Experts from the Faculty of Public Health and Met Office said today that more than 2,500 people in England and Wales are likely to perish from cold in the week leading up to Christmas. Each winter, a larger proportion of Britons fatally collapse because of unseasonable cold weather than in either cold Finland or Russia. An estimated 40,000 more people expire between December and March in the UK than would be expected during other times of the year.
A sudden temperature plummet makes the danger is even more acute. More than half the deceases are due to heart attacks, strokes and circulatory problems and a third from lung disease. There is a corresponding increase in the risk of asthma, emphysema, raised blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, worsening arthritis and accidents.
I had an accident one Christmas, during a snowy period—tripped over furniture and broke my thumb. I waited several days before I went to hospital. Most of the other patients in the waiting room had slipped on the ice outside.
The international findings, published in The Lancet, also reveal expiries due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.
The study analyzed more than 74 million deceased between 1985 and 2012 in 13 countries with a wide range of climates, from cold to subtropical. Researchers looked at 384 locations across 13 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, and USA.
Lead author from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, stated the majority of fatalities actually happen on moderately hot and cold days, with most caused by moderately cold temperatures.
About ten years ago in May, a neighbor walked by wearing his normal shirt and sweater while I lay sunning myself. I called, “You're still wearing your winter woolies. Aren't you hot?”
The old gardener smiled. “I always wear my singlet until June. The weather can change suddenly. It's kept me in good stead. I'm not bad for 95, am I?”
He'd pedaled his pushbike to work for five miles along a busy road for the last twenty years after retiring from his farm laborer job. I guess the old workers knew how to care for themselves.
Haha. I'm wearing my singlet under a blouse while I write. Do you take precautions against a change in temperature?