Evidence shows that high temperatures lead to excess morbidity and mortality in adults, but less is known about how heat affects children. Our study, led by Dr. Aaron Bernstein in Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first to evaluate the impacts of heat on children's health in all major regions around the country.
The study looked at over three million child and adolescent emergency department (ED) visits in children's hospitals in 27 states from May to September, 2016-2018.
It found that heat increases the number of children who visit the emergency department for any reason in the summer months and this underscores the need for more aggressive adaptation measures, especially given that climate change is anticipated to make summer heat more common and severe. Importantly, the study found that children present to the ED at higher temperatures for different reasons than adults, which underscores children's unique vulnerabilities.
Key takeaways and insights for clinicians
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