Can A HEPA Air Purifier Make You Sick?

Air purifiers are often used in homes and offices to rid the air of pollutants. Research shows that they help with everything from allergies to heart disease. 

But, are there any risks to using an air purifier? Let’s take a look… 

Can a HEPA air purifier make you sick?  

Many people use an air purifier to improve their health… but can an air purifier actually MAKE you sick?  

Most air purifiers on the market today use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.  

As defined by the US Department of Energy, HEPA filters remove 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm), meaning that harmful pollutants are REMOVED, not put into your home air.  

If these air purifiers are used properly and maintained well, they will not have any adverse effects on your health. In fact, just the opposite is true. Clean air has been proven to be better for your heart, lungs, and even mental health. 

For most purifiers, maintenance simply means changing the filters when necessary… typically around every six months. High-quality purifiers will include a sensor that indicates exactly when it’s time to change your filter.  

This myth that air purifiers can make you sick is only one of many… Check out our blog ‘Do Air Purifiers Get Rid of Bad Odors?’ to debunk more air purifier myths. 

Do HEPA air purifiers dry out the air? 

Dry air can worsen a wide range of health issues, from respiratory conditions and skin problems to nosebleeds, irritated eyes, sore throats, and more. It also may raise your risk of contracting certain illnesses.  

Because of the health concerns around dry air, it’s important to not use devices that take too much moisture from your indoor air.  

Fortunately, this is not at all an issue with air purifiers. Air purifiers with HEPA filters only remove particles, not moisture. In, fact, it’s particles such as dust, pollen, and dander that can dry out your air… meaning an air purifier will actually improve the air quality.   

While they don’t change the humidity of a room, turning air purifiers on and off can change a room’s circulation, making the environment feel different. Turning off air purifiers may also reintroduce particles in the air, causing irritation to the throat or nose… which is why it’s best to leave your purifier running.  

Under some conditions or climates, the air actually can feel too humid, in which case you may want to use a device to remove moisture. It’s important to note that unless a purifier is specifically marked as a dehumidifier, it will not remove or add moisture from your air.  

 While air purifiers don’t serve the same purpose as a dehumidifier does, they still come with many benefits. Read our blog post about how air purifiers can even help people with anxiety

Can a HEPA air purifier make allergies worse? 

Alleviating allergy symptoms is one of the most common reasons people purchase air purifiers. But, can HEPA purifiers sometimes make allergies worse? Let’s find out….  

Air purifiers that use HEPA filters remove pollutants from your air, helping to ease allergy symptoms. In general, properly-maintained air purifiers with HEPA filters will not trigger allergies. In fact, they’ve been shown to improve allergies. 

However, because purifiers do cause the air to circulate, they can initially stir up allergens like dust from where the air has been stagnant such as room corners. This may cause some allergies to flare until the air purifier has cycled through the allergens and filtered them all. 

To reduce the allergens in your home, combine a HEPA filter with common sense strategies such as:  

  • Vacuuming frequently. 
  • Removing carpets 
  • Keeping pets in contained areas, away from bedrooms. 
  • Changing bedding frequently and wash sheets in hot water. 
  • Using shades instead of curtains. 
  • Covering mattresses and pillows with plastic cases. 
  • Using high-efficiency furnace filters. 

Can HEPA air purifiers cause breathing problems? 

Using an air purifier is a great way to clean the air in your home and ensure fewer pollutants in your everyday environment. In general, air purifiers do not cause breathing issues. In fact, air purifiers are recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency to help manage indoor pollution. 

Not only do HEPA purifiers not cause breathing problems, they typically improve breathing by removing pollutants that can irritate your throat and lead to painful swallowing. 

Are purifiers that don’t use HEPA filters safe? 

While HEPA purifiers are safe and effective in removing pollutants, there are some purifiers that may actually damage your health.  

This is particularly true when it comes to purifiers that emit ozone. While ozone purifiers are designed to kill living organisms such as mold and bacteria, ozone can be dangerous for pets and humans. Ozone exposure can lead to sore throats, coughing, headaches or breathing difficulty. 

Ozone purifiers should only be used by professionals in unoccupied spaces.  

What are the health benefits of HEPA air purifiers? 

As we’ve discussed, when HEPA purifiers are well maintained and used properly, there really are no health concerns that you need to be aware of. But… there are plenty of benefits! Including: 

  • Improving sleep 
  • Circulating air in rooms 
  • Relieving asthma symptoms 
  • Removing airborne allergens 
  • Reducing mental health concerns 
  • Improving heart and lung function 
  • Increasing life expectancy 

Which air purifier is best for your home? 

No matter how clean your home is, daily activities combined with outdoor air seeping inside means that there will always be allergens present in your indoor air. HEPA Air purifiers are a safe and effective way to improve your home’s air and your quality of life. 

 If you’re looking for a high-performing HEPA purifier that also removes harmful gases and odors, check out the aair 3-in-1 Pro, which filters out 99.95% of ultra-fine particles and lasts an average of 12 months for each filter.”. 

Compare our air purifiers today to discover your perfect match! 

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