Can you get sick from air conditioning
Harmful if the air conditioning system?
In the peak of summer, when, coming to a store near the house and after returning home, have to shower and change clothes because of the unbearable heat and stuffiness in the street, air conditioning at home, at work and in the car may seem the best electronic device on the planet. Air conditioning is one of the few basic elements of modern life, which at first glance has no serious and obvious flaws. After all he created for us to make our life in the summer guests. But is the use of air conditioning is the best? There must be a catch?
Even more so once it so happened that new technology slowly have on us a negative effect. In order to understand whether there are significant disadvantages in the air-conditioning system, you need to understand whether it affects our body and can we get sick using this blessing of civilization. It is better to consult specialists on labor protection and recreation and to physicians. After all, they can tell the whole truth about air conditioners, revealing a secret, whether the use of this modern “gadget” to cause human disease.
We decided to contact various experts of Rospotrebnadzor, as well as with the leading physicians of the country, once and for all to understand if the air conditioning in our house, at work, in shops and in the car.
As it turned out, the air conditioners really can greatly impair our health. Although this happens rarely. In General you can safely use the air conditioning without much risk of getting sick as long as your air conditioner is not covered with mold.
Opinion No. 1
Leading specialist-expert Rospotrebnadzora
– To get the disease of conditioning the probability is small, but it is still there. The biggest problem in AC is the condensation system, and also the possibility of inside air-conditioning system biofilms, which through the ventilation system of air-conditioning can spread bacteria into the air.
- There is also a problem due to moisture. For example, some older air conditioners have built-in condensing tanks where the condensate and for a long time is stored there (recall that in a modern, air-water is discharged through drainage to the street).
These old air conditioners because of the stagnant water in the tanks can appear harmful microorganisms that can get into the air cooled room. The most dangerous in the air conditioner is the mould spores which when released into the air can cause people have dangerous allergies and even cause respiratory infections.
But most of the recorded cases, where exposure to humans as a result of the operation was associated with the release into the air of bacteria or threat of biofilms.
Opinion No. 2
Associate Professor of biology and General genetics MSMU n. a. I. M. Sechenov
It all depends on the disease and from the air conditioner.
First, the “air conditioning” is a pretty broad term. We usually all know about the “dry” air conditions. Those air conditioners are reverse cycle, which generally are in homes and offices that do not use water and produce dry air. From the point of view of the probability of occurrence of diseases due to microorganisms generated in the reverse cycle air-conditioning, they are safe, as in this system, microorganisms are hard to survive.
- Usually, harmful bacteria, dangerous to humans, survive in the water. That is why bacterial diseases from dry conditioning never happen. That is, the air conditioning system is hostile to bacteria, and, as a rule, even the most resistant bacteria are killed in our air conditioning. So dry conditioners do not cause bacterial diseases.
Moist air conditioners are less familiar to us. Basically they use water to cool the air by evaporation. Such conditioners are often installed in large buildings with complex air-conditioning system, which recycles the water through a special device, cooling it and then using it to cool the refrigerant that in turn cools the air.
This system is very similar to the air conditioning in your car uses a radiator for cooling the coolant, which gives you salon cool air. These industrial air conditioners for buildings called towers.
- Of course, the use of such “wet” air conditioning systems the bacteria may not be killed. In the end, if not to follow such systems of conditioning, not carrying needs cleaning and maintenance, different microorganisms will eventually accumulate.
The fact that the water used for cooling, heating, collects dirt from the ambient air supplied for ventilation. This is the perfect “juice” for the growth of bacteria. Once in the air, these microorganisms can cause various diseases in humans.
Most often disease is caused by the bacteria Legionella (Legionnaires ‘ disease or legionellosis). But not all people, in light of which fell this bacterium are sure to get sick. In the first place to the infection risk of the susceptible people. For example, those who have a weakened immune system or some chronic disease.
Opinion No. 3
Professor, Russian national research medical University named after N. I. Pirogov
– A classic example of the diseases associated with conditioning, of course, is the Legionnaires ‘ disease (legionellosis), which you can get from big air conditioning systems. The name of the disease is due to a dangerous outbreak, which occurred in 1976 in Philadelphia, where a large number of people fell ill with severe respiratory illness, which proceeded according to the type of pneumonia.
Here are the details of this outbreak, the fault of which was damp, the air conditioning system.
- Fortunately, in ordinary homes, small offices and stores use dry air conditioners, which are not dangerous to humans. Nevertheless, a normal home air conditioning and cooling of air in salon of the car can also cause health problems.
I have early in my medical career was the case of one young man suffering from leukemia, who was undergoing intensive therapy in one of the institutes in Moscow. Every time it was allowed to go home for the weekend, on Monday the patient was in the clinic with a fever.
- Naturally, doctors had a concern that this fever was caused by infection. In the end the patient within a few days of prescribed antibiotics.
After a few days of reception of antibiotics the temperature at the young man came back to normal. Next Monday all repeated.
For a long time nobody could understand what was going on with the patient. Especially surprising was the survey before the weekend, which showed that the young man has no infections. But what surprise of doctors when after the weekend the patient came to the clinic with a high temperature.
As a result, in the subsequent it was found that the culprit is his conditioning, which has long not been serviced properly and had the accumulation of bacteria and even fungi. As the immunity of the young man was weak, he could not cope at home with bacteria and fungi spores released in the air by his conditioning. This was the cause of fever in a patient after a visit home.
Thus, individuals may have a risk to get sick from their Pets or dirty, unattended air-conditioning systems in the car.
But this is a rare occurrence. If the disease from the air conditioning was common, given the spread in our days of air-conditioning systems the scope of diseases already in the country would threaten national security.
Yes, theoretically, the air conditioners can both protect citizens and to provoke their illness. For example, in the heat of the air contributes to the preservation of health, protecting people from overheating. But again, that’s if we’re talking about a proper and timely serviced air conditioning systems.
Opinion No. 4
Professor of ecology, England
- – Yes, the air conditioning system can hurt you. Mainly due to the growth of microorganisms, including dangerous bacteria Legionella, which can appear in water systems of cooling of air. By the way, the risk of getting this bacteria is not only where water is used cooling system of air. For example, Contracting the bacteria in the water Park or when cleaning the aquarium.
The more important question is how likely to get infected from air conditioning? In our country today there are millions of air conditioners in homes and offices. Also there are millions of air conditioners in cars. There is a large cooling air in large buildings. Think about how often you are in the premises with chilled air or sit in the car with the air conditioning.
- But despite the fact that our huge population and visitors are constantly interacting with a huge number of air conditioning systems, the number of cases of Legionnaires ‘ disease is very low.
This means that the risk of accidentally infected with this bacterium is quite small.
It is important to note that the risk of such contamination is distributed unevenly. For example, people over 50 years of age, current or past smokers, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic diseases are at greater risk.