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Living with heat

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Science  13 Nov 2020:
Vol. 370, Issue 6518, pp. 778-781
DOI: 10.1126/science.370.6518.778

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Summary

Across the globe, researchers are working to pin down how heat affects workers and vulnerable populations, such as the elderly. They are studying low-tech measures—sometimes nothing more than a splash of cold water on the skin—to make people safer and more comfortable in hot conditions. And they are exploring the body's ability to adapt to the heat. The work has taken on urgency as global temperatures rise, heat waves become more frequent and intense, and casualties mount. Already about one-third of the world's population experiences conditions that create heat stress. At high risk are construction workers and farm hands, respectively 13 and 35 times as likely to die from heat as other workers. Amplifying the trends, the world's population is moving to cities, which tend to be hotter than the countryside, and much of the global population is aging and getting heavier, conditions that increase the risk of heat-related injuries.

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