I sneeze when I use the car air conditioner

Monday January 21 2019


By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

I sneeze a lot when I use the car air conditioner or open my car windows. Why? Natabi

Dear Nattabi,
Some people, especially those who suffer from allergies or asthma may trigger allergy symptoms when they use car air conditioners, car fan or let in a gust of air from the car window.
When car air conditioners or fans circulate air, they can move around allergy-causing agents inside the car. These may include allergy-causing agents in carpets (dust, pollen, dust mite droppings or their decaying dead bodies), from dusty car air conditioners or even fumes from exhausts.

Unfortunately, avoiding the air conditioner for an open window may still bring in a gust of air with pollen, dust, boda boda fumes and other allergy agents causing the same effect. The air conditioner or an open window will also dry out the membrane that lines the nasal passages also irritating the nose, leading to sneezing and other nasal symptoms. Some people will even develop nasal symptoms sometimes accompanied by itchy skin rashes when exposed to cold conditions including coldness from air conditioning. Using a back seat, away from direct effects of the conditioner or keeping the front windows open apart from making sure the air conditioners filter are cleaned properly, may be of help.

Controlling allergies requires avoiding the cause. This may include using dust or dust mite-free seats which are either leather or covered with a plastic sheet, using plastic mats and properly cleaning out dust from the car can help reduce the reactions. Failure of getting help from the measures may require visiting a doctor to control your overall allergy.