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Lack of Affordable Heating Linked to Rise in Hypothermia Deaths

A new finding shows elderly Australians are dying from hypothermia developed in their own homes, Potentially due a to lack of affordable electricity and heating appliances. According to a study conducted by The Alfred Hospital.

Facts and figures:

In only two of Victoria’s Emergency Departments, 217 people presented with hypothermia between 2009 and 2016.

Nearly 80 per cent of those patients were found indoors.

Of those, 11 per cent died.

The majority of cases (72 per cent) occurred during the colder months (late autumn to early spring) but notably, 12 per cent occurred during summer.

The research paper, published in Internal Medicine Journal, raised the issue of fuel poverty, topical given rising energy bills.

Ask the expert:

Dr Ananda-Rajah, a general medicine physician at Victoria’s The Alfred Hospital

“Questions must be asked as to why these people are developing this condition, particularly the elderly who are indoors,”

“The elderly seem to be particularly vulnerable. Do they have adequate heating and homes that are well-insulated? Are they wearing adequate clothing? Are they able to afford heating?”

The details:

The full report can be found at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30963670

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