International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 663–675 | Cite as

Relationships between maximum temperature and heat-related illness across North Carolina, USA

  • Margaret M. Sugg
  • Charles E. KonradII
  • Christopher M. Fuhrmann
Original Paper

Abstract

Heat kills more people than any other weather-related event in the USA, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. In North Carolina, heat-related illness accounts for over 2,000 yearly emergency department admissions. In this study, data on emergency department (ED) visits for heat-related illness (HRI) were obtained from the North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Collection Tool to identify spatiotemporal relationships between temperature and morbidity across six warm seasons (May–September) from 2007 to 2012. Spatiotemporal relationships are explored across different regions (e.g., coastal plain, rural) and demographics (e.g., gender, age) to determine the differential impact of heat stress on populations. This research reveals that most cases of HRI occur on days with climatologically normal temperatures (e.g., 31 to 35 °C); however, HRI rates increase substantially on days with abnormally high daily maximum temperatures (e.g., 31 to 38 °C). HRI ED visits decreased on days with extreme heat (e.g., greater than 38 °C), suggesting that populations are taking preventative measures during extreme heat and therefore mitigating heat-related illness.

Keywords

Heat Heat-related illness Maximum temperature North Carolina 

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Copyright information

© ISB 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and PlanningAppalachian State University BooneBooneUSA
  2. 2.Southeast Regional Climate Center, Department of GeographyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesMississippi State UniversityMississippiUSA

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