Long hours in AC rooms can trigger asthma attack

Cooling off:Children playing in the pool to beat the heat, in Lumbini Park. Temperature touched 41 degrees Celsius in the city on Monday.– Photo: K.V.S. Giri

Spending long hours in air conditioned rooms to beat the summer heat can trigger asthma attacks, warn physicians.

Maximum day temperature in Hyderabad breached 43 degrees Celsius in April, the highest in the last four decades, pushing demand for indoor cooling up by several notches.

The power supply company of the State said that record power consumption was noted in April, the likes of which were seen only in May when summer peaked during the previous years.

A large chunk of excess power consumption has been attributed to air conditioning.

On the eve of World Asthma Day, pulmonologists and allergy experts say asthmatics should avoid spending long hours in air conditioned rooms as reduced humidity and cold can trigger an attack.

“An attack triggered by reduced humidity and cooling by an air conditioner has been aptly named the ‘Freon Effect’,” noted Dr. Sudhir Prasad, a consultant pulmonologist at Global Hospitals.

“Consuming cold foods and beverages also ups the risk of irritating the airway and an attack,” he added.

Attacks are common in winter and spring when pollen becomes an allergen.

In summer, extremely high or low humidity levels are known to trigger attacks, warranting maintenance of ambient indoors.

The American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention advises maintaining indoor humidity between 35 per cent and 40 per cent.

Dr. Prasad added that air-conditioned room temperature should not dip below 24 degree Celsius if asthmatics are the room’s occupants.

The impact of air-conditioning on allergic and asthmatic children can be markedly severe.

According to Dr. Vyakarnam Nageshwar, president, Allergy and Asthma Network India, children attending classes in air-conditioned classrooms are more likely to report symptoms of rhinitis, sneezing and blocked nose.

“This will happen often if air-conditioning filters are cleaned regularly. The upper and lower respiratory tract can get aggravated in sensitive allergic children. Additionally, given that class rooms harbour many students in closed premises for long hours, infections will also tend spread very swiftly,” he said.

In summer, extremely high or low humidity levels are known to trigger attacks

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Printable version | May 5, 2022 11:00:05 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/long-hours-in-ac-rooms-can-trigger-asthma-attack/article8549516.ece