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The influence of weather on health-related help-seeking behavior of senior citizens in Hong Kong.

Wong, Ho Ting; Chiu, Marcus Yu Lung; Wu, Cynthia Sau Ting; Lee, Tsz Cheung.
Int J Biometeorol; 59(3): 373-6, 2015 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | 2015 | ID: mdl-24760371
Resumo: It is believed that extreme hot and cold weather has a negative impact on general health conditions. Much research focuses on mortality, but there is relatively little community health research. This study is aimed at identifying high-risk groups who are sensitive to extreme weather conditions, in particular, very hot and cold days, through an analysis of the health-related help-seeking patterns of over 60,000 Personal Emergency Link (PE-link) users in Hong Kong relative to weather conditions. In the study, 1,659,716 PE-link calls to the help center were analyzed. Results showed that females, older elderly, people who did not live alone, non-subsidized (relatively high-income) users, and those without medical histories of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and diabetes were more sensitive to extreme weather condition. The results suggest that using official government weather forecast reports to predict health-related help-seeking behavior is feasible. An evidence-based strategic plan could be formulated by using a method similar to that used in this study to identify high-risk groups. Preventive measures could be established for protecting the target groups when extreme weather conditions are forecasted.