Air Conditioners and Your Health: Risks and Symptoms to Watch Out For
We all love the touch of chilling air from our air conditioner in the scorchy days of summer. It is our primary resort against the heat of summer. Summer might be over, but we Americans don’t leave our best pal – air conditioners – alone in the winter. Summer or winter, many of us depend on them all day and night. But, is it safe to leave air conditioner on all day long? Like all the good things on the earth, air conditioners also have a few downsides. You might not be addicted to your precious air conditioning unit like most of us are, but it is good to know the health problems that you may face due to your constant exposure to air conditioners.
Air Conditioning Sickness Symptoms
1. Breathing & Respiratory Problems
Air conditioners can cause breathing problem. Normally air conditioners provide such a temperature where germs can’t spread easily. However, if the air filter isn’t cleaned on a regular basis, it can spread dirt, toxins and harmful microorganisms. Sometimes, the high condensation of moisture promotes mold growth inside the air conditioning units. These can lead to breathing & other respiratory problems.
2. Headaches & Dizziness
Long exposure to air-conditioned cool air can cause headaches & dizziness to some people. It depends on individual health history and immune system. If you are having these problems regularly and you have a long exposure to air-conditioned air, then you should consult a doctor.
Moreover, a sudden change in the temperature can also trigger a headache or nausea. It is wise not to set the temperature very low just after entering the room. You should change the temperature gradually.
3. Skin Problems
Air conditioners have a dehumidifying effect in the room. In order to cool the room temperature, it draws the room air into the evaporator coil. In this process, the moistures in the room also get sucked away. Thus an air-conditioned room lacks moisture, which causes dry skin and nasal passage. In winter, this problem only intensifies. If you are exposed to air conditioners for a long time, you should take the necessary actions to prevent these problems. Constantly applying a preferred moisturizer is a good solution to this problem.
4. Decreased Heat Tolerance
Constant exposure to air condition decreases the heat tolerance level. None of us likes extreme heat, but if you start feeling uncomfortable shortly after you go outside in hot summer days, then your heat tolerance level has gone down. Absorbing natural heat to some extent is healthy and recommended. If your office or resident is constantly air conditioned, it is a good idea to turn off the unit for a while if possible or get some fresh air from time to time.
5. Overweight Problem
There is no doubt that air conditioners make us comfortable. It has been found that in air-conditioned rooms, people move or exercise less because of the comfortable temperature. This makes our body burn fewer calories when compared to the normal conditions. Another fact is that in hotter temperature people tend to eat less. On the contrary, in cool temperature people tend to eat more. So if you want to lose some weight, it might be a good idea to exercise after turning off the AC.
6. Increased Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the major side effects of sleeping in air conditioning. Our surrounding temperature has a significant effect on our blood pressure. According to a journal published by Men-Fitness & Health, it is found that our arteries’ contraction is directly linked to our surrounding temperature. Cool temperature plays a role in increasing resistance in our arteries and raising the blood pressure. People suffering from high blood pressure, are recommended to limit down their exposure to air conditions at a bare minimum.
7. Cold Symptom
According to Oxford Journals, people who are constantly exposed to air conditioners require more health care services for cold symptoms. Long-term exposure to air-conditioned air might be the answer to the question, why does air conditioning make me cough? It is imperative to clean the air filter and condenser unit of your air conditioner on a regular basis to stay away from cold.
So, Is It Safe to Leave Air Conditioner on All Day?
As an expert in this field, I have faced many questions regarding the health risks and benefits of air conditioners. Many of us keep our air conditioner running constantly all day and night. But the question is, is it safe to leave air conditioner on all night or day?
Apparently, the answer is no. we have already discussed the common air conditioning sickness symptoms from constant AC exposure. Leaving air conditioner on all night would intensify these problems. Apart from the health issues, Air conditioners also have a negative impact on our environment. Furthermore, it would also increase the electricity cost.
Another common question in this regard is, is it cheaper to leave air conditioner on all day? Many would say yes. The logic behind this argument that, by keeping it on all day and night, air conditioners require less energy to provide the desired temperature. Although it might sound convincing, it is wrong. It is not an effective way to run the air conditioner all day & night. The appropriate solution, in this case, would be, installing a programmable thermostat. This would enable you to program your desired temperature. By installing a programmable thermostat, you can program your ac to change the temperature automatically. For example, at night the temperature of the outside decrease automatically. With a programmable thermostat, you can save yourself from the freezing cold in the morning.
If we carefully consider the health issues and the cost and environmental issues of the air conditioner running all day, we can easily conclude that although air conditioners provide effective cooling, but it is not safe to run them all day and night. You can consider other cooling options, like an evaporative air cooler before you buy an air conditioner. The best option is to have them both because this way, you can get the best possible cooling option with a reasonable operating cost. It would offer you flexibility and reduce the health risks of longtime air conditioner exposure.
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