The decreased skin circulation and sweat gland activity both affect thermoregulation and heat loss in such a way that core temperature will increase more than in the fully hydrated state. Also chimney sweeps and firefighters are exposed to external heat.
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, Heat may come from many sources. In foundries, steel mills, bakeries, smelters, glass factories, and furnaces, extremely hot or molten material is the main source of heat.
In outdoor occupations, such as construction, road repair, open-pit mining and agriculture, summer sunshine is the main source of heat. In laundries, restaurant kitchens, and canneries, high humidity adds to the heat burden. In all instances, the cause of heat stress is a working environment which can potentially overwhelm the body's ability to deal with heat.
When air temperature or humidity is higher, people feel uncomfortable. Such situations do not cause harm as long as the body can adjust and cope with the additional heat. Very hot environments can overwhelm the body's coping mechanisms leading to a variety of serious and possibly fatal conditions.
This OSH Answers document contains information about the health effects of hot environments. Please see Hot Environments - Control Measures for information about the prevention and control for heat exposure. How does the human body react to hot environments?
As the environment warms-up, the body tends to warm-up as well. The body's internal "thermostat" maintains a constant inner body temperature by pumping more blood to the skin and by increasing sweat production.
In this way, the body increases the rate of heat loss to balance the heat burden. In a very hot environment, the rate of "heat gain" is more than the rate of "heat loss" and the body temperature begins to rise.
A rise in the body temperature results in heat illnesses. How does the body control heat gain and heat loss? The main source of heat in normal conditions is the body's own internal heat.
Called metabolic heat, it is generated within the body by the biochemical processes that keep us alive and by the energy we use in physical activity. The body exchanges heat with its surroundings mainly through radiation, convection, and evaporation of sweat.
Radiation is the process by which the body gains heat from surrounding hot objects, such as hot metal, furnaces or steam pipes, and loses heat to cold objects, such as chilled metallic surfaces, without contact with them.
Convection is the process by which the body exchanges heat with the surrounding air. The body gains heat from hot air and loses heat to cold air which comes in contact with the skin. Convective heat exchange increases with increasing air speed and increased differences between air and skin temperature.
Evaporation of sweat from the skin cools the body. Evaporation occurs more quickly and the cooling effect is more noticeable with high wind speeds and low relative humidity.
In hot and humid workplaces, the cooling of the body due to sweat evaporation is limited because the air cannot accept more moisture. In hot and dry workplaces, the cooling due to sweat evaporation is limited by the amount of sweat produced by the body.
The body also exchanges small amounts of heat by conduction and breathing.
By conduction, the body gains or loses heat when it comes into direct contact with hot or cold objects. Breathing exchanges heat because the respiratory system warms the inhaled air.
When exhaled, this warmed air carries away some of the body's heat. However, the amount of heat exchanged through conduction and breathing is normally small enough to be ignored in assessing the heat load on the body. What are the effects of heat on the body?
When the air temperature or humidity rises above the range for comfort, problems can arise. The first effects relate to how you feel. Exposure to more heat can cause health problems and may affect performance. As the temperature or heat burden increases, people may feel: Loss of concentration and ability to do mental tasks.
Loss of ability to do skilled tasks or heavy work. In moderately hot environments, the body "goes to work" to get rid of excess heat so it can maintain its normal body temperature. The heart rate increases to pump more blood through outer body parts and skin so that excess heat is lost to the environment, and sweating occurs.
These changes place additional demands on the body.rutadeltambor.com is an online office supply store and furniture e-tailer. Thousands of items online from complete office supplies, office solutions, and stationery supplies to desk supplies, office furniture, office chairs, and more.
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