Office AC's can make your lungs suffer

Working in a cool, comfortable office sure feels good, but there are facts about centralized air-conditioned offices that could make you catch your breath - literally. Contrary to claims of filtering out impure air, the AC ducts could actually be health hazards themselves, causing a number of air-borne diseases.

"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.


  • Irritation of eyes, nose, throat
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and fatigability
  • Breathlessness
  • 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.
If you do not allow fresh air in, you are breathing increased levels of CO2 and fungal spores from ducts, which can cause gradual suffocation and irreversible lung infections," says Dr Nageshwar. He adds, "Fungal spores which grow in the unclean AC ducts reach the tiny air spaces in the lung called alveoli.

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."


Prachi Joshi said…

Thanks for sharing good information, Find best Pulmonologist in hyderabad & view all details of Chest specialist in hyderabad.

Popular posts from this blog

Bhima's son Gadotkach like skeleton found

Procedure to get passports from PSK (Passport Seva Kendra)

Photos of Princess Diana's last moment