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Effects Of Air Conditioning On Lungs: Is It Causing Harm?

Medically reviewed by Michael Henry Wanat · Respiratory Therapy

Written by Kirsten Rocamora · Updated Apr 21, 2022

Effects Of Air Conditioning On Lungs: Is It Causing Harm?

When it’s summertime and we’re faced with the oppressive heat, we all need to blow off some steam with cool air and refreshing wind. Air conditioners have become more and more in demand in these times, but how much can we really trust our AC? Are there particular harmful effects of air conditioning on lungs?

Effects of Air Conditioning on Lungs: Risks You Need to Remember

There are multiple side effects that come with the use of an air conditioner that you may or may not know about. Here are the things you might want to look out for.

Dry Nasal Passages and Possible Infection

When exposed to an air conditioner, the nasal passage tends to dry out, which can lead to infection.

Mucus in the nasal passage serves as a protective layer that can keep the air passageways safe from infections and sicknesses. If air conditioning dries this out and prevents it from doing its job, a person will become highly susceptible to illnesses and infections.

Asthma Attacks and Allergies

One of the effects of air conditioning on lungs are allergy and asthma attacks. A dry nasal passage may also trigger asthma attacks and allergies, especially if your air conditioning unit is not cleaned and maintained properly.

Inhaling the cold dry air that comes out of air conditioners may lead to serious breathing problems and lung diseases.


Additionally, air conditioners may cause dehydration. While air conditioners have the power to cool down a room, sometimes, it tends to suck the moisture out of an area – especially if your AC is set to a very low temperature. This removes the humidity from the room and affects your hydration as well. 

Keep yourself hydrated when in air-conditioned areas.

How to Protect Yourself From These Risks

Air-conditioned homes are not fully in danger. There are plenty of things you can do to protect your health and your lungs.

Maintain a clean AC

To avoid the negative effects of air conditioning on lungs, the first thing you should always remember is to clean your air conditioning unit. Some units have specific instructions, while some just need regular maintenance such as cleaning out the filter and declogging the funnel. You need to thoroughly clean the parts as the moisture build-up allows bacteria and fungi to grow. And this can lead to serious complications and risks to one’s health.

Do this at least once or twice per month, to prevent the build-up of bacteria.

Limit use

When the heat is bearable, avoid using your air conditioner. It can save you a lot of money, all while preventing exposure to dehydration and lung problems, and other negative effects of air conditioning on lungs.

Proper maintenance of your air conditioning unit can do more than just ensure optimal performance. It can also protect you and your family from serious risks that might lead to sicknesses and hospitalization. 

Can An Air Purifier Counter These Risks?

There is a large difference between air conditioners and air purifiers. There is an existing myth that both of these have the power to cool and clean air at the same time. However, that’s not exactly true.

Air purifiers can eliminate particles in the air, whereas air conditioners simply cool the air. An AC unit is not designed for air purification and a purifier cannot cool air, these both have distinct uses and effects in a closed space like a home.

Because of this difference, sometimes, a home may require an air purifier to filter the pollutants in the room. 

Purifiers are not a necessity but are highly recommended, especially if you have kids, elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your AC are still the primary safeguards against the risksand negative effects of air conditioning on lungs.

Key Takeaways

Do the negative effects of air conditioning on lungs outweigh the benefits of using your AC? Even though the mentioned risks might seem scary, all you really need to do to protect yourself and the other people living in your home is to properly maintain your air conditioning unit. It doesn’t take too much trouble and it can give you great protection. Also, when in doubt, hire a professional. 

Learn more about Respiratory Health here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Michael Henry Wanat

Respiratory Therapy

Written by Kirsten Rocamora · Updated Apr 21, 2022

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