Can Air Purifiers Cause Congestion?

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Written By Jamila W.
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Nasal congestion is a common problem that most people encounter. It is caused by allergic reactions or pre-existing conditions such as asthma. There are claims that air purifiers can also have such effects on people. Do you believe the claims are true? Here we look at everything you need to know about nasal congestion and how air purifiers affect it. Keep reading to find out more:

Do Air Purifiers Cause Sinus Problems?

Many people believe that air purifiers can cause nasal discomfort and sinus issues. If a person with seasonal allergies uses an air purifier, they might worsen symptoms instead of improving them.

Sinus problems are caused by low humidity levels and, at times, allergens in the air. Air purifiers remove pollutants from the air and protect your mucous membranes from the effects of pollen and smoke. This process is supposed to be effective but sometimes makes things worse.

A person with seasonal allergies can have swollen nasal passages after exposure to allergens. Pollutants can also trigger asthma attacks and affect those with asthma. An air purifier could cause the problem because it can filter too much moisture, leaving you with dry air.

When you use an air purifier, the body does not naturally try to clean the air you breathe. If you have swollen mucous membranes, nothing is pushing against it. This makes it harder for the body to relieve congestion on its own.

When the air you breathe is too dry, your nose also becomes dry, causing you to sneeze. You should control the humidity levels of your home. An air purifier does the opposite of this. Air purifiers dry the air by absorbing moisture. However, they have benefits as they get rid of dust particles and mold spores, which might affect you.

Most air purifiers use HEPA filters. The HEPA filter is capable of trapping the smallest particles. Purifiers with activated carbon filters prevent your house from having bad smells. They will improve your air quality but won’t leave your nasal passages moist.

What Causes Nasal Congestion?

When there is indoor air pollution, the indoor air quality of your house changes, causing you to have allergy symptoms. A congested and runny nose is among those symptoms. They occur when you have dry nasal passages. But what causes you to have these symptoms? Using an air purifier can help you control it or make it worse. Below are some of the things that can cause congestion;

  • Allergies – allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to certain things. They include pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and pet dander. Dry air might also cause these reactions.
  • Asthma – People with asthma are more likely to get affected when they don’t breathe fresh air. The airways in their lungs become narrow when they breathe in polluted air. This can cause the airways to produce extra mucus, which blocks the nose and makes breathing harder.
  • Sinusitis – This happens when the linings of the sinuses swell up. It prevents mucus from being drained from the sinuses. This leads to congestion and you having a stuffy nose.
  • Smoking – Smoke particles from cigarettes affect the nose and throat. This can lead to swelling and congestion. The smoke also contains harmful chemicals that can damage your lungs. They make mucus build up in your throat and lead to congestion.
  • Smells – Odors cause the nasal membranes to swell up and trap mucus. The bad smell molecules make the body release histamine which also causes the membranes to swell.

How to Prevent Air Purifiers From Causing Your Sinus Problems

Air Purifiers can worsen symptoms by adding pollutants to the environment. They are supposed to do something other than this; it might happen because of old filters or absorbing excess moisture from your home. To prevent discomfort when using an air purifier, there are measures you can take when using the air purifier. These measures will help you deal with the sinus problems. Let’s look at some of them;

Maintaining High Humidity Levels

You should run your air purifier in an area with high humidity so it does not affect you. It will absorb excess moisture and leave enough in the air to breathe easily. Your nose will not be irritated, and you will not experience any allergic symptoms. Air purifiers work by removing allergens from the air but can also reduce moisture in the process.

You can increase humidity in your home using the following ways;

  • Use mist sprays or bowls of water in your room to increase humidity.
  • Buy ozone generators that work more as a humidifier than a purifier. They provide relief by making it easier for people with asthma to breathe. The only disadvantage is that they create ozone.
  • Consider buying a humidifier that will increase the moisture in your home. Some models are also capable of removing odors, leaving your home fresh.
  • Get other types of Air purifiers that do not have filters. Get those with carbon filters or ozone generators.

Carefully Placing Your Air Purifier 

air purifier

It would help not to place your air purifier too close to the bedroom or far from windows. This position is not wise, and it might cause you to have breathing problems. Air purifiers absorb moisture, which might leave you with dry air if placed too close to your bed. 

It would help if you also considered placing it far from kitchen appliances or sources of heat. They can affect the filters and make you change the filters regularly.

Buy an Air Purifier That Fits Your Room

Ensure the air purifier runs in a room that is not too small for its clean air delivery rate rating. Check the rating and recommendation for the room size before buying one. An air purifier that is too powerful for a small room will absorb all the moisture and leave the air dry.

Keep Windows Open to Allow Airflow 

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You should ensure that enough air passes through the purifier. It should not work in a limited area due to a lack of airflow. The fans should not be blocked by furniture or any other objects. Blocking the filters can prevent them from working well, and it will not be able to get rid of pollutants like dust mites, which might cause sinus infections.

Reduce Your Exposure to Pollutants 

If you have allergies, you should close your windows and prevent dust particles and other allergens from entering your home. Keep your windows closed as much as possible to prevent you from using an air purifier running in your house. Your respiratory system is more likely to get affected when particles enter your house.

Keep Filters Clean 

You should maintain your HEPA filters by cleaning and replacing them when worn out. An air purifier works better when you replace filters regularly. Air purifiers can help remove dust and reduce inflammation for people with allergies.

Can Air Purifiers Help with Allergies?

Histamines are released by your immune system when you are exposed to an allergen. Chemicals called histamines make the blood vessels expand. Nasal congestion is one of the symptoms that might result from this.

Using an air filter is among the greatest ways to treat nasal congestion. Pollen, dust, and pet dander are a few of the airborne particles that an air purifier will get rid of.

Additionally, a humidifier helps ease nasal congestion. Humidifiers provide moisture to the air, which helps in thinning mucus and opening nasal passages. Your sinuses will clear up, and your nasal congestion will go away.

Common Causes of Allergies

  • Dust Particles – Dust is present on surfaces and in the air. When it is disturbed, it has the potential to become airborne and be inhaled by individuals. If you have allergies or asthma, this might be problematic for you. Allergens are frequently found in dust mites, which need warm, humid settings to survive. They consume dead skin cells, and their excrement can cause respiratory issues, including asthma.
  • Pollen – Pollen is a microscopic grain that plants discharge to fertilize other plants. Because their immune systems respond to it as if it were a threat, it can cause issues for those with allergies. Pollen triggers a series of events that produce a lot of mucus when it enters the nose. Nasal obstruction from mucus makes it difficult to breathe.
  • Pet Dander – Pet dander is the term for tiny skin flakes that animals produce. All pets create some dander, though those with short hair don’t make as much of it as those with long hair. Dander is airborne and can enter your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Mold – Mold can grow on rotting food, plants, and construction materials. Despite being small, mold spores may travel through the air. An allergic response may occur if they go inside the nose. Sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion are symptoms.
  • Homemade Chemicals – Household chemicals can also irritate the nose’s lining, resulting in nasal congestion. Excess mucus may be produced due to this irritation, clogging the nasal passages and congestion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Side Effects of Air Purifiers?

Some air purifiers come with side effects that might affect your health. An ozone generator and an ionizer are not recommended because they produce harmful ozone. They cause side effects like headaches, nausea, coughing, asthma attacks, dry sinuses, and difficulty breathing. They are good for removing pollutants and other particles but can also have side effects.

Can Air Purifiers Make Sinuses Worse?

Yes, an air purifier can make sinuses worse. This is because some air purifiers absorb excess moisture from the room. They will leave you with dry air, which affects your breathing. Low humidity in your home can lead to dry sinuses and worsen your symptoms.

Is My Air Purifier Making My Allergies Worse?

Studies have shown that air purifiers can help relieve allergies by capturing dust and pollen that might affect you. However, if you’re allergic to dry air, an air purifier can make it worse by absorbing excess moisture from the room.

What Is Better For Sinus Humidifier or Air Purifier?

It depends on the person. An air purifier will be better for someone with allergies and asthma. A humidifier will be best for you if you are affected by dry air. It will increase the moisture levels in your home and relieve your sinus.

Are Air Purifiers Good for Sinus Problems?

An air purifier can be used during winter months to reduce sinus problems. It will absorb the moisture but not too much. You won’t be left with dry air that can affect your breathing. The purifier will also get rid of other pollutants that might affect you.

Can Air Purifiers Dry Your Throat?

A dry throat is usually caused by dry air. Air purifiers can cause dry throats if they absorb too much moisture from the air. You will be breathing dry air, which might cause irritation and even sore throats.


Air purifiers are known to improve air quality regularly. Very few people knew that if you had it running for too long, it could affect your indoor air quality by absorbing all the moisture. Dry air can lead to nasal congestion and respiratory problems. Ensure you’re using it correctly to avoid the negative effects that come with it.