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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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Florida faces lawsuits over its new election law, a medical board fines an Indiana doctor for speaking about a 10-year-old's abortion, and Minnesota advocates say threats to cut SNAP funds are off the mark.

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The White House and Speaker McCarthy gain support to pass their debt ceiling agreement, former President Donald Trump retakes the lead in a new GOP primary poll, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is impeached.

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The growing number of "maternity care deserts" makes having a baby increasingly dangerous for rural Americans, a Colorado project is connecting neighbor to neighbor in an effort to help those suffering with mental health issues, and a school district in Maine is using teletherapy to tackle a similar challenge.

Texas Heatwaves are Coming; New Toolkit Available to Docs

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Friday, May 26, 2023   

Extreme heat kills about 700 people in the United States each year, but a new toolkit and weather alerts can protect folks in Texas and beyond.

According to an analysis by Climate Central, the annual number of risky heat days has increased in 232 U.S. locations since 1970.

Saqui Maleque Cho, president of the health and development nonprofit Americares, said the new Heat.gov pilot project will help frontline clinics and the patients they serve better prepare for and respond to climate shocks.

"For example, our hurricane resources remind patients to refill their medications before a major storm," she said. "For diabetic patients who depend on insulin, we remind them to keep icepacks and a cooler in the event of a power outage."

From 1970 to 2022, Reno, Nevada, reported the highest number of what Climate Central called "minimum-mortality temperature" days. However, three Texas cities - Austin, Houston and McAllen - were in the top ten for hottest temps.

The toolkit is available in Spanish and English at Heat.gov.

Kimberlyn Clarkson, chief advancement officer at Texas' San Jose Clinic, said doctors already are seeing health impacts to patients from high heat, including life-threatening dehydration. Those are often people, she said, who work in the agribusiness industry or construction.

"They don't have the option of not going in when it's a 99-degree day, or not reporting for work if there's some sort of inclement weather," she said. "They need the work. They don't have PTO; if they don't go to work, they don't earn income."

To create the Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinics Toolkit, said Caleb Dresser, a physician and director of Harvard University's climate program, a needs assessment was conducted of 450 physicians and clinicians to learn what would help them better respond to their patients affected by heatwaves, hurricanes, floods or wildfires.

"As we look both short-term, medium-term and long-term at what climate change is," he said, "it means greater exposure to climate-responsive hazards for a whole lot of people, all over the country."


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