, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 251-257
Date: 17 Nov 2012

Population at high-risk of indoor heatstroke: the usage of cooling appliances among urban elderlies in Japan

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Abstract

Objectives

Heatstroke due to a heat wave during the summer is one of the commonly known health impacts of climate change in Japan. The elderly are particularly at high-risk of developing indoor heatstroke with poor prognosis. This study aims to describe the population among elderlies at high-risk of indoor heatstroke by focusing on the usage of cooling appliances.

Methods

We conducted a web-based household survey in eight urban areas during the winter season of 2011. Households with a person aged 65 and over were selected as samples from panel members of a research firm, and the oldest member of the household was queried about his/her usage of cooling appliances. The population at high-risk of indoor heatstroke is defined as the elderly staying in a room without cooling appliances, or not using the installed cooling appliances, or turning the cooling appliances on only when the room temperature is above 28 °C.

Results

15.4 and 19.1 % of the elderlies living in urban areas of Japan are identified as at high-risk of indoor heatstroke during activity time and sleeping time, respectively, according to the definition of high-risk of indoor heatstroke in this study.

Conclusions

These figures are not negligible since the consequences of heatstroke are grave, but its risk can be eliminated by an appropriate usage of cooling appliances. The preventive interventions are needed to protect the elderlies at high-risk of heatstroke.