Mostly seen among professionals working for prolonged hours in air conditioned offices, cubicle cold is on a rise
Do you get a blocked nose every time you venture into an air conditioned office from humid or hot environs? You might be suffering from a condition called cubicle cold.
Commonly found in people who have a prolonged desk job in an air conditioned environment, this condition is on a rise in the city, according to the city doctors.
What is cubicle cold?
Seen through the year, cubicle cold is more common during summer and monsoon. It is usually caused due to the extreme temperature difference between the outside weather and the office environs with the air conditioners often set at temperatures of 18 or 20 degree celsius. “People generally complain of symptoms like blocked and stuffy noses in their offices. Few people also get persistent sneezing and dry cough for a few weeks to a month. In 90 percent of cases, these people say that they work in a cold air conditioned environment for prolonged hours. Those who already have the allergenic tendency, have more severe symptoms like watering of eyes and headaches,” says ENT consultant Dr Ritu Sheth.
According to ENT surgeon Dr Rajeev Nerurkar, a diet rich in Vitamins A, E and C can go a long way in protecting your body against this condition. “One should eat lots of vegetables (washed properly) and fruits rich in these vitamins to prevent this condition. Avoid chilled beverages and oily, spicy foods. One should also avoid getting wet in the rain before entering office and stay away from dust and pollution,” he adds.
Moreover, the air conditioner’s vents and filters need to be cleaned on a regular basis, says Sheth. “If the air conditioner vents are not serviced regularly, they become the breeding ground for fungal growth.The spores from these fungi get dispersed by the air conditioner blast in an enclosed office space. As the air is constantly recirculated, slowly and steadily the spore count increases which may affect several people in the office,” she adds. As a result, the office windows should be kept open for at least an hour during the day in order to circulate fresh air, says Nerurkar.
Tips to prevent cubicle cold
– Air conditioner’s settings should be kept at around 24 degrees celsius and not at very cold temperatures.
– Airing out the rooms by opening the windows once in a while also helps.
– If you persistently develop stuffy or runny nose as soon as you enter the office, it is advisable not to take over-the-counter drugs and consult an ENT specialist.
– Eat fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamins A, E and C to build resistance against cold.
– Avoid getting wet in the rains. If you enter the office wearing wet clothes, dry them immediately.