Hypothermia rates of death higher in South Australia than Sweden

By Anonymous
February 20, 2014

Smithsonianmag.com has reported (13/02/14) on recent research that shows South Australia having higher rates of death by hypothermia than Sweden.

Over a period of six years, forensic records in South Australia have revealed that older women who live at home on their own are the group at most risk of death by hypothermia. ABC News reported that over the six year period, South Australia had a death rate by hypothermia of 3.9 per 100,000, compared to Sweden at 3.3.

Most victims in Australia were people that did not have close family, friends or outside connections to their community and they also did not leave the house much. Underlying illness or conditions that made them more susceptible to the cold were also identified in the Australian victims.

In Sweden, it was men who tended to be the predominate victims. Researchers revealed that they had often been drinking heavily and found themselves stranded outside in the snow.

Weather-related deaths and injuries can be prevented if a community is prepared and supported. In Sweden it is standard to have double-glazed windows however in South Australia, only 2.6 percent of homes have them. A community needs to be prepared and supported across non-cold-related weather events too. Elderly people living on their own are also at risk of heat-related deaths. If buildings are adequately cooled, a lot of these deaths can be prevented.

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