Hot Weather: How Much Hot Temperature Can Humans Tolerate?

Hot weather may just be one of the general forecasts for the day provided by your local meteorologists.

However, this type of weather marked by high temperatures and strong humidity can be deadly for both humans and animals. This potential danger also poses the question of how much hot temperature can humans tolerate.

The answers to this inquiry are varying since the chance of human survival or death over hot temperatures also involves different factors.

Extreme weather or climatic events like heat waves and prolonged droughts have resulted in human and animal fatalities in the past.

While the mentioned natural disasters have the potential to cause mortality or health complications to a person, a non-extreme weather event like usual hot weather is also a threat that cannot be ruled out.

In general, experts agree that the human body can only withstand a range of temperatures to survive, called “upper critical temperature.”

How Hot Weather Affects the Human Body?

Hot Weather

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Hot weather affects the human body similarly as to how internal systems are impacted by the temperature of its surrounding environment.

For instance, health authorities say that high temperatures affect us in a way that warms the human body and then it overheats when the body regulates itself.

Although this analogy is clear, experts are still divided as to the exact temperature that humans can withstand.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), prolonged periods of high daytime and nighttime temperatures cause physiological stress on the human body.

With this, the WHO advises that an individual should rest immediately in a cool place after exercise during a very hot weather. The health organization also linked climate as an aggravating factor to hot temperatures.

In a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers found that 30% of the world’s population is exposed to a deadly combination of heat and humidity for at least 20 days every year, a risk that will increase to nearly 50% by the year 2100.

Also Read: Cold Weather: More Deadly Than Extremely Hot Days

Heat-Related Deaths

With the mentioned factors in mind, experts estimate that the maximum temperature or upper-temperature limit of human survival to heat is between 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).

This is according to a study by researchers who conducted an experiment to determine the upper limit of the human body’s thermoneutral zone.

Heat-related deaths among humans, as mentioned earlier, have been reported as a direct fact rather than as random attributions. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 11,000 Americans have become victims of heat-related deaths since the year 1979, based on registered death certificates.

Since 1999, people aged 65 years old and above have higher chances of dying from heat-related cardiovascular disease than the rest of the general population, the EPA stated.

The US government agency also clarified that despite the increase in heat-related deaths, linked with hot temperatures and heat waves, the cause of fatality on death certificates may not be reported as heat-related.

Related Article: Humid Heat Stress and Extremely Hot Weather Could Kill a Person Faster than We Thought

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