health forecasting


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health forecasting

A discipline championed by a UK GP who became the Met (formerly, Meteorological) Office’s first Clinical Director in 2002. Health forecasting consists of predicting the near-term alterations in a population’s health-state based on changes in the weather.

Weather effects on health
Cold
Contributes to 40,000 deaths/year (UK), especially from COPD; to reduce mortality, keep active when outdoors, dress warmly, cover head and hands, and keep indoor temperatures > 21ºC/69ºF.

Heat
Heat waves are linked to a 30% increase in mortality in the very young and very old.

Thunderstorms
Cause asthma epidemics in periods of high pollen or fungal spore counts.

Low boundary layers
May facilitate viral transmission in stagnant air.
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The head of health forecasting at the Met Office, Patrick Sachon, said: "There is the possibility of daytime and night-time temperatures reaching trigger thresholds.
Wayne Elliott, the Met's head of health forecasting, said: "While there is the possibility of daytime temperatures reaching trigger thresholds, it is the night-time values which are of real concern.
Dr David Halpin, a consultant in respiratory medicine and chair of the Met Office health forecasting advisory group, said: "People with COPD are most vulnerable during the winter and many live in fear of having an exacerbation, which is a severe worsening of symptoms.
He may look the picture of cheery health forecasting the weather on our TV screens, but when S4C weatherman Aled Hughes struggled getting up the stairs, he knew he had to shift some weight.
Consumers will be able to access personal health assessments, customized wellness plans and long term health forecasting.
Although health forecasting has been developed for some years, this is one of the first schemes where weather forecasts directly affect patient treatment on a daily basis.
Last winter, Met Office weather forecasters joined forces with two Midlands primary care trusts - Eastern Birmingham and Walsall - to trial a health forecasting system, and early results revealed a decline in hospital admissions among this group.
is President of the Health Forecasting Group in Dallas, Texas.
Health Forecasting services providing warnings and advice to avoid risks of adverse weather conditions, for instance for COPD, asthma, chronic heart failure, allergies
Head of health forecasting at the Met Office, Wayne Elliott, said: "High humidity and the lack of any breeze could make matters worse for people with underlying health problems.
Patrick Sachon, the programme manager for health forecasting at the Met Office, said, "In previous years, when we have had hot periods - such as in 2003 and July 2006 - the heat has put a lot of strain on people's bodies.