SAFE DURATION OF A PERSON SOAKING INSIDE A HOT TUB: THEORETICAL PREDICTION OF TEMPERATURE ELEVATIONS IN HUMAN BODIES USING A WHOLE BODY HEAT TRANSFER MODEL
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Soaking in hot tubs has become a popular relaxation activity during all seasons. Unfortunately, hot tub related emergency visits increase in recent years. Based on a New York Times article, approximately more than 6000 emergency visits in 2007 are related to hot tube injury. Although most of the injuries were due to slips or falls, still more than 10% of those visits were heat stroke related. People often mistakenly assume a sense of safety since the head is typically not soaking inside the hot water. Understanding how high the body temperature especially the brain temperature will rise is crucial to educate the public to prevent heat stroke from happening when using hot tubs.1 In this study, we first develop a whole body model based on measurements of a human body, with realistic boundary conditions incorporated before and after a person jumps into a hot tub. For the transient heat transfer simulation, the initial condition is the established steady state temperature field of the human body with appropriate clothing layer to ensure thermal equilibrium of the body with its surroundings. Once the person is inside a hot tub, the Pennes bioheat equation is used to simulate the transient temperature elevations of the body, and the rising of the arterial blood temperature is solved by an energy balance equation modeling thermal exchange between body tissue and the blood in the body.3 The safe duration of soaking in hot tubs is then determined as affected by the hot tub water temperatures.