TUESDAY, Jan. 31, 2017 (HealthDay News) — There is a sharp increase in hospital admissions for cardiovascular events two days after a major snowfall, according to research published online Jan. 30 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
The study covered a period of time during which Boston experienced some of its largest-ever winter storms, inspiring researchers to take a closer look at the health effects. Information was taken from 433,037 adults hospitalized at Boston’s four largest hospitals during the months of November through April of 2010 to 2015. In addition to cardiac events, the research team studied cold weather-related conditions such as frostbite, falls, and injuries occurring on the day of a snowfall and six days afterward. The analysis encompassed minor events involving a dusting to 5 inches of snow, moderate snowfalls of 5.1 to 10 inches, and major storms resulting in more than 10 inches.
Hospital admissions for cardiovascular-related events were 23 percent higher two days after a storm. Cold weather-related admissions increased by 3.7 percent on high snowfall days compared to days with no snowfall, and those admissions remained high for five days afterward, the researchers found. Falls increased by 18 percent, on average, in the six days after a moderate snowfall.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study in which the time course of hospitalizations during and immediately after snowfall days has been examined,” the authors write. “These findings can be translated into interventions that prevent hospitalizations and protect public health during harsh winter conditions.”
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