Questions for ‘Heat sickness’


People can get sick in hot weather, especially if they combine too much activity with too little water.


To accompany feature “Heat sickness”


Before reading:

1.    How do people respond when it gets really hot? Is being uncomfortably hot really all that bad for us?

2.    What health impacts might be affected by heat?

During reading:

1.    Where were the three new analyses carried out?

2.    Data had already linked which health impacts to high temperatures?

3.    What kinds of data did Wellenius and his colleagues look at to determine how climate warming might impact Rhode Island residents?

4.    In the Rhode Island study, how many excess deaths might that state see by the end of this century?

5.    What kinds of programs have some countries started to prevent health-related climate impacts?

6.    What is asthma, and how much did extreme heat raise hospitalizations for this condition in Maryland? Why were rates higher in summer?

7.    What is particulate matter, and what makes the “fine” particulates not so fine for health?

8.    Why did the New Jersey study compare one census tract to another? What advantage did that offer?

9.    What argument did Schwartz make about why pollution levels should be lowered right now?

After reading:

1.    What was the most surprising thing you learned from the data presented in this story? Explain why it surprised you.

2.    Look at five major cities across the globe with populations over 5 million people. What is their average summer temperature? How, if at all, have their average summer temperatures changed in the past 20 years? How serious is the particulate pollution in that area? Now identify which city would likely experience the biggest climate-and-pollution related health problems in the next half century (your lifetime)? Explain your reasoning.



1.    The emergency room visits in a town called Roylesburg had been averaging 16,400 per year. Now they have climbed by 1.3 percent because of more hot days each year. How many people are now being seen in the ER per year? What would the number be if the rate climbed to 15 percent? What about 24 percent?