Hot weather warning might help to reduce elderly mortality in Hong Kong

Abstract

While there was evidence on the relationship between extreme hot weather and the increase in mortality, particularly from ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and cerebrovascular disease (stroke), some researchers suggested that early warning systems might reduce mortality. In this study, the relationship between Very Hot Weather Warning (VHWW) and mortality was examined in the context of Hong Kong, which has a sub-tropical climate. An observational study was conducted on the daily number of deaths due to IHD and stroke in the Hong Kong elderly population (aged 65 or above) during summer (May–September) in 1997–2005. Totals of 4,281 deaths from IHD and 4,764 deaths from stroke occurred on days with maximum temperature reaching/exceeding 30.4°C. Multiple linear regression models were used to study the association between VHWW and the daily mortality rates from IHD and from stroke, respectively. Results showed that absence of VHWW was associated with an increase of about 1.23 (95% CI: 0.32, 2.14) deaths from IHD and 0.97 (95% CI: 0.02, 1.92) deaths from stroke among the elderly per day. Public education is required to inform the elderly to take appropriate preventive measures and to remind the public to pay more care and attention to the elderly on days which are not considered to be stressful to the general public. Warning systems tailored for the elderly could also be considered.

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Acknowledgement

This study is part of the project entitled “CADENZA: A Jockey Club Initiative for Seniors” funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

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Correspondence to P. H. Chau.

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Chau, P.H., Chan, K.C. & Woo, J. Hot weather warning might help to reduce elderly mortality in Hong Kong. Int J Biometeorol 53, 461 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-009-0232-5

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Keywords

  • Mortality
  • Hong Kong
  • Elderly
  • Temperature
  • Weather warning