Heat Exposure and the General Public: Health Impacts, Risk Communication, and Mitigation Measures

  • Andrew J. Grundstein
  • Castle A. Williams
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Medical Earth Sciences book series (BRIEFSMEEASC)


Extreme heat is the number one cause for weather-related death and poses a serious public health problem. Sensitivity to heat, however, may vary based on sociodemographic factors such as age, health status, availability of air-conditioning, and/or one’s degree of exposure to oppressive heat. To mitigate these heat hazards, various governmental agencies such as the National Weather Service have developed heat-health warning systems to communicate the dangers of heat and inform individuals of the appropriate actions to take during extreme heat conditions. Studies of these warning systems suggest that these heat-related warnings often fail to motivate behavior change, with individual differences in risk perception and inconsistent messaging between warning systems being two prominent factors in the literature. To gain greater insight into decision-making processes and behavior change associated with heat-health warning systems, future research should utilize social and behavioral theoretical frameworks.


Heat waves Heat vulnerability Aging Weather warning system 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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