On the morning news, you see the weather forecast is for high heat, and there is an “excessive heat watch” for later in the week. You were hoping the weather would cool down, but yet another heat wave is threatening human health and increasing the chance of wildfires. On top of these warm days and nights, air quality data has been showing unhealthy levels of pollution.
Sound familiar? This scenario is increasingly the new normal in many parts of the world.
High heat and air pollution are each problematic for human health, particularly for vulnerable populations such as older adults. But what happens when they hit at the same time?
We examined over 1.5 million deaths from 2014 to 2020 registered in California – a state prone to summer heat waves and air pollution from wildfires – to find out.