The infamous “air-con disease” or クーラー病 / “Cooler-byo” is not an imaginary problem at all… side effects range from headaches/migraines, dizziness, muscle aches, dehydration, agravated rhinitis and respiratory diseases, Legionnaire’s Disease and Sick Building Syndrome to many other physiological, metabolic and immune system dysfunctions that could result.  The condition can be fatal for newborns and infants. And although children and elderly are the most susceptible to these troubles, with the rising temperatures and heatwaves, more people are subcumbing to the attendant problems of an AC-dependent lifestyle.

Most Japanese from earlier generations are highly conscious of the health problems which is why many of them will “sweat” it out leaving ACs for the “heatwave” or turning the power down.

Here are some things that have been recommended by various sources that you can do to alleviate the situation:
  • Have ACs on a higher temperature setting but have a fan to circulate the air around the room better (position fan halfway from AC, facing from AC and in the direction of circulatory flow  – changing the flap direction on the AC). “the optimal temperature control the air conditioning: air-conditioned office in summer the optimum temperature should be maintained at above 26 ℃, indoor and outdoor temperature is generally no more than 8-10 degrees as well, so not only make the body feel comfortable, reduce energy waste. Temperature is too low, when people enter the room after the sweat will increase the burden on the central regulation of body temperature, body temperature regulation can cause serious central disorder, is not conducive to good health” so actually, the setsuden 28 degree setting is helping us all get healthier, though the heatwave isn’t.
  • Sleep with a futon, change position of bed so you’re not facing the full blast of the airstream – use a humidifier while aircon is on OR simply having a basin of water on the sidetable in an elevated position beside you in the room will help some. Definitely try not to expose surface skin to cool dry air while you sleep. (The body needs to maintain 40-70% humidity to remain healthy and maintain optimum functioning.)
  • Cool the room ahead of bedtime and set the AC on timer for an hour (or two) to go off when you’re asleep (though sleep expert on TV Asaichi programme says you need to set the timer to go off 4 hours after you fall asleep to get “deep sleep”. (See also recommendationhere)
  • Separate bedrooms until your wife has delivered and her body goes back to normal.
  • Make sure you “hydrate” and drink sufficient fluids several hours before going to bed to hydrate body, but some quarters say, not just before. Getting regular exercise and improving your own body circulation and immune system is said to be a great key to adjusting to temperatures.
  • We sometimes drink ginger tea brews or do a few minutes of exercise before going to sleep to improve our body metabolism. Having frequent/daily hot baths (J. style or Scandinavian sauna style) is said to have the same effect.
  • Massaging your legs till they “warm up”, to get the circulation going everynight before going to bed, and when you wake up probably will help too (this is what I used to do when I used to get leg cramps years ago).
  • Chinese doctors give massages, heat cup treatment or acupuncture treatments…
Generally, Chinese medicine or TCM and Japanese doctors tend to take air-con disease much more seriously than western medical practioners do, and consequently offer more remedies and advice for the condition. Western articles tend only to deal with Legionnaire’s Disease and Sick-Building Syndrome issues of ACs, but the physiological problems, immune and metabolic dysfunctions and problems are far more complex.
More info on AC-disease:
In Japanese: Googling 冷房クーラー病)”cooler-byo” turns up hundreds of articles herecompared to the paltry few in English that you can count on the fingers of one hand!
We do some or most of the above when necessary, but we actually don’t suffer from AC-disease anymore since…
Hope this helps some,