Are Air Conditioners bad for your health?
While many years ago, having an air conditioner used to be a luxury only to the privileged few, it is now the standard in most of the offices and even public transport systems all over the world.
This makes air conditioners a big part of our lives, whether we want it or not.
Extreme heat can have quite a lot of negative impacts in our physical activity, and daily productivity, and these can be improved with having an air conditioner around.
Besides that, air conditioning improves the comfort levels at your home and workplace; therefore, it improves job performance because seriously, nobody is comfortable with sweating profusely while at work and having to deal with this kind of a situation can be highly frustrating and can absolutely interfere with your concentration.
This can result in a noticeable decrease in intellectual activity and therefore, productivity.
An environment that has lower temperatures has reduced hazards of insects and parasites, and we all know how annoying those troublesome little flies and mosquitos can be, but they have nothing on the parasites that are actually invisible to our eyes and often obtain our pillows and mattresses to be their homes.
So by now, I am sure we can all agree that our day to day lives would be somewhat less comfortable and at some point even inconvenient if we didn’t have this miracle life-saving appliance in our home and workspace.
But while we all enjoy the feeling of freshness the air conditioner provides for us during the hot summer days, there are a few things that are not doing our health any favors if we keep extending our time of exposure to it.
Here are three things on how modern-day air-conditioners negatively affect our health and how to prevent them.
1. They Can Be The Main Cause For Sinus Infections
Sinusitis is a common infection or swelling of the tissue lining the sinuses, and poorly maintained air conditioners are known to be the cause of this.
Small particles like pollen, pollutants, and dust mites can be trapped by air-conditioning filters which are then being released back into the air when the appliance is turned on.
While it is less likely that pollutants and bacteria can trigger a severe allergic reaction, they could irritate the nose that can potentially lead to sinus blockage.
But the real concern here is mold spores, and these are the reproductive unit of molds and other fungi.
Since they are even smaller than pollen grains, they can be ingested into the respiratory system without getting trapped by the filtering process of the nose, and this can trigger allergic reactions and result in severe symptoms of diseases in the upper respiratory system.
Some of these may include, coughing, wheezing, fever, shortness of breath, and even asthma attacks.
While air conditioners with clean filters can in fact reduce sinus problems by keeping allergens and potential irritants out of the air, dirty air condition filters can wreak havoc on your health.
The simplest solution to this common problem would be regular cleaning and maintenance of the air conditioning appliance.
Experts advise that it is a general rule to clean and maintain your air conditioner every two weeks as blocked filters can not only potentially threaten your health, but it can also lower your appliance’s energy consumption between 5% to 15%.
2. Dryness Of Eyes
One of the significant causes for dryness, redness, itchiness or irritation of the eyes is actually the air conditioner.
While air conditioners provide relief and help us stay in cool and comfortable temperatures, exposing yourself under running air-cons on full blast most of your time can cause evaporation of the tear film.
Doctors advise that a significant decrease in environmental temperature can reduce the gland called Meibomian gland’s ability to secrete oils that lubricate the eyes and keep the tears from evaporating.
Besides this, the same mold spores, pollutants, and bacteria that cause sinusitis as mentioned earlier can be the main contributing factors for eye infections and inflammations.
Besides cleaning and maintaining the air conditioner’s filters to minimize the risk of inflammations, there are also several other things you could do to relieve itchy and irritated eyes.
Keeping yourself hydrated is a suitable supplementary measure for common eye concerns. The ideal amount of water should be around two liters a day.
Drinking enough liquids is beneficial for our overall health, but it will also hydrate your eyes, and this will reduce the risk of drying.
Lubricating eye drops have proven themselves for treating mild to moderate symptoms and successfully relieve irritation that is caused by dry artificial air.
Try to maintain a recommended room temperature, which is between 20°C – 25°C with an average being 23°C.
3. Skin Dryness
This is a very commonly addressed concern with air conditioners that makes many people try to protect themselves and their fragile skin as much as possible from the blast of cool air that greets us in every coffee shop, grocery store or office building.
This is because air conditioners are known to suck the moisture from the air, and this will affect your skin too as it will cause it to lose its own moisture barrier.
When you are exposed to cold environments, you probably know that this can be a sole reason behind your dry skin. The cold artificial air produced by the air conditioners significantly dries out the superficial layer of your skin.
The scarier part is that it doesn’t stop there, but once your moisture barrier is “ruptured,” the cold air can then go on deeper into the layers of the epidermis and dry out your skin cells, and this will lead to cells damage and eventually the break down of collagen.
When collagen in our skin starts to break down, it won’t be long before fine lines, creases and wrinkles start appearing on the surface of the skin, making it look dull and rough in texture.
Extended exposure to air conditioners can also contribute to the loss of natural oils that lubricate your skin.
While people who struggle with oily skin might feel like this is a good thing because their skin is finally not appearing shiny and greasy, this can utterly lead to severe dehydration where the skin can become unhealthy and itchy and look flakey.
Proper water intake is essential for healthy skin.
Besides that, you can opt for a hydrating moisturizer and keep it close so you can use it when necessary.
Avoid using products that are packed with heavy scents or drying products that contain alkaline ingredients such as soap, sulfates, or strongly scented detergents.
While it is safe to say that air-conditioning is now essential to daily life, there are still some concerns as a result of the irregular or negligent use of this appliance that is everywhere around us.
In this post, we pointed out three main health concerns related to air conditioners and how to protect yourselves and your closest in the best possible way.