Air Conditioning Blamed For One In Five Summer Viral Infections

Man using air conditioning

Air conditioning is being blamed for viral infections. Credit: Joseph Mucira/Pixabay

AIR conditioning is the origin of one in five viral infections that occur each summer.

“Up to 20 per cent of colds, laryngitis, pharyngitis and bronchitis at this time of year occur as a result of air conditioning”,  the head of the Otorhinolaryngology Service at the Ribera Povisa Hospital (Vigo), Dr. Roberto Valdés, has explained.

In a press statement, Dr. Lorena Sanz, head of the Otorhinolaryngology Service of Torrejón Hospital, said that “temperature variations between closed spaces, the high temperatures of the street, and the abuse of the use of air conditioners increase throat problems during the months of the year.

Almost half of the homes in Spain have air conditioning.

This percentage that undoubtedly increases in the regions with the most extreme temperatures in summer.

“Air conditioning decreases the humidity in the environment and dries out the throat, and misuse causes health problems,” said Marta Romero, while Dr. Valdes said that “the hotter the air, the more humidity it admits, and the more amount of dust, germs or other types of organic substances accumulate on air conditioning filters”.

Dr. Valdes insists on  periodic cleaning of filters, because otherwise, irritation, inflammation or infection of the respiratory tract is at risk.

The respiratory and immune systems are the main victims of air conditioning. “The cold has an impact on the body’s defences and its ability to fight diseases,” said the neurologist from Ribera Virgen de la Caridad, who explained that “viruses such as the common cold spread more easily through the body when the temperature in the nasal cavity is lower than that of the lungs, that is, about 36.5 degrees Celsius, normal body temperature.

Although some laboratory research suggests that cold temperatures can make immune cells less effective, “it is the viruses that cause the diseases and not the air temperature”, said Ribera Salud.

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.