Can Air Purifier Make You Sick? – Risks and Safe Usage Guide

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

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Holly Curell

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Key Takeaways

  • An average air purifier cannot make you sick and quite on the contrary it can improve your health by removing dangerous particles, allergens, and pathogens from the air.
  • Certain air purifiers that emit ozone gas can result in adverse health symptoms like headaches, sore throat, and breathing problems. It is best to avoid such air purifiers.
  • Not maintaining the air purifier and not cleaning or replacing the filter can worsen the air quality thus making you sick.

Over the past few years, I’ve turned into a health nut. As a result, I’m always looking for ways to stay healthy and improve my well-being.

Like many people, I purchased an air purifier for its potential health advantages. However, I can’t help but wonder if it could also have negative effects on my health.

While there’s a slight chance air purifiers can cause irritations or aggravate certain health conditions, the overall benefits far outweigh the risks (I still haven’t gotten sick using mine).

Still, it’s worth looking at whether air purifiers can make you sick and how to keep from getting sick while using one.

Can Air Purifiers Make You Sick? (The Truth About These Concerns)

Air purifiers don’t really make you sick. Instead, they have proven to be essential for improving indoor air quality by removing contaminants such as dust, pollen, mold, smoke, and other airborne particles. Some air purifiers also effectively remove certain chemicals and gases from the air.

Since getting my purifier I have noticed a drastic improvement in the quality of the air in my home and I’m breathing much easier now.

However, if you don’t properly maintain them, air purifiers can worsen existing health conditions or cause eye, nose, or throat irritation.

Related Article: Air Purifier Vs Ionizer

Can An Air Purifier Cause Sore Throat?

Yes, air purifiers can cause a sore throat, particularly if they emit ozone. Although air purifiers are designed to clean the air around us, some models emit ozone, which can harm your health.

I like the idea of ozone purifiers, but when I found out about their potential negative effects, I immediately opted against one.

Ozone is a potent oxidizing agent that can irritate your lungs and lead to a sore, scratchy throat due to its corrosive properties.

Do Air Purifiers Cause Sinus Problems?

Air purifiers may cause sinus problems. If you think your air purifier is causing sinus problems, it’s likely because it’s too small for your room and can’t properly filter the air in your room. This can ultimately result in sinus infections.

Another potential issue is that the air purifier may not be powerful enough to remove all airborne particles, leading to ongoing sinus problems.

When I bought my air purifier, I made sure I got one that was sized for my space and powerful enough to do the job.

Lastly, air purifiers can also cause dryness in the air, which can irritate the sinuses and cause discomfort. To fix that problem, I bought a humidifier to use with my purifier.

Can An Air Purifier Cause Headaches?

Air purifiers generally do not cause headaches. However, some air purifiers can produce ozone, which has been linked to headaches. It’s important to choose an air purifier that doesn’t produce ozone and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can An Air Purifier Cause Dizziness?

Your air purifier should not make you dizzy. I’ve never felt dizzy or lightheaded around mine, but if you have, it’s likely a potential symptom of inadequate ventilation.

A buildup of carbon dioxide can occur if the air purifier is not properly ventilated, so ensure proper ventilation in the room where it’s being used.

Can Air Purifiers Cause Breathing Problems?

Most air purifiers will not cause breathing problems. However, air purifiers that emit harmful ozone gas can irritate the lungs and cause shortness of breath.

Ionizers generate negative ions during the purification process that attach to particles in the air and make them easier to breathe in, potentially leading to breathing difficulties. I do my best to avoid both types of purifiers.

Can An Air Purifier Cause Cough?

There is no evidence to suggest that coughing is a common side effect of running an air purifier. On the contrary, air purifiers reduce the likelihood of coughing and other respiratory symptoms by removing irritants from the air.

The draft created by an air purifier could cause throat or lung irritation, but it is highly unlikely. I’m coughing less now that I use air purifiers in my house.

If you experience persistent coughing or other respiratory symptoms while using an air purifier, it may be a sign of an underlying condition that requires medical attention.

Can An Air Purifier Cause Nose Bleed?

There have been reports of air purifiers causing nosebleeds, but it isn’t common.

If they do cause nose bleeds, ozone air purifiers are the likely culprit again because they produce negative ions that can cause irritation and nosebleeds.

Again, do your best to choose an air purifier that doesn’t release ozone. I use a purifier with HEPA and activated carbon filters.

Can Dirty Air Purifier Filters Make You Sick?

Dirty air purifiers have the potential to make you sick. I got an air purifier because I’m a germophobe, so I routinely check my filter to make sure it stays clean.

If you don’t, a dirty air purifier filter can release contaminants into the air and potentially make you sick. When filters become clogged with pollutants, the pollutants can get released back into the air.

The first time I changed my filter I couldn’t believe how dirty it was. It was a breeding ground for microorganisms like mold and bacteria, which are harmful if released into the air.

It only takes me a couple of minutes to change the filter, so I do it whenever it needs to be changed. Just be sure to wear protective gear to avoid inhaling any contaminants.

When swapping out the air filters, be gentle with the used filter. If you agitate it, you can send dust and contaminants back into the air. Those airborne contaminants can be harmful to inhale, and they’ll make you sick.

Keeping your air purifier filter clean and up-to-date is essential if you don’t want it to make you sick. Change your filter every three to six months. I change mine more than that because I have a lot of furry friends I share my house with.

Related Article: Are Air Purifiers Safe?

Tips To Make Sure Your Air Purifier Won’t Make You Sick

Since air purifiers can make you sick over time, there are several things I consider to prevent possible illness in the future.

What Is The Best Kind Of Air Purifier To Use?

I’ve found that the best type of air purifiers use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. A HEPA filter is designed to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, including allergens, pet dander, and even some viruses.

They are also less likely to release contaminants back into the air than other filters, which means I’m less likely to experience potential adverse health effects.

I also look for air purifiers with a pre-filter to capture larger particles and extend the life of my HEPA filter. And it’s worth saying again – avoid ozone generators or air purifiers with ionization technology.

Can An Ionizer Air Purifier Make You Sick?

As I’ve touched on repeatedly, ionizers can make you sick. Ionizers release charged particles into the air that attach themselves to airborne pollutants like dust and pollen, making them heavier and causing them to settle out of the air. This reduces harmful particles in the air, but problems can arise if the ionizer is improperly maintained.

Over time, the buildup of charged particles can create an electrostatic field that can attract even more pollutants to the unit rather than trapping them. As a result, it’s essential to clean and maintain ionizers regularly to avoid potential health risks.

How To Properly Use The Air Purifier?

How to properly use an air purifier will vary depending on your device. However, there are some general tips you can follow to ensure your air purifier is working properly without any adverse side effects.

First, choose the right location for your air purifier. Place it in an area with good airflow and away from obstructions such as furniture or curtains.

When I first got my purifier, I put it against a wall completely blocking the airflow. It wasn’t until I moved it away from the wall that it could properly filter the air and distribute it evenly.

Once you’ve found your perfect spot, always run your purifier for the recommended amount of time. Most air purifiers have specific instructions on how long to run the device for optimal results.

Not running the machine long enough can impact its effectiveness and potentially cause health issues. Running it too long can be overkill, and I’m guilty of this.

Once your air purifier is in place and running, regularly cleaning and replacing the filters will ensure it continues to work efficiently without making you sick.

What Are The Correct Settings Of Air Purifiers?

The correct settings depend on the air purifier and you should consult your manual. However, fan speed is a critical setting to consider.

While a higher fan speed means more effective air cleaning, it can also stir up particles and cause them to become airborne, potentially leading to respiratory issues.

To strike a balance, I set the fan to the lowest setting that still achieves the desired level of air cleaning.

You also need to pay attention to the filter life indicator, which reminds you when to change the filter. I only buy purifiers with this indicator because it takes out the guesswork of when to change the filter.

Using the correct settings on your air purifier allows you to enjoy the benefits of cleaner air without the risk of negative health consequences.

How Long Should You Use An Air Purifier?

You should run your air purifier for as long as it takes to effectively clean the air in your space. When I bought my first purifier I only ran it for a few hours a day. That wasn’t nearly enough, and now I typically run mine around the clock.

There are several factors to consider when deciding how long to run your air purifier without producing adverse side effects.

For example, the size of the room, the air flow in the room, the quality of the air being cleaned, and the type of pollutants being removed will all impact how long your purifier should run.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can air purifiers make allergies worse?

Air purifiers can sometimes make allergies worse. This occurs when the air purifier generates ozone or fails to remove all allergens effectively.

Which is better for allergies: humidifiers or air purifiers?

Air purifiers are typically more effective than humidifiers when it comes to allergies. Humidifiers add moisture to the air but do not remove allergens or pollutants. Air purifiers capture and remove allergens and pollutants from the air.

Should I sleep with the air purifier running?

You should sleep with an air purifier running. Running an air purifier while you sleep can help improve the air quality in your bedroom and promote better respiratory health.


My air purifier has been safe to use and has helped improve my health and well-being. However, neglecting maintenance or selecting the wrong purifier can lead to potential health problems.

To ensure your purifier doesn’t cause any harm, regularly change the filters, perform regular maintenance, and select the appropriate size air purifier for your space.

These easy-to-implement actions will enable you to enjoy the benefits of an air purifier without worrying about adverse health effects.

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Josh Mitchell


Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

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Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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