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January 14, 1983

Risk Factors in Heatstroke

Author Affiliations

University Hospital Boston

JAMA. 1983;249(2):193. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330260017014

To the Editor.—  In their article on risk factors for heatstroke, Kilbourne et al stated that "the association between tree growth and heat stroke requires further clarification" (1982; 247:3332). Such clarification may already have been provided. According to Robert Little, arborist for the Boston Edison Company, "one large tree cools as much as five 10,000-BTU air conditioners."1 Thus, although living in a well-shaded home may serve as a market for high socioeconomic status, as pointed out by Kilbourne et al, it should also and does correlate well with the same protective effect as air conditioning.The significance of the shade-tree effect should not be lost on either city planners or medical personnel attempting to prevent heatstroke. Scant financial resources spent for shade trees might well provide many more years of protection against heatstroke, much less energy expenditure, and much more beauty than the same resources spent for electric fans.