How Your Air Conditioner Is Making You Sick And What To Do About It
Many of us spend most of the day in air conditioned rooms or workspaces. Often, your air conditioner can be the culprit that is making you sick. Here is how to find out and what to do about it.
1. You feel weak and exhausted
At the end of your day at the office, you may feel generally weak and exhausted. This may sometimes be accompanied by a headache. This is due to a phenomenon known as “sick building syndrome”. Sick building syndrome is caused by the temperature of air conditioning being maintained at uncomfortably low temperatures. You can combat this by taking breaks regularly and stepping out into the open air during those breaks.
Another aspect to consider is the age of the air conditioner which is being used. An older air conditioner may not work as efficiently as a newer one, resulting in poor air circulation. Also, the older the air conditioner, the greater the likelihood of the presence of contaminants like fungus and bacteria. The best remedy would be to have old, inefficient air conditioners replaced with the best air conditioner you can afford.
2. You develop respiratory issues
If you do not have your air conditioner cleaned thoroughly, bacteria and fungi can grow on the filters, some harmful to humans. Many of these microbes, especially those that originate from black mold (spores), are airborne, and they can enter your lungs easily. In extreme cases, they can cause respiratory diseases like bronchitis which could lead to pneumonia. To avoid this from happening, have your air conditioner serviced at least once a year. Also make sure that your filters are cleaned at least once every few months.
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3. Your nose bleeds regularly
Air conditioners without a humidification function can produce very dry air that results in frequent nose bleeds. This is aggravated in times of hot weather, where the skin in your nasal cavity will tend to be dry to begin with. The remedy for this is to consider getting an air conditioner/humidifier combo unit. If not, you can also get a separate humidifier or add a few drops of saline nasal drops whenever you feel dryness in the nasal cavity.
4. You experience muscle and joint pains
Another fallout of having an air conditioner going full blast in a room, is muscle and joint pains. If you are experiencing aggravated rheumatism, arthritis or chronic joint pain for no apparent reason, the cause could be the air conditioning at your home or office. It is likely that the temperature of the air conditioner is being set too low, and should be set at a slightly higher temperature.
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5. You get sick when someone else in the office gets sick
As a result of the continual circulation of stale air within the confines of a building, any viruses, mold, dust or pet dander brought in by residents of the building tend to be circulated and spread to different people. Some buildings have a built-in ‘leak’ whereby a small quantity of external air gets leaked into the air conditioned space regularly. One remedy to prevent this is to open windows at least once a day to let some fresh air in.
Whether you are at home or at the office, there is likely more than one person in the room. The metabolism of the body works in such a way, that pure, dry air is inhaled and moist air with carbon dioxide is exhaled. This results in a build-up of humidity within the room, which can result in proliferation of germs. The best remedy for this is to get the best dehumidifier, which will make the air within the room more breathable.
In general, it is not necessary for you to run your air conditioner 24 hours a day. When nights are cool, or during the winter months, you could try getting by without air conditioning, by leaving windows open to allow circulation of fresh, cool and healthy air.