GENERAL ARTICLES

HEAT, BEHAVE!

Hugh Grant Rowell July 15 1934
GENERAL ARTICLES

HEAT, BEHAVE!

Hugh Grant Rowell July 15 1934

HEAT, BEHAVE!

Hugh Grant Rowell

MAN from time immemorial has derived his most satisfactory moments from kicking about something. This was all very well when there was something which needed a first-class piece of reforming. But the list of things we can reform, even through the passage of the centuries, is comparatively small; so most of us, not endowed with too much imagination, turn to the things which, like the poor, we always have with us.

That is why, wherever men or men and women or just women are gathered together in great or small numbers, climate and its daily companion, weather, have spiteful things said about them.

As a matter of fact, we have within ourselves a magnificent mechanism capable of adjusting us, from toe tip to hair tip, to ordinary changes in temperature and all the seasoning that goes with them.

We have, furthermore, our ingenuity. This latter has evolved methods of aiding the body's temperature-regulating mechanism; first, through ways of fighting cold, and more recently through achieving control of indoor weather within limits set by our bodily equipment.

We, therefore, find that we can to some extent take care

of climate variations with our natural mechanism. We find, secondly, that we can aid this mechanism considerably by our ingenuity, though only within limits permitted by the party-of-the-first part.

The more we study our body and its workings, the more we realize that it is set as delicately as the finest scales. Automatically a certain balance is maintained in everything, whether between two groups of muscles or, as in this case, between a warming and a cooling mechanism.

With occasional slight variations, we maintain, in health, a body temperature of about 98.6° Fahrenheit through balancing heat-making and heat-losing. The heat is taken into the body as food.

Some of the food we utilize to do work, some we store, some we discard. Heat is produced by chemical reactions within the body. Naturally the amount is influenced by whether we are resting peacefully in a hammock, sunning ourselves and taking an occasional peep at a magazine page, or whether we are out in the backyard arguing about politics or doing a daily dozen with an axe and the winter woodpile.

Heat is brought to the surface of the body, there to be dissipated, the bloodstream acting as truckman. However, your skin will also be warmer all over if you are wilting on an extremely hot day, or on one side only if you are sitting before a hot fireplace in a frigid room.

If you are sitting at rest in a temperature of seventy degrees, recent studies have shown that you lose heat in about the following percentages and manners; seventy-five ]x*r cent from radiation, conduction and convection, the three twins of the heating and ventilating engineers and the headache of every college student who takes physics; fifteen per cent from skin evaporation; ten per cent by evaporation from the lungs and by the warming of inhaled air. And there’s a wee bit stolen from the total for warming the fcxxl we take in; hot soup requiring no such aid and iced drinks Ixnng the reverse. As to beverages that ‘‘burn all the way down,” I believe such matters require special research,

^ ou might think as you wipe your fevered brow when it's a hundred in the shade and rising, that the forehead is the great heat-losing spot. Take my advice and put your wagers elsewhere. Forehead, as a matter of fact, does not even place: it is practically distanced. Ten Toes is the contender on which to lay your wager. Two Legs will run ahead of Two Arms. Trunk and Forehead are in the race but don’t do much.

The Body Regulates Heat

HP HIS temperature control involves movements of blood of considerable magnitude to and from the body surface. Hence, on hot days we find our hands and feet swelling, and the reverse in winter. That's why, when we take off our shoes on a hot day, we wish we had bought them a couple of

sizes larger. I am inclined to congratulate the ladies on those new sandal-like, easily-ventilated shoes for summer w'ear. As for zero days, the dunce of the class will tell you it is the feet that get cold first. This has led some to remark that the barelegged Scot is not living up to his reputation but throwing away a lot of good heat.

In the main, this heat-regulating mechanism functions very nicely. High humidity makes trouble, even with no terrific rise in outdoor temperature. Sunstroke, of course, is literally a scrambling of this mechanism.

Now this heat-regulating mechanism is all very w^ell in terms of a day or week and the range of temperature and humidity. We recognize that there are certain borders or limitations of the heat or cold range beyond which we get discomfort first and real trouble afterward. Yet, over a year’s time we run the gamut from the zero region nearly into the hundreds, and get along quite nicely. How can we explain that?

Nature is kind to us by bringing these major temperature changes into the picture gradually. Follow the temperature through a given day and you will find more of a swing from low to high than you suspected. The same thing goes on through the year. We start, in cold weather, a gradual warming process for outdoors. Slowly but surely warm weather approaches. But we are adjusted to it—unlike the fellow who takes a winter vacation in a hot climate and comes tearing back to the snow and ice. He may catch cold. If so, he has made too much demand on his heat-regulating mechanism. This problem is, of course, an individual one, depending on individual ability to adjust. Older people adjust less readily than young; sick people than well.

At any rate, when summer and its heat and humidity come, we are ready. Humidity bothers us because ordinarily we evaporate and otherwise pass off water into the air, which absorbs it. But if the air already has a high water content, its ability to take up fluid from us is cut down. Hence we feel uncomfortable or even worse, because nature is for the moment playing a dirty trick on the heat-regulating mechanism.

Air Conditioning

* I SHAT IS what our body can do for itself. Now comes the

contribution of science, of ingenuity.

Today we can and do control heat, cold, humidity, air movement, noise, air sewage (my friend Obermeyer’s name for the assorted junk the air carries around), even the pollens which cause hay fever and similar miseries. Indeed, in one city a special air-conditioned room was opened as a Mecca for pollen sufferers, most of whom found it a godsend.

It is a long step from the old-time fireplace for heating and ventilating to modem air-conditioning or, as the man whose name is magic in this field calls it, ‘Veatherizing. ”

Weatherizing today is found in trains, planes, ships of peace and wrar, mines (one of the earliest control plans was in an ancient mine), cathedrals dedicated to the Claudette Colberts and Pick fords, the Towers of Babel of big business, and legislative halls except in the matter of controlling socalled oratory which some class as hot air. The small home is now about to be air-conditioned, too. Heating and ventilating engineers have proved magicians indeed.

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Heat, Behave !

Continued from page 8

If for no other reason than that I cannot lie proved wrong, I am going to predict that within the next decade practical air-conditioning plants will be found in a goodly percentage of homes, operating at a cost no greater than present plants which render an excellent but limited scope of service.

The limitations of control will be chiefly in the matter of the allowable difference between temperature inside and outside. We can control indoor humidity, air cleanliness (a severe problem in major cities), air movement, noise and what not. But we cannot have a greater difference between temperature in the house and temperature outside than the body is capable of standing without upsetting its heat-regulating mechanism. Otherwise, when you leave a cool home and step outdoors on a hot day, you are going to feel as if you stepped into a blast furnace. And you will shiver when you step into the too cool house.

In the meanwhile, we can borrow the latest ideas of the engineers to increase our dog-day comfort.

Make the Sun Behave

MAKING THE SUN behave is the first thing. The sun has a bad habit of invading our otherwise cool home and making things hot for us. Shutters or outdoor Venetian blinds can cut down the trouble about four-fifths. An awning helps about seventy per cent. And I'll add that personally I do not like the pocket of hot air that forms under awnings with sides. Inside shades cut down the trouble about half.

Of course our grandparents practised this. Nevertheless the old parlor smelled pretty musty as well as being cool. Sun control is not the whole story.

Making the air move around the house is the next job. Six p.m. is the time to get it moving. If you have a house with a goodsized attic not too full of ancestral relics, with dormers and a big door, open up everything and let the air do the rest.

If you have no dormers and only a pintsized attic door or peek-hole, put a fan up in the attic. This fan must draw an equivalent of seventeen air changes per hour into the lower stories of the house, discharging it into the attic to sneak out noiselessly through the windows. As you can see, this method, slightly modified, can be applied to almost any situation.

The rest of summer comfort is a matter of diet, habits and clothing. Plus a little philosophy.

Most of us seek the right diet instinctively. We are inclined, on a hot day, to eat moderately of fruits, vegetables and little or no meats. We like cool drinks, but we should avoid cold ones as requiring too much warming on the part of the body. It is customary to state that we should avoid alcoholic drinks, yet everyone does as he or she pleases, and the fatalities come principally from the Styx cocktail, a blending of alcohol, gasoline and road dust. Hot tea makes many a person happy on a hot day and, strangely enough, hot soup is a grand starter for a meal even if you neutralize it with ice cream later.

When it comes to exposure to the sun, remember that a little suntan goes a long way. Tan yourself too much and the sun’s rays will not penetrate usefully.

How to Defeat Heat

'T'HE TRICK with clothing is to have it loose, washable whenever possible, and changed frequently, thus giving the body a combination of cleanliness, good ventilation and freedom of expression, to say nothing of perspiration. Two pairs of shoes are better than one. Stockings can’t be changed too often. Bathing is always good form, whether in lake or tub.

The place for men’s coats on all occasions from dress to bathtub is hanging neatly on the shelf at home or packed in moth balls along with the stiff collars and perhaps the necktie. Unless you have a neck like an ostrich, why put it in a cage?

As for shorts, it’s all a question of what legs you can and will reveal to your public in terms of piano, cavalry, beanpole or come hither.

Philosophy and sleep go together. We probably need extra sleep on hot days, but often we don’t get it till coolness comes and then we sleep our heads off. You can, by following Pollvanna’s approval of things as they are, get more sleep—and a happier hotweather life.

And as Pollyanna would say:

“I feel fine. The weather is perfect. Next winter, we’ll have to pay plenty to go south and get another load of this. Here is Bermuda, or what have you, all for nothing, right in the old home town.”