Fan-precooling effect on heat strain while wearing protective clothing

Ken Tokizawa, Shinichi Sawada, Tatsuo Oka, Akinori Yasuda, Tetsuo Tai, Hirofumi Ida, Kazumi Nakayama
International Journal of Biometeorology 2014, 58 (9): 1919-25
This study compared heat strain during walking while wearing impermeable protective suits between fan-precooling and nonprecooling conditions. Six males engaged in 60 min of walking at a moderate speed (∼2.5 km/h) in a hot environment (37 °C, 40% relative humidity). Fanning using a fan (4.5 m/s) and spraying water over the body before wearing the suits produced significantly lower rectal temperature before the walking (37.3 ± 0.1 °C vs. 37.0 ± 0.1 °C, P < 0.05). In addition, whilst walking, rectal temperature was significantly lower in the precooling condition (maximum difference: 0.4 °C at 15 min of walking; 38.0 ± 0.1 °C vs. 37.8 ± 0.1 °C at the end of walking, P < 0.05). Although skin temperature decreased during fanning, no difference was observed during walking. Heart rate was lower in the precooling condition during the early stages of walking. Thermal and fatigue perceptions whilst walking did not differ between the conditions. Body weight loss was significantly lower in the precooling condition. These results may indicate that fan precooling attenuates exertional heat strain while wearing impermeable protective clothing. The fan-cooling method is practical, convenient, and yields lower heat strain during prolonged moderate exertion.

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