Posted by: Bert | 2011-03-30

Air conditioning

Our question would be does the air conditioner in a office make one sick? Flu? Colds? Sinus conditions?

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Our expert says:
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Yes, it can in some cases, but it's hard to prove. People in offices with air-con report more symptoms than those in offices with natural ventilation.
Symptoms are varied - anything from headaches to respiratory-tract problems (including worsened sinus), but are seldom linked to a specific cause. In addition to poorly-maintained aircon systems, chemicals that form part of indoor air pollution may also trigger symptoms.
Dirty aircon systems can harbour organic contaminants like certain bacteria and mold spores, and these can cause respiratory tract irritation and illness in susceptible people. So have your ventillation system professionally checked at regular intervals.
It's possible for infectious diseases like colds and flu to be spread by air conditioning units, but it's probably rare. You're more likely to catch a cold by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face. Simply working in an office means you'll come into contact with a lot of people and a lot more germs than at home.
The temperature the aircon is set at won't make you sick - though it can certainly raise stress levels if it's at a temp. you find uncomfortable.

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