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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 566; doi:10.3390/ijerph13060566

Students’ Perceived Heat-Health Symptoms Increased with Warmer Classroom Temperatures

1
Department of Environmental Health, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
2
Environment and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, 1 Soutpansberg Road, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
3
Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
4
Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
5
Climatology Research Group, North West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
6
Tlhoeko Environmental Consultants, Maseru 100, Lesotho
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 14 April 2016 / Revised: 23 May 2016 / Accepted: 31 May 2016 / Published: 7 June 2016
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Abstract

Temperatures in Africa are expected to increase by the end of the century. Heat-related health impacts and perceived health symptoms are potentially a problem, especially in public schools with limited resources. Students (n = 252) aged ~14–18 years from eight high schools completed an hourly heat-health symptom log over 5 days. Data loggers measured indoor classroom temperatures. A high proportion of students felt tired (97.2%), had low concentration (96.8%) and felt sleepy (94.1%) during at least one hour on any day. There were statistically significant correlations, when controlling for school cluster effect and time of day, between indoor temperatures ≥32 °C and students who felt tired and found it hard to breathe. Consistently higher indoor classroom temperatures were observed in classrooms constructed of prefabricated asbestos sheeting with corrugated iron roof and converted shipping container compared to brick classrooms. Longitudinal studies in multiple seasons and different classroom building types are needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: temperature; health; school; South Africa; climate change temperature; health; school; South Africa; climate change
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bidassey-Manilal, S.; Wright, C.Y.; Engelbrecht, J.C.; Albers, P.N.; Garland, R.M.; Matooane, M. Students’ Perceived Heat-Health Symptoms Increased with Warmer Classroom Temperatures. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 566.

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