Extreme Heat Taxes the Body: Research
California, 7 Aug (ONA) --- Tens of thousands die from heat waves and even more suffer from heat illness or injury. Moreover, research shows that the human body can adapt to heat, but only to a certain point.
“The body works quite hard to keep the core body temperature within a pretty narrow range,” says Kristie Ebi, who researches climate change and health at the University of Washington in Seattle. “If you can’t cool down that core body temperature, then your cells and your organs start being affected.”
The research found that sustained heat wavesplace human bodies under strain, which can set off a cascade of effects that can lead to permanent injury or death. Heat waves are also getting more humid, limiting people’s ability to cool down, and nights are growing hotter, cutting into the time people might rest and recover. Those trends contribute to undercutting our ability to adapt to rising heat.
Heat risks are expected to increase with rising temperatures, researchers say.
Climate change is spurringheat waves that are not only hotterand longer but, crucially, more humid. “It’s becoming more dangerous because the humidity is acting as a barrier to how we cool ourselves,” says Rachel Cottle, who researches thermoregulation at Penn State.