Around 90% of homes in the United States have some kind of air conditioning system. For many of us, it is a must for survival in the warm and muggy summer months.
While it’s a myth that’s been disproven that you can catch a cold from being in the cold, your air conditioner can still make you sick.
In this post, we’ll go over the seven ways your AC unit could make you sick. And you’ll understand what to look for when it comes to a summertime sickness due to your AC unit.
Read on for the seven telltale signs your air conditioning is making you sick, and what to do about.
1. You Have a Cold
We’ve already discussed that getting a cold from cold weather has already been scientifically debunked. However, if you have a cold virus and you’ve already been exposed to it, it can make your cold even worse.
When you enter a cold room, your body does everything it can to keep its core temperature at 98.6 degrees. The blood vessels in your nose and throat will become smaller in an effort to do this, which means you have fewer white blood cells in that area. Therefore, you’re more susceptible to catching a cold since your body’s system used to fight it takes a hiatus in the cold indoors.
If you’ve been around someone who has a cold, think about not cranking up the AC unit for a while, unless it’s unbearably hot outside.
2. Your AC Unit Can Contribute to Headache, Fatigue, and Dizziness
Being in a building with air conditioning all day long can actually contribute to headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
In 2004, the International Journal of Epidemiology published a study that showed those who work in air-conditioned buildings are more likely to feel ill.
Turn the air conditioning down just a little bit so that you’re not absolutely freezing on a daily basis. This can contribute to feeling less achy.
3. Dry Skin and Bloody Noses
Too much air conditioning can contribute to dry skin, including dry nasal passages. Cold air dries out your skin, a phenomenon you might be familiar with during the winter months. It can also dry out your nasal passages, causing you to have intermittent bloody noses.
If you notice your skin is dry and irritated, the most obvious solution is to spend less time in the air conditioning. If this can’t be helped due to where you work, you can ensure that you properly hydrate both your skin and your body. Drink plenty of water and use a moisturizer on your skin.
If you have dry nasal passages, dab a little bit of Vaseline on the inside of your nose.
4. Breathing Problems
This one is a bit more serious. If your air conditioner isn’t cleaned regularly or properly, you can fall prey to some serious breathing issues. In fact, air conditioner units are often home to black mold, which can cause serious health issues.
If you don’t clean your air conditioning properly and regularly, you can fall prey to things like Legionnaire’s disease, pneumonia, and other illnesses. If you have asthma, an improperly cleaned air conditioning unit will definitely make it worse.
You should ensure that you change your AC unit’s filter every few months and properly clean the ducts and pipes. If you can’t do this yourself, call your HVAC specialist you will have no problem doing it for you. Don’t let a badly cleaned air conditioner cause you or your family to become ill.
Visit this website if you think you’re in need of HVAC repairs.
5. You’ve Developed a Heat Intolerance
While this isn’t necessarily a health issue per se, you can develop a heat intolerance after being in an air-conditioned environment. Though this may not have a nasty effect on your health, other than you finding heat unbearable, it isn’t normal.
If you develop a heat intolerance or find the hot weather completely unbearable, you should open up the window when it is hot outside. While you shouldn’t allow yourself to become ill and dehydrate, you should allow yourself to be at least okay with being in the hot weather for a few moments at a time.
6. You Visit the Doctor More Often, Especially with Cold Symptoms
Do you or someone in your family seem to have a nonstop cold? This is more than likely due to your air conditioning unit and being in it too often. According to the Oxford Journals, people who spend more time in the air conditioning see doctors more often for not only cold symptoms but also general ear, nose and throat symptoms.
If it seems like you just can’t shake that cold, it could be down to your AC unit. If this is the case, experiment with spending time away from it or turning it off and see how if this remedies any of your issues.
7. It Can Raise Your Blood Pressure
Although you might think being in the hot weather would raise your blood pressure, it’s actually the air conditioning that can do the trick. Small arteries in your skin constrict to avoid the loss of body heat in the cold, whether real or artificial from the AC. As a result, this can raise your blood pressure. This isn’t good for individuals who already suffer from hypertension.
If you find your blood pressure is elevated during the summer months, spend some time away from the AC unit.
Keeping Healthy in the Summer
While some parts of the United States are so hot that a summer without an AC unit seems unbearable, you should still take time to consider its effects on your health. Make sure your AC unit is properly cleaned, its filters are changed and you call an HVAC specialist if you think you have an issue.
You should also spend some parts of the day away from the AC to ensure you’re getting some natural air.
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