General Question

bootonthroat's avatar

Is being hot bad for you?

Asked by bootonthroat (344 points ) June 27th, 2010

What temperature is safe for long-term exposure?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

24 Answers

ubersiren's avatar

There’s really no landmark temperature that will harm you. It’s got something to do with other conditions as well. If you’re well hydrated, stay out of the sun, and don’t exert yourself, your body can handle a lot of heat. That’s how people in Africa and the Middle East can live in the desert. Those people have also adapted.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Here where we live, in Texas, the temp regularly gets up around 110 degrees at noon during the Summer. I avoid going out in it whenever possible. Then again, I’m mostly Swedish, genetically speaking.

bootonthroat's avatar

Thank you both. I thought there might be some medical research from people who work in mines or other hot industrial settings?

cazzie's avatar

@bootonthroat Is it warm where you are? Why don’t you go sit out in the heat and let us know how it goes? just kidding

There are procedures that people are expected to be excused from work when the environment becomes too hot, especially from physical labour, but I suppose that depends also on where you live. The US OSHA recommendations sound rather feudal to me.

‘OSHA does not have a specific regulation regarding heat stress. However, feasible and acceptable methods can be used to reduce heat stress hazards in workplaces. These include, but are not limited to:

Permitting workers to drink water at liberty;

Establishing provisions for a work/rest regimen so that exposure time to high temperatures and/or the work rate is decreased;

Developing a heat stress program which incorporates the following:

A training program informing employees about the effects of heat stress, and how to recognize heat-related illness symptoms and prevent heat-induced illnesses;

A screening program to identify health conditions aggravated by elevated environmental temperatures;

An acclimation program for new employees or employees returning to work from absences of three or more days;

Specific procedures to be followed for heat-related emergency situations;

Provisions that first aid be administered immediately to employees displaying symptoms of heat-related illness.
We have included a Heat Stress Card (OSHA Publication 3154), which you may find interesting. You may also find additional outreach materials on heat stress on OSHA’s web page at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/index.html. ’

source: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24008

a link to Health and Safety in the UK regarding workplace temperature: http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/thermal/faq.htm

bootonthroat's avatar

@cazzie:
Thank you for your real answer.
a) I am sorry OSHA is so vague.
b) The UK is crazy!!!! I am glad I do not own a business there as 56–86 is ultra-restrictive. I was expecting something like 0–125F. It is amazing what silly spineless whimpering pansies the once great British empire has become. A grown man refusing to work at 55F would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.

cazzie's avatar

@bootonthroat those figures were only considered ‘normal comfort zones’ and there was NOTHING ‘restrictive about it. I don’t think you read it thoroughly. If just one employee complained, the boss doesn’t have to do anything. More than 20% of the employees would have to formally complain about the temperature before the employer would have to go through a risk assessment. No one is allowed to go home just because they feel a ‘chill’. You want to call Brits silly, spineless, whimpering pansies? Tell these guys: http://www.sportphotogallery.com/common/zoom.aspx?productId=688&imageType=Main&brandUrlBase=Sports
They don’t wear that sissy padding and stop every few seconds to catch their breath and wait for the commercials to finish playing.

bootonthroat's avatar

@cazzie
I read it. The opening lines are:

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lay down particular requirements for most aspects of the working environment. Regulation 7 deals specifically with the temperature in indoor workplaces and states that:

‘During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable.’

So the law is that the temperature be reasonable which they then go on to define as 56–86 F.

Rugby is a holdout left over from the Britain that once-was. The guys in the picture are probably just as sad about the decline as I am.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Comparing “temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable” to “what temperature is safe for long term exposure” is like comparing chickens and ducks because they’re both poultry.

Perhaps if the details of your question were a little more forthcoming, instead of leaving readers to attempt to read your mind as to the purpose of your question, you would not be compelled to crack on @cazzie‘s answer.

cazzie's avatar

he didn’t read it right. Wow.

bootonthroat's avatar

@PandoraBoxx
I didn’t crack on cazzie’s answer. I in fact gave a “Great Answer”. I did crack on the UK laws and therefore UK voters. I stand by those statements. The laws are laughable. I wanted to know what is safe but I am additionally interested in what is legal.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Long-term exposure as in, “lost in the woods after falling out of your canoe, are wet to the skin with no way to dry yourself off, nightfall is approaching, and the temperature drops below 50 degrees” or long-term as in “caught in a freak snow storm in August,you’re wearing shorts, tee shirt and chako sandals, your car is stranded and there’s no cell phone reception”, or “biking across the US in July and must cross the Mojave Desert”, or “plane crashes north of Arctic Circle, you’re injured, and they can’t find you.”

bootonthroat's avatar

@PandoraBoxx
The answer might include some additional factors such as “under exertion” or “wet skin” or “low humidity” but damage to your body from heat should not change based on if you are hot because a plane crashed, a car broke down, you are in a mine, etc. In my case it is people under exertion in a non-climate controlled building. I am not worried about comfort but I don’t want anyone to actually get hurt.

cazzie's avatar

@bootonthroat I wonder if you have those heat stress plans that OSHA talks about or if you’ll just ‘BP’ it if employees start fainting from heat stroke.

@PandoraBoxx I kind of guessed at what he was getting at from reading his other posts. I knew he was in charge of a bunch of employees in an office building. I can almost tell you what he does for a living. not really, but it would be fun guessing

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I can tolerate working outdoors from -30C to about +28C (that’s -34F to 82F) .
In the winter I like my house at about 19C (66F) and in the summer +23C (74C)

With extremes of cold, I can always cover myself with more layers of clothing. When it is too hot, there are limits to how many clothes I can remove and at that limit I am still too uncomfortable and there is little I can do where fans and air conditioning are unavailable or too costly to operate.

Val123's avatar

It bothers me more now than it used to. Here in Kansas we hit 100+ pretty regularly during the summer. When I was younger I’d play sand volleyball in it. Sand would be so HOT we’d turn sprinklers on it and play with them on so we wouldn’t burn our feet. I remember playing foosball in a friend’s house with no AC. Didn’t faze me a bit.
I hauled some rock with my husband yesterday. It was close to 100….just that little bit was hard to handle. In fact, I bowed out of helping with the second load because I thought he was NUTS!

BoBo1946's avatar

Friday, got to too hot working in the yard and stayed on the recliner all weekend. The heat index here has been between 100 and 110! Anything over a 100 is dangerous…. plus, i was taken frequent breaks and drinking lot of liquids!

It has been so hot here lately, the squirrels are using gloves to “scratch their nuts!”

LostInParadise's avatar

Good point. The relevant factor is not heat, but the combination of heat and humidity, the heat index . Check toward the bottom of the article for what is considered dangerous. The Wikipedia article even gives the formula for heat index. I would be curious t know how it was derived.

fightfightfight's avatar

It’s like a hundred degrees where I am so yeah, it’s bad. I hate summer. Winter is the best!

Val123's avatar

You know, I think it really depends on what you’re used to. To people who live in the Antarctic, for example, and who experience -60 and -70 degree temps, well, -20 is going to feel like a warm spring day.
There was a time when you had no CHOICE but to be out working in it. Farmers, for example. AC hasn’t been around all that long, either.

bootonthroat's avatar

Thanks everyone. I’ll get people some of those bottled waters and freeze them overnight in the box freezer. I think I am going to set the limit at 110F and see what happens.

wilma's avatar

I just attended the funeral of a police officer who died as the result of heat stroke.
It was the saddest thing I have ever witnessed.

Val123's avatar

I just read this question with a whole other spin! As in, one answer can be, “Yes, being hot can be bad for you because it tends to attract men totally indiscriminately, and they get mad when you won’t sleep with them!”

@wilma How did that happen??

bootonthroat's avatar

@Val123 that kind of hot isn’t bad for you!

Val123's avatar

@bootonthroat I know! But I just suddenly saw the sentence that way!

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