Healthy living * First aid

Cold weather link to rise in injuries

weather UK not best prepared

Cold weather conditions and falling temperatures have been linked to an increase in serious injuries in the UK.

Each 5° C drop in the minimum daily temperature boosts adult hospital admissions for serious injury by more than three per cent, while snow leads to an eight per cent rise, research shows.

At the other end of the scale, every 5°C rise in maximum daily temperature and each additional two hours of sunshine increased the admission rate for serious injury by just under two per cent.

In the largest study of its kind, UK researchers analysed the patterns of hospital treatment from 21 emergency centres across England between 1996 and 2006. Data on 60,000 adults and children were included in the study.

When it comes to injuries, the findings indicate strong seasonal trends.

Every 10mm increase in rainfall also increased hospital admissions by around two per cent.

The increase in admissions included traffic accidents and falls.

However, an even stronger pattern was seen among admissions for children, with equivalent temperature rises, leading to a 10 per cent increase in hospital admissions. Extra sunshine was linked to a six per cent increase.

Between the months of April and September children's admissions may be up to 50 per cent higher than average.

Researcher Giles Pattison, from the University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire, said the results suggest that the UK is not well prepared for the winter months.

In the Emergency Medicine Journal, the authors wrote: “The results of this extensive study, covering many trauma units of varying size and location over an extensive period of time, show strong and intuitively convincing relationships between recorded weather and trauma admissions.”

This article was published on Thu 25 November 2010

Image © Natalia D. -

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