As temperatures rise, and mainly during the summer season, air conditioning and air conditioners become the best friends of those who cannot tolerate and withstand high temperatures, helping to control the heat. However, it is important to remember that the effects of air conditioning and improper use of the conditioner can be counterproductive for our health, especially for the ears, nose and throat.
Air conditioners blow out fresh but dry air. The consequence is that the environments in which air conditioning is used for a long time become spaces devoid of humidity and this process makes both the nasal passages and the mucous membrane that lines the middle ear dry, making normal functioning difficult.
The nose is, together with the mouth, the place where air enters the body and with it bacteria, viruses and other substances. The nasal mucous membranes line the nasal passages and have the mission of filtering and cleaning the air that enters. It also ensures that the air arrives in the optimal conditions of humidity and temperature that the lungs need.
If, due to the lack of moisture in the air, the nasal mucous membranes and those lining the middle ear lose their moisture, they cannot do their job well and end up allowing bacteria to enter the inside the nose. The back of the nose communicates with the ear via the Eustachian tube. Therefore, it is easy for the bacteria that have entered to end up proliferating in the deepest area of the ear.
One of the most annoying evolutions of a cold is the onset of otitis. It is common for cases of otitis to occur mainly in the summer months, this is because they are usually caused by the humidity that is generated in the ears after spending time at the sea, in the pool or while diving and not drying them well. This is referred to as external otitis or swimmer's ear, which usually affects children.
However, the proliferation of air conditioners and the increasing use of air conditioning are causing more and more cases of otitis in the summer in people of any age, especially in the case of prolonged exposure to air conditioning with ears still wet. The most obvious consequence of otitis media is pain, while temporary hearing loss is rarer, even if there is a sort of blockage due to inflammation in the area.
There are people who, by their nature, are more sensitive to the action of air conditioners. Allergy sufferers, asthmatics, or people with some type of lung disease can be affected more quickly than others.
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