Concerns heat-related illness rise rural areas

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — State officials in North Carolina say that high temperatures are increasingly becoming a health threat in rural areas.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported Sunday that climate change will likely exacerbate the problem in the coming decades.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has been figuring out where to focus heat prevention efforts after receiving a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heat prevention coordinator Lauren Thie said that a large area of focus is counties adjacent to the Sandhills. They include Bladen, Robeson, Sampson and Scotland counties.

Thie said a disproportionate number of people get sick from the heat in the those counties. Risk factors include living in a mobile home and working in agriculture.

As temperatures rise, scientists say that people will have to spend more on energy to cool their homes on more days of the year.

Feature photo by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer John Patota.

Copyright 2020, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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