Sometimes it feels like the world is on fire. Summers are getting hotter these days, and it’s like a double-edged sword. While we enjoy spending time in the sunshine, the heat can get pretty stifling at times. It seems to be at its worst when we’re at home and desperate for sleep, but luckily we have air conditioning to keep the heat at bay. However, are these AC units as safe as we thought? Before we go singing their praises, we ought to consider the potential side effects they have on our health.
The spread of bacteria
The biggest annoyance with air conditioning units is that they need to be regularly maintained. The filters have to be swapped out, and the unit kept clean to remove the collection of dust and other microbes from the vent. If this isn’t done correctly, bacteria can develop and spread via airborne particles. The resulting diseases include Legionnaire’s and pneumonia, the latter of which could be fatal. Didn’t think your AC unit was so lethal, did you? That’s why it’s so important to never fall behind on your maintenance of the unit.
Drying out your skin
Although this isn’t a significant impact on health, it’s still a negative impact on your body. The longer you spend in a room with an AC unit, the more your skin will dry out. That’s because the unit is circulating dry air, which leads you to lose some of the moisture in your skin. It’s easy enough to combat with some moisturizer, but it can still be a nuisance to deal with.
Rundown at work
We don’t only have air conditioning units at home but also at work. We can’t be expected to do our jobs when it’s too hot to concentrate. However, the presence of these units in the office has had an unexpected adverse effect on the health of employees. The term “sick building syndrome” was coined after a lot of people complained about feeling fatigued and rundown while at work, but fine after they left. The reason they were so unwell was that the AC was making them feel this way.
To avoid this in your office, ensure that the temperature is never so cold you’re shivering, and leave your desk at regular intervals. Getting some fresh air from outside will prevent you from developing these symptoms.
Circulating old air
You often feel so refreshed in a room with an AC unit that you don’t even realize that what you’re being blasted with is not fresh air. Rather than blowing in air from outside, all its doing is recycling old air. That means any pollutants already around you are simply being circulated again and again. Not quite so refreshing now, is it? If someone in the office comes in feeling sick, you can be sure that everyone else will develop their symptoms quickly enough. Aside from telling that person to stay at home, the best thing to do is open a window, so you’re not constantly breathing in the same air.
Trips to the doctors
If you don’t want to be a regular at your doctors, do what you can to avoid the adverse effects of your AC unit. It’s found that health care services are used more frequently by people with greater exposure to air conditioning units because they’re introduced to all these side effects. From dermatological problems to respiratory diseases, there’s a lot of danger involved with breathing in recycled air. Keep that in mind if you’re about to have one installed, unless you want to phone in sick to work every few weeks.
Of course, air conditioning units do a lot of good too. Without them, a lot of us would suffer in this weather. There’d likely be higher instances of heat stroke and irritability after a bad night’s sleep. As long as you keep on top of cleaning out the AC unit, everything should be fine.