Is your office AC unhealthy?

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Is your office AC unhealthy?

Posted on : Monday 14th of August 2017

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There is considerable proof mounting that your workplace AC is one of the big reasons your office is making you sick... so stop blaming your work! A 2004 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that the office AC is a big contributing factor to the sick-building syndrome (SBS). According to the study, people working in office buildings with central air conditioning had more symptoms of illness than others.


Long-term exposure to a low temperature environment affects the joints and muscles, often leading to neck and back stiffness, pain in the waist and limbs, hands and feet, says orthopaedic and joint replacement specialist Dr Ramneek Mahajan. "If you are experiencing aggravated rheumatism, arthritis or chronic joint pain for no apparent reason, the air conditioning could be the reason," he adds.

It turns out that women may be more susceptible to SBS, as a Maastricht University study found that the formulas used to calibrate cooling systems are based on the metabolic activity of a 40-year-old, 70 kilo male.


Dr Hemant Goel, senior consultant, respiratory medicine says, "The chances of the spreading of an infection in an AC environment are considerably high. It's an ideal place for indoor pollutants such as bacteria, mould, mildew, viruses, pollen and animal dander to spread." People exposed to such environment show symptoms of headache, fatigue, breathing difficulties and skin irritations.


Cold air can also lead to dryness in the skin and eyes. Those who wear contact lens are more affected. To counter AC ill-effects, Goel advises on frequent outdoor breaks and setting the temperature above 22 degree C. Always carry an extra wrap or jacket. According to Mahajan's, "Get some sunshine early in the morning, say 7 to 8 am."

The Good

Leads to increased physical and intellectual activity

Improves comfort

Excludes external allergens

Improves air quality, if installation is good

The Bad

Dry eyes; How to beat it: Up your omega-3 fatty acids intake. Use a humidifier or artificial tears. Blink often.

Headaches; How to beat it: Drink water, carry a head cover and acclimatise before stepping in and out of the office

The Ugly

Joint pains; How to beat it: Layer up. Make sure the vents are not blowing directly at you. Don't sit in one position for too long.

Respiratory problems; How to beat it: Clean up air filters regularly

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