As you age, heat waves become more dangerous

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Texas and parts of the U.S. Southeast have been roasting under a heat dome this week, with temperatures in the high 90s and 100s. In the Houston area, thousands of people have faced the heat without air conditioning for days after storms knocked out power across the region. In Mexico and Central America, the temperatures have been even higher.

Excessive heat like this can be dangerous for anyone, but it’s especially risky for older adults, as environmental scientists Deborah Carr, Ian Sue Wing, Enrica De Cian and Giacomo Falchetta explain. As the world population ages and global temperatures rise, millions more lives will be at risk of heat illness in countries around the world. Even in wealthier regions, older adults are increasingly exposed to dangerous heat, often without realizing the risks or knowing the warning signs to watch for.

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Stacy Morford

Environment + Climate Editor

Older adults face health risks from high heat for many reasons, including medications. AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

Heat waves can be deadly for older adults: An aging global population and rising temperatures mean millions are at risk

Deborah Carr, Boston University; Enrica De Cian, Ca' Foscari University of Venice; Giacomo Falchetta, Ca' Foscari University of Venice; Ian Sue Wing, Boston University

Older adults face greater health risks from extreme heat for several reasons. Communities can save lives by starting to make changes now.

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