News Stories

We Know The Risks Of Living In Our Climate, But Are There Health Benefits?

A news release says common climate hazards in the state of Florida, in many cases, have greater frequency, magnitude, and impacts here than they do the rest of the country.

What if simply living in Florida’s climate was a hazard?

You know about the risks: thunderstorms, wind, lightning, floods, tornadoes, tropical storms, and hurricanes. WELL. SHOCKER: a news release from the Florida Department of Health says these hazards in Florida are, in many cases, greater compared to the rest of the country.

It says we have more lightning deaths than any other state and that we have the highest annual average number of tornadoes per 10,000 square miles.

But is it all bad? Certainly, there must be SOME way this climate benefits us. So we asked a local doctor, Dr. Rebekah Bernard, a family practice physician in Southwest Florida, and thankfully, there are a few.

“There’s been a couple studies – one in 2015 in The Lancet, a British Journal, and they showed that the cold weather causes more death than hot weather. They attributed 5.4 million deaths to cold weather and only 311,000 to hot weather,” said Dr. Bernard.

She also sighted a 2014 U.S. study that she says showed cold weather killed twice as many Americans as hot weather. Apparently, the cold weather takes more of a toll on our bodies.

But this wasn’t even the first thing she thought about.

“The first thing I thought about is the fact that we get so much sun here in Florida. And we know that Vitamin-D deficiency is a big problem,” she said.

She continued, “Having a low Vitamin-D level could also be associated with some other health consequences. We do see some links between a low Vitamin-D level and some mood disorders like depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, and other things we’re starting to learn more about.”

Dr. Bernard also mentioned people with skin conditions do better in warmer climates; as do people with asthma – not to mention she says we’re less at risk for seasonal affective disorder and multiple sclerosis.

“There’s a definite link between living farther away from the equator or having an increased incidence or progression of multiple sclerosis,” said Dr. Bernard.

Keep in mind, the Florida Department of Health also says health outcomes impact certain populations “disproportionately” – like kids and older adults or those living in poverty.

It’s up to you to decide if you’d rather deal with hurricanes or cold weather.

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