Experts warn about using fans during a heatwave


According to some health experts – fans really aren’t your friends in extreme temperatures.

With the heat index expected to reach 105 to 110 degrees every day through Saturday – people without air conditioners might be tempted to grab as many fans as possible.

But health experts warn that won’t be enough to keep you cool.

Bill Snook with the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department says fans don’t remove humidity.

They move air over your skin, evaporating moisture more quickly than usual.

“When it evaporates into an already humid environment, there’s not a lot of room for that sweat to go, so you’re basically pulling more water out,” Snook said.

Over the past five summers – between two and four people died each year because of heat-related issues.

There were 21 deaths in 2000.

“When we look at those death scene investigations, we’re seeing that you’re more likely to die with a fan on than without,” Snook said.

The average age of those fatalities is 54 years old.

“A lot of them have cardiovascular disease, a lot of them have some mental health challenges, some folks are using alcohol and other substances. We know people are trying to stay cool with fans, but we realize when we walk in it just feels like an oven,” Snook said.

The health department says fans aren’t all bad, but they have to be combined with other ways of staying cool — like cool showers, cool drinks, cool compresses.

“You put them on your neck, under your armpits, on your groin. Those areas are where it’s going to cool the blood flow a little bit.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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