-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Feb. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As winter drags on,
many people grow weary of frigid temperatures, ice and snow. For
them, the good news is that summer is just around the corner.
The bad news is, there could be a huge rise in heat-related
deaths during the summer months in the coming decades, a new study
The number of deaths caused by hot weather in England and Wales
could nearly triple by the middle of the century, according to
This sharp spike in deaths will be due to the combination of
climate change and an aging population, said Dr. Shakoor Hajat and
colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine,
and Public Health England.
The investigators analyzed data on weather patterns and death
rates from 1993 to 2006 and applied it to projected climate changes
and population increases in the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s. They
concluded that the number of hot days in England and Wales will
triple by the mid-2080s, and the number of cold days will
If no adaptive measures are taken, the current number of 2,000
heat-related deaths a year in England and Wales will increase 257
percent by the 2050s, while the current number of 41,000 deaths
from cold will fall 2 percent due to milder winters, the
Even though more people will continue to die due to cold weather
than hot weather, rising temperatures will become increasing
deadly, especially for the elderly. People aged 75 and older will
be at greatest risk for heat-related death, according to the study
published online Feb. 3 in the
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The findings indicate that protection from hot weather will
become most important for those aged 85 and older, partly because
people are living longer and this group will make up a growing
proportion of the elderly population.
Along with air conditioning, preventive measures could include
more sustainable options such as shading and changes in building
insulation and construction materials, the study authors noted in a
journal news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers
hot weather tips.
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