Heat Wave Raises Health Risks for Philly Residents

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Philly is expected to experience 90-plus-degree days this week. It will cause a surge in outdoor temperatures that can increase the risk of some serious medical complications like heat stroke. But according to Drexel University assistant professor Leah Schinasi indoor temperatures can also increase this risk, especially for those without air conditioning. 

This research was recently published in the journal Helion. In this study, researchers have found that some vulnerable individuals may struggle to cool their homes during a heat wave. It will include older and younger people.  

The study highlights the environmental justice issue of high indoor temperatures, particularly for lower-income individuals who do not have air conditioning systems. This can increase the risk of many health issues such as blood clots, heart and respiratory issues and impaired kidney function. This study shows the need for more affordable energy-efficient solutions to reduce this risk. 

Researchers say extreme heat in the US causes more deaths than any other extreme weather event. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report also says that heat is a health hazard. But it hasn’t been recognized as an environmental hazard yet. High indoor temperatures’ dangers have not been studied completely. Hence public health officials should consider the needs of those who do not stay at homes with air conditioning systems. 

People should stay hydrated, close blinds, wear light clothes and take showers regularly to reduce this risk.  Some of them should find cool locations beyond their home like Philadelphia health officials’ cooling centers during heat emergencies.  They should also communicate with others and tell them about this risk as elderly people may not realize this health risks.  

Cities should also make some effective strategies and take long-term steps to combat the “heat island” effect. Some strategies like planting trees or building structures that produce shade can reduce the temperature. Officials should also offer air conditioning systems to those who do not have it. One of the researchers says it is very important to make residential environments safer.  

Reference Link:  

Chima Cyril Hampo et al, Surviving indoor heat stress in United States: A comprehensive review exploring the impact of overheating on the thermal comfort, health, and social economic factors of occupants, Heliyon (2024).  

DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e25801 

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