It’s no secret that most of us love our air conditioning, but that doesn’t mean these systems are without issue. In fact, there are several problems that have been linked with climate-controlled environments.
The Top 5 Health Issues Caused by Air Conditioning
Consider these five crucial issues that can have negative consequences on your day-to-day health.
Fatigue and Illness
Feeling cold can leave you feeling drained. Employees who work in heavily air-conditioned areas are prone to headaches and fatigue. That’s because approximately 80% of our energy goes to our BMR, or basal metabolic rate. This number is a measurement of the calories it takes to maintain body temperature and other bodily functions. The colder you are, the harder your body works to keep your systems running, which can lead to feeling exhausted.
Solution: Adjust the thermostat, if you can. It may feel silly to bring a sweater to the office on an 80-degree day, but if you can’t control the thermostat, bundling up while you are there can keep your temperature at a more normal level. Drinking a hot beverage, such as coffee or tea, can help, too.
Dry and Irritated Skin
One reason we love the A/C is because it removes the humidity from the air, but that also means our skin is exposed to less moisture. Spending hours in the air conditioning can cause widespread irritation and flaking, especially in people who already have dry skin.
Solution: Use lotion whenever possible, particularly on problem areas. Consider using a moisturizing body wash, as well, if you spend a significant portion of time in an air-conditioned area. And, for most issues, staying properly hydrated can be extremely beneficial.
Enhanced Symptoms of Chronic Illnesses
Spending time in overly air-conditioned environments can be especially taxing for those with chronic illnesses. Many painful symptoms are exacerbated by the cold. Arthritis sufferers, for example, may have more difficulty moving affected joints. This stiffness causes higher levels of discomfort and can make it more difficult to complete everyday tasks. Low blood pressure and neuritis are two other conditions aggravated by cold temperatures.
Solution: Look for warmer areas of the office to do your work, perhaps near windows which would offer more exposure to sun. Try silk undergarments; they offer a layer of warmth without bulk.
Solution: Keep your AC consistent but not extremely cold. Try to temper yourself into warmer situations whenever possible.
The blowing air from air conditioners circulate germs and other microorganisms. This kind of contamination can lead to the spread of disease, particularly in office buildings. The constant presence of cold air also may irritate the mucous membrane and cause physical issues with breathing, too.
Solution: Change filters frequently, especially whenever someone has been sick. Keep your environment as clean as possible and have the system serviced regularly to prevent mold.
There are some definite concerns when using an AC system, but common sense and diligence can help you enjoy years of safe climate control. If you need help improving your indoor air quality, contact us today to discuss your IAQ options.