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When firefighters work in hot conditions, altered immune and inflammatory responses may increase the risk of a cardiac event. The present study aimed to establish the time course of such responses. Forty-two urban firefighters completed a repeat work protocol in a heat chamber (100 ± 5°C). Changes to leukocytes, platelets, TNFα, IL-6, IL-10, LPS and CRP were evaluated immediately post-work and also after 1 and 24 h of rest. Increases in core temperatures were associated with significant increases in leukocytes, platelets and TNFα directly following work. Further, platelets continued to increase at 1 h (+31.2 ± 31.3 × 109 l, p < 0.01) and remained elevated at 24 h (+15.9 ± 19.6 × 109 l, p < 0.01). Sustained increases in leukocytes and platelets may increase the risk of cardiac events in firefighters when performing repeat work tasks in the heat. This is particularly relevant during multi-day deployments following natural disasters.

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Journal Article

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