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Death toll from sudden temperature swings may surpass AIDS

from Science

It’s no surprise that a sudden summer heat wave can kill the elderly; it's a serious public health hazard that will only grow as the world warms. But will more old folks survive milder winters, balancing out the loss of life in the summers? A new study suggests not. A rise of 1°C in mean summer temperatures killed 1 percent more people, whereas that same rise in mean winter temperatures saved a mere 0.6 percent, according to an analysis of death records for nearly 3 million people 65 years and older living in New England from 2000 to 2008. Not only that, but sudden swings in temperature — another phenomenon that could increase along with climate change in some regions — were found to be even worse killers, in either winter or summer. more


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