How Does the Summer Heat Affect Our Health?

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July 31, 2018

While we love to welcome warm summer days and nights, constant high heat can have its drawbacks. With record-high temperatures growing daily throughout the globe this summer, it’s time to start paying attention to how high heat can affect both our mental and physical health.

Finding yourself in sweltering heat can be incredibly uncomfortable, but heat waves go beyond causing us to break a sweat. Here are some of the most common side effects of high temperatures:

We’re Exposed to More Chemicals

Volatile organic compounds--or VOCs–are very common chemicals that are found on everyday household items such as furniture, paint, flooring,  cleaning products, packaging, and more. When any of these items are exposed to high levels of heat, the VOCs they contain will evaporate into the air in your home, in a process known as off-gassing.

Breathing in high levels of VOCs has been known to cause a variety of health problems including headaches, nausea, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and more.

To help prevent accelerated off-gassing in your home on hot summer days, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your home’s indoor temperature. A great solution for naturally keeping your home cool is to keep blinds closed throughout the day--preferably with white heat-reflecting blinds--this will reduce the amount of heat and direct sunlight entering your home.

We Lose the Ability to Concentrate

Temperature can have a surprising impact on our productivity. Working in an environment that has too high or low temperatures can be a distraction, at the very least–as our bodies work to adjust to a healthier temperature, it will become increasingly difficult to focus properly.

The ideal temperature for productivity is between 70°F and  77°F. Studies testing productivity outside these ranges have seen a decrease in productivity by 4% in colder temperatures and by 6% in warmer ones.  It’s also been proven that being mindful of your workspace temperature can lead to 3% gains in overall productivity.

Our Sleep Quality is Worse

Have you ever found it impossible to fall asleep in a room that felt too hot? This wasn’t just because you were uncomfortable–it also has to do with your body.

When we’re trying to fall asleep, our brain will try to lower our overall body temperature, and this slight drop in temperature helps induce sleep. However, if the air in our room is too hot or too cold, we’ll have a difficult time achieving the right body temperature for a healthy night’s sleep, causing us to have a restless night. Research tells us that the best room temperature for sleep is between 60°F and 67°F.

We’re Exposed to Mold

If you live in an area with both high heat and high humidity throughout the summer, you can also run the risk of growing mold in your home. Carefully keep an eye on your home’s levels of relative humidity and temperature: a combination of relative humidity above 50% and temperatures above 79°F will create an ideal environment for mold growth.

Take Control of Your Indoor Air

You deserve a healthy, comfortable summer — let Awair Element help track the health of your home and give you personalized recommendations to take control of your environment.