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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(8)2021 04 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178265

ABSTRACT

The current understanding of ambient temperature and its link to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is unclear. The objective of this study was to explore the environmental and climatic risk factors for SARS-CoV-2. For this study, we analyzed the data at the beginning of the outbreak (from 20 January to 31 March 2020) to avoid the influence of preventive or control measures. We obtained the number of cases and deaths due to SARS-CoV-2, international tourism, population age, universal health coverage, regional factors, the SARS-CoV-2 testing rate, and population density of a country. A total of 154 countries were included in this study. There were high incidence rates and mortality risks in the countries that had an average ambient temperature between 0 and 10 °C. The adjusted incidence rate for temperatures between 0 and 10 °C was 2.91 (95% CI 2.87-2.95). We randomly divided the data into a training set (80% of data) for model derivation and a test set (20% of data) for validation. Using a random forest statistical model, the model had high accuracy for predicting the high epidemic status of a country (ROC = 95.5%, 95% CI 87.9-100.0%) in the test set. Population age, temperature, and international tourism were the most important factors affecting the risk of SARS-CoV-2 in a country. An understanding the determinants of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak can help to design better strategies for disease control. This study highlights the need to consider thermal effect in the prevention of emerging infectious diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Population Density , SARS-CoV-2 , Temperature
2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(8)2021 04 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1175588

ABSTRACT

The pandemic has been afflicting the planet for over a year and from the occupational point of view, healthcare workers have recorded a substantial increase in working hours. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE), necessary to keep safe from COVID-19 increases the chances of overheating, especially during the summer seasons which, due to climate change, are becoming increasingly warm and prolonged. A web survey was carried out in Italy within the WORKLIMATE project during the summer and early autumn 2020. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate differences between groups. 191 questionnaires were collected (hospital doctor 38.2%, nurses 33.5%, other healthcare professionals 28.3%). The impact of PPE on the thermal stress perception declared by the interviewees was very high on the body areas directly covered by these devices (78% of workers). Workers who used masks for more than 4 h per day perceived PPE as more uncomfortable (p < 0.001) compared to the others and reported a greater productivity loss (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the study highlighted a high perception of thermal stress among healthcare workers that worn COVID-19-PPE and this enhances the need for appropriate heat health warning systems and response measures addressed to the occupational sector.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Personal Protective Equipment , Health Personnel , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(21)2020 Nov 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-921196

ABSTRACT

The need for healthcare workers (HCWs) to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic heightens their risk of thermal stress. We assessed the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of HCWs from India and Singapore regarding PPE usage and heat stress when performing treatment and care activities. One hundred sixty-five HCWs from India (n = 110) and Singapore (n = 55) participated in a survey. Thirty-seven HCWs from Singapore provided thermal comfort ratings before and after ice slurry ingestion. Differences in responses between India and Singapore HCWs were compared. A p-value cut-off of 0.05 depicted statistical significance. Median wet-bulb globe temperature was higher in India (30.2 °C (interquartile range [IQR] 29.1-31.8 °C)) than in Singapore (22.0 °C (IQR 18.8-24.8 °C)) (p < 0.001). Respondents from both countries reported thirst (n = 144, 87%), excessive sweating (n = 145, 88%), exhaustion (n = 128, 78%), and desire to go to comfort zones (n = 136, 84%). In Singapore, reports of air-conditioning at worksites (n = 34, 62%), dedicated rest area availability (n = 55, 100%), and PPE removal during breaks (n = 54, 98.2%) were higher than in India (n = 27, 25%; n = 46, 42%; and n = 66, 60%, respectively) (p < 0.001). Median thermal comfort rating improved from 2 (IQR 1-2) to 0 (IQR 0-1) after ice slurry ingestion in Singapore (p < 0.001). HCWs are cognizant of the effects of heat stress but might not adopt best practices due to various constraints. Thermal stress management is better in Singapore than in India. Ice slurry ingestion is shown to be practical and effective in promoting thermal comfort. Adverse effects of heat stress on productivity and judgment of HCWs warrant further investigation.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Health Personnel , Hot Temperature , Pandemics , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral , Stress, Physiological , Adult , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , India/epidemiology , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology , Surveys and Questionnaires
4.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health ; 17(21):8100, 2020.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-896407

ABSTRACT

The need for healthcare workers (HCWs) to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic heightens their risk of thermal stress. We assessed the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of HCWs from India and Singapore regarding PPE usage and heat stress when performing treatment and care activities. One hundred sixty-five HCWs from India (n = 110) and Singapore (n = 55) participated in a survey. Thirty-seven HCWs from Singapore provided thermal comfort ratings before and after ice slurry ingestion. Differences in responses between India and Singapore HCWs were compared. A p-value cut-off of 0.05 depicted statistical significance. Median wet-bulb globe temperature was higher in India (30.2 °C (interquartile range [IQR] 29.1–31.8 °C)) than in Singapore (22.0 °C (IQR 18.8–24.8 °C)) (p <0.001). Respondents from both countries reported thirst (n = 144, 87%), excessive sweating (n = 145, 88%), exhaustion (n = 128, 78%), and desire to go to comfort zones (n = 136, 84%). In Singapore, reports of air-conditioning at worksites (n = 34, 62%), dedicated rest area availability (n = 55, 100%), and PPE removal during breaks (n = 54, 98.2%) were higher than in India (n = 27, 25%;n = 46, 42%;and n = 66, 60%, respectively) (p <0.001). Median thermal comfort rating improved from 2 (IQR 1–2) to 0 (IQR 0–1) after ice slurry ingestion in Singapore (p <0.001). HCWs are cognizant of the effects of heat stress but might not adopt best practices due to various constraints. Thermal stress management is better in Singapore than in India. Ice slurry ingestion is shown to be practical and effective in promoting thermal comfort. Adverse effects of heat stress on productivity and judgment of HCWs warrant further investigation.

5.
Temperature (Austin) ; 8(1): 1-11, 2020 Aug 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-704919

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic started in the cold months of the year 2020 in the Northern hemisphere. Concerns were raised that the hot season may lead to additional problems as some typical interventions to prevent heat-related illness could potentially conflict with precautions to reduce coronavirus transmission. Therefore, an international research team organized by the Global Health Heat Information Network generated an inventory of the specific concerns about this nexus and began to address the issues. Three key thermal and covid-19 related topics were highlighted: 1) For the general public, going to public cool areas in the hot season interferes with the recommendation to stay at home to reduce the spread of the virus. Conflicting advice makes it necessary to revise national heat plans and alert policymakers of this forecasted issue. 2) For medical personnel working in hot conditions, heat strain is exacerbated due to a reduction in heat loss from wearing personal protective equipment to prevent contamination. To avoid heat-related injuries, medical personnel are recommended to precool and to minimize the increase in body core temperature using adopted work/rest schedules, specific clothing systems, and by drinking cold fluids. 3) Fever, one of the main symptoms of COVID-19, may be difficult to distinguish from heat-induced hyperthermia and a resting period may be necessary prior to measurement to avoid misinterpretation. In summary, heat in combination with the COVID-19 pandemic leads to additional problems; the impact of which can be reduced by revising heat plans and implementing special measures attentive to these compound risks.

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