Should We Avoid Air Conditioners to Protect our Health?

Should We Avoid Air Conditioners to Protect our Health?

Air conditioners have always been somewhat controversial. For years, people wondered whether it represents a risk. Air conditioners were invented in 1841 after Dr. John Gorrie tried to make yellow fever patients feel better. Back then the cause of the disease was no known, but he managed to feel the patients better by cooling them down.

Ever since, scientists tried to find out whether they represent a risk for our health. Many say that air conditioners keep the fresh air out while the diseased air gets in. However, the debate is not over yet.

First link between air conditioners and illnesses was discovered in the ‘70s

In the 1970’s there was the first outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. This illness was a deadly form of pneumonia and the bacteria that was responsible for this disease was found in the air-conditioning unit of the hotel in which stayed some patients. However, this problem only occurred because the filters were not cleaned enough.

Nevertheless, people continued to be sceptical after this. In the following years many people reported the “sick building syndrome” that had symptoms like nausea, respiratory issues and headaches. They were reported by people living in the same building so the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has since pointed out that poorly maintained heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems were to blame. HVAC systems also caused Legionella cases to quadruple.

Air conditioning make people more susceptible to colds

It was also discovered that people with air conditioning are more likely to get a cold. That is because low humidity affects the mucous membrane of the nose, so there is no barrier that prevents the viruses.

While air conditioning has been investigated by experts, most myths have not been proved yet. However, we do know for sure that “air-conditioner illnesses” can be prevented by cleaning the filters and keeping a humidifier.


I am a pop culture and social media expert. Aside from writing about the latest news health, I also enjoy pop culture and Yoga. I have BA in American Cultural Studies and currently enrolled in a Mass-Media MA program. I like to spend my spring breaks volunteering overseas.

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