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Study Reveals Standard Electric Fans May Make Heat Worse
A recent study entitled “Electric Fans for reducing adverse health impacts in heatwaves” stated that standard electric fans may actually contribute to heat gain in temperatures above 35˚C/95˚F.
By: Port-A-Cool, LLC
The study, which was published online July 11, 2012, by the Cochrane Library and conducted by the international non-profit group The Cochrane Collaboration, further states that other studies conducted which were similar suggested that standard electric rotary or box fans used in extreme heat can lead to health problems.
While standard electric fans may not be effective in high temperatures, there is an alternative that has proven to be very effective in extreme heat. Portable evaporative cooling units, like Port-A-Cool®
Standard fans use sweat and the moving air produced by the fans to create evaporative cooling for the body. Port-A-Cool®
The study notes that sweating is required to produce cooling using a standard fan, which can cause dehydration and health issues, especially among the very old and very young.
Virginia Murray, who leads the Health Protection Agency’s Division of Extreme Events and Health Protection, explains, “At high temperatures, fans may encourage excess sweating, which can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which can affect the proper functioning of everything from your heart to your nerves.”
Perhaps the study should have pointed out that health and safety guidelines have always noted that anyone exposed to high heat conditions should drink plenty of fluids to keep the body cooler and replenish fluids lost through the body’s natural process of sweating.
While standard electric fans; including handheld, wall- and pedestal-mounted fans; are shown in this study to possibly be detrimental in avoiding heat related illness and reducing heat and may even raise body temperatures in extreme temperature environments, the team conducting the study clarified the results by adding that further and more in-depth studies would need to be conducted before reaching reliable conclusions.
Though the abstract of the study does stress that more research should be done before action is taken by policymakers and government leadership, the fact is, for extreme temperature environments over 95˚ F, evaporative cooling is more effective, safer, and a proven technology for battling high temperatures during heatwaves any time traditional air conditioning or standard electric fans are ineffective or cost prohibitive.
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