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A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Burden of Heat-Related Illness and Death within the Florida Population

Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Florida Department of Health, Public Health Research Unit, Tallahassee, FL 32399, USA
Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, Harrisburg, PA 17120, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jan C. Semenza
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 551;
Received: 23 April 2016 / Revised: 22 May 2016 / Accepted: 25 May 2016 / Published: 31 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Human Health)
The failure of the human body to thermoregulate can lead to severe outcomes (e.g., death) and lasting physiological damage. However, heat-related illness (HRI) is highly preventable via individual- and community-level modification. A thorough understanding of the burden is necessary for effective intervention. This paper describes the burden of severe HRI morbidity and mortality among residents of a humid subtropical climate. Work-related and non-work-related HRI emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and deaths among Florida residents during May to October (2005–2012) were examined. Sub-groups susceptible to HRI were identified. The age-adjusted rates/100,000 person-years for non-work-related HRI were 33.1 ED visits, 5.9 hospitalizations, and 0.2 deaths, while for work-related HRI/100,000 worker-years there were 8.5 ED visits, 1.1 hospitalizations, and 0.1 deaths. The rates of HRI varied by county, data source, and work-related status, with the highest rates observed in the panhandle and south central Florida. The sub-groups with the highest relative rates regardless of data source or work-relatedness were males, minorities, and rural residents. Those aged 15–35 years had the highest ED visit rates, while for non-work-related hospitalizations and deaths the rates increased with age. The results of this study can be used for targeted interventions and evaluating changes in the HRI burden over time. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat; surveillance; morbidity; mortality; occupational; subtropical heat; surveillance; morbidity; mortality; occupational; subtropical
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Harduar Morano, L.; Watkins, S.; Kintziger, K. A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Burden of Heat-Related Illness and Death within the Florida Population. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 551.

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