It’s hot outside and to make your home more comfortable, you’re running your air conditioning unit. However, whenever you’re in your home, you’re coughing, sneezing, or sniffling – you feel like you’re allergic to your house! Or, could it be your air conditioning? In a word, “No,” but if the air quality circulating through the air conditioning unit is poor, you could be having an allergic reaction.
When Indoor Air is Causing an Allergic Reaction
In itself, air conditioning doesn’t make people sick, but that doesn’t mean the air contaminants circulating in the air conditioning system aren’t causing an allergic reaction. The problem could also be living in the air conditioning unit.
When you turn on the AC, does it seem like every time you start to feel unwell? If so, there are likely airborne allergens to blame. What’s more, air conditioning units can spread other bugs, such as bacteria and viruses through the air.
In large buildings, toxic microorganisms can live in the ventilations system and as the cold air is pumped throughout the building, the toxins that are released can affect the people inside the building. When the air in a big building is contaminated in this manner, people can experience the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Digestive problems
- Watery eyes
Not surprisingly, infants, children, the elderly, and individuals who have chronic respiratory issues are more likely to experience negative reactions to airborne contaminants.
Common Airborne Contaminants
What kinds of airborne contaminants can circulate in air-conditioned air? Many, including air pollution, pollen, dust mites, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses (e.g. influenza, measles, chickenpox, legionella, and staphylococcus), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from household cleaning products.
What can you do to treat the causes of indoor air pollutants?
- Replace your air filters with HEPA filters, which can remove 99.9% of particles that exceed a certain size.
- Get the ductwork above or below your home cleaned.
- Clean the dust and debris around your AC unit, even though it’s outside.
- Invest in an air purifier for the inside of your home.
- Have your air conditioning ducts cleaned by professionals.