Can Air Purifiers Make You Sick?

I was really excited when I got my first air purifier. While I was skeptical about them at first, trying out and feeling the air quality change with my roommate’s air purifier was enough to make me get one for myself.

But after some time of using it, I noticed that I started feeling a bit under the weather. And since I don’t really get sick – I started to suspect that it might have something to do with the new addition to my room – the air purifier.

I started doing some research – and to my surprise, I found a couple of people who shared similar experiences when using their air purifiers the first few times. But surely it wasn’t the air purifier since I had previously used my friend’s unit and that was completely fine.

With that said, I still couldn’t figure out if my air purifier was the reason I was starting to get sick. So, I had to dig deeper, and found out some very interesting information.

Sometimes, an air purifier can make you sick, but most of the time, it isn’t the culprit. While this sounds complicated, don’t worry, it will all make some more sense soon.

In this article, I will talk to you about why air purifiers can make you feel sick, whether or not they actually cause you to feel sick, and how to make sure you find the right air purifier that won’t make you feel this way.

Does An Air Purifier Make You Sick?

From personal experience and a ton of research – I’ve found that air purifiers don’t actually make you sick. High-quality air purifiers are made with close attention to detail and high-quality materials, which is why they are completely safe and extremely beneficial to the user’s respiratory health. However, inexpensive or poorly maintained air purifiers can sometimes do more harm than good.

I’ve noticed that such air purifiers can affect your health in different ways so let’s take a closer look and answer some of the most commonly asked health-related questions when it comes to air purifiers.

Can Air Purifiers Make You Cough?

Generally speaking – no – air purifiers alone cannot make you cough. They are designed to purify the air – cleansing it from any dust or irritable particles in the air, which could be the cause for mild coughing and irritation.

I personally never coughed as a result of the air purifier. And when I did – it was because of irritants in the air, which my air purifier actually helped me with.

Can an Air Purifier Give You a Nosebleed?

There’s a pretty well-known myth that air purifiers can give you nosebleeds. However, it’s important to remember that this is only a myth and there’s no substantial evidence to back this up. If you suffer from frequent nosebleeds when you’re in a room with an air purifier, don’t look at the purifier, the machine isn’t to blame.

Sometimes, an underlying medical condition can cause nosebleeds. But most of the time, nosebleeds are caused by dry air.

If the air in the room is very dry, then it can cause your nose to bleed. Air purifiers don’t dry out the air in the room. However, if the air is dry to begin with, then it will circulate that dry air at a much faster rate, which could be the reason your nose bleeds when the air purifier is on.

The best solution to this is to get humidifiers to introduce some more moisture to the air, which is very important. Additionally, you can set the air purifier to the lowest setting possible so that it doesn’t circulate the air around your room at a fast rate.

Is My Air Purifier Giving Me A Headache?

If you have an ozone-generating air purifier – that can not only irritate your lungs but a high amount of ozone can actually cause you headaches. With that being said – your headaches are unlikely to be caused by your air purifier because it will take quite a lot of ozone to get a headache in the first place – and even the strongest of air purifiers cannot produce enough of it.

In fact, air purifiers can actually be of big help in avoiding frequent headaches.

One of the reasons I bought an air purifier was because I felt the air quality in my room was poor, which I suspected was causing me headaches. And when I turned the machine on, after just 10 or 20 minutes – I could feel the quality of air increase dramatically.

That way, I had a much easier time breathing, as there weren’t as many allergens indoors. I have a fairly sensitive nose, which is why finding a high-quality air purifier did wonders for my allergies and the headaches that would come as a result of the allergic reactions.

Does My Air Purifier Give You a Sore Throat?

There are no air purifiers that can cause a sore throat. In fact, an air purifier with a HEPA filter can actually reduce the chances of developing a sore throat as it removes harmful particles and irritants that can actually cause you to develop a sore throat.

With that said, one of the reasons people believe air purifiers can cause sore throats is because ionic air purifiers can actually irritate the throat. However, this only happens to people with underlying conditions that make them more sensitive to irritation. So, if you don’t have these conditions, you may not feel any irritation at all.

If your throat gets irritated (not sore) after using an air purifier, you may have an ionic air purifier. For better results and to reduce the irritation, I’d recommend switching over to a HEPA air purifier, which can do the job much better anyway. That’s what I use and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why Is My Air Purifier Making Me Sick?

If you’re feeling sick and own an air purifier that you use all the time – chances are that you are doing the exact same thing as me – suspecting that the air purifier is at fault. After doing a ton of research on the topic – I came down to a few conclusions why an air purifier might make you feel sick.

You Bought a Cheap Air Purifier

I would recommend you to avoid air purifiers that are way too cheap as most often than not – they are a waste of money and can potentially do you more harm than good. If your air purifier falls into the category of being inexpensive – it could be the cause behind you feeling the way you are. But that likely isn’t the only reason as there are many great budget air purifiers on the market that purify the air extremely well.

Clogged or Dirty Filters

One big reason why you might be feeling under the sun is due to your air purifier’s filters. They must be cleaned and changed quite frequently in order to prevent them from clogging up and potentially pushing through poor-quality air.

To prevent your air purifier filters from getting clogged up –  ideally, you want to clean the filters every week and change the filters every couple of months.

It’s an Ozone Generator in Disguise

The biggest reason your air purifier could be making you sick is because it’s an ozone generator in disguise. There are tales that say you can use ozone generators to help with asthma and other ailments, but this is completely false.

Inhaling ozone can impact the health of your lungs and really irritate your respiratory system. If you feel an irritation in your nose, throat, or lungs when you turn on your air purifier – then it is likely to blame. I’d recommend you to go and check if your air purifier falls into that category and if so – stop using it.

With that said, those are about the only reasons your air purifier can be making you sick. So, it’s not air purifiers in general that make you sick, but poorly made or poorly maintained air purifiers could be the reason you aren’t feeling well whenever you turn them on.

How to Find an Air Purifier That Won’t Make You Sick

As I mentioned multiple times earlier, an air purifier on its own will not make you sick. However, the wrong air purifier can make you feel a bit irritated, especially if you have underlying conditions.

You want to avoid air purifiers that make you feel off to the best of your ability. So, in the section below – I will show you how to find an air purifier that won’t make you sick or feel under the sun. That way – you can finally start to reap the benefits of clean and well purified air in your home.

Consider the Clean Air Delivery Rate

One of the most important things to consider when buying an air purifier is the clean air delivery rate. The clean air delivery rate will indicate how much clean air the purifier can provide in a certain time span. Typically, this is measured in cubic feet per minute and sometimes written as CADR.

The optimal CADR for your needs depends on the size of the room where you want the air purifier to be placed. So, when picking an air purifier – it’s crucial to consider the room where you plan on placing the purifier to find just the right model. For smaller rooms, there’s nothing wrong with getting an air purifier with a lower CADR. But if you have a large room – always go for one with higher CADR so it can keep up and continuously provide you with clean air.

One sign of a poor air purifier is if it has no CADR index at all. So, you should avoid such air purifiers at all costs.

Find Real HEPA Filters

When looking through the market of air purifiers, you may find a lot of “HEPA-style” filters. These are designed to emulate a real HEPA filter, but most of them don’t do the job as well. So, I highly recommend only getting air purifiers with real HEPA filters as they will make a huge difference in the quality of air you get to breathe.

If you get an air purifier with a HEPA filter, you get a model with great filtration abilities. This means it can easily pick out different particles from the air and keep them before they enter your lungs.

Avoid Ozone Generators

There are tons of air purifiers that have ozone generators. These are different from ionizers, as ionic air purifiers still offer a wide range of benefits. However, ozone generators don’t offer the same advantages.

In fact, ozone generators can actually be bad for you. Ozone is known to irritate the lungs, and when you inhale it – you risk doing some damage to your respiratory system. Additionally, it might take a long time for symptoms of inhaling ozone to manifest, which means you may not even know it’s irritating you until much later on.

Keep Track of Air Quality

Another way to ensure your air purifier is working is to monitor the air quality in the room. I used to do this a whole lot before I bought my own air purifier and after to see the difference. Usually, you have to buy a special device to do that, but if you can find an air purifier with an air quality meter integrated like mine – that would be great.

This way, you get to see how well the air purifier is working and when to make adjustments to its positioning.


Air purifiers are often blamed by users for causing them to feel sick. And I don’t blame you. I had the same suspicions when I bought my first air purifier, but after a ton of research – I came to the conclusion that it’s not the air purifier to blame.

If you feel sick after using your air purifier – that is likely because you either haven’t cleaned or changed the filter at all, you have an ozone-generating air purifier, or the air purifier is inexpensive and doesn’t do the job it’s intended to do.

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