Environmental noise is a significant risk factor for a range of short- and long-term adverse health outcomes such as annoyance, cognitive development impairment, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular effects, and psychiatric problems. The aim of this study was to gather standardized quality of life (QOL) data hitherto rarely correlated with noise annoyance by source category. To provide an evidence-base for environmental noise policy development, a representative state-based survey was undertaken in South Australia (SA). A total of 3015 face-to-face interviews were conducted, using a questionnaire addressing noise sources, distances to busy roads and standardized measures of perceived annoyance and QOL. Population weighted descriptive survey and regression analysis. The most common sources of noise annoyances were road transport (27.7%, using a Likert scale, aggregating "little" to "extreme" annoyance), neighbors (22.0%), construction noise (10.0%), air conditioner noise (5.8%), rail transport noise (4.7%), and industry (3.9%). Using the QOL instrument, all eight health dimensions were significantly decreased for those reporting high noise annoyance ("very much" to "extreme") in relation to road transport and neighbors compared to those reporting low annoyance ("none" to "moderate") from these sources. Noise annoyance is common in the SA general population, and the evidence for a strong association with QOL reinforces the need for environmental noise management at a population basis.
A better understanding of public perceptions, attitude and behavior in relation to climate change will provide an important foundation for government?s policy-making, service provider?s guideline development and the engagement of local communities. The purpose of this study was to assess the perception towards climate change, behavior change, mitigation and adaptation measures issued by the central government among the health professionals in the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in China.
Despite acclimatisation to hot weather, many individuals in Australia are adversely affected by extreme heat each summer, placing added pressure on the health sector. In terms of public health, it is therefore important to identify vulnerable groups, particularly in the face of a warming climate. International evidence points to a disparity in heat-susceptibility in certain minority groups, although it is unknown if this occurs in Australia. With cultural diversity increasing, the aim of this study was to explore how migrants from different cultural backgrounds and climate experiences manage periods of extreme heat in Australia.
This study aims to investigate the impact of heatwaves on worker's health and safety; to identify workers at higher risk of prevalent illnesses and injuries due to heatwaves; and to provide evidence for policy-makers and service providers. South Australian workers' compensation claims data for 2001-2010 were transformed into time series format, merged with meteorological data and analysed using generalized estimating equation (GEE) models. For total injury claims there was no significant difference detected between heatwave and non-heatwave periods. However, for outdoor industries, daily claims increased significantly by 6.2% during heatwaves. Over-represented in hot weather were male labourers and tradespersons aged ? 55 years, and those employed in 'agriculture, forestry and fishing' and 'electricity, gas and water'. Occupational burns, wounds, lacerations, and amputations as well as heat illnesses were significantly associated with heatwaves. Similarly, moving objects, contact with chemicals, and injuries related to environmental factors increased significantly during heatwaves, especially among middle-aged and older male workers. With the predicted increase of extremely hot weather, there is a need for relevant adaptation and prevention measures at both practice and policy levels for vulnerable work groups.
A major heatwave occurred in Australia in early 2009 with considerable and varied health impacts in South Australia (SA) and Victoria. The aim of this study was to investigate the heat-adaptive behaviours of older people in these states.
There have been increasing concerns about the challenge of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases due to climate change, especially in developing countries including China. Health professionals play a significant role in the battle to control and prevent infectious diseases. This study therefore aims to investigate the perceptions and attitudes of health professionals at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in different levels in China, and to consider adaptation measures to deal with the challenge of climate change. In 2013, a cross-sectional questionnaire survey was undertaken among 314 staff in CDCs in Shanxi Province, China, whose routine work involves disease control and prevention. Data were analyzed using descriptive methods and logistic regression. A majority of the CDC staff were aware of the health risks from climate change, especially its impacts on infectious disease transmission in their jurisdictions, and believed climate change might bring about both temporal and spatial change in transmission patterns. It was thought that adaptation measures should be established including: strengthening/improving currently existing disease surveillance systems and vector monitoring; building CDC capacity in terms of infrastructure and in-house health professional training; development and refinement of relevant legislation, policies and guidelines; better coordination among various government departments; the involvement of the community in infectious disease interventions; and collaborative research with other institutions. This study provides a snapshot of the understanding of CDC staff regarding climate change risks relevant to infectious diseases and adaptation in China. Results may help inform future efforts to develop adaptation measures to minimize infectious disease risks due to climate change.
With predicted increasing frequency and intensity of extremely hot weather due to changing climate, workplace heat exposure is presenting an increasing challenge to occupational health and safety. This article aims to review the characteristics of workplace heat exposure in selected relatively high risk occupations, to summarize findings from published studies, and ultimately to provide suggestions for workplace heat exposure reduction, adaptations, and further research directions. All published epidemiological studies in the field of health impacts of workplace heat exposure for the period of January 1997 to April 2012 were reviewed. Finally, 55 original articles were identified. Manual workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress, especially those in low-middle income countries in tropical regions. At risk workers include farmers, construction workers, fire-fighters, miners, soldiers, and manufacturing workers working around process-generated heat. The potential impacts of workplace heat exposure are to some extent underestimated due to the underreporting of heat illnesses. More studies are needed to quantify the extent to which high-risk manual workers are physiologically and psychologically affected by or behaviourally adapt to workplace heat exposure exacerbated by climate change.
(1) To investigate the association between temperature and work-related injuries and (2) to identify groups of workers at high risk of work-related injuries in hot environments in Adelaide, South Australia.
Older people had a high incidence of hospitalisation during the 2009 heat wave in South Australia. We sought to explore resilience, behaviours, health risk factors and health outcomes during recent heat waves for a representative sample of independently living residents. A telephone survey of 499 people aged 65 years and over was conducted, and included both metropolitan and rural residences. A variety of adaptive strategies were reported, with 75% maintaining regular appointments and activities during the heat. However, 74% took medication for chronic disease and 25% assessed their health status to be fair to poor. In a multivariate model, factors associated with heat health outcomes included medication for mental health, heart failure, diabetes or respiratory health, reporting a reduced health status, use of mobility aids and being female. Compared with younger participants, those over 75 had more check-up calls and visits by family, friends and neighbours. However, confidence to call on support was associated with indicators of social isolation. The study indicates that older people are generally resilient, but interventions addressing multi-morbidity and medication interactions and social isolation should be developed.
Among the challenges for rural communities and health services in Australia, climate change and increasing extreme heat are emerging as additional stressors. Effective public health responses to extreme heat require an understanding of the impact on health and well-being, and the risk or protective factors within communities. This study draws on lived experiences to explore these issues in eleven rural and remote communities across South Australia, framing these within a socio-ecological model. Semi-structured interviews with health service providers (n = 13), and a thematic analysis of these data, has identified particular challenges for rural communities and their health services during extreme heat. The findings draw attention to the social impacts of extreme heat in rural communities, the protective factors (independence, social support, education, community safety), and challenges for adaptation (vulnerabilities, infrastructure, community demographics, housing and local industries). With temperatures increasing across South Australia, there is a need for local planning and low-cost strategies to address heat-exacerbating factors in rural communities, to minimise the impact of extreme heat in the future.
With a warming climate, it is important to identify sub-populations at risk of harm during extreme heat. Several international studies have reported that individuals from ethnic minorities are at increased risk of heat-related illness, for reasons that are not often discussed.
The increase in the frequency of very hot weather that is a predicted consequence of climate change poses an emerging threat to public health. Extreme heat can be harmful to the health of older persons who are known to be amongst the most vulnerable in the community. This study aimed to investigate factors influencing the ability of older persons to adapt to hot conditions, and barriers to adaptation. A qualitative study was conducted in Adelaide, Australia, involving focus groups and interviews with stakeholders including key personnel involved in aged care, community services, government sectors, emergency services and policy making. Findings revealed a broad range of factors that underpin the heat-susceptibility of the aged. These were categorized into four broad themes relating to: physiology and an age-related decline in health; socioeconomic factors, particularly those influencing air conditioning use; psychological issues including fears and anxieties about extreme heat; and adaptive strategies that could be identified as both enablers and barriers. As a consequence, the ability and willingness to undertake behavior change during heatwaves can therefore be affected in older persons. Additionally, understanding the control panels on modern air conditioners can present challenges for the aged. Improving heat-health knowledge and addressing the social and economic concerns of the older population will assist in minimizing heat-related morbidity and mortality in a warming climate.
Many studies world wide have provided evidence that older persons are a sub-population at increased risk of heat-related morbidity and mortality. This article gives an overview of the current state of knowledge of risk factors and provides commentary on the role of health promotion in the prevention of a climate change-related increase in elderly heat casualties.
Extreme heatwaves occurred in Adelaide, South Australia, in the summers of 2008 and 2009. Both heatwaves were unique in terms of their duration (15 days and 13 days respectively), and the 2009 heatwave was also remarkable in its intensity with a maximum temperature reaching 45.7 °C. It is of interest to compare the health impacts of these two unprecedented heatwaves with those of previous heatwaves in Adelaide.
Most regions of Australia are exposed to hot summers and regular extreme heat events; and numerous studies have associated high ambient temperatures with adverse health outcomes in Australian cities. Extreme environmental heat can trigger the onset of acute conditions, including heat stroke and dehydration, as well as exacerbate a range of underlying illnesses. Consequently, in the absence of adaptation, the associated mortality and morbidity are expected to increase in a warming climate, particularly within the vulnerable populations of the elderly, children, those with chronic diseases, and people engaged in physical labour in noncooled environments. There is a need for further research to address the evidence needs of public health agencies in Australia. Building resilience to extreme heat events, especially for the most vulnerable groups, is a priority. Public health professionals and executives need to be aware of the very real and urgent need to act now.
Although ambient air pollution exposure has been linked with poor health in many parts of the world, no previous study has investigated the effect on morbidity in the city of Adelaide, South Australia.
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