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Does Air Pollution Increase Your Chance of Getting the Flu?

Do you live in a highly polluted area? If so, you might be at a higher risk of contracting the flu.

During flu season, one in every five Americans suffer from the flu. This means that there are about 200,000 people suffering from flu symptoms in the US every year.

Now that you know the influenza virus and pollutants are directly correlated, you can start taking the necessary steps to protect you and your family.

An air purifier with an H13 True HEPA filter helps remove pollutants that can predispose you to the flu. So, we highly suggest you install a home air purifier to start improving your home’s air quality.

The Risk of Contracting the Flu Increases Due to Pollution

Experts claim that breathing polluted air increases your risk of catching the flu and makes developing severe flu symptoms more likely.

Research indicates the influenza virus can affect our respiratory system more in polluted areas. More specifically, research shows that the influenza virus can easily attach to pollutants such as Particulate Matter 10 (PM10), and then travel even farther distances. This travel distance can be more than the distance traveled by an average sneeze, making influenza viral particles more likely to infect people.

Blog 15 Medify Air Infographic

Diesel Exhaust

Researchers in the United States conducted a study on the effects inhaling diesel fumes has on flu immunity.

The test group was exposed to diesel fumes for about two hours and given the live flu vaccine. When compared to the control group whose participants were not exposed to diesel fumes, the test group showed a significant increase in the viral RNA particles.

PM10 Particles

Research conducted in Hong Kong to study influenza-related hospital admissions observed that the number of admissions rose when the levels of PM10 particles increased in the air. Also, researches concluded that the risk of influenza was much higher for senior citizens above the age of 65.

Severe Flu Symptoms

Not only does the risk of contracting the flu increase when you are exposed to more pollutants, but the symptoms are also often more severe in these environments. And why does this happen? We have an answer for you, just keep reading!


On one hand, the viral particles responsible for the flu already irritate the bronchial tubes. On the other hand, inhaling pollutants like PM10, diesel fumes, ozone, and more also irritate the bronchial tubes. These together increase the severity of the flu symptoms.

To protect your body, the immune system releases cytokines to fight off the irritation caused by the flu viral particles and pollutants. This can cause mucus secretion and inflammation that increase the severity of flu symptoms.

What Can You Do to Reduce the Spread of Influenza?

As you can see, inhaling more polluted air can increase your chances of contracting the flu. So, you can take the following steps to reduce the spread of influenza— even in a polluted area.

  • Get the Flu Vaccine

The first step to reducing the spread of influenza is to get vaccinated. You must take your yearly flu vaccine to protect yourself and your loved ones from contracting the flu.

Seniors, people who are immune compromised, medical professionals, and anyone else who is either regularly exposed to viruses, or at a higher risk of contracting illness should never miss getting their yearly flu vaccine.


  • Install an Air Purifier

Whether you spend your time in the office or at home, installing one of the best air purifiers on the market will significantly improve your space’s air quality.

A high-quality air purifier with an H13 True HEPA filter effectively removes pollutant particles and viral particles from indoor air.

Powerful air purifiers come with HEPA filters, activated charcoal filters, and more. An air purifier with these features should effectively remove pollutants and viral particles, but many air purifiers are ineffective and some may even cause harm. So, you cannot just choose any old air purifier. You must buy a high-quality air purifier from a reputable company.

Install an air purifier to improve IAQ (2)

  • Improve Your Immune System

Apart from taking the flu vaccine, you can naturally give your immune system a boost. The best ways to boost your immune system include getting consistent, quality sleep, eating healthy, taking supplements, and exercising.

Bottom Line

Living in a polluted area is detrimental to your health year-round, but especially during flu season.

This isn’t to say that you can’t take steps to prevent the spread of the flu, as there are a number of different ways you can protect yourself during flu season. You should make lifestyle changes, but experts recommend air purifiers first and foremost to those living in highly polluted areas.

You can breathe easy if you have good indoor air quality, and that is where we come in! If you want to keep you and your family healthy, Medify Air offers a wide range of air purifiers for homes and offices.

People concerned about the flu and other viruses chose Medify because of our advanced air purification technology, and here’s why you should too; our air purifiers have H13 True HEPA filters that remove 99.9% of particles from dust, pollen, dander, bacteria, and viruses, all the way down to 0.1 microns, that’s 20x smaller than a grain of table salt!

You can head to our website to learn more about Medify Air purifiers and purchase yours today.


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