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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 632; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15040632

Burden and Risk Factors for Cold-Related Illness and Death in New York City

1
Bureau of Environmental Surveillance and Policy, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 125 Worth Street, CN-34E, New York, NY 10013, USA
2
Vital Strategies, 61 Broadway, Suite 2800, New York, NY 10006, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 February 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 30 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Climate Change and Health)
Full-Text   |   PDF [323 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]

Abstract

Exposure to cold weather can cause cold-related illness and death, which are preventable. To understand the current burden, risk factors, and circumstances of exposure for illness and death directly attributed to cold, we examined hospital discharge, death certificate, and medical examiner data during the cold season from 2005 to 2014 in New York City (NYC), the largest city in the United States. On average each year, there were 180 treat-and-release emergency department visits (average annual rate of 21.6 per million) and 240 hospital admissions (29.6 per million) for cold-related illness, and 15 cold-related deaths (1.8 per million). Seventy-five percent of decedents were exposed outdoors. About half of those exposed outdoors were homeless or suspected to be homeless. Of the 25% of decedents exposed indoors, none had home heat and nearly all were living in single-family or row homes. The majority of deaths and illnesses occurred outside of periods of extreme cold. Unsheltered homeless individuals, people who use substances and become incapacitated outdoors, and older adults with medical and psychiatric conditions without home heat are most at risk. This information can inform public health prevention strategies and interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: cold; hypothermia; cold-related illness; mortality; surveillance cold; hypothermia; cold-related illness; mortality; surveillance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Lane, K.; Ito, K.; Johnson, S.; Gibson, E.A.; Tang, A.; Matte, T. Burden and Risk Factors for Cold-Related Illness and Death in New York City. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 632.

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