4 Ways Air Conditioning can Make You Sick!

Air Conditioning: A Brief History

No doubt A/C units do bring some benefits. In the first place, it has become easier to live in hotter climates. Second, it has reduced deaths due to periodic heat waves. However, in spite of that benefit, when it was first introduced to the public, most people were skeptical of it. It took a lot of marketing for people to start to accept A/C units. Even then it was just something tolerated in public buildings. It was not something that the public bought into as an “essential” for their homes. Prior to World War II, practically no one had A/C at home. But things changed quickly and by the 1960s it was pretty broadly accepted and then transformed from a luxury to a necessity.

Many of us today cannot fathom living without A/C. To some extent that need for A/C has become like a self-fulfilling prophesy. Homes are no longer built to take advantage of natural air flow. Such airflow is also no longer needed since we now have A/C units. Moreover, much of the natural shade around our homes have been bulldozed away. Even if you wanted to live without air conditioning it is more difficult than it used to be. In fact, it is much more so due to climate change and warming temperatures.

Air Conditioning: 4 Ways it Makes You Sick

There are a few other unforeseen consequences due to the prevalence of A/C.

1. First and foremost, since the advent of A/C, we have as a society become more pampered. In contrast to our hardy ancestors, today rarely do kids go outside and much less adults unless the outdoor temperatures are near perfect. We’ve become accustomed to a very narrow temperature range. Although in the state of nature, we would easily acclimate to a range of outdoor temperatures, each time we go from indoors to outdoors its a little like jumping into cool water. Its a bit of a shock to the system. That makes it less desirable to leave the house in the first place.

2. Second, have we also sealed ourselves away in isolation to some extent. Whereas in places that have no air conditioning, homes are built with a more open design that invites social interaction, we have homes that are closed off. Instead of open ventilated air flow we need windows, doors, and walls to keep the air conditioned.

Heat Waves vs. Preventable Chronic Diseases

True we have prevented some deaths from heat waves but we’ve instead brought upon ourselves many chronic diseases which are also responsible for some number of preventable deaths. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not blaming it all on A/C. No, my regular readers know I’m blaming it on mindless consumerism. Air conditioning is only one such example of consumerism gone wrong.

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We’re not looking to go back to the Stone Age. We just want to take the good of modernity without taking the bad. Air conditioning has a place. Probably it is best suited to those who are most vulnerable. They are the most likely to be benefit in the event of a heat wave. Along with shading and water and perhaps public buildings that offer A/C, we could save lives while not becoming so frail.


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