Can Air Purifiers Cause Sore Throat?

There is a common belief that prolonged use of air purifiers cause sore throat due to the reduction in moisture levels in the air. However, it is unlikely that air purifiers, in general, affect indoor humidity levels to an extent that leads to a sore throat.

On the other hand, some air purifiers, particularly air ionizers, emit a harmful gas called ozone, which can be a lung irritant and cause throat irritation and soreness. Although the amount of ozone produced by these devices is low, it can build up over time and pose a risk to your health.

Do Air Purifiers Cause Sore Throat

Air Purifiers Cause Sore Throat

Air purifiers can trigger symptoms such as headaches, sore throat, coughing, asthma attacks, and difficulty breathing. This means that not all air purifiers are effective in addressing health concerns, and some may even worsen them.

To differentiate between safe and unsafe air purifiers, it is important to understand what makes some models work better than others.

Types of Air purifiers

Ozone generators

intentionally produce large amounts of ozone to eliminate mold, bacteria, and other living organisms. However, high levels of ozone can be harmful, and we will discuss this later in this document.

Electronic air purifiers

Electronic air purifiers, on the other hand, use an electric charge to attract airborne particulates, such as dust, to a collection plate. There are various types of electronic air purifiers, such as Electrostatic Precipitation, Ionization, UV light, and Corona Discharge, each with its unique features and characteristics.

Mechanical filtration

Mechanical filtration systems draw in air and force it through filters to remove airborne particles. There are different types of mechanical filtration systems, such as HVAC filters, portable air purifiers, and ceiling-mounted air purifiers.

How to Prevent sore throat

To prevent these side effects, it’s important to avoid using air ionizers, which have not been proven to effectively reduce pollutants in indoor settings.

Air ionizers work by releasing charged particles into the air that attract pollutants, causing them to become larger and heavier and eventually settle on surfaces in your home.

However, this technology is unproven and potentially dangerous, and it’s best to use air purifiers that rely on proven methods for pollutant removal.

Effects of Air Ionizers – Ozone and respiration

Air ionizers not only have lower effectiveness in purifying the air, but they also pose additional risks due to the Ozone they produce during operation. When air is charged by the ionizer, some Oxygen molecules are converted into Ozone, which is considered an air pollutant when present at ground level.

Breathing in Ozone can result in various health issues such as coughing, lung irritation, and throat irritation, leading to the belief that air purifiers can cause sore throats. This is especially true for air purifiers equipped with air ionizers, where Ozone production is a common side effect.

Check out What’s the difference between air ionizers and air purifiers?

Safety for Ozone

You may think that the air purifiers you buy are certified to not produce Ozone, but they must follow the safety standard set by the California Air Resources Board.

Air purifiers often highlight their compliance with this standard, which requires that the device does not generate Ozone beyond 70 parts per billion over eight hours. While most air purifiers meet this requirement, there is still a risk of Ozone accumulating in small, poorly ventilated spaces.

A study conducted at UC Irvine found that Ozone can build up in such conditions and exceed the safety limit, even if the amount is small. Breathing in even a small amount of Ozone can cause symptoms such as a sore throat.

Therefore, if you use an air purifier with an ionizer, keep in mind that running the ionizer produces Ozone, even if it is within the safety limit, and it can accumulate over time.

Which are the best air purifiers?

For an air purifier to effectively and safely purify the air, it should not generate ozone and should not be an ionization or electrostatic precipitator. It should mechanically filter the air, provide proper airflow to reach all corners of the room, and have an air filtering capacity of 1,100 to 2,200 CFM.

There are some ultra-high-capacity portable models that can do the job, but they can be noisy. Ceiling-mounted models are also a good option as they are out of the way and promote proper airflow to reach every corner of the room. Some ceiling-mounted models come with a motor, while others mount on a ceiling fan motor, which is nearly silent and highly energy-efficient.

The cost of an air purifier that can cover a 400 square feet room ranges between $400 and $1,500 or more. While it may seem expensive, it’s cheaper than allergy and asthma medication, and the benefits of breathing easier, sleeping better, and being healthier are invaluable. It’s crucial to invest in an effective and safe air purifier to improve your life, health, and well-being.


1. Can air purifiers cause a sore throat?

While air purifiers are designed to clean the air and reduce allergens, some users have reported experiencing sore throats after using them. This could be due to various reasons which may not always be directly linked to the air purifier itself.

2.Are all air purifiers likely to cause sore throats?

No. Most high-quality air purifiers which use HEPA filters, activated carbon, or other filter types shouldn’t cause any irritation. Ensure that the product you use is not an ozone generator and does not produce harmful by-products.

3.Why might an air purifier cause a sore throat?

If an air purifier releases ozone, it could irritate the throat. Ozone generators are different from typical air purifiers, but sometimes they are mislabeled or misunderstood.

Overly dry air can lead to throat irritation. Some air purifiers, especially those with a dehumidifying feature, can reduce the moisture level in the air.

4. How can I reduce the risk of a sore throat when using an air purifier?

  • Ensure your room maintains a healthy humidity level, ideally between 40% and 60%.
  • Avoid air purifiers that emit ozone or ensure they are used as per manufacturer recommendations.
  • Keep the air purifier clean and change filters as recommended.

5. Can other symptoms accompany the sore throat?

Some people might also experience dry eyes, dry skin, or nasal irritation. If these symptoms persist or are bothersome, consult with a medical professional.

6. How can I distinguish between a sore throat caused by an air purifier and one caused by other factors?

If the onset of the sore throat corresponds with the use of the air purifier and improves when the device is turned off, the purifier might be the cause. However, other environmental and health factors can cause a sore throat, so it’s crucial to consider other potential causes.

7. Is it safe to run an air purifier in a bedroom overnight?

Yes, most air purifiers are safe for bedroom use. If you’re experiencing a sore throat or other symptoms, consider adjusting the settings or ensuring the room has adequate humidity.

8. Are children or elderly individuals more susceptible to getting a sore throat from an air purifier?

Both children and elderly individuals can have more sensitive respiratory systems. It’s essential to monitor any changes in their health when introducing an air purifier and to ensure the device is suitable for their specific needs.

9. What should I do if I believe my air purifier is causing a sore throat?

First, stop using the purifier and see if your symptoms improve. You might also want to consult a healthcare provider. If you confirm the air purifier as the cause, consider replacing or returning it, especially if it emits ozone.

10. Are there health benefits to using air purifiers?

Yes, air purifiers can help remove allergens, dust, pet dander, smoke, and other pollutants from the air, potentially improving respiratory health and overall well-being.

Remember, while an air purifier can be a valuable tool, it’s essential to ensure that you’re using a safe and effective device. Always read user manuals and guidelines, and consider consulting with professionals if you’re uncertain about a product’s safety.

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The author is an Air purifier expert with overall knowledge of air and ionizers.