Study links outdoor heat to respiratory disorders in elderly

March 19, 2013

​Baltimore – Short-term exposure to outdoor heat may trigger respiratory disorders among elderly people, suggests a new study from Johns Hopkins University.

Using data on 12.5 million Medicare beneficiaries from 1998 to 2008, researchers found a link between hot weather and emergency hospitalizations for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and respiratory tract infections. On average, respiratory-related hospitalizations increased 4.3 percent for every increase of 10° F in daily mean summer temperature, according to the study abstract.

The link was strongest on the day of exposure and remained high the next day.

The study was published online March 14 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.