In response to global warming, Air conditioning has become an integral part of modern life. Air conditioning systems provide us with comfort and relief during the hot summer months. Long-term warming is concomitant with severe weather events such as heatwaves, cold spells, extreme rainfalls, or storms forced to adapt in response to the long-term warming trend. The installation of air conditioning along with heating and ventilation in homes and public buildings has become common across the world.
However, studies on the effects of air conditioning on health are scarce and there is an absence of knowledge on how the mechanisms affect human health. An article published in BMC public health analyzed the available evidence published in Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Library which focused specifically on patients in hospitals, and results were charted according to the intervention, population, control, and outcome.
No doubt air conditioning offers numerous benefits, such as maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures and improving air quality, and above all a comfortable living environment is the most obvious advantage of air conditioning in the home.
However, many homeowners and business owners tend to neglect the regular maintenance and servicing of their air conditioning units. This negligence may cause various health issues and hidden dangers that can not only affect the performance of the air conditioner but also the health and safety of the people using it.
There are many hidden dangers associated with its usage. It’s important to be aware of these potential risks to ensure the safe and responsible use of air conditioning systems.
PFB are some hidden dangers to consider:
1. Dry Eyes: The Air conditioner removes excess moisture from the air, which could lead to dry air that causes irritation to your eyes. Extended exposure to dry air from air conditioning systems can result in evaporative dry eyes, as the watery layer of tear film evaporates. Furthermore, the prolonged use of AC can disrupt the production of lipids from the eyelid glands, impacting the quality and quantity of tear film and exacerbating dry eye symptoms.
2. Lethargy: Because of stale air recirculation, you do not get exposed to fresh air for a long period of time which could lead to the feeling of tiredness. Occupying a poorly ventilated air-conditioned building increases the risk of experiencing “sick building syndrome,” characterized by symptoms like headaches, dry cough, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and heightened sensitivity to odors.
3. Dry or Itchy skin: If you remain in the air for a long time and then follow it up by remaining outside in the sun, you may develop dry and itchy skin. In certain instances, the skin may exhibit redness, rashes, and peeling as a result of air conditioning. Those with pre-existing conditions like eczema, rosacea, or psoriasis may experience exacerbated symptoms, as AC disrupts the natural moisture balance of the skin.
4. Headache: You might already be feeling dizzy due to dehydration which is combined with the noise produced by air conditioners that could lead to severe headaches. A decrease in indoor humidity can trigger severe headaches for individuals who are highly sensitive to it, particularly during nighttime sleep. The lack of moisture in the air is a contributing factor to these symptoms.
5. Infectious Diseases: There have been many instances where people are affected by viruses and harmful bacteria spread in buildings through the air conditioning system. Improperly maintained air conditioning systems can contribute to respiratory tract infections, including common colds, flu, tonsillitis, and coughs. The primary cause of such infections is often attributed to dirty filters, as these filters are designed to remove bacteria and other contaminants from the air-con system.
6. Allergies and Asthma: if people inside an enclosed air-conditioned space already suffer from allergies and asthma, AC could make things worse for them. Air conditioning systems have the potential to exacerbate asthma, with mold being a notorious trigger. The presence of mold in an AC unit can cause allergies and asthma symptoms. In severe cases, it may even contribute to pneumonia and other severe infections.
7. Respiratory issues: Due to the circulation of stale air inside the enclosed room of AC room could suffer from various respiratory issues. In individuals without pre-existing conditions, the inhalation of very cold air from air conditioners can lead to respiratory airway changes. When combined with pre-existing conditions like asthma, this can heighten the likelihood of developing respiratory illnesses.
To mitigate these hidden dangers, it is essential to adopt some preventive measures:
1. Regular Maintenance: Schedule routine maintenance and cleaning of your air conditioning system to ensure optimal performance and reduce the buildup of contaminants.
2. Proper Ventilation: Use adequate ventilation alongside air conditioning to introduce fresh air into the indoor environment, reducing the concentration of pollutants.
3. Humidification: Consider using a humidifier or placing water basins in the room to add moisture and combat the dryness caused by air conditioning.
4. Moderate Use: Avoid prolonged exposure to air conditioning and try to maintain a reasonable indoor temperature to reduce the risk of temperature extremes.
5. Energy Efficiency: Opt for energy-efficient air conditioning systems and use them judiciously. Ensure proper insulation and sealing of your living spaces to minimize the energy required for cooling.
By being aware of these hidden dangers and implementing appropriate measures, we can enjoy the benefits of air conditioning while minimizing potential risks to our health and the environment. Failure to maintain regular AC servicing can expose you to a range of hidden dangers, compromising the efficiency, lifespan, and safety of your air conditioning system. By prioritizing scheduled maintenance, you can proactively prevent these issues, optimize your unit’s performance, and foster a healthy and comfortable indoor environment. Don’t wait for problems to arise—schedule your AC servicing today and experience the benefits of a well-maintained air conditioning system.