How to protect yourself from the side-effects of ACs

Wondering what side effects could an AC possibly have? Read on

How to protect yourself from the side-effects of ACs

Air conditioners can help regulate indoor temperatures and humidity, creating a more comfortable atmosphere. They cool and dehumidify air, which is a huge relief when coming in from the hot and humid outdoors

However, did you know that regular and prolonged use of an AC also has its fair share of seide effects? To know more about what they are and how to keep them in check, read on. 

Common side-effects of regularly using an AC

Here are five common side-effects of using an AC:

1. Skin and eye issues

Air conditioners reduce humidity by removing moisture from the air through a process called condensation and evaporation. Setting the AC to a very low temperature can cause the room’s air to become drier due to the reduction of moisture, which can lead to issues such as skin dryness, itchy skin, and eye irritation.

2. Respiratory issues

Cold air from air conditioners can cause various respiratory issues, such as congestion, dry throat, and coughing, particularly in individuals with asthma or allergies. Such people’s respiratory tracts may become more susceptible to infection.

ALSO READ: Air Coolers vs air conditioners: Which is best for you?

3. Headaches

Air conditioning can occasionally cause headaches due to exposure to cold air, dry air, temperature fluctuations, poor air quality, and disrupted sleep. These issues can also lead to fatigue and daytime drowsiness.

4. Dehydration

Since ACs remove moisture from the air, the resultant dry air can accelerate the evaporation of moisture from the body. When the body loses moisture faster than it can be replenished, dehydration can set in. Hence, spending long periods in air-conditioned environments can cause mild dehydration.

5. Aggravation of existing issues

Prolonged use of ACs or using them at very low temperatures can worsen pre-existing conditions, such as arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, or sinusitis.

ALSO READ: How often should one service an AC?

6. Spread of airborne contaminants

Regular servicing of ACs can prevent the growth of bacteria, mould, and mildew. Poor-quality air can cause these airborne contaminants to trigger infections and allergic reactions.

7. Reduced heat tolerance

If you become overly dependent on air conditioning, your body’s natural ability to tolerate heat and humidity may decrease. This can lead to discomfort and difficulty adjusting to environments without air conditioning.

How to prevent AC side effects

Here are the things you can do to prevent AC side effects:

1. Maintain proper humidity levels

By maintaining proper humidity levels in your room, you can mitigate the drying effects of air conditioning. You can make use of a humidifier in dry climates where the air tends to be less humid. You can aim for a relative humidity of 30 to 50 percent to ensure both comfort and health. In addition, you can use natural solutions like indoor plants or bowls of water near an AC to help add moisture back to the air.

2. Practice good AC hygiene

Ensure that you service your AC regularly. Clean or replace air filters in a timely manner, as per the instructions of the manufacturer. Alternatively, you can hire the services of a professional to clean your AC.

ALSO READ: Busting 5 popular myths about your air conditioners

3. Avoid keeping the temperature too low

Keeping the AC temperature too low can create an overly chilled environment, which can lead to issues like skin dryness, eye irritation, respiratory issues, and so on. Ideally, you can set the AC temperature to around 3 to 5 degrees lower than the outdoor temperature, making sure there are adequate moisture levels in the air. When transitioning between air-conditioned and outdoor spaces, allow your body time to adjust to the temperature difference gradually.

4. Stay hydrated

To prevent dehydration due to air conditioning, you can keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Alternatively, you can have foods, such as fruits and vegetables, that have a high water content.

5. Make use of ceiling fans

Sometimes, you may feel like setting an extremely cold temperature to ensure that all areas of the room remain cool. Instead of doing this, you can keep it at a moderate level and make use of a ceiling fan to ensure that the cold air reaches all areas of the room.

6. Moisturise yourself

If you face skin dryness due to air conditioning, you can apply a moisturizer to your face and dry areas of your body on a regular basis. To combat eye irritation, you can use over-the-counter eye lubricating drops.

ALSO READ: Should you turn your AC off at night when sleeping?

7. Avoid direct contact with AC airflow

Sitting or sleeping directly under the airflow of an AC can lead to multiple issues, such as skin dryness and muscle stiffness. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid direct contact with an AC airflow and adjust the vents to ensure that air is not blowing directly at you for an extended period of time. Additionally, take periodic breaks from air-conditioned rooms to get some fresh air and sunlight.

While air conditioning provides relief from heat and humidity, it is important to be aware of its potential side effects. By practicing proper maintenance, maintaining adequate humidity levels, staying hydrated, and using the AC responsibly, you can enjoy its benefits while minimising any adverse effects on your health and well-being.

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