Extreme heat may impact younger people more than elderly - study

This information is reportedly only being uncovered now because previous studies had only looked at hospitalizations among older adults.

 The newly uncovered 300-seat theater at Herodion. (photo credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN)
The newly uncovered 300-seat theater at Herodion.
(photo credit: LINDA GRADSTEIN)

Adults aged between 18 and 64 are reportedly at a higher risk to visit the emergency room as a result of extreme heat, compared to those over the age of 75, according to a peer-reviewed study by the Boston University School of Medicine and the University of British Columbia.

The study, which was published in the British Medical Journal on Thursday, states that extreme heat poses an increasing threat to people due to the effects of climate change, as days of extreme heat are expected to become more frequent.

Days of extreme heat have the strongest association with emergency visits among those aged 18-64, with a higher risk of visits for heat-related illnesses and mental disorders.

Dr. Kate Weinberger, an assistant professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, states that this may be due to the possibility that younger people are more likely to be working outdoors or participating in outdoor recreation.

Weinberger stated that younger adults may not realize that they may be at risk, and emphasized the importance of informing people about the dangers of extreme heat.

People visit a beach along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea during a heatwave in Israel as restrictions following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ease around the country, in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)People visit a beach along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea during a heatwave in Israel as restrictions following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) ease around the country, in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2020 (credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

This information is reportedly only being uncovered now because other studies had only looked at hospitalizations among older adults, while this study looked at emergency department visits among adults of all ages.

Other results concluded that heat may be even more dangerous in areas with cooler climates such as Canada because they are less able to adapt to extreme heat.