In many Central and South American countries there is a belief that someone who is walking in the sun and then enters a home with air conditioning will quickly become ill. Is there any truth in this superstition? Can an air conditioner make you sick? Since we are now in the heat of the summer, it is time to explore this question.

The simple truth is that yes, air conditioners can make you sick. Truth be told, it is quite uncommon for people to get sick walking into an air-conditioned room from the heat of the day. For those who do get sick, it is likely that they already have a weakened immune system (such as those who are elderly, very young, or those people who are already suffering from a disease or illness). Here are a few reasons why your air conditioner may be making you sick.

Dry Air

One function of an air conditioner is to suck the moisture out of the air in your home. For some people, the dry air can make them sick. For example, they may get dry skin or eczema. Dry air can also dry out your nasal passages in your throat, which can cause it to be itchy. If your throat gets really dry, it could even get micro-cracks which could cause you to get sick from small bacteria or viruses infiltrating your body. This could result in a cough or a sinus infection.

Mold or Fungi

Some air conditioners have a condensation pan on their outside unit. If not properly maintained, this pan can be the location of mold and fungus growth. Should that be the case, the spores from the mold or fungus can then be circulated through your home by the fan of the air conditioner. This is why you should always check your outside unit to make sure that it is clean before turning on your air conditioner each year.

Circulating germs

Since air conditioners circulate the air in your home, it is possible that germs can be circulated through the air by the air conditioning. For this reason, individuals who are sick in your home should cover their mouths when they cough so as to protect other people in your home from their germs. 

In conclusion, it is uncommon to get sick from your air conditioner, but it is not impossible. Take the time to ensure that your air conditioner is clean and that it has proper maintenance in order to stay healthy and happy in your cooled home.