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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ask the Doctor

Q: Russians tend to believe that illnesses can be caused by air currents, whether the source is an air conditioner, a draft or even a breeze on a warm day. Foreigners tend to disagree. Who is right?

Dr. Natalia Udaltsova, Centro Medico Italiano:
"Drafts and cold air currents have the same effect on people as cold drinks -- everything depends on the strength of each person's immune system. Overcooling and drastic changes in temperature can result in a cold or fever for people with a weakened immune system.
"Also, an air conditioner in a confined office space creates the effect of fresh air without any disinfectant functions. In other words, it is just driving the existing bacteria and microbes around in circles."

Dr. Irina Perrin, European Medical Center:
"Foreigners are correct in their belief. Everything depends on the patient's immune system."

Dr. Svetlana Zorina, Ne Bolit Medical Center:
"Cold air currents, including those from air conditioners, can cause muscle fever or myositis, especially if you enter a conditioned room after intense physical exercise or after being outdoors in hot weather."