Legion of Cool Doom

July 11, 2011

Torah Kachur

Torah on Location in Bali, Indonesia


It's summer for most of us which often means sweltering in our apartments and festering in suits.  And most of us thank Darwin for AirCon.  While I sweat it out in Bali, I often dream of the luxuries of a cool breeze coming from the vents of a car or cafe.  Except one of the most important traveller mantras is "AirCon makes you sick". 


Legionnaires disease Science in Seconds


Air conditioners that exist in countries where hygiene often takes a backseat to, well, everything, are little factories for the growth of Legionella pneumophila.  This Gram negative bacteria can cause the normal flu-like symptoms and also causes the more serious Legionnaires Disease that results in pneumonia and can be fatal.  The most often form of transmission is inhalation of tiny water particles carrying these bacteria and it has been shown they can travel over 6km from its initial source. 


Science in Seconds aren't fear mongerers, your glorious central air that you depend on for all of August isn't going to kill you.  Legionnaires' isn't that common in areas where routine maintenance of air conditioning units is done, (thank your super intendant) but in hotels in Bali that are $15 per night, the idea of cleaning the air conditioner is non-existent.  So now the AC units are left spewing out potentially lethal bacteria while I luxuriously lay on the bed with a nice chill waiting for my fever tomorrow.


And if getting Legionnaires' disease wasn't enough of a deterrent to flipping the AC switch, the rampant use of air conditioning in stores with open doors or open-air cafes is a major draw on the energy resources of anywhere in the world, let alone a tiny island in Indonesia.  It seems as though the Balinese are determined to air condition the world.  Maybe a new strategy to combat global warming?



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