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Internet Searches May Be Used for Heat Wave Warning Surveillance, Study Shows

Nov 22, 2016 09:11 AM EST
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A study has found that there is a correlation between internet searches and the incidence of heat stroke. From this, there is a very interesting reason to conclude that trending internet searches may be used as warning surveillance for health organizations all over the world.

According to a study published in Nature, current heat wave warning systems may be unreliable and inaccurate. Scientists are on a continuous search on how to detect heat wave shocks so that they will be able to decrease the incidence of heat stroke.

According to the study, there is now a wide variety of available data coming from social media posts, trending internet searches, and the like which are useful in providing real-time surveillance of heat in certain areas in the world. The study collected data from over 90 days, comparing temperatures, heat stroke cases, daily search engine trends, and heat stroke-related deaths.

Based on their findings, they concluded that there is a better relationship between heat stroke internet searches and health outcomes than the latter has with temperature. Thus, heat stroke searches can be used to predict health risks caused by heat waves better and more accurately than temperature.

The year 2016 may be the hottest year on record. Even in previous years, the world has suffered from the negative impacts of increased temperature. As a result, the number of heat wave-related diseases has been rising as well, and local authorities must find ways to warn the locals of any possible heat wave shocks.

Conventional methods of heatwave health surveillance include monitoring emergency calls and hospital visits. However, gathering and analyzing this data may create a delay in the report, so it may not serve anymore as a "warning." The use of technology in providing real-time data for scientists may be a helpful way in giving early warning signals to locals and thus mitigating the incidence of heat stroke. 

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