INTRODUCTION : poor urban communities are likely to bear the brunt of climate change impacts on health and well-being. The City of Johannesburg,
South Africa, is predicted to experience an average increase in ambient temperature of 4°C by 2100. Focusing on the urban environment, this study
aimed to determine socio-economic, infrastructural and health-related risk factors for heat-related adverse health effects. METHODS : this was a crosssectional
study. Data of interest were collected using a pretested and validated questionnaire administered to parents of children attending schools
participating in a school heat study. Information related to demographic, socio-economic and household-level determinants of health, which has an
impact on the individual prevalence of adverse heat-health effects associated with hot weather, was collected for 136 households and 580 individuals.
RESULTS : sweating (n = 208 individuals; 35%), headache and nausea (n = 111; 19%) and weakness, fatigue and dizziness (n = 87; 15%) were the
most common heat-health effects reportedly experienced by individuals (n = 580) during hot weather. Individuals who suffered from hypertension
(OR = 2.32, 95% CI: 1.34 - 4.05, p = 0.003) and individuals older than 60 years (OR = 1.81, 95% CI: 1.27-1.99, p < 0.001) compared to other age
groups were more likely to experience 'any heat-health effects'. Living in government-sponsored detached housing and in houses with asbestos roofs
were associated with an increase in reported experience of 'any heat-health effects' compared to living in other housing types. CONCLUSION : heathealth
awareness campaigns should target people suffering from pre-existing diseases and the elderly, as these groups are especially vulnerable to
heat. Focus should also be given to appropriate roofing and insulation in government-sponsored housing since summertime temperatures are
projected to increase.
Ukpe, I.S. (Indongesit Sunday)(Association of Schools of Public Health, 2008-03)
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