According to new research, the increase in temperatures caused by global warming is likely to increase deaths from traffic accidents, violence, suicides and drowning, and will affect young people more.
It has long been known that injury deaths are seasonal and the new analysis uses data on almost 6 million deaths in the US. UU. To calculate the impacts of a 2 ° C increase in temperature, the main objective set by the nations of the world. The scientists calculated that this increase would result in approximately 2,100 more fatal injuries each year in the US alone. UU.
People tend to go out more and drink more alcohol on hotter days, while higher temperatures increase rates of violence and suicide. The analysis showed a small reduction in the number of deaths related to falls among the elderly, probably because there is less ice in winter.
Previous research on the impact of climate emergency on health has focused on chronic diseases such as heart failure and infectious diseases, including malaria. But injury deaths currently represent about 10% of all deaths worldwide and the impact of global warming on this has been little studied so far.
Scientists say that young people play vital roles in supporting societies and economies and that measures to address injury deaths should be a public health priority.
“Our results show how much climate change can affect young people,” said Professor Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London. “We need to respond to this threat with better preparedness in terms of emergency services, social support and health warnings.”
Deaths from injuries were expected to increase in all nations as temperatures rose, he said, although local factors would influence the extent of the increase, for example, the road safety standard or the level of gun control. The world is currently on the way to a temperature rise of 3-4 ° C, which suggests that the increase in injury deaths could be even greater.
The research, published in the journal Nature Medicine, is based on data on deaths recorded by injuries in all counties of the US continent. UU. Between 1980 and 2017. He also used temperature data to find the months when the average temperature was 2C higher than usual. This allowed researchers to take into account the fact that people adapt to normal local conditions but are affected by unusual temperatures.
The comparison of the data allowed scientists to estimate the annual increase in deaths that would result from a 2C increase. Men are already much more likely than women to die from injuries and researchers found that 84% of the additional deaths were among men.
The most affected age group was 15-34. Traffic accidents accounted for 42% of additional deaths and suicide 30%. Deaths from violence and drowning accounted for about 14% of the total. Drowning increases in hot climates as more people swim.
“There is a long history of work that shows that injuries are fundamentally seasonal,” said Ezzati. “Some of this is obvious: people drown more in summer. We also know that heat influences both our physiology and our behavior. “
The reasons why deaths from suicide and violent assault increase in hot climates are not fully understood. But the researchers said it was possible that people who spent more time outdoors had a higher risk of confrontations.
People also tend to be more agitated in hot climates and can drink more alcohol, which could lead to more aggressions. Previous research indicates that high temperatures are associated with higher levels of mental anguish, especially in young people.
Injuries already kill more than 5 million people a year, more than HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria together, and those deaths are increasing. Policies to address the climate emergency should include measures to combat injury deaths, Shanthi Ameratunga and Alistair Woodward of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, said in a comment accompanying the investigation.
“The need to address this important public health problem is particularly urgent in low- and middle-income countries that experience more than 80% of the global burden of injuries and are generally more vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather,” they said.
“The public health community tends to forget that injury deaths are actually a very important factor [in overall mortality]”Ezzati said.” The emphasis on young people is an important aspect of the story, since they are active from an educational and economic point of view. “