Is my fan making me ill?

Just a quick question to see if anyone else has had experience of getting ill when using a cooling fan.
I train in my garage in the UK, once the temperature drops below about 5 degrees C I don’t use my fans to train as the air they blow is too cold, a fair bit of sweat but its fine.
Between about 5 and 10 degrees it feels too hot to not have some cooling but I am convinced that when I do I end up getting a runny nose and sneezing for a couple of days following which appear to come from nowhere.
Above about 10 degrees and no problems.
Has anyone else experienced anything like this or is this in my head and pure coincidence as to when I get a cold?

I have two fans on me, one at face level generally pointed at my upper body and the other on the ground in front of the front wheel aimed at my torso (though I can’t say I ever feel that wind). If I’m not hot, I do need to turn the fan away and often down as well (it’s within a stretched reach, that close) or I do feel like a cold is being thrust upon me! As I heat up, I can rotate it back toward me and turn it up. So, yeah, it’s really uncomfortable.

I think I have had it once or twice, as I haven’t installed a WiFi or Bluetooth control for my fan (yet) I tend to put the fan on just before I start working out.

The harder the workout the higher I set the fan from the start, but I wear a light jacket (one I use for running) during the warm up and during the cooldown.
Since I have been doing that I haven’t had a problem.
Could be coincidence of course, but since it’s basically zero effort I am sticking with it

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Make sure these fans are not picking up dust and blowing it in your face.


This is my guess. Picking up and blowing around an irritant is totally possible.

I have increase in my asthma symptoms when it’s cold. That could be an issue. Cold and wind don’t directly cause an illness like that.

I have an open door to a veranda and a fan in front of it blowing at my face. If it is cold, i.e. less than 0 C or so, I feel that it makes me sick whenn on high speed, so I avoid that. Also; I always wear a buff to cover my throat from the cold air, up to around 10 C.

It could be exercise induced rhinitis, i suffer the same symptoms as you’ve described. Try an antihistamine nasal spray it worked for me.

This was a problem for me in my basement. Ended up taping a 20"x20"x1" MERV 11 filter to a 20" box fan and run that a little before, and during my workout. It made a significant difference for me

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My cold / allergic reaction had gone within 24 hours so did kingsbury last night with no fans, man that was hot!!! Think I am going to place the fans a little lower and further away aimed a bit less at my face. If that doesn’t work then the filters seem interesting, does it impede the air hitting you?

As I’ve posted elsewhere, found when it got below 5’c in garage my training struggled, was sure it was minus 'c when the fan got turned on, half expected to see frost forming on me… solved with my cheap Chinese diesel heater… (£140ish with remote) press my remote button and by the time I’m ready to enter the garage its a nice toasty 10-12’c, then turn it down 50% and let a bit of air in from outside… its made a big difference.

I’m ill for the second time in two months, and I’m almost ready to – perhaps irrationally – blame my Lasko. I’ve always used a single high-velocity Honeywell fan that I got in 2010, and kept the blades and fan cover ribs clean. I sweep the bike room regularly. Last month, and now this month, a few workouts with both fans going on medium irritated my sinuses and now I have a full-blown ick.

The complicating factor here is that both last month and this month, my wife and I started hacking up goo and sneezing at the same time, so perhaps it’s not the fans blowing irritants my way as it is an unlucky late flu season for two teachers.

I suppose I’ll find out the next time I try using both fans for a few days…at any rate, two sicks in two months and our races here end in June. I’m done for the year and I have yet to pin a number on. Grrr.

That is a good (overly obvious) idea!

Sounds like the cold going around here in Indiana. My wife is just starting to get over it after 3+ weeks and I am now getting to experience its joy. Taking the week basically off to beat it early.

I think that many make confusion between “cooling” and “aerating”: fan has not to be used to cool the air but to dry the sweat and remove too much heat from the body.
for this reason you don’t get the same result of a fan working at very low temperatures: you sweat anyway and sweat freezes.
the temperature must be above 13-15°, you must use a fan, at a moderate speed, a breathable shirt and a towel for sweat : if the training involves long recovery moments, close the zip of the shirt or, even, turn off fan.
This is the best way to not get sick

Maybe using a vacuum cleaner with a good filter is better. Sweeping may loosen the dust from the floor and give you more problems.

While I also got sore neck and cold a few workouts after getting a powerful fan, I am not jumping to conclusions yet:

  • I had not vacuumed the room for a while
  • I had a few nights of less than perfect sleep and other recovery
  • My weekly TSS was high

Common cold is caused by rhinovirus, not cold air as such.

Your saying below 13 degrees and we shouldn’t be using a fan?

Interesting contrary data point: cold air does not cause colds but can weaken your ability to fight off a cold. The evidence isn’t particularly strong, but it is there.

Viruses and the immune system

EDIT: With that being said, what you’re describing sounds more like rhinitis or your body’s reaction to cold, dry air. Is this the only spot you have to workout? Could you add a space heater to bring the temp up?

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no, I’m saying to train (indoor) above 13-15° (and not below 10°) and to use always a fan
this is the best way to train and not get sick

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