In less than a day, summer will have officially begun—bringing with it warmer temperatures and more opportunities to enjoy nature’s many gifts.
But for the elderly and chronically ill, the onset of summer poses a few problems.
In the warmer seasons, temperatures can vary a lot in a 24-hour period. Depending on where you live, the sun may rise on a 60 degree morning, and set on an 80 degree evening.
These tetchy temperatures can be harmful to older adults, according to a recent study from Harvard University.
After gathering data on two decades of chronically-ill Medicare recipients, researchers concluded that irregular temperature fluctuations may cause as many as 10,000 extra deaths among the elderly nationwide each year.
Even tiny temperature increases (less than two degrees Fahrenheit), may increase an aging individual’s risk of death by as much as four percent, depending on which chronic health conditions they suffer from.
“Older people and those with chronic health conditions have a harder time thermo-regulating and acclimating to heat,” says study co-author, Antonella Zanobetti, Ph.D, a senior research scientist for the Harvard School of Public Health.
Prior research made the association between heat waves and a heightened risk of death. However this is the first study to connect long-term mortality with minor temperature variations, a link that study authors say is becoming increasingly relevant as the consequences of global climate change begin to appear.
Continue reading to discover some helpful tips for staying safe in the summer sun…