Fight the effects of ACs on your health


During summer, air-conditioning is a necessity in most regions of the country. However, not only do ACs adversely affect the environment, there are many side effects of ACs on our health. Constant exposure to air trapped in a room can lead to headaches, dizziness, eye irritation, throat and skin allergies. Research also shows that people who work in air-conditioned environments may experience fatigue and be vulnerable to contracting cold, flu and other illnesses.

ACs increase the symptoms of low blood pressure, arthritis, and neuritis and hasten the ageing process. Central air conditioners create condensation on the cooling coils and in drain pans that can grow microorganisms and mould, according to the International Journal of Epidemiology. People who suffer from asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory illnesses can get serious lung infections.

Don’t be over dependent on air conditioners. Use them only during hot summer days. Avoid using them at night. The more dependent we become on ACs, the more intolerant we become towards rising temperatures. Here’s how you can minimize the side effects of ACs:

1. Hydrate yourself: Constant exposure to an AC makes your skin dry. Even your eyes may become itchy due to dryness. Drinking lots of water can help. Include a lot of yoghurt, fruit juices and vegetables in your diet. You may also consider having a humidifier installed.

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2. Service your ACs regularly: Allergies can be worsened if the AC system is not maintained properly. Ensure the filters and ducts are cleaned to eliminate dust, mould and viral or bacterial accumulations.

3. Moisturise your skin: Since an AC dries up your skin making it flaky and itchy, ensure that you regularly moisturize your skin. Use moisture-rich lotions (which are water based), not creams.

4. Refresh your rooms: When the AC is not in use, make sure to open your windows to let the fresh air come in. This will help reduce indoor contaminants. Cold air is heavy and dense and can make breathing difficult. Having ventilated spaces allows for better breathing. Also, spray the air-conditioned room once a day with a herbal oil essence to cleanse odours.

5. Fill your room with oxygen-giving plants: There is no better air purifier than this for an AC room in which the air gets stale and low on oxygen. Illustratively, one can use aloe vera, green spider plant, song of India and ferns as these are easy to maintain indoors.

6. Get moving: Air-conditioning may make you lethargic and turn you into a couch potato. Exercise regularly to get circulation up and reduce muscle stiffness. We tend to eat calorie dense food when the atmosphere is cold. Spending some time outdoors allows the body to adjust to the temperature and keeps you active.

7. Avoid sudden changes of temperature: Set your AC to 25 degrees C rather than 18 degrees C so that the difference between indoor cool and outdoor heat is not extreme.

8. Keep your car AC on a mild setting: The high cool setting can cause your muscles to seize up and cramp. Rotate your ankles every 15-20 minutes.

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