Infrared radiation and its effects on humans
All variety of radiations emanating from the Sun has a single nature - these are electromagnetic waves. The diversity in their properties is caused by differences in wavelength. The visible part of the spectrum of solar radiation begins with the shortest - violet waves (0.38 μm) and ends with the longest waves (0.76 μm), which the human eye perceives as red.
In 1800, the German scientist Herschel discovered some invisible rays behind the red part of the spectrum, causing a significant increase in the temperature of the thermometer used for the study. This radiation was called infrared.
What is the effect of infrared radiation on the human body? Let's find out.
What is infrared radiation
Radiation adjacent to the red part of the visible spectrum, not perceived by our organs of vision, but having the ability to heat the illuminated surface, was called infrared. The prefix "infra" means "more." In our case, these are electromagnetic rays with a wavelength longer than that of visible red light.
What is the source of infrared radiation
Its natural source is the sun. The range of infrared rays is quite wide. These are waves with a length of from 7 to 14 micrometers (µm). Partial absorption and scattering of infrared rays occurs in the atmosphere of the Earth.
The scale of infrared solar radiation is indicated by the fact that it accounts for 58% of the entire spectrum of electromagnetic waves emanating from our star.
Such a fairly wide range of IR rays is divided into three parts:
- long waves emitted by a heater with temperatures up to 300 ° C;
- medium - up to 600 ° C;
- short - more than 800 ° C.
All of them are emitted by excited atoms (i.e., having excess energy), as well as ions of matter. All bodies are sources of infrared radiation if their temperature is above absolute zero (minus 273 ° C).
So, depending on the temperature of the radiator, IR rays of different wavelength, intensity and penetrating power are formed. And it depends on this how infrared radiation affects a living organism.
The benefits and harms of IR radiation for human health
Answer the question - is it harmful for a person infrared radiation, you can, armed with some information.
Long-wave infrared rays, falling on the skin, affects the nerve receptors, causing a feeling of heat. Therefore, infrared radiation is also called thermal.
More than 90% of this radiation is absorbed by moisture contained in the upper layers of the skin. It causes only an increase in the temperature of the skin. Medical studies have shown that long-wave radiation is not only safe for humans, but also boosts immunity, triggers the mechanism of regeneration and recovery of many organs and systems. IR rays with a wavelength of 9.6 microns are particularly effective in this regard. These circumstances caused the use of infrared radiation in medicine.
A completely different mechanism of action of infrared rays on the human body, relating to the shortwave part of the spectrum. They are able to penetrate to a depth of several centimeters, causing the heating of internal organs.
At the site of exposure due to the expansion of the capillaries, reddening of the skin may appear, up to the formation of blisters. Short infrared rays are especially dangerous for the organs of vision. They can provoke the formation of cataracts, disruption of water-salt balance, the appearance of seizures.
The reason for the known effect of thermal shock is precisely short-wave infrared radiation. An increase in the temperature of the brain by 1 ° C already causes its symptoms:
- increased heart rate;
- darkening of the eyes.
Overheating by 2 ° C can trigger the development of meningitis.
Now we shall understand the concept of the intensity of electromagnetic radiation. This factor depends on the distance to the heat source and its temperature. Long-wave thermal radiation of low intensity plays an important role for the development of life on the planet. The human body needs a constant supply of these wavelengths.
Thus, the harm and benefits of infrared radiation is determined by the wavelength and time of exposure.
How to avoid the harmful effects of infrared rays
Since we have determined that short-wave infrared radiation has a negative impact on the human body, we will find out where this danger may lie in wait for us.
First of all, these are bodies with temperatures exceeding 100 ° C. Such may be the following.
- Production sources of radiant energy (steel-smelting, electric arc furnaces, etc.). Reducing the risk of their impact is achieved by special protective clothing, heat-shielding screens, the use of newer technologies, as well as therapeutic and preventive measures for staff;
- Heaters . The most reliable and proven of them is the Russian stove. The heat it radiates is not only extremely pleasant, but also healing. Unfortunately, this detail of life is almost completely sunk into oblivion. It was replaced by all possible electric heaters. Those whose fuel spiral is protected by heat-insulating material, emit soft long-wave radiation. It has a beneficial effect on the body. Heaters with an open heating element emit hard, short-wave radiation, which can lead to the negative consequences described above. In the technical passport of the heater, the manufacturer must indicate the nature of the radiation of this device.
If you become the owner of a short-wave heater, follow the rule - the closer the heater, the less should be the time of its impact.
Help with heat stroke
Nature has endowed man with a very perfect thermoregulation system. But, if there is still a heat stroke, you should perform a certain set of measures that minimize its consequences:
- move the victim to a cool place;
- free him from embarrassing clothing;
- apply cold on the head, the region of the heart, neck, axilla, groin and spine;
- wrap the affected person with a cold, wet sheet — when the water evaporates from its surface, the temperature will decrease;
- to enhance the effect to direct the flow of air from the fan;
- give the victim a cool, plentiful drink;
- in severe cases, artificial respiration and emergency call are indicated.
Humanity lives in the world of natural and man-made sources of various radiations. Indisputable effect of infrared radiation on the human body. But there is no statistics proving his harm.
And knowledge of the patterns of its interaction with biological objects allows the use of the beneficial effects of infrared radiation on humans to prevent diseases and to treat various diseases.