Elif Gürkan

Ventilation systems are one of the most relaxing inventions of the modern age, the cool environment is both pleasant and comfortable to live in. Especially in countries like ours, where summer is very hot, this opportunity, which was not available until 20 years ago, is now widely used, providing work efficiency and comfortable living. Air conditioning systems are extremely useful when every point of the environment can be cooled homogeneously and evenly.
But there is one thing that scares us about air conditioners, and that is direct exposure to cold air flow.

There is a very popular saying and behavior in our country. The elders say to their surroundings; Oh my child, don’t stay in the draft, you will catch a cold. It is a well-known saying and it is not in vain that all of us elders, especially mothers and grandmothers, say it. In our culture, draft means electricity. Cold air current is as feared as electric shock. On hot summer days when we are overwhelmed, we want a coolness that is not cold on our skin. But even if we are overwhelmed by the heat, we do not want to be directly exposed to cold air in our car, home or workplace.

We all know and have heard that direct exposure to cold air can cause severe pain in the neck, lower back and back, known as stiffness and pain in the neck. For us doctors, why this happens medically has always been a question mark in the back of our minds. Although there may be various opinions on this subject, we can proceed to treatment without thinking too much about the cause. Because sometimes our patients cannot handle this situation on their own and come in very stiff. In this case, it may be necessary to start medical examinations and treatment immediately. In these people, sometimes we can see problems in the examinations, sometimes the examinations are completely normal, so why do they get motion sickness?

The probable reason for this is that when we are directly exposed to cold breeze, our nerve cells on our skin, in other words our sensors, detect this sensation and send it to the spinal cord and then to the brain. The brain synthesizes this information and sends its response to the heat center, spinal cord, muscles and skin in a short time. The heat center in the brain perceives the stimuli from the skin as chills, while the stimuli from the muscles and connective tissue initiate the contraction and spasm cycle. This feedback causes a more severe reaction in people with an underlying spinal condition, whereas in a completely normal person it causes a shorter period of discomfort.

If people receive and listen to this warning, avoid the cold breeze and take precautions, they can prevent it from becoming a disease. However, if the disturbing stimulus persists or if there is no chance to leave this environment, the sensors in the skin cause the muscles to remain constantly contracted with the constant stimulus and the complaints gradually increase.

Especially in people with an underlying muscular nerve disease, such as cervical hernia or lumbar hernia, the discomfort can occur much more easily. Many people have come to us in this way over the years. Nowadays, long hours of constant work at the computer and the high pace of work in the summer months have made the use of air conditioning very necessary. According to our experience, in these working conditions, we recommend that people stay away from direct air flow and use their environment and air conditioners accordingly. Especially in small environments and in the car, we especially ask people not to be exposed to direct cold air breeze. However, not using air conditioning at all is also inappropriate in terms of excessive sweating and reduced concentration.

An optimal air conditioner that takes these characteristics into account is therefore very useful.