Using fans and / or skin wetting as a low cost cooling strategy for the elderly during heat waves

The elderly are among the most vulnerable during heat waves due to underlying health issues, age-related decreases in sweating, medications that can alter sweat reactions, and other social and cognitive reasons. . This research aims to investigate cost-effective and sustainable cooling strategies for older people during heat waves to help inform policy guidance and health advice provided to the public.

This study requires at least 5 and up to 9 visits to the Susan Wakil Health Building, Camperdown Campus. You will undergo a medical examination including a cardiac stress test to determine your eligibility for the study. If you are allowed, you will return for 4 more visits lasting approximately 4 hours where you will experience 3 hours of passive heat exposure simulating either a very hot and humid temperature (38C, 60% RH) or very hot and dry (45C, 15%) heat wave in our ultramodern climatic chamber of the Laboratory of thermal ergonomics.

Various physiological and perceptual measurements will be obtained, including body temperature, whole body sweat loss, skin blood flow, local sweating rate, thermal comfort, thermal perception and sensation of thirst. During each trial you will experience one of the following: no intervention; Fan placed 1.25 m in front, blowing on you all the time; Skin wetting applied with a spray bottle to different parts of your body; or the combined Fan + Skin wetting interventions. You will be given a specific amount of water to drink throughout the test and will be able to bring a book or listen to music, watch TV (on a small iPad) during the test.


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About Rhonda Lee

Rhonda Lee

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