It is a common misconception that air conditioning can make you sick all on its own. However, if you are using air conditioning without proper maintenance and care, then you may be getting sick due to what your air conditioning is circulating throughout your home. If your air conditioner is circulating air containing bacteria, fungi, mold, dirt, dust, or mildew, or other particles coming in from outside, that’s when you may find yourself getting sick.
A home or workplace that is infested with contaminants such as those listed above will find its air conditioner circulating the ingredients that cause illness in an endless loop. While an air conditioner may help eliminate the continued growth of mold or mildew, it can do nothing to change what is already there. Instead, it will continue to spread these unhealthy toxins, and this will cause illnesses that people wrongfully contribute to the air conditioner itself.
Let’s look at some of the effects poor air quality circulated by your air conditioner can have on your health and visit the provided link to learn more about Phoenix air quality.
Those who live or work in air-conditioned buildings that lack proper ventilation can experience several symptoms such as dry cough, dizziness, nausea, headaches, concentration deficits, excessive fatigue, and a sensitivity of the olfactory system. The effects are caused by a lack of fresh air flushing out tainted air that may gather and circulate throughout the building. This can be negated by regular filter changes and periodically opening windows to allow bad air to escape and fresh air to come in.
Air conditioners reduce moisture by pulling the humidity out of a room and cooling it down. This can also pull water from the inhabitants of the room, leaving them with dry, cracked or itchy skin.
Just like your skin, your eyes can also experience dryness in an air-conditioned environment, leaving them dry and itchy. In some cases, you may even experience blurred vision.
Medical studies show that individuals who spend a great deal of time in air-conditioned dwellings experience more respiratory issues than those in more natural environments. The dry air created by the cooling process can leave you with irritated nasal passages, causing breathing difficulties.
Homes or workspaces with HVAC systems that are ill-maintained can get dirty and dusty. This filth can be recirculated time and time again, due to the detriment of the inhabitants. This unhealthy air can manifest in the form of headaches. Numerous studies show that people who live or work in buildings with poor air quality have between one and three headaches each month. Some of those studied reported having daily headaches.
While heat exhaustion may seem out of place when discussing health issues connected to air conditioning, it isn’t. Living and working in air-conditioned surroundings lowers your heat tolerance, making it difficult to contend with conditions outside an air-conditioned environment. Your body adapts to the normal temperatures you are exposed to, so when you spend most of your time in air-conditioned areas, the heat and humidity of a summer day will seem more uncomfortable. In some severe cases, your body may even react to unbearable conditions and succumb to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.
Older air conditioning units can release chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from refrigerants into the air. CFCs damage the ozone layer, causing it to thin out and allowing more heat to warm the Earth. This excessive heat is bad for the planet and the people living on it. Though the U.S. Clean Air Act began phasing out the coolants that cause this problem, there are still many in use.
A clean air conditioner or HVAC system can keep your allergies at bay. Likewise, a failure to keep your system clean can cause allergies to worsen. The microbial allergens that can build up and circulate throughout your home, can aggravate your allergies, causing great illness. Having your system inspected and maintenance performed regularly will prevent allergy inflammations resulting from dirty air conditioning from happening.
How to Prevent Illnesses from Air Conditioning Issues
One of the most important measures you can take to prevent illness during air conditioner use is to put some serious attention into cleaning. Clear away any signs of mold, mildew, or other bacteria you can find in your home. Once you’ve removed any existing issues, take action to prevent them from reforming.
Next, you’ll want to look at the air conditioner itself. Contact your preferred HVAC company and have them perform cleaning and maintenance. This should not be a one-time thing. Instead, you should have this done at least once every year. In the months between maintenance visits, do your part to keep the unit clean by cleaning away any dirt or grime you see and changing the filter at least once every three months. During periods of heavy use, you may want to change the filter monthly. Some systems require monthly filter changes per their warranty.
If you continue to experience dryness in your skin, nasal passages, throat, or eyes, you may want to hydrate more to offset the effects of air conditioning. However, for those who experience more serious issues like repeated headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, or the signs of heat exhaustion when outside your air-conditioned environment, you may want to turn your air conditioning down. Your home should be set at a temperature that keeps you comfortable but is not so cool that it is causing you physical discomfort or illness.
While it can be frightening to experience ongoing health issues that may seem out of your control during the hot months when you rely on air conditioning to keep you cooled down, you can avoid it. Address the true cause of the problem and you should see a marked improvement in your health. If cleaning away and preventing the tiny particles that filter through your system and cause illness isn’t working, the cause could be dirty buildups within the HVAC system. This is something you’ll need a trained professional to assess and take care of for you so you can get back to your optimal health.