Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

No reliable evidence on effectiveness of electric fans in heatwaves

Date:
July 11, 2012
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
A fan might help to increase heat loss if the temperature is below 35C and the fan is not directly aimed at the person, but, when temperatures are above 35 C, the fan might actually contribute to heat gain.

A fan might help to increase heat loss if the temperature is below 35C and the fan is not directly aimed at the person, but, when temperatures are above 35 C, the fan might actually contribute to heat gain.
Credit: Hemeroskopion / Fotolia

A new Cochrane systematic review of the effects of electric fans in heatwaves has found no high quality evidence to guide future national and international policies.

Heatwaves in Europe and the USA have led to increasing interest in health protection measures to reduce the impacts of such extreme weather events on human health. Heatwaves are also an issue for mass gatherings and heatwave planning has been incorporated into the preparation for the London Olympics beginning this month.

One way to try to get relief from the heat is to use an electric fan, but health experts have questioned whether this will do more harm than good. A fan might help to increase heat loss if the temperature is below 35C and the fan is not directly aimed at the person, but, when temperatures are above 35 C, the fan might actually contribute to heat gain. Excess sweating can also lead to dehydration and other health problems.

One of the review authors, Dr Saurabh Gupta, a consultant in public health at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust in the UK, said: "It is important, to know about the potential benefits and harms of electric fans when choosing whether to use one. This is true if you are simply making a decision about your own use of a fan, but it also applies to broader public health decisions, such as whether to give electric fans to groups of people during a heatwave.

"This is particularly important for people who are considered more vulnerable to the effects of heat, such as older adults who are less able to cool down through sweating or increasing the flow of blood to their skin."

The Cochrane researchers tried to provide some of the answers that would help decision makers. Introducing the review, they write: "We looked for high quality research that had compared groups of people using fans with groups who didn't use them during a heatwave. However, we didn't find any research that met our requirements.

"We did find some studies which used designs that are less reliable for answering this sort of question, and these had mixed results. Some suggested that fans might reduce health problems, while others suggested that the fans might make things worse."

Another of the authors, Katie Carmichael from the UK's Health Protection Agency says in the podcast that accompanies the review: "Our review does not support or refute the use of electric fans during a heatwave and people making decisions about them should consider the current state of the evidence base. They might also wish to make themselves aware of local policy or guidelines when making a choice about whether or not to use or supply electric fans."

Professor Mike Clarke from the All-Ireland Hub for Trials Methodology Research in Queen's University Belfast added: "We have shown that the evidence is not already out there on the benefits and harms of electric fans. We need a large randomised trial to resolve this long standing and on-going uncertainty, and to help people make well-informed choices about their use."

The review outlines the type of study that would help resolve the uncertainty.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Saurabh Gupta, Virginia Murray, Mike J Clarke, Catriona Carmichael, Claire Allen, Christina Simpson. Electric fans for reducing adverse health impacts in heatwaves. Cochrane Review, July 11, 2012 DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009888

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "No reliable evidence on effectiveness of electric fans in heatwaves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711123009.htm>.
Wiley. (2012, July 11). No reliable evidence on effectiveness of electric fans in heatwaves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711123009.htm
Wiley. "No reliable evidence on effectiveness of electric fans in heatwaves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120711123009.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins