Are Ionizers Bad for Asthma?

If you’re reading this post, then you’ve likely heard of an “ionizer”.

This machine is commonly sold as a type of air purifier, so many people assume that it’s a good choice for any home.

But, are ionizers bad for asthma?

The answer may surprise you, and we invite you to read on to find out the definitive answer.

Understanding Ionizers

Before we get to whether or not an ionizer is good or bad for people with asthma, you have to understand what it is and how it works.

Basically, manufacturers market ionizers as an inexpensive way to clean your indoor air. The machine does this by releasing charged ions into a room.

The theory is that these charged ions then float through your home’s indoor air and attract the dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens that are also floating around in it.

Once the ions connect to the contaminants, it pulls them out of the air. Some ionizers also include an electrostatic collection plate that collects the pollutants onto it.

While this process may sound harmless, and to most people it is, unfortunately, there are a few things about ionizers that make them bad choices for people with asthma.

The first thing is that a few studies have shown that ionizers might not be extremely efficient when it comes to attaching to pollutants in the air.

Secondly, the ions that ionizers emit and release into the air can actually cause irritation to your lungs and your respiratory tract if you have a condition like asthma.

When you combine these two things, you can start to see the potential problems. Instead of making your asthma better, ionizers have the potential to make it worse.

It’s also important to note that several brands of ionizers (not all) also double as ozone air purifiers. Ozone gas is also an irritant for people who have respiratory conditions like asthma.

Ozone can cause other issues as well, and there are links showing that ozone can potentially cause chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing, and generalized inflammation for people who don’t even have asthma.

Unfortunately, many people simply aren’t aware of the problems with ionizers. This is why they’re still sold as a popular way to help decrease asthma symptoms and as a way to clean your home’s indoor air of asthma triggers and pollutants.

More studies are coming out though, and more people are starting to do their own research to figure out if this type of air purifier is a good choice to suit their needs or not.

Now, you may be wondering what is the difference between an air purifier and ionizer? And if so, we have another post in that link which answers the question in more detail. Check it out if you’d like to know more about air purifiers vs ionizers because they really are not the same thing.

Once you’re done with that post you may want to head over to another article we wrote answering the question, “Are air purifiers bad for asthma?” It answers some common questions people with asthma have about these devices and will fully educate you on this topic.

Bottom Line

Are ionizers bad for asthma? In short, yes. Ionizers have the potential to cause more problems for people with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma or even COPD and bronchitis. You want to avoid this type of air purifier if you’re considering purchasing one to help with your asthma symptoms and triggers.

Instead, you should look for a quality air purifier that comes with a HEPA filtration system along with the more traditional filtration system. You can find our review of the best asthma air purifier here. Not only does this type of filter catch and trap more contaminants, but it it does so in a way that doesn’t release ions into the air to irritate your lungs or respiratory tract.