Air purifiers are designed to keep the air in your home or office cleaner by filtering out pollutants and allergens. Breathing clean, safe air can improve health and make you feel better overall.
However, some people experience side effects when using an air purifier, such as nasal congestion or a headache. This article will explore why this might be happening and how to avoid these issues during your next purchase.
How Can an Air Purifier Cause Nasal Discomfort?
For those with a cold or allergies, an air purifier can worsen symptoms by adding irritants to the environment. Pollutants and allergens are filtered out of the air, which means your nose will be less irritated from the substances you’re sensitive to.
But this also removes some of your natural defenses against things like pollen or smoke, which leads to more congestion in your nose and sinuses. For example, when someone suffers from seasonal allergies, their nasal passages swell due to allergen1 exposure.
Still, if they use an air filter, their body doesn’t work as hard trying to clear it on its own because pollutants are removed, so nothing is pushing up against the swollen tissue, making them feel congested for longer periods than normal.
There are other reasons, such as a possible side effect of the filters, which produces ozone that can cause some people to feel lightheaded or have headaches.
But there’s also the possibility that an air filter could be making your nose hurt by sucking up too much moisture from the environment, drying out mucous membranes, and irritating them more.
High Humidity Levels
To avoid discomfort while using your air purifier, make sure you’re running it in an area with high humidity levels. Your nose will be less irritated if there is a higher level of moisture in the environment, which means that allergies and cold symptoms can improve and nasal congestion from other causes.
How to Prevent Discomfort
Keep it close to open windows or use an automatic misting system to make sure you’re running your air purifier in a humid environment.
If there are areas of the home where humidity is low, this can be remedied by using room-spray mists, which help add moisture back into the atmosphere and add that “fresh” smell we all know and love. You could also try placing bowls of water around these rooms for even more added benefits, such as improved moods and stress relief.
Lack of Moisture in the Air
In some cases, the air purifier might be making your nose hurt because it is not producing enough moisture.
To filter out pollutants and allergens from the air, it can also suck up too much humidity, which leaves a dry environment that doesn’t provide any relief for your irritated nose and sinuses. There are a few things you can do to keep this from happening:
- Try adding humidity back into the air by using room spray mists or bowls of water around your home;
- Invest in an ozone2 filter which will function more as a humidifier than it does as an air purifier, providing relief for those suffering from asthma and allergies;
- Consider buying a dehumidifier if there is too much moisture in the environment which can lead to mold and mildew and spread allergies to those in the home.
- Look for an air purifier with a humidistat that will automatically adjust humidity levels based on what is needed;
- Invest in a filter-less option with no ozone or charcoal filters, so it doesn’t dry out your nose and sinuses more than they already are.
Air Purifier Placement
When placing your air purifier in the home, make sure it is not too close to a bedroom, as this can lead to lightheadedness during sleep.
Also, be cautious of putting it near kitchen appliances or any other source of heat, which can cause the filters to overheat and decrease the air purifier’s efficiency.
Room Size and Airflow
It is also important to make sure you have a large enough room for your air purifier, one that will provide adequate airflow so it can cleanse the whole space, not just specific areas or corners of the area.
Having too much furniture around an air filter can restrict its capability to do its job as well, which means you’ll be using more energy running it than necessary.
If there are any windows in the home where pets like to sleep or spend their time, then avoid placing anything on them, such as curtains, because this could suffocate dust mites inside those window treatments causing nose irritation when released back into the environment by opening up those draperies.
Ozone gas is used in air purifiers to kill germs, bacteria, and other airborne pollutants, but this gas can be irritating for the lungs.
As a result of its high oxidizing properties, it should not be inhaled at all times, which is why an ozone filter needs to be attached to your home’s HVAC3 system so any bad smells or particles that are coming from outside won’t affect the healthiness of those inside your household.
When using an ionizer on your air purifier, you want to make sure it has contact with water before use because dry ions will just spread into the atmosphere without serving as much purpose.
If you are using it in high humidity environments, make sure the ionizer4 is not directly under direct sunlight because this can cause its effectiveness to decrease rapidly.
There are many other reasons your air purifier might be making your nose hurt, but these should help provide some relief and insight on how best to remedy any discomfort from running one of these devices.
What Can You Do to Prevent This From Happening?
To prevent this problem from occurring, be sure to replace your filters as they wear out if you plan on using your air purifier for a long period, as the winter months when allergies are at their peak or if you have asthma that needs ongoing treatment during this season, make an investment in a HEPA filter and change it every six months.
Lessen Your Exposure: If you’re not going to use the device for a while and find yourself with nasal congestion due to pollen levels being high outside or other allergens inside, keep windows closed as much as possible.
That will lessen how often particles enter into the house where we spend most of our time breathing them in unintentionally.
Stop Using Air Purifiers When Cooking: The kitchen is the worst place to have an air purifier running because cooking produces smoke and particles that get pulled into the filter.
If you’re using your device in a kitchen, keep it turned off whenever food is being cooked or smoked, so you don’t end up with a buildup of residue on your filters.
Keep Your Filters Clean: An easy way to do this is by wiping them down every few weeks with any cloth, including paper towels, microfiber5 materials like those made for cleaning eyeglasses or clothes, old T-shirts, etc.
Remember not to use something abrasive such as steel wool pads or sponges, which are too harsh for delicate surfaces inside these devices.
The best thing to do would be to replace your filters regularly, usually eliminating any symptoms. If that doesn’t work, then it’s possible you have an allergy or other respiratory issue and should consult with your doctor.
Ozone is a gas that has strong oxidizing properties and should not be inhaled as a result of this.
To prevent the spread of ozone into one’s home or business from outside sources, it’s best to install an air purifier in conjunction with your HVAC, which will then use activated carbon filters to remove any bad smells coming indoors while also reducing airborne particles before they get distributed throughout the room.
Air purifiers are designed to remove harmful airborne particles from everyday air. However, not all people react the same way when they use an air purifier, and some may experience a sore nose or throat due to inhaling these particles.
These symptoms can be similar to allergies, but you must see your doctor if you think this is the case before using an air purifier regularly to avoid any long-term complications.
If none of the above sounds like what’s happening with you, we recommend taking off your filter for a while before deciding whether or not it will work well enough for you without causing side effects.