We all love the summer, but sometimes the hot, humid weather can be too much to bear. Many of us couldn’t survive the summer heat without central or room-to-room air conditioning, but few people realize that our beloved AC may have adverse health effects.
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The International Journal of Epidemiology published a study in 2004 stating that air conditioners condense the air in the room, growing microorganisms. Ventilation then spreads them to other rooms. This holds particularly true for centrally air-conditioned environments. People suffering from asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions can develop infections, coughs and other severe responses – even shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed these adverse effects, stating that the mold that air conditioners create can cause upper respiratory tract problems, as well as hindering other respiratory functions.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor contamination is more likely than outdoor contamination. People spend the majority of their time indoors, especially in offices and homes. This leads to a higher risk of contamination for people with compromised respiratory functions, even increasing the risk incidence of cardiovascular disease. Indoor contamination may regulate a number of pollutants within different rooms – including bacteria, viruses, animal dander and pollen. That’s why air from the outdoors is vital in order to replace pollutants with fresh air. Since the inflow of fresh air is restricted by air conditioning, the concentration of indoor pollutants results in a number of health problems, such as impaired respiration.
Air Conditioning At Work
In its 2004 study, the International Journal of Epidemiology confirmed that people who work in air-conditioned offices are exposed to greater illnesses than those working without air conditioning. These illnesses include fatigue and body ache, headaches, respiratory and mucous membrane issues and skin irritation. The EPA noted that large-scale sickness is caused by air conditioning, and when people move to offices that aren’t air conditioned, these sicknesses tend to go away.
Air conditioners also contribute to ambient noise, adding to noise pollution in the environment. This is an unavoidable consequence of air conditioning – all too common in most homes and workplaces today.
According to Livestrong.com, air conditioning was closely linked to the spread of Legionnaires’ disease in a Memphis hospital. The New England Journal of Medicine (1980) discovered the link between air conditioning and Legionnaires’ disease. The study found that the hospital’s air conditioning system had pneumophila in the cooling water, causing 44 people to contract the disease.
Hot And Cold
The constant tug of war between hot and cold temperatures can result in an impaired coping mechanism for most people used to air-conditioned temperatures. People who spend the majority of their time in air-conditioned environments have a lower resistance to severe heat temperatures. As a result, countries with extremely hot temperatures in summer are witnessing a higher death toll and higher rates of diseases related to extreme heat.
Mold: The Sickness-Causing Ninja
We call mold a ninja because you can’t always see this microscopic fungus, even as it grows in cold and damp places. It reproduces rapidly, leaving a trail called a mold spore, and its 270 species are all linked to compromised health. Since it is unseen, it can also be difficult to treat. Even though cleaning treats most visible mold issues, invisible mold may grow within vents and air ducts, contaminating the air and spreading sicknesses. Professional maintenance of air conditioners can remove visible and invisible mold, making it healthier to use indoors.
Going without air conditioning may not be an option when suffering from ruthless summer heat. The key is to keep your air conditioning temperature moderate and to professionally maintain your air conditioner in order to avoid any potential negative side effects.