During the summer, the air conditioning keeps us cool and provides us with more restful sleep and a more comfortable working environment. However, it is not safe for health. Top Santé took stock with Doctor Benjamin Potencier, general practitioner. Here are his tips for proper use.
The use of air conditioners is becoming more and more popular, and that despite their impact on energy consumption and their potential polluting effects linked to greenhouse gas emissions. This increased use is mainly due to heat waves and heat waves which have become more frequent. In France, more than one million air conditioning units are sold each year, and in seven years, the number of equipped households has more than doubled.
But, can daily use of air conditioners make us sick? Dr. Benjamin Potencier answers us: ” Air conditioning has both good and bad effects, for example, it avoids the risk of dehydration in the elderly, as well as heatstrokeTHE heart problems and pulmonary. Unfortunately, it also has adverse effects if misused.n”. Maintenance of the air conditioning is important, a lack of maintenance can in fact lead to sanitary risks. The doctor explains:This device can become a breeding ground for bacteria, especially legionella. This battery causes serious infections. They multiply in the water system which stagnates in the cooling system and then are released into the air in the form of droplets when the air conditioners come on.“. Besides bacteria, air conditioning also keeps mold and dust, which can also lead to respiratory problems, allergies and infections.
How to avoid getting sick with air conditioning?
You should know that air cooling systems work a bit like a refrigerator. They capture the calories (or heat) from a room and then reject them outside. Thanks to an energy transfer system, a cool wind is blown into the room, and the air is continuously regenerated. During this process, the air loses its moisture. Prolonged use of air conditioners is not recommended, because the dry air can cause discomfort in the eyes and respiratory tract, thus favoring the onset of colds, rhinitis, angina and dry eyes. Dr. Potencier particularly warns people with asthma: “Very dry air can aggravate irritation and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract“. To avoid his inconvenience, the medical adviser de ventilate the dwelling, either early in the morning or at night. “Airing a room is essential to purify the air, which air conditioning does not do”.
Spending the night in the cool thanks to the air conditioning: good or bad idea?
In summer, we like the sun and the blue sky, but in the evenings when the heat does not go down, we appreciate much less. Is air conditioning a good solution to improve sleep? Dr. Potencier specifies: “Having a temperature of 19° in the bedroom helps with falling asleep, but you shouldn’t sleep in a fridge either! It is advisable to turn off the air conditioning at midnight, so that the temperature rises slowly in the room and thus avoid a thermal shock in the morning when we will have to go out.
Is there an ideal temperature at which to set air conditioners?
As part of the energy sobriety measures, the French government recommended, on June 20, to set the air conditioning to 26°C. We questioned Dr. Potencier to find out if this temperature was the most favorable for our body. They explain : “There is no ideal temperature in itself, what is very important is to ensure that you do not suddenly go from intense heat to too cold air conditioning. This can lead to thermal shocks and inconveniences such as bronchitisrhinitis and headaches. I recommend only lowering the temperature by 5°C compared to the outside temperature.”
These precautions for use apply to everyone, including fragile people and young children.. Dr. Potencier explains to us that infants do not need to be cooler than us, because from one month of life, they have the same thermal regulation system as an adult. It is therefore important to dress them or keep them cool like an adult. However, you should be careful of drafts, because babies are often in a lower position than us.
Can air conditioning make us lose our ability to tolerate heat?
Some people complain that they can’t stand the heat anymore. Dr. Potencier explains to us: “It is possible that the body no longer gets used to being too hot, we can lose our ability to adapt. We can no longer acclimatize to certain temperatures. Medically, this is not a problem, but our feelings are altered “.