Can Air Purifiers Prevent Colds and the Flu?

Modern science has shown that air quality is extremely important for overall health. Poor air quality is associated with a whole host of health issues and lower life expectancy in general.

Bacteria and viruses in the air can also affect air quality. Pathogens in the air get inhaled and cause things like the cold and flu. If it is in the air, then an air purifier can remove it. In this post, we will talk about how air purifiers can prevent colds and flu and how you can prevent illness.

Air Purifiers and Viruses

Things like the cold and flu are caused by viruses, tiny microorganisms that can be as small as 2 micrometers in size—about 1/30th the width of a human hair!

Viruses and bacteria are small enough to become suspended by other particles in the air. You inhale those particles and the pathogens get inside your body and make you sick. It’s why you can get sick when someone with a cold sneezes near you.

Very small particles are hard to filter because they are so tiny. But, they cling to larger particles because they have a positive charge. These larger particles also collect with one another, making them easier for air purifiers to filter out of the air.

How Can Purifiers Prevent Cold and the Flu?

HEPA Filters

High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters use tightly woven fabric layers to trap particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. HEPA filters can capture several types of viruses on their own but will also capture particles that smaller viruses cling to. It is important to realize that viruses can get stuck in HEPA filters and reproduce, so these filters need to be changed once every 6 months or so. For example, new Enviroklenz air purifiers use a high-grade HEPA filter to capture particles as small as 0.1 micrometers in diameter.


Ionizers use electrically charged particles to trap dust in the air and settle it onto surfaces. Ionizer purifiers may be partially effective against viruses but not as effective as a HEPA filter. Ionizers also produce ozone, which may cause health problems in large amounts.

UV Filter

Some air purifiers add a UV light to their model so it kills bacteria and viruses. UV filters use high-frequency radiation to kill bacteria. The EPA reports that UV filters may be effective for preventing colds and other illnesses caused by airborne pathogens. For example, some models of the AllerAir series of air purifiers are built with a UV light option.

What Kind of Air Purifier is Best for Preventing the Cold and Flus?

In general, the best kind of air purifier to prevent the cold and flu is a HEPA filter. HEPA filters have excellent filtering abilities and can capture the large majority of bacteria and viruses. The only drawback to HEPA filters is that they can trap bacteria and let them reproduce. The purifiers can then emit bacteria. That is why it is important to change your HEPA filter regularly.

However, it is important to realize that there are some bacteria and viruses that even a HEPA filter will not be able to trap. However, HEPA filters will trap most common viruses, including most variants of the flu and the cold.

How to Prevent Colds and Flu

Air purifiers can help prevent the cold and other illnesses, but there are also other things you can do to prevent the risk of sickness.

  • Clean surfaces with antiseptic solution regularly, Bacteria and viruses frequently settle out of the air onto surfaces, where they can survive and reproduce.

  • Wash your hands regularly. Viruses like the cold and flu are commonly spread by bad hand washing habits.

  • Maintain proper hygiene in general. Many illnesses are caused by basic unhygienic practices, such as wiping your nose with your hands or not cleaning up food after making meals.


Air purifiers can be a useful tool to prevent sickness during cold and flu months. An air purifier is an affordable and portable option to clean the air wherever you are. So, if you are worried about the cold and other viruses, then consider looking into an air purifier today.

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