Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Montreal hopes plan will avert heat-wave deaths

Charlie Fidelman in the Montreal Gazette: A scorching heat wave killed 106 Montrealers in 2010, and one-third of them were mental-health patients. Last year, heat and humidity caused 10 fatalities over the summer, and many more illnesses and hospitalizations, said Richard Massé, head of public health at the Montreal Health and Social Services Agency.

Heat-related deaths are preventable, Massé noted. Given that climate change promises to bring longer, hotter summers, the agency Tuesday unveiled its prevention and protection strategy aimed at reducing heat-related health problems.

Montreal’s prevention plan is built on analysis of past hot spells including lessons learned from the unprecedented heat wave that hit Paris in 2003 and killed about 14,800 people. Many of the victims were elderly – 85 and older – with pre-existing health conditions.

Seniors, infants and children and those with chronic medical conditions are more prone to heat stress, Massé said. Some medication, for example for depression and heart disease, can accentuate the effects of heat, such as dehydration....

Montreal's skyline, shot by Dickbauch, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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