A study published in the International Journal of Biometeorology shows that cold is more likely to send people to the hospital for longer periods of time than heat, CO2 Science reports.
The study, conducted in eight large South Korean cities including Seoul and Incheon between 2003 and 2008, showed that hospitalizations related to heat usually lasted less than a day, while cold-related hospitalizations could last up to a month.
The study also showed that hospitalizations related to allergies, asthma and breathing problems increased between 43.6 and 53.6 percent when the temperature dropped from 15 degrees Celsius (60 degrees Fahrenheit) to 2 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit). In comparison, having the temperature increase from 15 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit) had no statistically significant effects on hospitalizations — a slight 4.5 percent increase.
This study agrees with another (preliminary) one from the Yale School for Public Health, CBS reports. Judith H. Lichtman, who authored the study, found that an increase of 1 degree Fahrenheit during winter reduced the likelihood of stroke hospitalizations by 0.86 percent and decreased stroke death risk by 1.1 percent.
Should this U.S. study be accepted, it would confirm what British scientists found, according to Scientific American. The 2010 study across 15 cities in the U.K. found that an 1-degree-Celsius decrease (about 1.8 degree Fahrenheit) can increase heart attacks by 2 percent.
It may seem trivial, but “the whole population is exposed to the weather, and heart attacks are common in the first place,” said Krishnan Bhaskaran, the lead author of the study.