Do you always get ill on holiday? 'Air con flu' could be to blame

Virgin Radio

28 Jun 2023, 10:50

Pic: Getty

If you have suspicions that you always get ill on holiday, it turns out that the air conditioning might be to blame.

When the temperatures are soaring outside, you may be tempted to whack the air-conditioning on full the moment you return to your room.

However, switching it on can cause big problems.

It's not just because it can dry your airways out either, which can happen if you sleep with a fan on overnight.

Sometimes dubbed as "air con flu" or "Magaluf flu", it all refers to the cold symptoms people experience.

Senior clinical pharmacist Nyrah Saleem told Metro what causes it:

She says: "Generally, a well-maintained air conditioning unit will not make you sick.

"However, an AC Unit which is not maintained in terms of water build up could potentially increase the risk of infections if it harvests viruses and bacteria.

"Especially if mould or microbes grow within the AC unit."

She continues: "Mould exposure can irritate your ears, eyes, nose and throat leading to symptoms such as a dry mouth, sneezing or a sore throat.

"Patients with conditions such as eczema or asthma may be more prone to irritation.’

Nyrah recommends an anti-allergy tablet on holiday.

There is also an even worse danger of Legionnaires’ Disease.

"Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia (a lung infection) caused by Legionella bacteria" she adds.

"Legionella is usually found naturally in freshwater such a lakes and rivers however it can also thrive in man-made water systems, including hot tubs and air conditioning system and it’s usually spread by inhaling infecting water droplets.

"An infection could lead to symptoms such as a fever, chest pains and a cough.’

This can be a threat with air conditioning units which use water as the coolant.

Always double check the unit when you arrive.

If you're heading on holiday soon, you'll want to check out these luggage tips.