Men’s unwillingness to use parasols could be a reason they experience heat illnesses more often than women, a health expert said on Sunday, as temperatures soared across the nation.
Pauling Chu (朱柏齡), head of the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Heatstroke at Tri-Service General Hospital in Taipei, said that one reason more men are sent to emergency rooms for heatstroke than women is that most of the people who work outdoors are men.
Another possible reason is that while women often use umbrellas during summer, men are more likely to wear wide-brimmed hats to protect against the sun, he said.
Photo: Huang Chih-yuan, Taipei Times
While parasols are like “mobile gazebos” that can keep the user in the shade, wearing a wide-brimmed hat tends to leave a person’s body exposed to the sun, he said.
Chu said he conducted an experiment over the weekend by walking outside from 9:30am to 10am.
He found that when he was using an umbrella, he barely sweat, but when he was not using it, he perspired profusely, he said.
Only about one in every 20 men on the street uses an umbrella, Chu said, citing his personal observations.
While some men might feel that holding an umbrella diminishes their masculinity, or think that only women use them, parasols are just a tool, he said, adding that people should not make gender distinctions.
Citing his personal experience, he encouraged men to use umbrellas to fight the summer heat, saying that doing so can make a difference of at least 5°C in apparent temperature.
Two years ago, in response to the extreme heat, the Japanese government began promoting the use of umbrellas among men, he said, adding that he hoped the Taiwanese government would follow suit.
In the first 10 days of this month, 190 people were sent to emergency rooms for loss of consciousness caused by heat injuries, a four-year high for the month, Health Promotion Administration data showed.
Among the patients, there were 2.65 times as many men as there were women, the data showed.
Data from 2016 to last year also showed that about three to four times as many men were sent to the emergency department for heat injuries than women from May to October.
HPA Community Health Division head Lo Su-ying (羅素英) urged men not to be shy about using an umbrella when going outside.
If they do not want to carry an umbrella, they should wear a wide-brimmed hat, as well as comfortable, breathable and loose clothing to prevent heat injuries, she said.
Elderly people’s and children’s ability to regulate their body temperature is less efficient than that of adults, Lo said, urging people to drink plenty of water on a regular basis, instead of waiting until they are thirsty.
Taipei and Nantou County yesterday saw a daytime high of 38°C, due to a Pacific high-pressure system and seasonal southwesterly winds, the Central Weather Bureau said.
It issued a “yellow” heat alert for Taoyuan and Tainan, as well as Chiayi County, warning of a one-day high of at least 36°C.
Additional reporting by CNA
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