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no, not a sports fan...

My stepson came home from a visit with a nasty cough and congestion. The person he was with said he slept in a room with the AC on and A FAN ON ALL NIGHT. The darned fan is being blamed for the cough & congestion. I just laughed to myself but was surprised that my husband (usually a sensible guy) thought it was a reasonable explanation. I can see getting a dry mouth but that's about it. However, not wanting to be ignorant, I just wasted an hour seeing if I could find any evidence that this might be true. Closest I could find was recommendations to keep fan blades clean if you have asthma. He has no asthma or other chronic health problems and sleeps with AC all summer.

Now searching for credible references for weird topics can be dicey. Anyone know any credible study or even a link to a good medical authority that gives  credence to the 'sleeping with a fan will make you sick' theory? Please don't give me anecdotal stories...that won't convince me either way.

14 Replies (last)

Viruses or bacteria cause infection

Dust can cause irritation

If he has congestion that persists for longer than a day, the likelihood is that it's a virus.

Oh I can top that.

Fan death

People in Korea really believe this. When I bring it up with my Korean friends, they'll fight me for hours insisting this is real. Then they finally say "it just kills Koreans... not foreigners" haha.
Under the other "Koreanisms" on that site... I actually have students I teach who've had the tongue cutting surgery. And some Koreans do still believe that eating dog meat is great for men's sex drive...

I saw something about Koreans and 'fan death'! Amazing! LOL!

My brother has slept with a small fan next to his face for about 8 years, and he NEVER gets sick. Ever.

Though he might just be used to inhaling dust mites and ringing up the hydro bill. :D

I sleep with a fan on every night for noise. I do not face it directly at me because my mom always said that getting to cold can make you sick.. i agree with her.. if you stand outside in the snow and its windy you will likely get a cold. Again though.. i have the ac on (central air) and have a small fan on my nightstand facing paralell to me.. when i dont have the ac on i still keep the fan on for noise and face it more towards me..

 Edit: i have never been sick though.. from a fan and ac..

It's not the cold that makes you "get a cold". It's germs.

Sidenote-Alysha-- you're gorgeous.

I prefer not to sleep with air conditioning unless it's unbearably hot.  I always end up with a minor head cold as a result.  Also, airplane air gets to me.  A fan is fine if it's not blowing in my face.

Original Post by smwhipple:

I prefer not to sleep with air conditioning unless it's unbearably hot. I always end up with a minor head cold as a result. Also, airplane air gets to me. A fan is fine if it's not blowing in my face.

Airplane air makes you sick because it's recycled through the cabin for the duration of the flight, giving you that many more chances to be exposed to any airborne pathogens harbored by other passengers.  Disgusting, really.

I sleep with a fan on every night...and air conditioning 365 days a year (we ive in SE Florida)

It's never made me sick...the fan has a two-fold purpose...noise blocker and added breeze.

I'm sure your son got some other virus while he was there...hope he feels better soon!

found this may offer some help


WikiAnswers - Can you catch a cold by sleeping with a fan on       &nb sp;  



In all fairness, I don't have airconditioning in my home because it rarely gets that hot here.  When I'm in a hotel, sometimes you have to run the AC, plus if you're sharing a room then sometimes the temperature gets cranked way low.  I think it's the very low temperature that actually causes me to get stuffed up, plus some AC units seem to dry out the air and I do sometimes have issues with that.

kind of drives me nuts because my body temperature really drops while i'm sleeping but my SO loooves to crank up the AC and fan.

i have to bundle up in an extra blanket on my side of the bed, but i guess that's better than him having to toss around sweating all night.

i notice in hotel rooms when he cranks up the AC, the AC tends to give me sinus problems and post nasal drip.  i always pack menthol drops on the road.

The AC dries out the air and you get congestion as your body overcompensates. We saw this time and time again in Cambodia when Cambodians came into airconditioned places. My daughter (adopted from Cambodia) is "built" for a humid climate and her nose is a freakin' gusher whenever the air is dry (all winter; any time our AC is on).

The Korean "Fan Death" thing is funny. Having spent time in Korea, I can totally believe how some Koreans would swear by it--and just as many would scoff. Hmm, sounds like any other group of people, doesn't it? :)

I have asthma and really bad allergies. I'm allergic to dust mites and uses special covers on pillows and mattresses. Air conditioning is good but fans blow dust.  I also couldn't use swamp coolers in az. for air condtioning because of mold. Also, since he is visiting and don't live there do you have animals?   Did he come visit from another state?  Just some ideas from what I've gone through. 
14 Replies