Doctors say avoid box fans in this heat wave, it could make things worse

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Posted at 6:51 AM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 09:13:34-04

CLEVELAND — If you don’t have air conditioning, you may be thinking that a box fan is the next best thing. However, with high humidity it could be doing more harm than help.

Doctors say fans don’t remove humidity. In fact, they are just blowing hot air on you and over your skin.

That circulation of air evaporates the moisture and sweat you already have on your body. Though, sweat is our body’s own way of regulating your body temperature. If you keep removing the sweat, it can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.

If that dehydration climbs, it can increase the risk of heat exhaustion or stroke.

The elderly and young kids are most susceptible to heat-related illnesses because their bodies have a harder time regulating their temperatures.

Dr. Baruch Fertel with the Cleveland Clinic said if you don’t have A/C, you still have options.

“You actually need a cooling mechanism to lower the temperature. So, maybe adding a little mist could help, but ideally, one would want to be in an air conditioned area,” he said. “Go to the library. Go to a mall. If you can get out, there are places that are air conditioned. Various cities and areas do set up places that have cooling centers.”

Fertel said fans aren’t all bad if you’re combining them with other cooling mechanisms like mist, cold and wet towels, or taking cold showers.