It's a hot day and there is no air conditioning, the solution is a no-brainer right? Grab an electric fan to cool yourself off! Well, new research from the non-profit medical group Cochrane Collaboration says there's actually no hard evidence that fans are either an effective or safe way to beat the heat.
Based on this evidence, the researchers concluded that electric fans could potentially do more harm than good at temperatures above 95 degrees. 95! We've already spent a dozen days this summer above 95, so that is a big concern. We've always known that fans don't actually cool the air temperature, but they were thought to help regulate human body temperature by assisting with physiological mechanisms, such as sweating, which promotes heat loss.
And when used improperly, fans can have the opposite effect, causing heat gain rather than heat loss, leading people to perspire or sweat more, which could lead to dehydration or other health problems, affecting the proper function of everything from your heart to your nerves.
If you only have access to a fan, and not air conditioning, use a model with built-in misting, or spray your face with water to provide a wind-chill effect, since that is the only way electric fans may have the ability to promote body cooling.