A new study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, has found that warmer temperatures are associated with increased injury deaths in the United States.
Researchers analyzed the data from the National Center for Health Statistics, studying death rates in the contiguous U.S. from 1980 to 2017 to understand whether there is a connection between abnormal temperatures and mortality.
The purpose of the study was to understand the link between abnormal temperatures and unintentional deaths from falls, drowning, transportation accidents, and intentional deaths from suicides and assaults.
The authors said, “Our aim was to evaluate how deaths from various injuries in the USA might be affected by anomalously warm temperatures that occur today and are expected to become increasingly common as a result of global climate change,”
Over the 38-year study period, “more than 4.1 million boys and men and 1.8 million girls and women died from an injury in the contiguous US. The study also found that nearly 95% of injury deaths occurred in men and women who were 15 and above.
“Injuries from transport, falls, drownings, assault, and suicide accounted for 78.6% of injury deaths in males and 71.8% in females,” the study found, with the rest of the deaths attributed to “other injuries,” the authors noted.
The researchers found that a temperature rise of 2.7°F (1.5°C) would cause an additional 1,600 injury deaths every year in America, with a vast majority (84%) of those deaths would impact men, and a temperature rise of 3.6°F would lead to more than 2,135 injury deaths.
It has been found that in warmer temperatures, driving performance is affected and alcohol consumption is increased, causing more traffic and increasing the risk of fatal collisions, according to the study. Also, in warmer weather, people often go to swimming, increasing the risk of drowning deaths.
Lead study author Robbie Parks said, “Our work highlights how deaths from injuries including assaults, suicides, transport, and drowning deaths currently rise with warm temperature, and could also worsen by rising temperatures resulting from climate change unless countered by social and health system infrastructure that mitigate these impacts.”
The conclusion of the study is that the warmer temperature could increase the risk of injuries and deaths. So, it is important for local governments, healthcare systems, and first-aid responders to be prepared to deal with such incidents.