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Over recent years the impact of weather on human health has become more severe, especially for people living in urban areas. Even though many studies have analysed the impact of weather on human mortality, few have quantified the impact of heat on morbidity, including ambulance response calls. In this study, 13,354 calls collected in the city of Florence (Italy) during summer were analyzed by month, day of the week, hour, and time slot of the day. An objective air mass classification was used to classify days and time slots with similar weather characteristics and a multiple variable analysis was applied to evaluate the relationship between emergency calls and weather. A positive trend was observed in the morning and a negative one during the night for all emergency calls, but only for food poisoning and alcoholic diseases. Calls for cardiovascular events increased in the morning and on hot days. Calls for psychiatric disorders rose significantly with temperature during the afternoon. The total number of calls and those for alcoholic diseases rose during the hottest nights. Our results, which show a clear relationship between ambulance response calls, periodicity, and weather, could contribute to an understanding the impact of weather on morbidity.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.