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    allergic to air conditioning
    An_191027 posted:
    Has anyone every heard of bring allergic to air conditioning? I see using air conditioning to help with out side allergens. My mother-in-law says she is allergic to home, car and stoe air conditioning. It give her a dry cough and trouble breathing. The cooling system in a refridgerator dosen't affect her howerver. Has anyone heard of anything like this. I have been unable to find anything on this. Could it just be a phobia of hers? She has other phobia's.
    sgbl88 responded:
    That would be really hard to say. She could have Reactive Airway Disease. That is where the airways react adversely to trigger irritants such as dust, perfumes, hot or cold air, dry or humid air. Weather/climate can have an effect on a person's breathing. Either extreme could cause problems, or it could just be the change from one to the other.

    I would not have believed this if I had not experienced it for myself in my dr's office and she fixed it by adjusting the AC. I was put in a stuffy room and quickly began coughing. By the time the dr came in, I could not stop coughing and said between coughs that I didn't know what was going because I was fine when I walked in the room. She went out and adjusted the AC and when the cooler air reached me, my coughing subsided.

    It really does sound like your mother could just be the oposite. My guess would be that the dryness of the conditioned air triggers her coughing.

    I think you should assume that it is real and not a phobia.

    Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Hi Anon_41058,

    Also, make sure that your mother-in-law is changing her a/c filters! Soooo many people forget to do this on a regular basis and it is amazing to see all of the dust, hair and other unfortunate things from the air that we are breathing in on a regular basis. Yuck!
    Best Wishes! Amelia
    sewcrazy2001 replied to Amelia_WebMD_Staff's response:
    last year I discovered an allergy to propylene glycol among other things. This chemical is used in air conditioning systems. your mother in law should be checked for this allergy. In addition, it's also found in foods and cosmetics. Hope this helps.
    sewcrazy2001 responded:
    Last year I found out I'm allergic to propylene glycol which is a chemical found in air conditioning systems. I get the dry cough and breathing problems too. Trust me, it's NOT a phobia. She should be checked for this allergy. Unfortunately there's not to be done because most buildings are air conditioned, but just knowing what's causing it helps. I have a vent directly over my head at work and the best they could do is close it. Be aware too, if she turns out to be allergic to this chemical it's also found in some foods and cosmetics like lotions, shampoos, creams, lipstick, just to name a few.
    jesuswon responded:
    She may be allergic to the chemicals the a/c collects as it does its job!

    See Chemical sensitivity is a pain in the neck, I have to deal with it daily. Chemical exposures cause instant "intoxication," (yup, drunk again and I don't drink!), so being wise about even removing myself from the chemical, if that is possible by then, is challenging. I frequently spend 2 1/2 hours "asleep" when I am exposed to any of 3700 chemicals. My doctors tell me it's like being barefoot in a dark room full of mousetraps, the wisest course is to plot my course to avoid the mousetraps and stick to my trails. The only treatment is to avoid what causes symptoms. I'm a retired minister who cannot even go to church!

    All my best to you and your mom as you sort this out. Do trust her, she knows her body and her needs.

    SuzetteLaChance responded:
    Hi Anon-
    I have bad allergies in general, but just like people are different, so are airways, lungs and air-conditioning units! Some people have wall air conditioners and some window and some central air. It is all different. Some of these air-conditioners are cleaner than others ie filters etc. Some people like myself have strong reactions to small changes in temperatures. I use my wall air-conditioner all the time, but find that it is very important to keep it so it isn't too hot, or too cold or I start coughing or having respiratory distress of some kind (stuffiness, etc). The air conditioner definately helps with the allergies for sure but also with asthma for instance also it is best not to keep it too cold constantly. Some people feel the closed in feeling from air-conditioners and although I need mine a lot, I would much prefer to have windows open and feel closed in.......It could be a phobia, but it could also be a real health issue for her ... she could have asthma and not know it. Maybe if you explore this by asking her a few questions, it would help. Hope this helps! SuzieQ
    Dflo707 responded:
    My wife has suffered from Allergies of numerous types. We installed an Electronic Air Filtration Systems from AspenAir and she now enjoys Indoor-Air-Quality without triggering her Allergic symptoms. Not only is she relieved of her suffering but we also noticed a savings on our PGE bill as advertised by AspenAir. You can check them out at .....
    VEGIENATOR replied to jesuswon's response:
    I agree with much of the previous things said with our network here. The term I think people are looking for is called MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). It's relatively more of a new term that more and more people are now beginning to give more merit too, especially in the commercial/business workplace.

    Like how jesuswon said, these chemicals are plentiful with Indoor Air everywhere we are; from that glycol in air-con units to the 99.98% "other ingredients" in our bleach wipes/surface cleaners. They're called VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds/Chemicals). More doctors are giving them more investigation now, but keeping an eye on the indoor environment is key since that's where the symptoms occur.

    Basic filters on AC systems only catch bigger particles, as VOCs, odors, and fine particles like mold spores and dander fly right through Merv rated or hepa type filters, so don't think that basic filtration and electrostatic/ionic purification will fix it.

    CNN is doing a special called "Toxic America" right now you can check out online. Big 3 I always suggest: Source control, ventilation, and air sterilization. But as always, seek out new info from any source you can and hopefully some of these links will help you...
    campohome responded:
    I now sit in the back seat of my car with only the fan going, otherwise I choke up and can't breathe. ( Last week I made an
    emergency stop at a Drs. office because of the air conditioning)
    jpbean responded:
    I have an older friend with the same effects. Also I have vasomotor rhinitis which makes it hard for you to adjust to temperature changes. My sinus' will swell, I will get congested and feel as though I have a sinus infection. Then all of a sudden it will release and I feel fine. Since then I have become chemically intolerant to many things. I started out thinking everything must be in my imagination because it seemed so unreal. The air we breath today is becoming more unhealthy. These conditions also cause anxiety and panic attacks. Look up multiple chemical sensitivity on the internet. jpbean
    MSKMSKMSK replied to sgbl88's response:
    I have had problems with aircondtioning for over 50 years. I in a state of agony because of this. I can not go to movies, restaurants and doctor's offices who think they have to raise the a/c. It almost knocked me off yesterday. I had to go for a chest x-ray because I get so congested because of the a/c. I waited over 1 hour because they went out for lunch and I sat there freezing because of it. It's no phobia, its a real problem. I love the summer but I don't enjoy this a/c. You have to dress warm in order to go anywhere. I where long sleeve shirts and a hat and if I have to ear warmers, expecially in food stores. take care of your mom. Cool in NY
    jesuswon responded: may have answers for you, as may an environmental medicine specialist (ACAM). Yes, I've heard of it, don't blame a phobia when it's likely a microorganism, e.g. legionnaire's disease.
    patient_patient responded:
    Male, 37. I have mild seasonal allergies (treatable with chlorpheniramine) and an allergy to penicillin. Also tests indicate allergies to dogs, mugwort, birch trees and beech trees.

    From time to time, i have come across situations where air conditioners have caused allergic reactions in my body. It's been very hard pinning it down, but it seems to be connected to A/Cs and/or air filters. BTW, i have no hate of A/Cs, I rather like to be cool and comfortable

    My reaction is aching in major muscles, e.g. quads, arms, back, lower leg. Somewhat treatable with Advil, although amount of advil required causes stomach upset. Tylenol did not help. Treatment with lexapro and zoloft helped once dose was increased, but caused severe sexual side effects. Also, excess phlegm seems to accompany the aching muscles. These symptoms typically last for 2-3 days after exposure to areas where air conditioners are located.

    I wish I could pin it down better, but I was free of it for many months after quitting Lexapro. Then I moved into a new apartment. 6 weeks later, began using the A/C here and symptoms resumed very shortly thereafter. As of yesterday, I've turned off the A/C and hoping the pain will go away. I will consider buying a brand new A/C for cooling and hope it doesn't cause the problem.

    I saw many doctors about this problem in the past as it occurred to me in the building where I worked for 7 years! However, doctors had very little advice for me. The most insightful was when Multiple Chemical Sensitivity was explained to me. I have gone through elimination diets, experimented with extra and no exercise. The SSRIs/NRPIs eliminated it as mentioned.

    We tested my previous work environment for temperature, humidity, formaldehyde, CO and dust. Humidity was on the low side (15%), but the margin of acceptable.
    ronnieelvis responded:
    Some say that ACs can cause arthritis and I'd say that there is no proof to indicate that climatic factors (such as cold, wet or wind) or too use of AC cause arthritis though changes in barometric pressures may make joints feel worse. Similarly, arthritis is not caused by particular foods, cold food or drinks, heavy metals in food or the environment, or air-conditioning.

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