Heatwave hacks: Dr Amir shares tips to stay cool in hot weather
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Fans can cool you down by blowing cold air across your skin, helping your body lose heat by a process called convection. But during high temperatures like these, fans can move dry, warm air around your bedroom. Among other things, this can bring up dust, which according to Doctor Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy can exacerbate chronic health conditions. So, what conditions can leaving a fan overnight exacerbate?
For people with dry eyes, the desire to drop the temperature as soon as possible might be powerful. But using a fan will only dry out your eyes even more, explains Doctor Lee.
She said: “The hot air temperature will also dry up your natural eye secretions. Your eyes are likely to feel dry and gritty overnight and in the morning.”
Instead of using a fan to deal with the scorching heat, the doc recommends to continue applying your eye drops and to think about swapping to an oil-based dry eye ointment.
She adds: “You might like to apply a warm compress to the eyes before bedtime which will help stimulate the glands to release more natural lubricant.”
Leaving your fan on at night might also cause your sinuses to become even more blocked.
Doctor Lee explained: “Breathing in hot, dry air at night can dry out the back of the throat, the nasal passages and sinuses.
“These often react by producing more mucus, meaning you may develop a stuffy nose, and blocked sinuses.”
Asthma and allergies
If you have problems with allergies – whether from pollen, dust mites or mould – a fan might make things worse.
The fans funnel these allergens into the air you breathe. If you have asthma, this is bad news as it can cause your asthma to flare up.
Sending warm air your way may also be bad for your skin.
Doctor Lee explained: “Warm dry air can worsen eczema as it disrupts the barrier function of the skin, meaning the skin loses water more easily and tends to dry out and crack.
“It is also more susceptible to local infection – all of which can make it itchier and more uncomfortable.
“Instead of using a fan, taking a cool – not hot – shower before bedtime can help.”
On top of taking a shower, you may also want to consider using hypoallergenic bedding, as well as sedative antihistamines.
Snoring and sleep apnoea
Breathing in warm dry air can exacerbate snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.
Doctor Lee concluded: “You may be able to modify these effects of the fan by humidifying the air. Put a bowl of water in front of the fan – this could be cold water with ice – and this will produce a cold air spray.”
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