Side Effects Of Air Conditioning
If you need the air conditioner set to "just right" all day long, know that there are damaging effects to reckon with. These can range from annoying to potentially risky. Look out for headaches, lethargy, dehydration, and allergies. Air-conditioned spaces may also cause upper respiratory problems or even spread infections like Legionnaires’ disease.
When the mercury soars, it can be hard not to reach for that air conditioner remote. Air conditioners are a lifeline for most people today, especially now that you have unseasonably warm days in spring and summers are hotter than ever! Unfortunately, air conditioners have some unpleasant and downright harmful effects that you may not always be aware of.
Dehydration rates are known to be higher in rooms that are air-conditioned. You usually end up dehydrated if the air conditioner sucks too much humidity from the room and you aren’t careful to hydrate. This can well happen when the setting is low and you’re feeling too cold to want to drink any water.
2. Headaches And Migraine
Another unfortunate side effect of air-conditioned spaces, especially if they are not maintained properly, is your susceptibility to headaches and migraines when the indoor air quality levels dip. You could also wind up with a headache if you are dehydrated as a result of being in an air-conditioned room or building for long. In fact, dehydration is an often overlooked trigger for migraines.
3. Respiratory Problems
Upper respiratory symptoms in the eyes, nose, and throat tend to crop up much more in people who spend a lot of time in places that are air-conditioned than in those who spend time in non-air-conditioned places. These may include nasal blockage, a dry throat, or even rhinitis. As one piece of research found, 28 percent of those in air-conditioned buildings experienced rhinitis compared to just 5 percent in naturally ventilated buildings. About 35 percent of people in air-conditioned spaces had nasal blockage against just 9 percent in buildings that had natural ventilation.
Your air conditioner at work or home, designed to pep you up and cool you down, may actually have the opposite effect! Research indicates that people in air-conditioned buildings complain more of lethargy. In other words, the air-conditioning might be to blame for your unexplained laziness and sluggishness. As one study found, if you’re working in an air-conditioned building you’re nearly thrice as likely to complain of lethargy than if you’re in a naturally ventilated space.
5. Dry And Itchy Skin
Come summer, excessive air conditioning combined with sun exposure can bring on itchy and dry skin. Researchers actually have a name for symptoms of your health niggles being linked to your building – it is called the “sick building syndrome”! And while other symptoms may clear within a few hours of your leaving the building, getting rid of a dry skin problem isn’t as easy as that. Depending on how severe the dryness is, it could even take several days.
6. Asthma And Allergies
Air conditioning could make allergies and even asthma worse. While staying indoors in an air-conditioned space can be protective for some people who are sensitive to pollen or air pollutants, there are others who find their situation worsens with air conditioning. If your air conditioner isn’t cleaned and maintained properly, you run the risk of exposing yourself to a host of triggers and microbes.
7. Dry Eye
Dry eye can cause your eyes to feel itchy and irritated. They may also burn or sting. Sometimes it can get so bad, your vision is blurred. And while air conditioning may not directly cause dry eye, it certainly won’t help. As people with a dry eye problem will tell you, their problem seems to get worse when they spend long hours in an air-conditioned space.
8. Infectious Diseases
Because air conditioners dry out your nasal passages, they can cause irritation in your mucus membranes and dry out the mucus. In the absence of adequate protective mucus, you become more vulnerable to attack by viruses. In fact, notorious microbes like the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, for instance, thrive in artificial water supply systems, including those in air-conditioning units and systems.