June 20, 2012 6:48 am

Top 5 health problems associated with air conditioning

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TORONTO – As much of southern Ontario and Quebec bears through a humidex advisory and Toronto melts under an extreme heat alert, many are looking for relief from the sweltering outdoor temperatures.

Hot and humid air blowing in from the U.S. caused temperatures to soar into the low- to mid-30s on Tuesday and the humidex values in southern Ontario and Montreal will make it feel like the low-40s on Wednesday.

Air conditioners across these provinces are undoubtedly working overtime this week; but despite their welcomed relief from the scorching heat, air conditioners may not be the best option for your health when it comes to cooling off.

Global News examined the top five health concerns that surround the use of air conditioners.

1. Illness and constant fatigue

Shivering at your office desk in mid-July? That might be the reason you are so tired. Research shows that people who work in over air-conditioned environments may experience chronic headaches and fatigue. Those who work in buildings which are constantly being pumped full of cool air may also experience constant mucous membrane irritation and breathing difficulties. This leaves you more vulnerable to contracting colds, flu’s and other illnesses.

2. Dry skin

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Long hours spent in air conditioned environments causes your skin to lose moisture; if you are not aiding your skin with a constant supply of moisturizers you may begin to suffer from dry skin.

3. Adds to the effects of your chronic illness

Central air conditioning systems are known to enhance the effects the illness that you may already be suffering from. AC is notorious for increasing the symptoms of low blood pressure, arthritis, and neuritis, making pain management more difficult for those adamant on using their central air.

4. The inability to deal with heat

Those who spent a lot of time in an air conditioned environment become increasingly more intolerant of hot summer temperatures. This is mainly caused by the stress on your body from moving from a cool environment to the sweltering outdoor air. This intolerance of the heat has lead to an increase heat related deaths during heat waves, which now averages at 400 deaths each summer.

5. Breathing problems

Though your car’s AC may be a saving grace while stuck in traffic on a hot day they are the worst offenders for circulating germs and micro-organisms that cause breathing problems. Researchers at Louisiana State Medical Center found eight types of mould living inside 22 out of 25 cars tested. Air conditioners are also known to circulate air-borne diseases such as Legionairre’s Disease, a potentially fatal infectious disease that produces high fever and pneumonia.
 

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