When it’s hot, we hurt each other and ourselves

On the morning of June 22, 2022, 24-year-old Gabriel Infante went to work at B Comm Constructors in San Antonio, Texas. He took a job outside of college so he could have more money for his studies and applied to the company with a friend. That day, they needed to lay an internet cable outside, which they did well, but as the sun rose higher and higher in the sky, Infante became confused. His friend called an ambulance and tried to cool him down with cold water, while the works supervisor insisted that the police be called instead because Infante must have been on drugs.

Infante died the same day, the hospital determined that he had suffered a heat stroke. His body temperature rose to 43.2 degrees Celsius. That day, San Antonio was hit by a brutal 37-38 degree heat, which was also associated with high humidity. In such weather, Infante and his colleagues had to work outdoors. Now Infante’s mother is demanding $1 million in damages from her son’s employer, but the company says it was an accident.

Every year around the world, like Gabriel Infante, thousands of people die from unbearable heat, and as the planet warms up and every summer we measure record or near-record temperatures on all continents, the number of victims will only increase. It is not only about workers working outdoors, but also about people who get heat stroke in their homes without air conditioning.

Violence, murder, depression

However, the heat can not only crush our bodies, but also wear out our brains. During heat waves, crime increases and people become more violent. During the heat, even on Twitter there is more hate speech, more nervous, aggressive and impatient.

The connection between violent crime and homosexuality was seen as early as the 19th century, at the time of the first crime statistics. It was already evident from them that in the summer months people hurt each other more often, while in the winter months violence against property is more characteristic.

This observation has been confirmed by near-record heat waves in Europe and America in recent years, violent crime has increased, and people have become more likely to use the emergency phone. Moreover, in South Africa it is even shown that for every degree Celsius of temperature increase, the number of murders increases by 1.5 percent. Analysis of Mexican, Greek, Taiwanese, Finnish, Spanish and American crime statistics also showed similar correlations.

The last line of research is the discovery of a correlation between mental illness and the evolution of temperature. For example, Shabab Waheed, a researcher at Georgetown University in Washington, wrote in a recent study that as temperatures rise, more people struggle with depression and anxiety.

“More and more scientific articles are being published that reveal this link between climate factors and the deterioration of our mental health. And all signs point to the fact that as the warming continues, this relationship will also strengthen, ”the researcher told Time magazine.

And in a 2018 study, Marshall Burke, an economist at Stanford University, showed that in the United States and Mexico, every degree Celsius increase in average temperature raises the suicide rate by 1 percent as part of the annual excess mortality. According to the study, if global temperatures continue to rise, it could lead to changes in suicide rates comparable to the expected effects of an economic downturn, suicide prevention programs or gun control laws.

In the words of Robin Cooper, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, “We must finally start to view climate change as a mental health crisis,” because if we ignore the fact that warming where we live also represents a wide-scale threat to public health, then we will not be able to properly prepare for its tests in the coming decades. Cooper said that we need to spend more money on research related to this, as there are many dark spots in the field of science.

For example, we know that heat affects brain function, but we don’t yet know much about exactly how. The heat wave affects countless vital functions, impairing the quality of sleep, but also directly affects the functioning of certain hormones and neurotransmitters. It is also not entirely clear why most suicide attempts do not necessarily occur on the hottest days, but when the temperature begins to rise mercilessly. The same applies to manic mood disorders.

Good sleep is more important than anything else

It is a proven fact that rising global temperatures are deteriorating the quality of sleep, and analysis of data from sleep monitoring bracelets shows exactly this. A significant part of the mental disorders that are exacerbated as a result of abnormal heat, of course, are caused by lack of sleep.

According to research, a temperature of 16-19 degrees Celsius is ideal for a good night’s sleep, and it’s easy to see that during a heat wave, the only way to cool our bedroom is with air conditioning, and sometimes not even with it. . Therefore, those who do not have air conditioning cannot sleep at the ideal temperature. Because of this, we don’t get enough sleep and don’t sleep deeply enough, and if this continues for several days, it can lead to irritability, difficulty concentrating, and even memory problems.

It is easy to see that in such a state people cannot work normally at their workplace, they cannot pay attention to their tasks. In the office, this may not be a problem, but in factories and hazardous areas, it is, and in such workplaces, employers should do everything in the future to avoid an increase in the number of accidents at work during heat waves.

Research also shows that rising temperatures also affect the production of serotonin in the human body. The neurotransmitter serotonin not only influences our mood and helps curb aggressive behavior, but it also plays an important role in regulating sleep and transmits information about our skin temperature to our brain’s thermoregulatory center, the hypothalamus. In people with depression, this function often does not work properly, but these problems can be effectively alleviated by taking antidepressants with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Accordingly, there should be a link between heat stress and serotonin production, the researchers say in an interview with Time magazine.

Naturally, people are more irritable during the heat. It is worth remembering this and trying to be especially kind to others during this time. The heat affects everyone, American football referees give harsher punishments, employees are fired more often, journalists also use more negative words when it’s very hot. In general, everything is more unhappy than it could be.

Source link

Leave a Comment