At which temperature do the deleterious effects of ambient heat "kick-in" to affect all-cause mortality? An exploration of this threshold from an eastern Indian city.
Dutta A., Bhattacharya S., Ak K., Pati S., Swain S., Nanda L.
Despite experiencing hot weathers, limited studies from India explored relationships between ambient heat and health. We studied associations between heat and all-cause mortality to estimate heat threshold(s) affecting health, and examine other affecting dimensions. We conducted time-series analysis with daily maximum temperature and all-cause mortality data of Bhubaneswar city (March-July, 2007-2017), and explored their interactions. Mortality risks rose when daily maximum temperatures were >36.2°C (lower threshold), and even more when >40.5°C (upper threshold). Every degree above36.2°C increased the mortality risk by 2% (mortality rate ratio: 1.02; 95% CI 1.01, 1.03). The effects of maximum temperature increased on days when minimum temperatures were >25.6°C (median). The effect of heat was immediate and lasted for 0-1 day with no lagged effect. Two temperature thresholds with varying mortality risks provided an opportunity for a graded heat warning system. The accentuation of the deleterious effects of heat by the higher minimum temperature calls for its inclusion in the heat warning system in future.