Watch out for these weather-related health dangers

Changes in the weather can be deadly if you already have a serious health condition. And now scientists are beginning to understand how your local environment can endanger your health.

According to a study at the Harvard School of Public Health, if you suffer from any kind of health problem related either to your kidney function, blood electrolytes, sepsis ( blood infection), or a urinary tract infection, you have a significantly increased risk of being hospitalized when the weather heats up in the coming months.

The research demonstrates that longer heat waves create more serious health problems. The greatest risk of a health crisis is on the hottest day. But your risk of illness remains high for five days after a heat wave peaks.

So resolve to stay in the air conditioning if you have health concerns this coming summer.

“An innovative aspect of (our) work is that, rather than preselect a few individual diseases to examine, we considered all possible causes of hospital admission during heat waves in order to characterize the effects of heat on multiple organ systems,” says researcher Francesca Dominici, professor of biostatistics at Harvard.

For older people, heat stroke is the greatest warm weather danger. The probability of a senior citizen being hospitalized for heat stroke during a prolonged heat wave is multiplied by two-and-a-half times. But days of high heat also increases the risk for electrolyte and fluid problems by 18 percent. The possibility of kidney failure climbs by 14 percent. The sepsis risk goes up by 6 percent.

And even your chances of a urinary tract infection climbs by 10 percent when the temperature climbs.

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.