Equilibration period following exposure to hot or cold conditions when using infrared thermography

Academic Article


  • INTRODUCTION: The proper use of Infrared Thermal Imaging (ITI) requires following strict protocols. The International Academy of Thermology (IAOCT) has copied standards and procedures which were developed in Europe in the late 1970's, and have subsequently been adopted by both the Japanese Society of Thermography and the American Academy of Thermology. A minimum of 15 min for equilibration is suggested by existing standards. However, it is unclear if the suggested 15 minute equilibration is adequate for stable skin temperature measures when the individual has previously been exposed to either a hot or cold environment. PURPOSE: To determine the equilibration time required after exposure to a hot or cold environment at a constant 50% relative humidity using ITI non-contact thermal measures. METHODS: This investigation used a randomized crossover design in which the participants were exposed to either the hot (31.7 °C) or cold (18.9°C) environment at a constant 50% relative humidity. Male and female college age participants wore minimal attire in order to expose maximal skin surface to room temperature. Each test trial had three phases: equilibration, hot or cold exposure, and recovery. Prior to the thermal exposure, a 60 minute equilibration period in a climate controlled room at ambient temperature (24.2 °C, 50% humidity) provided the baseline infrared thermal skin temperature measures. After infrared images were taken (anterior and posterior; trunk and extremities), the participants stood in the thermal chamber for 20 min exposure period (hot or cold) trial. Images were taken after the thermal exposure and participants once again returned to the ambient room condition where infrared images were taken at 0, 15, 30, 45, and 60 min of recovery. Surface temperature measures between the equilibration measures, exposure and recovery time were statistical compared using repeated measures ANOVA (p < 0.05). RESULTS: During the hot trial mean trunk temperature remained significantly different from control until the 30 min time period. The mean periphery temperature remained significantly different during the entire 60 min time period following the hot trial. During the cold trial the mean trunk temperature remained significantly different until the 15 min time period, while the peripheral region was significantly different until the 30 min time period. CONCLUSION: Results from this ITI study indicate that exposure to hot or cold conditions (31.7 °C and 18.9 °C) may require a longer equilibration period than the recommended 15 min for skin temperature to stabilize to room temperature conditions.
  • Authors

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    Author List

  • Fisher G; Foster EB; Pascoe DD
  • Start Page

  • 95
  • End Page

  • 100
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 3