health forecasting

(redirected from weather medicine)

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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Less than 2 percent of Alaska's health care providers specialize in cold weather medicine, but their skill saves growing numbers of lives each year.

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