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Cold Temperatures in the Bedroom Can Hurt Lung Function

Update Date: Aug 16, 2013 03:01 PM EDT
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Varying temperatures could affect the body in multiple ways. Some studies have found that extremely hot weather leads to mood changes and more violence. Extreme cold temperatures could result in death if there is no relief. In a new study, researcher Nevil Pierse decided to examine the effects of cold temperatures within households. Pierse concluded that specifically for bedrooms, cold temperatures could lead to poorer lung function in young children.

For this study, Pierse looked at over one million temperature measurements in 405 homes that do not have proper heating during the cooler seasons. He discovered that when temperatures dropped below 53.6 degrees Fahrenheit and exposure to the cold lasted more than two weeks within the bedroom, young children started suffering from poorer lung functions. This study reiterates the importance of providing good and heated homes for families. The study was part of the Housing and Health Research Program/ He Kainga Oranga out of the University of Otago in New Zealand.

"Kiwi homes are much colder than those overseas. The WHO [World Health Organization] recommends children sleep in rooms no less than 20°C [68°F], and the harm of changes below 12°C [53.6°F] is more than 10 times that of changes at 18°C [64.4°F]," Pierse said according to Medical Xpress. "With New Zealand having one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, the research further confirms the importance of keeping our children warm at night. Despite the success of the Warm Up New Zealand campaign which has seen around 230,000 houses insulated since it began in 2009, the benefits are not reaching the group that needs them most - tenants."

Pierse hopes that his research can help promote and encourage more programs to revamp homes. He wants new programs, similar to the He Kainga Oranga and the New Zealand Green Building Council that will improve rental homes and encourage better home performance.The research has just been published by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

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