forced through a HEPA filter or a similar mechanical filtration technology.

The result is clean air that is free from particulate matter that may cause allergy flare-ups or a stuffy nose.

Several studies emphasize on air purifiers being beneficial. According to a small scale study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, air purifiers can help bring cardiopulmonary benefits by bringing a 57% reduction in PM2.5 particles, in return reducing the risk of blood pressure and heart rate.

Home appliance manufacturers that also manufacture air purifiers add activated carbon filters or pre-filters to extend the life of the more important filtration technologies in their purifiers. 

New air purifier models also pack ionizers or ozone generators that make air contaminants too heavy to stay airborne, if you feel a cough or irritation while around a dated air purifier, that might be due to ozone generators inside the device. 

Air purifier models are all tested and may release traces of ozone that are within the safety limit defined by the authorities including the EPA.

Can an Ionizer Make You Sick?

The new ionizers inside ionic air purifier models may produce ozone molecules but keep them within the safety limit prescribed by the authorities. They can ensure a better and healthy air delivery without compromising on the quality.

The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA for short issue certifications to manufacturers that show if a product is safe to use. So many brands use ionizers that produce negative ions that may cause the indoor oxygen atoms to go through a reaction that may create ozone from the oxygen molecules.

Both ozone generator air purifiers and ionizers may generate ozone but that is totally safe. Similar traces of ozone can also be produced when oxygen molecules come in contact with UV light.

If you’re concerned about the traces of ozone (which are safe) and want an air purifier, True HEPA air purifiers or any HEPA standard purifier can deliver similar efficiency against all contaminants without the quirks of ozone generator purifiers.

Can Air Purifier Cause Sore Throat?

No, air purifiers do not make any such changes in the indoor air that can irritate the throat. Some people believe that air purifiers make the indoor air dry, which is an unfounded allegation but if your indoor air is dry, it can cause sore throats although that has little to do with air purifiers.

If you’re looking for an air purifier for cough, you can stay assured that air purifiers can help you with it and also help with other health benefits like a night of sound sleep.

Is My Sickness Because of An Air Purifier?

No, as we explained, there’s almost a non-existent chance that an air purifier make you sick. There’s a chance that dry air is behind the problems. Here are some of the issues that people associate with air purifiers:

Sore Throat

There’s not even a remote chance that HEPA air purifiers can lead to a sore throat. Air purifiers can remove allergens and microbes from the indoor air that can lead to a sore throat.

A high quality air purifier that features a High Efficiency Particulate Air filter (HEPA Filters) makes your air cleaner and with a good clean air delivery rate they can quickly convert dirty air into clean one. A microbe-free air actually reduces the chances of you getting a sore throat.

Can Air Purifier Give You Headaches?

No, It is important to note that headaches don’t have any particular triggers and as many as 300 different compounds can lead to one. An air purifier can help remove bacteria and other such substances that may lead to a headache one way or the other.

Some people are oblivious of the fact that certain fragrances can also cause headaches to some people. The absence of an activated carbon filter can leave these odors/Scents and other dangerous VOCs behind that may be the underlying problem behind your headaches. 

While ozone is a known lung irritant, the amount of ozone produced by the ozone generator air purifiers is very less and isn’t enough to cause a headache.

Can Air Purifier Give You Nosebleeds?

No, even if you’re having a nosebleed in the vicinity of an air purifier, the machine itself is not producing anything that may lead to a nosebleed. 

The working principle of any air purifier is to remove contaminants and make indoor air safer. Air purifiers are proven to have no effect on the indoor moisture/humidity levels so if you’re experiencing a nosebleed because of the dry air, it will largely be due to the dry air and not because of the air purifier. Using a humidifier is recommended in such a scenario.


Just like with other problems, the cough has other triggers that are not related to air purifiers. Air purifiers actually remove cough triggers from the indoor air. 

Also Read: Air Purifier vs Humidifier For Baby: Which is better?

Safe Use of Air Purifiers

As we explained, air purifiers cannot make you sick but there are a number of factors that come into play and cause them to be a problem. 

Here are a few things you can do to make sure they perform optimally and don’t lead to any issues:

Avoid Uncertified Ozone Air Purifiers:

Ionizers and ozone generators can produce traces of ozone. Be sure to only buy the ones that are certified by the authorities. Certified air purifiers still produce ozone but the levels are within the defined safety limits.

Replace/Maintain the filters on time

While air purifiers remove allergens, these accumulate on the filters, and not replacing the filters on time may lead to the accumulation of irritants inside the device. Maintaining the washable filters can also help extend the life of the more important HEPA filter.

Use Indoor Plants

Indoor plants are a great way of adding oxygen to the indoor environment and keeping the indoor air fresh. Indoor plants also help trap the airborne dust particles while also adding to the look and feel of the indoor space.

If your indoor space lacks windows or the outdoor air is too contaminated to keep the windows open, then indoor plants present an excellent option to restore the healthy oxygen concentration.

Plants just don’t add the oxygen back, they also absorb some harmful gases. You can go for spider plants, or if you’re willing to put in some extra effort then bamboo palms can provide a much better experience (but require a little more maintenance).


Air purifiers are made by quality manufacturers and go through extensive testing before they can be sold. Air purifiers make your indoor air safe to breathe in and are recommended for all kinds of users.

The right air purifier will help you get over the stuffy nose and sore throat issues that may be disturbing you because of indoor air contaminants. But a HEPA style air purifier, a UV bulb one, or ozone air purifiers, all electronic air purifiers are safe and ensure clean air supply even in the harshest of conditions.