AC can cause harmful infections, diseases, warn doctors
Excessive fatigue could be a sign of too much air conditioning exposure.
Abu Dhabi - Those not properly maintained can have harmful contaminations
Your AC at home or office, could be a major risk to your health, and potentially cause harmful illnesses and diseases, warn doctors in the UAE.
"There are a lot of risks associated with prolonged exposure to air conditioning," said Dr Jimmy Joseph, internal medicine specialist at Universal Hospital. He stressed that although the majority of UAE residents cannot bear to live without air conditioning, they must be aware of the risks that are linked to the modern luxury.
"When people are constantly exposed to air conditioning, whether it is at home, in the car, the office or shopping malls, they are at risk of exposing themselves to countless infections."
Dr Joseph said that constant exposure could trigger respiratory infections, particularly if the air conditioning systems are badly maintained. "Air conditioning systems that are not properly maintained can have harmful contaminations, which worsen those carrying infections or diseases."
He explained that because air conditioning removes humidity, the dry cold air could cause symptoms to spike. Those suffering from arthritis could also have their symptoms worsened. "The joint pathologies could worsen those suffering from chronic arthritis," said Dr Joseph. "A lot of patients complain of severe joint pain after being heavily exposed to air conditioning, especially patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Heat and warm temperatures help arthritis patients feel better," he added.
Excessive fatigue could also be a sign of too much air conditioning exposure. "When people living in an air conditioned environment go outside and feel the heat, they instantly feel fatigue and often start breathing heavily. Their bodies feel weak because they are not used to the hot climate."
Dr Trilok Chand, a specialist in respiratory medicine at Burjeel Hospital, said that an air conditioned environment not only worsens symptoms for asthma patients and those suffering from pulmonary and respiratory diseases, but it can also cause infections.
"People who never had asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease could develop them, just by living in an air conditioning environment. They could also develop allergy symptoms which include wheezing, coughing and runny nose."
He stressed that the quality of the air conditioning is thus crucial, and regularly maintaining should be mandatory. "Many residents live in apartments that have old AC installations. The quality of the air is therefore not only unhealthy but also dangerous. The dangers involved are the infections and diseases that could rapidly spread from one apartment to the other - a vicious and polluted cycle for all residents living within the same building. Because the AC is usually the only source of ventilation in a closed space, there is a risk for one contaminated individual to spread his or her infection around to other apartment units."
Dr Chand thus recommends residents to adjust themselves to the natural environment and UAE's climate. "This is especially important for children. If they are exposed outside, in nature, to grass, and hot climate, they will have less risk of developing asthma, because their lungs develop an immunity against it."
He also advises residents to adjust their room temperature between 20-25 degrees Celsius. "Anything lower than 20 degrees could stimulate the symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease."