The university is recruiting healthy volunteers aged 65 and over for a series of tests designed to help older people to stay cool.
Kirsty Waldock, PhD student and lead investigator at the university’s College of Social Sciences, warned that climate change is likely to increase the number of heat-related illnesses.
“Recent mini heat waves have resulted in an increase in visits to hospital emergency departments for the treatment of heatstroke. The earth’s climate is warming and as the mean global temperature rises so does the frequency, severity and duration of heat waves, presenting a significant health risk to the population, with the elderly being the most vulnerable.
“If effective action to adapt to climate change is not implemented, a predicted five-fold increase in the number of heat-related deaths will occur in the UK by 2050. Public Health England have provided heat wave guidelines, however further specificity to this advice is warranted.”
Miss Waldock and colleagues, based at the university’s Eastbourne campus, are conducting exercise trials in a specially-designed environmental chamber. Volunteers will receive information regarding their resting blood pressure and heart rate, body composition and individualised exercise responses.