Even just thinking about heat – not necessarily being out in it – could take a toll on our health and wellbeing, researchers from Charles Darwin University have found.
“While most research on heat stress has explored how exposure to heat affects us physically, stress from heat can be manifest long before clinical symptoms are evident, with profound effects on behaviour,” said lead researcher Dr Kerstin Zander.
The researchers from CDU’s Northern Institute surveyed 2000 people nation-wide on their self-reported levels of heat stress.
They found that people who generally worried about climate change, who had been influenced by recent heat waves or who thought there was a relationship between climate change and health were more likely to have been heat-stressed.
“Hotter weather also made people think more about climate change and how it might affect them in the future,” Dr Zander said.
People in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales were also more likely to report feeling heat-stressed, whereas people living in tropical areas including the Northern Territory were more likely to adapt to consistently warmer weather.
“Our results suggest that psychological perceptions of heat need to be considered when predicting how people will be affected by heat under climate change,” she said.
She said this was an important consideration when developing heat relief and climate change adaptation plans for workplaces, homes and public spaces.
To read more about this study, click here. Story credit: Charles Darwin University newsroom.
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