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Research Letter
August 10, 2020

Emergency Visits for Thunderstorm-Related Respiratory Illnesses Among Older Adults

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Economics, University of Oregon, Eugene
  • 2Harvard Medical School, Department of Health Care Policy, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Department of Finance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana
JAMA Intern Med. 2020;180(9):1248-1250. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.1672

Thunderstorm-related atmospheric changes are expected to increase in severity with rising global temperatures.1 Although large-scale evidence is limited, vulnerable populations, such as older adults or those with common chronic respiratory diseases, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are expected to be susceptible to negative health effects from these changes.2 The objective of this study was to determine whether increases in emergency department (ED) visits for acute respiratory illnesses occur among Medicare beneficiaries in the days surrounding thunderstorms across the continental US.

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