Rising Kashmir NewsSrinagar:
Poorly maintained air conditioners were potentially harmful and could pose serious health risks like Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of Pneumonia, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) said on Saturday.
President of the association, Dr. Nisar-ul-Hassan, said the problem was breeding grounds for deadly microbes that cause serious illness. “These cooling units provide safe environment for some of the dangerous bacteria like Legionella that causes Legionnaires’ disease,” he said in a statement issued here.
Dr. Nisar said 5 to 30 patients do not survive the disease. “People who are most likely to die are elderly and those with chronic medical conditions,” he said. “People contract this infection through contaminated air and manifest with high fever, muscle aches, cough and shortness of breath.”
8,000 to 18,000 people in the United States alone are hospitalized with Legionnaires’ disease each year, he said.
“Most of the cases in Kashmir go undetected because of lack of awareness and many might be dying undiagnosed as there is no testing facility,” he said.
He said air conditioning units accumulate pollens, mold spores and dust mites that worsen asthma and allergies. “These pollutants can make people’s noses clog or run and they can develop breathing difficulty. ACs pulls out moisture from the skin and leaves it dry and stretched. Also, skin becomes prone to developing creases and wrinkles which hastens ageing process.”
He said AC environment also tends to dry out eyes causing irritation, itching and tearing of eyes.
“Research shows that people who work in air conditioned environment experience chronic headaches and fatigue which leaves them vulnerable to contracting cold, flu and other illnesses,” Dr. Nisar said.