Are you sick of air conditioning?

Are you sick of air conditioning?

“Are you sick of the air conditioner? », asked Victoire, from Blois. With the heat waves affecting France, the air conditioning is always running at full speed in offices or shops. But does it hurt us? How to avoid the risks associated with air conditioning? Ouest-France has answered you.

You won’t catch a cold because of the air conditioner

The term “coolness” is misleading. The common cold is the result of an infection and therefore of contact with a virus. It has nothing to do with temperature. If the virus is around us, we risk getting sick, whether the place is air-conditioned or not. The virus is transmitted by droplets projected by an infected person, or by hand to hand or by contaminated objects. More than 200 viruses can cause the common cold.

However, it is true that the cold weakens our immune system. This makes us more vulnerable and therefore increases the risk of contracting a virus.

Air conditioning is also unlikely to contribute to the spread of germs. “It is not a risk factor for viral infections”said Dr Matthieu Calafiore, general practitioner and lecturer at the University of Lille, who was interviewed by Information on France . “This equipment includes filters that help reduce risks and the air is constantly renewed. »

Also read: SNCF. Should a train be air-conditioned? We will answer you

Air conditioning can cause irritation

Air conditioning can sometimes make it feel like it’s cold, but it’s not. “One of the principles of air conditioning is to cool the air and dry it, explained by Dr. Cauliflower. It dries the mucous membranes of the nose which are fragile and, in reaction, moisten even a little, which can lead to rhinitis (runny nose). But this one is not linked to an infection”.

If the dryness affects the sinuses, it can cause pain similar to sinusitis. Again, this can also make us more vulnerable to germs and viruses.

Air conditioning can also cause dry eyes. “The surface of the eye is like the mucosa of the nose: a layer of liquid helps to evacuate dust and microparticles”continue to the doctor. “Without this filter, the eye is more sensitive and there is an increased risk of allergic conjunctivitis”.

To overcome these problems, air conditioners are often equipped with an air humidification system.

How to avoid the risks associated with air conditioning?

Several good practices are recommended to avoid the risks associated with air conditioning. First of all, the temperature difference between inside and outside should not be too big. The best is to keep a difference of five to seven degrees maximum. “People have difficulty tolerating a sudden change in temperature, i.e. more than 7°C”said Dr. Cauliflower.

Air conditioning also needs to be maintained regularly, both in buildings and in vehicles. “It is especially important to regularly replace the filters that retain particles and infectious agents and check the loss of water without water in the cooling system”the doctor remembered.

Many bacteria can grow in stagnant water such as legionella, which is responsible for legionellosis. It is a pulmonary pathology that causes respiratory distress. However, if the air conditioning is well maintained, the risk of contracting this disease is very low.

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