ZocdocAnswersCan air conditioning cause respiratory issues?

Question

Can air conditioning cause respiratory issues?

I'm a father of three, and I've noticed that all of my kids are coughing more since we moved into our new apartment. Is it possible the air-conditioning unit is to blame? I don't know how long it's been since the filter was changed.

Answer

Anytime more than one member of a household begins experiencing symptoms, it's always concerning that they are being exposed to something in the house. Your primary care doctor or there pediatrician likely will be able to assess their symptoms and be able to narrow the likely causes of the cough. Coughs that don't go away can be cause by several different environment or medical culprits. For example, if the filter in your furnace or air conditioner filter has not been changed in some time, then dust, pollen or other allergens can get into your house and cause a runny nose. I night, when the kids lie down, the nose secretions can run down the back of the throat and cause cough. If asthma runs in the family, you could consider that you kids may have a very mild form of it that seems to be irritated in your new environment. A more serious condition that has been associated with air-conditioning units is legionella pneumonia. This is a nasty bug that can cause a serious lung infection and often infects people that work under the same unit. This is very unlikely in your case, but you should always keep the dangerous things in mind. A chronic cough is something that you primary care doctor or their pediatrician can evaluate. If not, pulmonary specialists often have the answers.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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