The cool air that air conditioning units provide can be a lifesaver during hot and humid weather. However, it can also cause a sore throat, especially if you are exposed to it for an extended period.
In this article, we’ll explore the causes of sore throats from air conditioning and provide tips and remedies on how to get rid of a sore throat from air conditioning.
How Do I Stop My Air Conditioner From Causing A Sore Throat?
There are three main ways to prevent air conditioning from causing a sore throat to you and your family:
- Install a humidifier. Cold air carries less moisture than warm air. If you have your air conditioning running for a significant period, it may sap out all the humidity indoors and leave your throat exceedingly dry. Like other mucous membranes such as your nose, mouth, lungs, and stomach, the throat needs to be constantly moist to function properly.
A humidifier can be a great addition to your air conditioner as it adds water vapor into the air by producing mist in the environment. A whole-house humidifier is the best choice as it can be installed with your HVAC system. It is also essential to prevent AC overuse and keep the thermostat on a healthy level, especially while sleeping.
- Clean and maintain your AC regularly. Dust and dirt buildup can clog up your air conditioner filters. When this happens, the filter does not do its job of filtrating small particles such as pollen, dust, dander, and other airborne toxins. These potential irritants can get mixed with your breathing air and cause a sore throat.
Minor mechanical problems in your air conditioner may turn into serious operational issues if neglected. If such a scenario occurs, your indoor air quality may suffer and trigger respiratory problems and other illnesses such as throat discomfort.
Replace your filter every 30 to 90 days depending on its quality and the volume of dirt already present in the filters. Schedule your AC for an annual checkup and service to detect minor issues early on.
- Choose a quality contractor for installation and service. Improper installation of an air conditioning system may result in erroneous sizing of the unit versus the room it is supposed to cool. When this happens, some areas may have stagnant air or become too humid. The growth of bacteria and viruses in these problematic spaces can cause pesky throat pain.
Always go for a quality contractor instead of seemingly affordable but substandard contractors. The cost may be higher, but a qualified professional will size your AC unit properly and help you to keep an efficient cooling device for many years.
Why Does Air Conditioning Cause Sore Throat? Top 3 Reasons
This section will explain the reasons behind sore throats caused by air conditioning. It will cover the various factors that contribute to the irritation of the throat, such as low humidity, dust and pollutants, and poor installation.
Humidity is one tricky thing. Too much of it will instantly cause an irritable icky feeling as your sweat does not evaporate quickly. But a significant lack of humidity may also lead to a whole other set of problems like dry skin, chapped lips, congested nose, and a nasty sore throat.
The human throat is an organ lined with mucous membranes–the moist, inner lining of some organs and body cavities. To keep functioning properly, these moist membranes lubricate and protect the throat from harsh particles, unsafe bodily fluids, and different kinds of bacteria.
So when the throat becomes too dry, it is immediately vulnerable to irritation and inflammation, which we interpret as a sore throat.
Overuse of air conditioning can lead to dehydration, especially when one is asleep. As you snooze, you typically fail to rehydrate for long hours. Combined with the cold air produced by the air conditioning, you may rapidly lose water in your body which will lead to a sore throat when you wake up.
The main job of the air conditioner filters is to prevent harmful particles from entering the inside of the AC system’s internal mechanism that may damage any of its intricate components. But as a happy byproduct, the filters also trap harmful particles and stop them from getting mixed with your breathing air.
Of course, as time goes on, these filters get loaded with dirt, dust, and other particulates that create a buildup. If such buildup is not removed, it can hamper the filters’ job and impact the overall performance of your air conditioner.
Such a scenario is dangerous for two reasons:
1) The clogged filter will be ineffective in protecting the internal mechanism of the air conditioner. Sizeable particles may invade the system and harm some of the AC parts and affect the cooling process and your home’s general comfort level. Your air conditioner will also have to work twice as hard to lower the temperature in your home, resulting in sky-high electricity bills or unnecessary repairs.
2) The buildup of pollen, dust, dirt, dust mites, dander, and other small insects may be brought back to your breathing space and cause minor to severe allergies, asthma, and respiratory infections manifesting as sneezing, coughing, headaches, runny noses, nasal congestion, and sore throats.
It is no secret that air conditioner units are expensive, especially if you factor in the installation cost. So some homeowners may try to at least skimp on installation by going for supposedly cheaper or budget contractors. Unfortunately, in most cases, such contractors do a haphazard job and try to cut corners in their installation.
One important aspect they may overlook is the proper sizing of the air conditioning unit versus the size of your home. Substandard contractors may try to trick you by offering a unit that is too small for your place to save money. Or they may go to the other extreme and deceive you by telling you that the bigger the unit, the better, and will cost you less in the long run.
An air conditioning unit that is too small or too big for your home will not do the cooling job efficiently and will fail to properly humidify your house. Either may even prompt health problems because of dehydration or over-humidification–both triggers of sore throat.
Tips To Prevent Sore Throats From Air Conditioning
In this part of the discussion, we will explore how we can combat the above mentioned reasons why air conditioning causes a sore throat.
Use A Humidifier
A humidifier is a simple device that adds water vapor to your indoor air. When the air becomes too dry because of cold air, the humidifier can increase humidity and bring it to a healthy level. The added moisture will keep your throat lubricated and prevent irritation and inflammation of such an important organ.
Humidifiers can also help ease congestion and throat pain when you experience an allergy or asthma attack. They help loosen your sinuses by thinning the mucus for easier discharge and relaxing the lung muscles to breathe easier.
If you want to manage the humidity level for your entire home, it is best to go for a whole-house humidifier instead of several room humidifiers.
Clean and Maintain Your Air Conditioner Regularly
The maximum standard time you need to clean or replace your air conditioner filters is every 90 days. Some quality filters may even require less time for cleaning and replacing.
But you need to take into consideration the frequency you use your air conditioner and how much air pollutants your filters have to go through each day. If you have a pet or numerous pets at home or you live in a generally dry and dusty region or location, you may need to replace your filters at least every 30 days. You are more susceptible to sore throats if you get exposed to too much animal hair or dust on an everyday basis.
To be certain if it is time to clean or replace your filters, make sure to regularly check the state of your AC filters or have a professional do a routine checkup and service.
Pick a Qualified Professional to Install and Service Your AC
If you have the means to have a brand-new installation of your air conditioner, it is vital to find a trustworthy professional to handle your device. Substandard installation may save you a few pennies now, but a quality contractor will yield more substantial savings in years to come.
You will also save your family from unwanted health problems brought on by improper sizing of the AC unit, such as sore throat, allergies, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses.