Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Persona Umana

Europa. Riflettere su quanto freddo sia troppo freddo.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2022-11-01.

Generale Inverno 001

«Tu scendi dalle stelle, o Re del cielo,

e vieni in una grotta al freddo e al gelo»

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                         Dalle camere da letto alle cucine, l’Europa riflette su quanto freddo sia troppo freddo. Con il carburante che scarseggia, quest’inverno i termostati saranno abbassati. Dai gatti in grembo alle trapunte, fino alle passeggiate a piedi, ecco come trarre il meglio da una situazione negativa. In inverno muoiono più persone che in estate, e non solo perché fuori fa freddo. È emerso che il freddo in casa può essere altrettanto pericoloso. I dati sanitari europei dimostrano da tempo che i climi più miti, dove le case sono spesso piene di spifferi e scarsamente riscaldate, hanno i livelli più alti di mortalità in eccesso in inverno.

                         Più persone muoiono in inverno che in estate, e non solo perché fuori fa freddo. Il freddo all’interno, a quanto pare, può essere altrettanto pericoloso. Nonostante il recente calo dei prezzi del gas, le autorità sanitarie temono che gli alti costi dell’energia non permetteranno a molti europei di riscaldare adeguatamente le proprie case quest’inverno. L’Inghilterra rischia una crisi umanitaria.

                         Quanto freddo fa troppo freddo? Public Health England ha una risposta: Una temperatura interna di 18°C (65F) è il minimo. Noi esseri umani siamo fondamentalmente animali tropicali e, diffondendoci nel mondo, non ci siamo evoluti per adattarci a temperature più fredde. Tuttavia, è possibile adattarsi a temperature più basse.

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«From bedrooms to kitchens, Europe ponders how cold is too cold. With fuel in short supply, thermostats will be turned down this winter. From lap cats to quilts to brisk walks, here’s how to make the best of a bad situation. More people die in the winter than in the summer, and not only because it’s cold outside. Indoor cold, it turns out, can be just as dangerous. European health data have long shown that milder climates, where homes are often drafty and poorly heated, have the highest levels of excess mortality in the winter.»

«More people die in the winter than in the summer, and not only because it’s cold outside. Indoor cold, it turns out, can be just as dangerous. Despite a recent dip in gas prices, public health authorities fret that high energy costs will leave many Europeans unable to adequately heat their homes this winter. England risks a humanitarian crisis»

«How cold is too cold? Public Health England has an answer: An indoor temperature of 18C (65F) is the minimum. We humans are fundamentally tropical animals, and as we spread around the globe we didn’t evolve to adjust to colder temperatures. Still, it’s possible to adjust to cooler temperatures.»

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From Bedrooms to Kitchens, Europe Ponders How Cold Is Too Cold.

With fuel in short supply, thermostats will be turned down this winter. From lap cats to quilts to brisk walks, here’s how to make the best of a bad situation.

More people die in the winter than in the summer, and not only because it’s cold outside. Indoor cold, it turns out, can be just as dangerous. European health data have long shown that milder climates, where homes are often drafty and poorly heated, have the highest levels of excess mortality in the winter. Portugal’s winter death rate, for instance, is far higher than Finland’s.

Despite a recent dip in gas prices, public health authorities fret that high energy costs will leave many Europeans unable to adequately heat their homes this winter. England risks a humanitarian crisis, Michael Marmot, director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity in London, warned in the BMJ research journal in September. The National Health Service is setting up round-the-clock “war rooms” to manage demand, saying respiratory infections such as Covid-19, flu, pneumonia, and acute bronchitis are likely to fill as many as half of hospital beds this winter.

How cold is too cold? Public Health England has an answer: An indoor temperature of 18C (65F) is the minimum. Turn the heat down any further, and you face health risks such as increased blood pressure, blood clots, and heart attacks, the agency says.

“This is not a hypothermia issue per se,” says Mike Tipton, a physiology professor at the University of Portsmouth. “It’s a consequence of cooling and the physiological defense mechanisms and associated dehydration that goes with it.”

You might not associate dehydration with being in a cold environment, but Tipton says it’s a normal response. That’s because when you get cold, the blood vessels in your skin constrict, decreasing flow to the body’s periphery to keep most blood protected beneath a layer of insulating fat. That results in a desire to urinate, called cold-induced diuresis. As the blood concentrates and thickens, Tipton says, the risk of clots rises, with the elderly in the greatest peril.

We humans are fundamentally tropical animals, and as we spread around the globe we didn’t evolve to adjust to colder temperatures, Tipton says. Instead, we used our big brains to re-create our preferred climate next to our skin, and later in the houses and offices we inhabit.

“If you’re sitting there comfortable now, I’ll pretty much guarantee that your mean skin temperature is 33 degrees Celsius,” Tipton says. “Your torso temperature will be 35, 36 degrees Celsius, and your extremity temperatures will be in the mid-to-high 20s. That’s exactly the same temperature profile you would have if you were naked in 26 to 28 degrees.”

Still, it’s possible to adjust to cooler temperatures. Some strategies will mirror what your grandmother probably knows, since she’s likely to have grown up in a home that was several degrees cooler than yours: Put on a sweater, thick socks, or a hat. A lap cat can help on chilly afternoons or evenings. And it’s a good idea to pile on thick quilts at night, turning down the thermostat and using any savings to crank the heat up a bit during the day. Healthy people from toddler age through their mid-60s don’t need to maintain temperatures above the 18C threshold while sleeping, the UK guidelines state.

And because modern Europeans and Americans spend 90% of their time inside, for healthy adults, just going outdoors and getting some exercise in varying temperatures can help build resilience.

“You can change your own response to cold,” says Kate Rew, founder of the Outdoor Swimming Society in southern England. “What initially seems really unpleasant and makes you feel really cold, after a while of being exposed, can become absolutely fine.”

Rew’s group swims year-round, taking short dips into nearly freezing water through the winter. As a result, she says, many group members can stay comfortable even when their homes are cool. “You’re a bit more stoic,” Rew says. “A bit more kind of weathered, and those are all really nice things to feel—that you’re more resilient.”

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