Heat-related ED visits hit 6-year high in 2023: CDC

July and August 2023 had the highest rates of heat-related illness emergency department visits across the nation, and the risk was three times higher than in other warm months — demonstrating a rising trend in heat-related illnesses compared to the previous five years, the CDC said in an April 18 report.

The CDC used the National Syndromic Surveillance Program to compare emergency department visits associated with heat-related illness in 2023 with ED visits in 2018 through 2022.

"Deaths and illnesses associated with heat exposure are a continuing public health concern as climate change results in longer, hotter and more frequent episodes of extreme heat," the CDC news release said.

New Jersey and New York (HHS Region 2) had the lowest average warm-season heat-related illness ED visit rate at 51 per 100,000 ED visits; and Arkansas, Louissiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas (Region 6) had the highest at 483 per 100,000 ED visits.

Here are five other findings:

  1. In 2023, a total of 119,605 ED visits were heat related, and 92% of those occurred during May through September.

  2. July and August accounted for the highest average heat-related illness ED visit rate at 303 per 100,000 ED visits, compared to May, June and September, which had a rate of 97 per 100,000 ED visits.

  3. The risk of heat-related illness was three times higher in July and August, compared to other warm months in 2023. In 2018-2022, the risk was only twice as high for July and August.

  4. In 2023, the demographic groups with the highest rates of heat-related illness ED visits were men (271 per 100,000 ED visits, compared to 104 for women), and adults aged 18 to 64 (207-222 per 100,000 ED visits, compared to 120-173 for adults over 65).

  5. The risk for heat-related illness ED visits was 2.5 times higher for adults age 18-25 and 26-54 compared to those under 18.

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