Heat kills poor, sick, elderly

first_img 80 percent were over age 50; 46 percent lived alone, and; Most had other medical conditions like heart problems, respiratory disease, psychological or substance abuse problems. But while children were generally thought to be vulnerable to heat, only one person under 20 died in California’s heat wave: a child who had cerebral palsy that likely contributed to his death, Reilly said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Last summer’s stifling heat wave killed many of its 140 victims without warning, often just hours after worried relatives or friends had checked on their well-being, according to a state report released Friday. Most of the victims of the July heat wave were poor, sick, elderly – or a combination of all three, according to a state Department of Health Services analysis provided to The Associated Press. But a disturbing number of the dead had air conditioning or other ways to cool themselves and simply chose not to do so, the review found. Periodic checks on the state’s most vulnerable residents were not enough to save them, the department found in its review of 140 of the 143 deaths that county coroners and public health officials attributed to the record temperatures. “For a majority of these people, they had been seen by their social contacts that day,” said Dr. Kevin Reilly, the department’s deputy director for prevention services. “You just can’t see somebody that morning and assume that they’re OK. “Err on the side of caution. Go over and turn on that air conditioning, or say, `Mom, let’s go shopping.’ Something to break that relentless heat,” Reilly said in an interview. “In a lot of cases, we found that people weren’t doing the simple things: drawing a bath or taking a shower, or going to cooling centers. There is some finding that getting a break from the heat really helped reduce the deaths.” The findings will help drive public education efforts as temperatures soar again this summer, Reilly said. But it was the abnormally sustained high temperatures and the absence of cooling night breezes that helped kill an unusually high number of people as the heat wave stretched from July 15 to Aug. 1 without relief, the state’s analysis found. Many of the victims fit the profile of heat waves in other states and nations: 90 percent lived in poor regions of the state; last_img

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