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

Department of Environmental Health, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Environment and Health Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, 1 Soutpansberg Road, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
Climatology Research Group, North West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
Tlhoeko Environmental Consultants, Maseru 100, Lesotho
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 566;
Received: 14 April 2016 / Revised: 23 May 2016 / Accepted: 31 May 2016 / Published: 7 June 2016
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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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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