Is Your Air Conditioner Helping or Hurting Your Health?
When used wisely with proper filtration equipment air conditioning can be very beneficial for health.
Recently there has been some controversy as to whether or not air conditioning is good for you. However, most of air conditioning’s detractors are actually complaining about over-air conditioning, which can indeed create temperature and humidity differentials that can be a shock to the system. However, it is clear that using air conditioning wisely in combination with quality air filtration equipment can offer serious health benefits.
Cleaner Indoor Air
Today’s homes have tight building seals to improve energy efficiency. Unfortunately, this also traps lots of contaminants inside the home. Dust, mold spores, pet dander, skin flakes, pollen, and other allergens can quickly build up to the point where they begin to negatively affect your health, causing allergic symptoms like eye, nose, and throat irritation as well as the potential for asthma or other respiratory problems. Viruses and other airborne pathogens can also travel around in the air inside a home.
Fortunately, every air conditioner comes with a filter that can help to trap airborne allergens and prevent them from recirculating throughout the home. If you want additional protection, you can upgrade your filter or else install a dedicated air purification unit to help control viruses and pathogens.
Protection from Heat-Related Illness
According to the camp of experts who believe in global warming, heat-related illnesses and deaths will likely increase in coming years, as global temperatures rise by 4 to 11°F. A report from the National Resources Defense Council projects an additional 150,000 heat-related deaths in the next century, 1,200 of which may occur in Los Angeles.
Even if you don’t believe in global warming, it is still clear that the risk of heat-related illness and death is real. For example, in 2006 California experienced deadly heat waves that sent 16,000 people to the emergency room, hospitalized 1,620, and killed 655 in just two weeks.
Individuals with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure and people taking certain medications are at higher risk for complications during heat spells. The very old and the very young may be felled by heat stroke if they are unable to regulate their body temperatures.
Of course, by staying in an air conditioned environment, you can reduce the risk of heat exacerbating existing health problems, contributing to dehydration, or causing heat stroke.