Why the Air Conditioner May Give You a Sore Throat
Posted by Sumant JHA
Rising temps and humidity may have you retreating into your cool, comfortable home. Air conditioning is wonderful for protecting our health in the excessive heat but breathing in dry and recycled air can take its toll over time.
Air conditioners can dry the air, which leads to irritation and dryness. Usually, this subsides as your body adjusts to having air conditioning on regularly. For some, the irritation doesn’t go away. Here are the reasons why this happens and what you can do if the air conditioner may give you a sore throat.
Why Do I Have a Sore Throat?
Have you ever wondered why air conditioners are more effective at cooling your home than a fan? While fans merely circulate the air, air conditioners transfer hot air out of your home, recycle cooled air, and remove the humidity. This is why you can have a lovely cooled room with an air conditioner, however, that nice cool room can also lead to dryness and irritation in your nose and throat.
If you have pre-existing conditions or environmental allergies, you may notice more irritation from air conditioning. Though it can happen to anyone, some issues with your air conditioning can make your throat irritation worse, such as:
Poor AC Installation
If your air conditioning system wasn’t installed properly, or it developed issues with continued use over the years, it may not run optimally. Air and moisture can keep stagnate in different areas of the system, which creates bacteria and mold. When these contaminants get out into the air, you can experience a sore throat and sinus problems. You should always have a professional HVAC technician install your air conditioner, rather than doing it on your own.
Cracked or Broken Ductwork
Damaged ductwork can be a source of contaminants that irritate your throat. Small cracks or breaks in ducts allow dust and dander to get into your ductwork, which bypass the air filter and travel throughout your home. This affects your indoor air quality, and by extension, your respiratory health.
Lack of AC Maintenance
Air conditioning systems need regular maintenance from HVAC technicians at least once a year, but more if you live in dusty areas or have pets. Over time, dust and dirt build up in your system and components take on wear and tear, which needs to be addressed by a professional. On your own, you can replace your air filters, but you should still schedule maintenance from a qualified HVAC contractor.
Closed Vent Control
If you run your air conditioner with the vent control closed, it can’t get the adequate air exchange between the inside and outside of your home. Similar to poor installation, this creates stagnation in certain areas of your system and breeds bacteria and mold. Always run your air conditioning with the vent control open.
When it runs properly, air conditioning should only cause mild throat irritation from dry air. If you have problems like this, you can experience more discomfort that needs to be addressed.
What You Can Do If the Air Conditioner Is Giving You a Sore Throat
Schedule an appointment for air conditioning maintenance and check that none of your components are damaged. If your air conditioning hasn’t been installed properly, a qualified HVAC technician can reinstall it for you.
Spend time outside. Indoor air isn’t ideal in its balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide, especially if you have poor ventilation. Get outside and enjoy some fresh air when you can.
Minimize the use of your air conditioner as much as you can. Don’t run it all day and night, and switch to economy mode to give it a break from constant use.
Drink plenty of water, especially in hot, humid weather or if you spend a lot of time in low-humidity environments, like air conditioned spaces.
Change your air filters regularly to clear out irritants like pet hair and dander, dust, and dirt that will make your respiratory issues worse.
Avoid using fragranced cleaning products, air fresheners, or chemicals that can irritate your nose and throat. You should also do your best to keep your home clean, especially if you have pets.