can it make us sick?


  • Poorly maintained air conditioning can lead to problems of irritation of the skin and ocular and respiratory mucous membranes.
  • Dust filters should be changed regularly to prevent excessive dust, bacteria and mould.

A temperature of the order of 25 or 26°C for the cooled space seems reasonable”, can we read in a document published by the French Environmental Health Safety Agency (Afsse). To achieve this, when the outside temperature approaches 40 degrees, many opt to install air conditioning at home… But be careful not to put too much on, because the effects on health can be harmful.

Avoid too big gaps

Indeed, Afsse warns that below the recommended temperatures, health effects can be felt such as the development of respiratory pathologies. The body therefore recommends “avoid the impact of too great a difference with the outside temperature, leading to a feeling of cold with the possible development of infectious respiratory, viral or bacterial pathologies, if necessary by covering people before entering a cooled room”. Doctors recommend not to exceed the 7°C difference between the inside and the outside.

Humidificateurs d’air

Another problem caused by air conditioning is that it dries the air. Thus, if the use is excessive, some people may have symptoms such as nasal or eye irritation, itching or even a desire to sneeze. Afsse recommends “maintain constant humidity (amount of humidity in the air) between 30 and 60% in order to prevent, on the one hand, the drying out of the mucous membranes and, on the other, a limitation of the phenomena of evapotranspiration necessary for thermal regulation”. For this, some air conditioners have air humidifiers.


According to one study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health, people working in air-conditioned premises would be more exposed to diseases than those whose work space is naturally ventilated… Would the spread of viruses or other pathogenic agents be favored by air conditioning? “Air conditioners are susceptible to harboring infectious or allergenic organisms, such as dust mites, explained Wassim Labakiprofessor of internal medicine and pulmonologist in the Department of Medicine at the University of Michigan. It is therefore essential to maintain these devices and to change the filter regularly in order to avoid the circulation of stale air.”.


The last negative point of air conditioning is the risk of joint pain or rheumatism because the cold can make the muscles rigid and contract them… The best thing is therefore to use the air conditioning sparingly, without too big a gap with the outside!


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