Air conditioning is a common feature of modern-day life. For those living in hot and humid climates, air conditioning can provide much-needed relief from the heat. However, many people who suffer from coughs wonder if air conditioning worsens their symptoms. In this blog article, we will explore this question in detail and provide practical solutions for those looking to minimize the impact of air conditioning on their health. Check out our article on AC Causing Headaches Here
How Air Conditioning Works
Air conditioning works by removing warm air from a room and replacing it with cool, dry air. The process involves removing moisture from the air and circulating it through a refrigerant. As the air is cooled, it loses its ability to hold moisture, resulting in a drier environment. This process can have several effects on air quality, humidity, and overall comfort levels. Here is a detailed article on how ducted ac systems work.
Types of Air Conditioning Systems
There are two main types of air conditioning systems: central air conditioning and split/window air conditioning. Central air conditioning systems use ductwork to distribute cool air throughout a building. split/window air conditioning units are self-contained, and typically installed in a window or wall of a single room. Both types of air conditioning systems offer advantages and disadvantages depending on the needs of the user, such as energy efficiency, cost, and effectiveness.
How Air Conditioning Affects Humidity
Humidity can affect the severity of cough symptoms. Dry air can cause a cough to worsen, as it dries out the mucus membranes in the throat and causes irritation. On the other hand, high humidity can create a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which can also lead to coughing. Air conditioning can help control humidity levels by removing excess moisture from the air, but it needs to be used in moderation to avoid over-drying the air.
- Ideal humidity levels for cough control – between 30% – 50%.
- A humidifier can be used with an air conditioning unit to add moisture to the air.
Polluted Air and Coughs
Polluted air can cause or worsen coughs. Pollutants like cigarette smoke, vehicle emissions, and industrial pollutants can damage the respiratory system and increase coughing. Air conditioning can help filter out some of these pollutants, but it needs to be maintained and cleaned regularly to ensure its effectiveness in this regard.
- Air cleaners can be used to capture pollutants and improve indoor air quality
Allergies and Coughs
Allergies can cause coughs by triggering an immune response in the body. Air conditioning can help alleviate allergy symptoms by filtering out allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander. However, air conditioning units can also harbor these allergens if not cleaned regularly, leading to increased coughing.
- HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters can capture microscopic allergens
- UVC (ultraviolet C) lights can kill mold spores and bacteria
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Cold and flu symptoms can include coughing. During the winter months, air conditioning can be beneficial for controlling the spread of germs in public spaces. However, overusing air conditioning in these situations can lead to a dry environment that irritates already inflamed mucus membranes in the throat.
- Legionnaire’s disease can spread through air conditioning and must be addressed with ongoing maintenance.
Choosing the Right Air Conditioning System
Factors such as energy efficiency, cost, and effectiveness need to be considered when choosing the right air conditioning system. Other factors such as the size of the space, air quality, humidity levels, and personal preference may also play a role in the decision.
- How a properly sized unit is of importance
- The cost-benefit comparison can drive the final decision
Tips for Using Air Conditioning
Proper use of air conditioning can help minimize coughing and improve overall comfort levels. Regular maintenance is of utmost importance to ensure the air conditioner remains in the best state possible.
- Filters should be replaced often (ideally every three months) to improve air quality
- Clean the condenser coil yearly
- Reduce the temperature gradually until you find your comfort level
- Keep the air conditioner running for prolonged periods to ensure consistent temperature and humidity levels
When to Avoid Air Conditioning
In some situations, air conditioning may not be the best option for minimizing coughing. This includes scenarios such as when a person is sensitive to dry air, has certain health conditions, or is exposed to airborne pollutants.
- When you have a respiratory infection
- When your office has a “sick building” syndrome
Air Purifiers and Coughs
Air purifiers can help reduce coughing by capturing airborne pollutants like pollen, dust, and mold spores. They work by using a filter or electrostatic precipitation to capture these pollutants.
- What to look for in an air purifier
- The price of an air purifier
Home Remedies for Coughs
Home remedies can be used to alleviate cough symptoms. These remedies include drinking fluids, using a humidifier, or taking over-the-counter cough medicine.
- Choosing the right humidifier
- Trying different kinds of teas, soups, and lemon and honey remedies
When to Seek Medical Attention
If cough symptoms persist for more than a week or are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, fatigue, or difficulty breathing, medical attention should be sought. Some health issues can be worsened by air conditioning, so it is important to discuss these with your doctor.
Coping with Chronic Coughs
For those with chronic coughs, managing symptoms can be challenging. Air conditioning can help control humidity levels and filter out allergens and pollutants, but excessive use can worsen symptoms.
Medications and Coughs
Medications can help alleviate coughing symptoms, but air conditioning can affect their efficacy. For example, dry air can cause nosebleeds in those taking anticoagulant medications.
Commercial Buildings and Coughs
Commercial building owners can take steps to prevent coughing in their buildings, such as installing air purifiers and using air conditioning maintenance services to ensure the system is clean and efficient.
Air Quality Standards
Air quality standards are important for public health. Air conditioning can help improve indoor air quality but may also contribute to outdoor air pollution if not maintained properly.
The Future of Air Conditioning
Air conditioning technology is evolving to become more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. It is also developing new technologies to improve air quality and humidity control.
Air conditioning can have both positive and negative effects on coughing symptoms. Factors such as room size, air quality, and humidity levels need to be considered when choosing the right air conditioning system. Regular ac maintenance and cleaning of air conditioning units are crucial to ensure they remain in optimal working condition.
Are air purifiers effective in reducing coughing?
Yes, air purifiers can help reduce coughing by capturing airborne pollutants like pollen, dust, and mold spores.
Can air conditioning make a cough worse?
It depends on how the air conditioning is used. Overusing air conditioning or improperly maintaining the system can worsen coughing symptoms.
What is the ideal humidity level for cough control?
The ideal humidity level for cough control is between 30% – 50%.