Are air conditioners bad for your health?

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If not correctly maintained, Air conditioning poses a significant threat to your health and well-being.

Dry air caused by air conditioning units can lead to dry or itchy skin, and dehydration can cause headaches, decreased concentration, increased irritation, dry lips, and tiredness.

Poorly maintained air conditioning units can lead to the accumulation of moisture, resulting in the distribution of mould spores and allergens and triggering asthma attacks and allergic reactions.

To avoid these health risks, having air conditioning filters cleaned regularly and units adequately maintained. Additionally, it is advisable to hydrate regularly when spending extended periods in air-conditioned environments.

Can air conditioners damage our health?

In recent years air conditioners have started to replace gas as a popular method to heat homes in Australia and New Zealand. We spend more and more time in these artificially controlled environments, supplementing natural air with air that travels via the air conditioner. Many people question the health effects of such reliance.

Dry air could cause itchy skin

You might be aware that air conditioning units can dry out the air. The air in the room is cooled as it travels over the condenser. The water vapour in the air cools and creates water droplets as it cools. This water collects on the condenser and is then permitted to exit the system. This is ideal if you reside in a high-humidity climate and wish to lessen the amount of moisture in the air.

However, an air conditioner can make the air drier in a dry climate. This is because we continually lose moisture to the world around us as part of our natural physiological operations. 

The first impact of dry air from an air conditioner on some people over time is that the drier air could cause dry or itchy skin. This is common for people who spend extended periods in air-conditioned environments and do not generally use a moisturiser on their skin. However, if one is sensitive to this issue, using a moisturiser on one’s skin regularly can usually alleviate these symptoms. 

Other reasons for dry skin could be any contaminants within the property circulated through the air conditioning. For this reason, it is vital to have the filters on air conditioning units cleaned regularly. 

Dehydration is something to watch out for

Another common issue that people may have is dehydration which has several add-on effects. First, since the air conditioners’ environment tends to be dry, people can become dehydrated without knowing it.

Dehydration can lead to headaches, decreased concentration, irritation, dry lips, and tiredness. The other problem in such a situation is that the relaxed environment discourages people from wanting to hydrate. So make sure if you spend a lot of time in an air-conditioned environment, that you drink enough water as a matter of routine. 

person cleaning air conditioner so there are no health issues
Cleaning your air conditioning unit regularly assists in reducing health risks

Make sure you clean the air conditioner filters before pollen season

People who are sensitive to pollens and spores should insist on regular maintenance of their workplace air conditioning units. While an air conditioning unit does not replace a dedicated HEPA-level air filtration system, well-maintained filters can help to stop the wide distribution of pollens and allergens. 

On the other hand, poorly maintained air conditioning units can see moisture accumulation in the team, which can lead to mould spores in the air. For many people, this can trigger asthma attacks and allergic reactions.

One of the worst contenders for this problem is car air conditioning units. So if you have never had yours cleaned or inspected, ensure you do so soon. 

Many of us would have heard the term Legionnaires disease, the usual trigger being air droplets with the legionella bacteria originating from poorly maintained air conditioning units.

So the key lesson here is – to have your residential airconditioning filters cleaned regularly and your commercial air conditioning unit maintained regularly. If you experience that your workplace is leaving air conditioning maintenance in the too-hard basket. Please point out to them the health risks associated with filters full of allergens. Being in a safe workplace is a fundamental right.  

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