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Study shows women are disproportionately affected by extreme heat

AP Photo/John Locher/File
A woman tries to cool off in a mist of water along the Las Vegas Strip, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Las Vegas.

We all know exposure to heat can be dangerous.

A new study shows women are being disproportionately affected. Hot cities like Las Vegas may face choosing between controlling rising temperatures and decreasing water supplies. 

The new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Science and technology studied the effects of excessive heat among people living in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

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The study found more women experience heat issues because more women are working in outdoor settings.

Lead author and research professor Erik Bandala said women are also more vulnerable to hyponatremia, drinking too much water.

"Drinking water is not enough to rehydrate yourself. It's better to hydrate by using electrolytes," he said.

Climate change is decreasing the gap between the day's high and low temperatures.  Bandala said these cities are also experiencing "urban heat island effect"

"By nighttime, all the heat that was collected by the buildings and paved surfaces is released into the atmosphere and can't cool as much," he said.

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But planting more trees to combat this effect is problematic during a drought.  A difficult choice for hot city dwellers.

Yvette Fernandez is KNPR’s daily news reporter and announcer. She joined the station September 2021.