“Can I be allergic to air-conditioning?”
Air-conditioning pros get that question all the time. It might cause you to snicker, but it’s a legitimate question, although the phrasing is off. There are factors to consider when someone claims to start sneezing or coughing upon entering and air-conditioned room. It is important to know how to fight allergies caused by air-conditioning systems.
Causes of Coughs in Air-Conditioned Rooms
Most often the cause for coughing or sneezing is a dirty filter. If a person has an allergic reaction to these allergens, it is guaranteed that he or she will have a reaction when facing an A/C with a dirty filter. On the other hand, many allergists recommend using A/C to people with allergies provided the filter is always clean and may even suggest a double filter to be used. Filters should be cleaned every 3 months for a central air-conditioning system or replaced if you are using one of those filters, even something like cheesecloth, as a second layer.
However, there are other reasons for coughing or sniffling assuming the filter is clean. For instance, some air-conditioning systems use propylene glycol (PG), which is a colorless, almost odorless mineral oil as the active ingredient in coolants and anti-freeze. Studies have proven that PG is non-carcinogenic but can cause allergic reaction. That’s why some women are allergic to certain cosmetic and food brands, too. An allergic reaction to PG can be remedied by installing an air filter since the A/C system can lead to dry indoor air.
Another solution would be to control the cold air flow, temperature and air flow speed. The air from the A/C should not be too cold or blow too much, especially if you are facing the vents.
However, you should also make sure that the air is not too warm or not blowing enough because it will also cause an allergic reaction. Experts recommend a temperature setting of about 23 degrees Celsius or 73 degrees Fahrenheit so you do not irritate your sinus or allergy. You should also not go into a cold room after being under the sun. Let your body cool down first for about 10 minutes because walking into the air-conditioned room.
When your A/C system is causing you problems with your health, you can expect to get a ton of conflicting suggestions about using a humidifier or dehumidifier. As a general rule, this is what you should do:
• If the air is too dry, use a humidifier. You can tell when the indoor air is too dry when there is static electricity in your curtains, carpet, or other fabric around the room.
• If the indoor air is too moist, use a dehumidifier. You will know when your indoor air has too much moisture when you experience mildew or mold, which is common in Florida where the weather can be almost tropical all year round.