How could an air conditioner possibly contribute to respiratory illness? Can being in a building with a running air conditioner really give you a cold? Does exposure to cold air make you more susceptible to a respiratory infection?
The answers to those questions are more complex than just a simple yes or no.
Let’s learn more about the link between air conditioners and illness.
Is There A Connection Between Air Conditioners And Sickness?
Air conditioners have been linked to an increase in respiratory illnesses, such as colds. According to one 2004 study, women who worked in an office with air conditioning had more absences due to sickness and more frequent visits to ear, nose and throat doctors. Another study found that most employees who worked in air-conditioned offices suffered more illnesses than those who worked in offices with natural ventilation systems. Numerous studies have linked air conditioners to respiratory illness, but what is the connection?
What Is The Connection?
The overwhelming conclusion of the studies that have been conducted is that the answer lies in germs. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Air conditioners circulate air continuously and with that air comes the germs it contains. Air conditioners are essentially circulating germs, mold and bacteria all day long. It is no wonder that a continuous exposure to airborne microbes would lead to an increase in respiratory illnesses.
This re-circulation of air not only exposes you to constant microorganisms, it also extracts moisture from the air and essentially dries out your nasal passages. A certain level of moisture is necessary for your respiratory system to effectively fight off viruses, and when your nasal passages become excessively dry, your immune system can become more susceptible to illness.
How Can You Avoid Illness?
There might not be much that you can do about the air conditioner in your office, but you can certainly prevent some of these negative effects in your home. While your air conditioner is always going to circulate air (and with it some germs), you can take steps to keep your air conditioner—and your air—as clean as possible.
- Consult an HVAC specialist and have them clean your air conditioner, removing any mold or bacteria that may exist.
- Have a professional tune-up your AC unit annually.
- If any water damage occurs, clean it up immediately to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.
- Use your bathroom ventilation when showering to reduce moisture.
- Consider buying an air purifier system or for a more effective solution, contact a licensed heating and cooling company regarding IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) services for your home.
There are many steps you can take to keep your household healthy and prevent your air conditioner from increasing your chances of illness. Our team of experts at Cool Blew, Inc. is here to help you stay healthy and breathe healthy.
Call us today to schedule an IAQ consultation!