"Low temperatures in air ducts are conductive to the growth of many fungi and algae, which cause infections", says Dr V. Nageshwar, consultant interventional pulmonologist at Wockhardt Hospital, Hyderabad. Breathing the air circulated through these ducts could make you sicker than you believed possible, because AC maintenance personnel have been known to have cleared out buckets of dust, packs of mould, dead rats and rotting from the ducts! The problem is so widespread that the World Health Organization even coined a term for it Sick building Syndrome, or SBS, meaning buildings where faulty heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, among other factors, could cause a medley of ailments.
And guess what seals your fate - the fact that offices seal their windows to maintain the perfect AC conditions. "Most companies do not realize that they are affecting the health of their employees in the long run.
SYMPTOMS OF DUST ALLERGY
- Irritation of eyes, nose, throat
- Dizziness and fatigability
- Chest tightness
- Persons under continuous exposure may land up with respiratory distresses, cardiac complications, cancer or any other similar fatal conditions.
Symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, chills and nausea typically occur four to eight hours after the exposure.
- Clean the ducts properly, maintain regularly.
- Take swabs from the air conditioner ducts to check for microorganism growth, take prevention measures.
- Install ionic or HEPA air filters and the like.
- Open windows intermittently to allow natural ventilation across.
- If symptoms appear, individuals must meet a lung specialist (pulmonologist) and undergo pulmonary investigations to rule out any disease condition.
This causes inflammation at the alveolar level resulting in irreversible damage. Alveoli are fundamental functional units of the lung, where the oxygen enters the blood and CO2 is exchanged. Once a person suffers from lung disease, he appears to crave for sufficient oxygen for breathing as this exchange mechanism is hampered."