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Electric Fan – Are Electric Fans Harmful?

A motorised electric fan is used to ventilate a room or other area by moving air using an electric motor driven by electricity. These fans can be mounted on the wall or ceiling, in a window or be portable (for example a floor, table or battery operated hand-held fan) and are usually powered by a low voltage (12 V brushless DC electric motor).

After heat wave events caused deaths in Europe (Paris 2003) and Russia (Moscow 2010), many countries developed ‘heat health warning systems’ which included provision of public health advice and actions to protect against potential risks of death and illness. Typical public health advice recommends that fans should not be used during a heat wave because they are thought to increase the rate of dehydration and core temperature rise, rather than reduce them.

However, recent research from the University of Sydney suggests that electric fans are not harmful and should be used to help people stay safe and comfortable during a heatwave. In their study, researchers simulated heatwave conditions in an indoor laboratory and found that when fans are used at the recommended settings, they prevent the rapid elevation of core body temperature and cardiovascular strain. They also found that fans do not accelerate the rate of dehydration and are an effective way to promote healthy sleep at bedtime, which is often difficult for people in hot weather.

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