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Experts caution against using too many fans in a heatwave

Friday, July 19th 2019, 1:12 pm - This weekend is expected to be warm, with several heat warnings in place across southern Ontario, southern Quebec and in the Northwest Territories.

Parts of the U.S. are preparing for above-average temperatures as well, with Missouri officials reminding the public to be wary of fan use during an extreme heat event.

While people without air conditioners may be tempted to use as many fans as possible to beat the heat, health experts say that could be harmful.

That's because fans simply move air around, and don't remove humidity, which is expected to be plentiful over the next few days.

Bill Snook with the Kansas City Missouri Health Department says fans transfer air over the skin, evaporating moisture faster than usual.

"When it evaporates into an already humid environment, there's not a lot of room for that sweat to go, so you're basically pulling more water out," he explains.

Snook tells CNN in an investigation of heat death scene investigations, "we're seeing that you're more likely to die with a fan on than without." The average age of heat death victims in Missouri between 2000 and 2019 is 54 years old, Snook says. While many had cardiovascular disease or mental health challenges, some were drinking alcohol, which is dehydrating. While health officials say fans aren't all bad, they have to be combined with other methods to keep cool, such as cold showers, cool drinks, and cold compresses.

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