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Glob Health Action. 2009 Nov 11;2. doi: 10.3402/gha.v2i0.2057.

Maintaining health, comfort and productivity in heat waves.

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Department of Human Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK.



The aim of this paper is to summarise what is known about human response to heat and to use this knowledge to provide guidance on how to maintain the health, comfort and performance of people in heat waves.


The use of power and especially water are critical in providing cooling. A practical method of cooling people in a water bath is described. A warm bath slowly cooled will provide effective cooling but not thermal trauma.


It is concluded that for sedentary and light activities, it is not necessary to cool offices or homes below 25 degrees C for thermal comfort.


To compare the costs due to loss of productivity caused by a heat wave, with the cost of taking action, more research is needed into the relationship between levels of heat stress and how much distraction and 'time off task' it causes.


comfort; health; heat physiology; heat waves; productivity

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