WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF/CNN) – According to some health experts – fans really aren’t your friends in extreme temperatures. With the heat index expected to reach above 100 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.
“Fans are good to a point but we’re going to have very high humidity,” said Bill Snook. Snook, who works 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.”
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,” said Snook. The average age of those fatalities is 54 years old.
Snook says, “A lot of them have cardiovascular disease, a lot of them have some mental health challenges, some folks are using alcohol and other substances.”
The Health Department says fans aren’t all bad, but they have to be combined with other ways of staying cool. 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