Who Does the Hot Weather Hurt the Most?

Regardless of personal or social background, everyone has to deal with the effects of Mother Nature. Some people, however, are more vulnerable to the scorching summer months than others.

Out in the Sun

Quick question – which groups do you think are most susceptible to heat-related illnesses. If you said older adults, researchers at the Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Health would beg to differ. Instead, a study issued by this group has found that teens and young adults bear the brunt of the sun’s powerful rays.

For their report, the authors reviewed data related to emergency room visits caused by heat-induced health issues, such as heat exhaustion, heat rash, and heat cramps. Incidents of heat stroke were also noted. The study’s window of data review spanned from 2006 through 2015.

Upon reviewing all these ER visits, the team reached a surprising conclusion – males between the ages of 15 and 34 were most likely to seek emergency care due to heat-related woes. The authors did not provide a concrete reason for their findings, but they did note that men in this age group do spend a lot of time outdoors during the summer. This time outdoors is often spent on athletics or outdoor work, such as at construction sites.

A Problem for the Poor?

This wasn’t the only unexpected finding from the study; the authors also found that those living in rural communities visit the ER for heat-related illnesses more often than their urban counterparts. Though the authors aren’t exactly sure why this is so, they do believe that lower income levels might be responsible for this gap.

Finally, the data revealed a stark difference in the way men and women reacted to heat and high temperatures. “We also found that males are twice as likely to go to the emergency department for heat-related illness than women, and again this is probably related to outdoor work but our data doesn’t include the ‘why,’” noted Tess Konen, an epidemiologist at the Minnesota Health Department and a lead researcher on the project. Given the report’s findings, it could be that new precautions are in order to protect young adults and teens during the warmest parts of the year.

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