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Science News: Managing the heat during the COVID-19 pandemic

– K.J., Editor

Even towards the end of September, it is still necessary to take precautions with regards to heat. While the summer is traditionally the season for iced drinks, paper fans, and fireworks, this year we encountered conditions that were far from normal. Specifically, an unusually long rainy season in July with low temperatures made many feel somewhat unprepared for the daily scorching real-feel temperatures above 30° that finally arrived in August.

High temperatures can last well into October, and we should be prepared to manage the heat while wearing facemasks in public or while commuting via public transit in buses and trains that have windows open to the hot outside air. The range of available facemasks has grown dramatically, with cooler masks made of fabric like cotton or bamboo now widely available. However, masks can be uncomfortable to wear, especially when exercising, and it is still necessary to wear sun block since damaging UVA and UVB rays are not stopped by all masks..

With the mean global temperature predicted to continue to rise, sharing information on coping with hot weather can benefit other people around the globe. The Open University and the Royal Meteorological Society in the UK have introduced a citizen science project which allows anyone to participate. In this study, called Heatwaves mission, participants will upload the temperature currently being experienced and its effects over a one-year period.

The researchers aim to use the collected data to help the general public understand the impact of heatwaves on their health and provide insight on how to plan for future heat waves. Participating in this interesting and potentially fun experiment could be a welcome distraction from the hot weather and benefit future residents of a hotter Earth.

Click here for the Japanese version.

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