Sign up here to get the latest health & fitness updates in your inbox every week!
TUESDAY, July 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Heat coupled with smog can be a particularly lethal mix, especially for older adults, a new study finds.
Unfortunately, both hot temperatures and air pollution are going to increase as the planet warms, and so will deaths, researchers report.
“We are experiencing more and more frequent wildfires, which cause pollution, and wildfires happen during the hotter days. So, there will be more of these occurrences in the future,” said lead researcher Md Mostafijur Rahman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.
Although extreme heat and air pollution each increase the risk of dying, the combination increases the risk exponentially, he noted.
Extremely hot days increase the risk of dying by just over 6%. On days when air pollution is high, death risk increases by 5%. However, on very hot, highly polluted days, that risk increases 21%, Rahman said.
To come to that conclusion, his team used death certificates from California’s Department of Public Health to analyze more than 1.5 million deaths across the state between 2014 and 2019. They also used data on air temperature and levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). PM2.5 is known to cause health problems.
They found that on days when both heat and air pollutions were high, the risk of dying from heart conditions jumped nearly 30%, and the risk of dying from respiratory problems increased by 38%.
When heat and pollution levels were both high, those over age 75 suffered the most: They had a 36% increased risk of dying, compared with an 8.5% increased risk for people 75 and under.
Deaths were most common among those with heart failure and pneumonia. Rahman and his team speculated that when heat and air pollution are extreme, people may suffer more inflammation and oxidative stress, in addition to problems regulating body temperature.
Rahman advises those at risk during high heat and air pollution to stay indoors in air conditioning, or if they don’t have air conditioning, to go to libraries, shopping malls or community cooling centers.
“As climate change progresses, we’re going to need multilevel interventions,” said senior study author Erika Garcia, an assistant professor of population and public health sciences at Keck. “We’re going to have to rely on some individual behaviors, but we also need policymakers to make the appropriate policies and provide the appropriate support, so there can be ongoing effort to save lives.”
Dr. Afif El-Hasan, a volunteer spokesman for the American Lung Association and a member of the department of pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente San Juan Capistrano in California, said the findings were “alarming,” but “not surprising.”
“The study speaks clearly to the fact that either one — smoke particles in the air or a very hot day — is going to take a strain on the body, and probably more than we are thinking,” said El-Hasan, who wasn’t part of the study. “But when you add one to the other, it doesn’t just add to it, it makes it worse by multiples.”
To withstand these brutal conditions, El-Hasan believes people should be in top physical shape. That means having high blood pressure and diabetes and respiratory conditions under control.
But for many, that’s not enough. People should stay in an air-conditioned environment during these times of extreme heat and pollution, he said.
“Make sure at least one room is air-conditioned,” El-Hasan said. “Make sure in that room there’s an air filter as well, so you have a zone to be in that’ll keep you as safe as possible.”
El-Hasan also believes that extreme heat and air pollution are going to get worse. “We can expect more deaths, unfortunately,” El-Hasan noted.
The report was published online recently in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
For more on air pollution and heat, see the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
SOURCES: Md Mostafijur Rahman, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Erika Garcia, PhD, MPH, assistant professor, population and public health sciences, Keck School of Medicine; Afif El-Hasan, MD., volunteer spokesman, American Lung Association, and Kaiser Permanente, Department of Pediatrics, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, June 21, 2022, online
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department reported 572 cases for the week ending June 25, a 14% increase over the previous week and the most in a week since the week ending Feb. 12.
The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department announced it will start holding daily COVID-19 vaccine clinics for children under age 5.
These infections require medical attention right away.
The clinics will be offered daily at the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Departments office at 3131 O St. starting Wednesday, and there will also be some Saturday clinics at pediatrician offices.
The case is in a man in his 30s in Douglas County who is isolating at home.
A severe shortage of tampons alongside sharp price increases have sparked concerns that lower-income women may have difficulty accessing menstrual products.
Your body follows a circadian rhythm that influences everything from how well your medications work to the best time for exercise.
A detention center in the wind-swept California desert town of Adelanto could house nearly 2,000 migrants facing the prospect of deportation. These days, it’s nearly empty. The facility is an extreme example of how the U.S. government’s use of guaranteed minimum payments in contracts with private companies to house immigrant detainees can have a potential financial downside. The U.S. government pays to guarantee 30,000 immigration detention beds in four dozen facilities, but so far this fiscal year about half of them on average have been occupied, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data. In the last two years, immigration detention facilities across the United States have been underutilized as authorities needed to space out detainees due to COVID-19.
Although fish and seafood consumption is on the rise in the U.S., the number of Midwest aquaculture farms is declining, and many fish producers say they face challenges getting their produce to consumers. Experts maintain the region could be a strong aquaculture producer, but the number of aquaculture farms in the Midwest has fallen from a decade ago. Joseph Morris, a former director of the North Central Regional Aquaculture Center at Iowa State University, notes problems with marketing, fish processing and high labor costs. Amy Shambach, with the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, says aquaculture produce from the Midwest also must compete with cheaper, imported seafood.
Here’s a look at the requirements for teaching sex education in each of the 50 states and Washington D.C.
Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.