© 2024
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UVA conference to address health risks linked to hotter weather

UVA Nursing Professor Tracy Kelly is an expert on children and health. She says little ones will be especially vulnerable as temperatures rise here in Virginia.

"We know they’re outside more often. They play. They’re lower to the ground. They have a higher respiratory pattern, so they’re more vulnerable to certain types of illnesses related to heat," she explains.

The elderly and people who work outside are also at increased risk, and states like Arizona already report more cases of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and burn injuries.

Kelly also notes that we should be on the lookout for some diseases that were found only in the tropics.

"Zika, initially, started down in South America, and it began to move up to Central America, and we now see it in the United States. We’re not used to seeing diseases like that here, but we need to be."

Kelly notes growing anxiety in teens and young adults who feel the responsibility to address climate change .

“We’re seeing adolescents have a lot of anxiety – this enormous expectation that somehow they are going to fix what they have inherited.”

She hopes this weekend’s conference will lead to updated curricula for nursing and medical students and perhaps to more research on how warmer weather will impact their patients.

Updated: April 10, 2024 at 5:02 PM EDT
Editor's Note: The University of Virginia is a financial supporter of Radio IQ.
Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief