Does living and working in a hot environment induce clinically relevant changes in immune function and voluntary force production capacity?

Wade Knez, Olivier Girard, Sebastien Racinais, Andrew Walsh, Nadia Gaoua, Justin Grantham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated the effect of living (summer vs. winter) and working (morning vs. afternoon) in a hot environment on markers of immune function and forearm strength. Thirty-one healthy male gas field employees were screened before (between 05:30 and 07:00) and after their working day (between 15:30 and 17:00) during both seasons. Body core temperature and physical activity were recorded throughout the working days. The hot condition (i.e. summer) led a higher (p≤0.05) average body core temperature (~37.2 vs. ~37.4 °C) but reduced physical activity (-14.8%) during the work-shift. Our data showed an increase (p≤0.05) in lymphocyte and monocyte counts in the summer. Additionally, work-shift resulted in significant (p≤0.001) changes in leukocytes, lymphocytes and monocytes independently of the environment. Handgrip (p=0.069) and pinch (p=0.077) forces tended to be reduced from pre-to post-work, while only force produced during handgrip manoeuvres was significantly reduced (p≤0.05) during the hot compared to the temperate season. No interactions were observed between the environment and work-shift for any marker of immune function or forearm strength. In summary, working and living in hot conditions impact on markers of immune function and work capacity; however by self-regulating energy expenditure, immune markers remained in a healthy reference range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-239
Number of pages5
JournalIndustrial Health
Volume52
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

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