2012-05-12

Air-conditioning & Saving Lives

    Both summer and winter are traditionally busy periods for the funeral industry.  Which makes sense, the cold brings with it diseases such as the flu.  While summer can be quite stressful for many people, temperatures rise well above 30 Celsius for days on end!

    So summer and winter are where we see the extremes of the weather and thus also see a rise in deaths, mainly of the elderly or sick.

    However in talking to a couple of funeral directors they said these spikes are not as high as they once were.  Less people die with the changes in weather than in the past.  And the reason they (and I) argue is due to air-conditioning.  Yes, better health care has helped, but it is air-conditioning that I believe has reduced the spike in deaths.

    With modern air-conditioning, which is in all hospitals and almost every nursing home, one can set the temperature of the room.  So even in the hottest or coldest days the room can sit at an even and comfortable temperature.  This reduced the exposure to high or low temperatures as well as the sudden changes which can all kill people.

    Take Japan for example, many use baths to keep warm in winter.  For the Japanese the bath is more than just a way to keep clean but also a way to relax and keep warm.  However there were approximately 14,000 deaths in the bath over 2011, while only about 4,000 died in traffic related accidents (Ryall, 2012).    It was found that most of these bath deaths was basically due to the shock of the change in temperature between the cold outside and the hot bath (Hayashi, Ago, Ago, & Ogata, 2010).  This proves how a sudden or dramatic change in temperature can kill, and can kill in significant numbers.

    So air-conditioning which redresses or removes this change in temperature can and does literally save lives.  Which has been noticed by funeral staff.  A couple of experienced veterans of the industry commented on how they saw the introduction of air-conditioning and saw a drop in deaths.

    This is a great example of how the funeral industry can be looked at to explore odd or unthought of ideas, mainly the idea of air-conditioning as something which does not just make us comfortable but saves lives regularly and significantly.

    Next time you see an air-conditioner think of this, how such a simple device created for pleasure has become a life saver and influenced the world around us without our realising.



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References:


Hayashi, T., Ago, K., Ago, M., & Ogata, M. (2010). Bath-related deaths in Kagoshima, the southwest part of Japan. Medicine Science and the Law , 50 (1), 11-14.


Ryall, J. (2012, April 30). Probe into Japanese bathtub fatalities after 14,000 die in one year. Retrieved May 11, 2012, from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/9235564/Probe-into-Japanese-bathtub-fatalities-after-14000-die-in-one-year.html

2 comments:

  1. I’m seriously happy to discover this great site the future of this blog is getting good and more useful for me thanks and god bless you.
    IT Learning

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    Replies
    1. Well thank you, after working in the industry for a brief time I realised how little information there is about it. Yet it's such an important thing to many of us, perhaps even all of us.

      So I made a little blog of all the fun or handy things I found over the year. Mainly to help me in with my honours work but also to hopefully help others. So it's great to see people are finding it interesting and/or useful! :)

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