The biggest difference between humans and animals is that animals adapt to the environment while we change the environment to suit our needs. A popular invention that artificially maintains the temperature we require is an air conditioner. No doubt, air conditioners are heaven-sent during a hot and humid climate. But long-term exposure to cold temperature can have many far-reaching consequences on our body and health.
Here is a list of ten negative effects of air conditioning on your health:
1. Weaker Immunity
The artificial change in temperature created by air conditioning weakens the human immune system. People who frequently switch between extreme temperatures by staying inside home and office and later outside in scorching heat fall sick more frequently for no apparent reason.
Chilling cold air tends to harden or dry the mucous gland. As a result, people who spend more than 4 hours in an air conditioning environment are very likely to get diagnosed with sinusitis infections.
3. Viral Infections
In the air conditioning process, there is no fresh air circulation. Rather, the old air gets circulated over and over again transmitting bacteria and viruses of cold, flu from one individual to another.
4. Breathing Problem
Moisture buildup in the coils and condensation on air ducts of an air conditioner can become the ideal breeding ground for germs like viruses, bacteria, and fungus. When these tiny microorganisms are air-borne, they lead to multiple breathing problems which include dangerous infections such as pneumonia and Legionnaire’s disease.
Cold air can trigger the symptoms of asthma like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Also, overexposure to cold temperature can contribute to worsening asthma and to the development of lung infections resulting from this condition.
Air conditioners should be cleaned properly. The filters should be changed frequently to avoid the growth of bacteria and fungi breed in the air conditioning machines.
5. Dry eyes
If you spend a lot of time in air conditioning environment and experience irritation of eyes, itchiness and tearing of eyes as the liquid of eyes gets dry easily due to the cold temperature. Overexposure to cold temperature can also cause redness and swelling of eyes.
6. Dry skin
Cold air produced by the air conditioners sucks all the moisture from your skin and leave it dry. It can damage your skin cells and create fine lines making your skin rough and dull.
Air conditioning that is set to too cold can cause headaches. Your AC lowers the temperature of the air as well as robs its humidity. Being in dry air for too long can cause dehydration in your body. Besides, you wouldn’t feel the need to consume liquids if you are way too cold. Lack of water in your body can cause severe headaches. Also, the cold air of the AC can cause a mild brain breeze by stimulating the trigeminal nerve causing brain blood vessels to constrict causing a headache.
If you neglect cleaning the air conditioners it may lead to accumulation of dust, bacteria, and mold in the air circulating ducts which later on circulates infectious air. Air laden with dust and germs can cause skin irritations, redness of the skin, itchiness and skin allergy which is another common negative health effect of air conditioning.
9. Hair Loss
Just like your skin, cold air can dry out your scalp. This can cause dandruff and can also lead to hair loss. Also, the abrupt change in temperature when you walk out of the cold atmosphere back into the sun is very harmful to your hair, and scalp. This could also lead to hair loss.
10. Intolerance to heat
Those who spent a lot of time in an air-conditioned environment become increasingly more intolerant of hot summer temperatures. Acclimatization on moving from a cool environment to the sweltering outdoor air can put a lot of stress on your body. This intolerance of the heat has lead to an increase in heat-related deaths during summer.
Tips To Keep Healthy:
- Choose an air conditioning system that comes with an air purifier.
- Clean or replace air filters regularly.
- Always follow the instructions provided on the air conditioner’s user manual.
- Maintain the air conditioners in good condition to avoid the risk of microbial contamination.
- Always keep yourself hydrated.
- Set the temperature of the air conditioner at 10 degrees below the outdoor temperature.
- Apply oil-based moisturizers on your skin to lock in the moisture.