Aim: The purpose of this retrospective, correlational pilot study was to explore the relationship between historical weekly weather data including temperature, dew point, humidity, barometric pressure, visibility, and cloud cover compared to weekly influenza-like illness reports over a four year period. Background: Climate and weather-related conditions may affect the viral activity and transmission of influenza, although this relationship has not been widely studied in nursing. Some research suggests that there are causal links between cold temperatures, low indoor humidity, minimal sun exposure, and influenza outbreaks. Additionally, rapid weather variability in a warming climate can increase influenza epidemic risk. Methods: Data from a local public health district were extracted and used to correlate with weekly weather averages for the area. Results: Findings showed that current influenza reports are significantly associated with temperature and visibility, both lagged two weeks. Conclusions: Though more research is needed, nurses must understand, recognize, and act upon weather and climate factors that affect the health of populations. With a greater understanding of the relationship between weather and influenza-like illness, nurses and other healthcare providers can potentially work to respond to and mitigate the consequences of weather-related illness as well as anticipate and prepare for increased flu burden. Furthermore, nurses can remain engaged in climate protective initiatives and policy development at their local community and/or organizational levels to underscore and advocate for the needs of populations and groups they serve.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
- Climate change
- Influenza like illness
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article