Heat-Related Deaths — United States, 2004–2018
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Heat-Related Deaths — United States, 2004–2018

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
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    Deaths attributable to natural heat exposure, although generally considered preventable (1), represent a continuing public health concern in the United States During 2004-2018, an average of 702 heat-related deaths occurred in the United States annually. To study patterns in heat-related deaths by age group, sex, race/ethnicity, and level of urbanization, and to explore comorbid conditions associated with deaths resulting from heat exposure, CDC analyzed nationally comprehensive Mortality data from the National Vital Statistics System (U.S.) (NVSS).* The rate of heat-related Mortality tended to be higher among males, persons aged ≥65 years, non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Natives, and persons living in noncore nonmetropolitan and large central metropolitan counties. Natural heat exposure was a contributing cause of deaths attributed to certain chronic medical conditions and other external causes. Preparedness and response initiatives directed toward extreme heat events, currently underway at local, state, and national levels, can contribute to reducing morbidity and Mortality associated with natural heat exposure. Successful public health interventions| to mitigate heat-related deaths include conducting outreach to vulnerable communities to increase awareness of heat-related symptoms and provide guidance for staying cool and hydrated, particularly for susceptible groups at risk such as young athletes and persons who are older or socially isolated (2). Improved coordination across various health care sectors could inform local activities to protect health during periods of high heat. For instance, jurisdictions can monitor weather conditions and syndromic Surveillance data to guide timing of risk communication and other measures (e.g., developing and implementing heat response plans, facilitating communication and education activities) to prevent heat-related Mortality in the United States CDC also recommends that federal, state, local, and tribal jurisdictions open cooling centers or provide access to public locations with air conditioning for persons in need of a safe, cool, environment during hot weather conditions. In light of the coronaVirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, CDC updated its guidance on the use of cooling centers to provide best practices (e.g., potential changes to staffing procedures, separate areas for persons with symptoms of COVID-19, and physical distancing) to reduce the risk for introducing and transmitting SARS COV-2, the Virus that causes COVID-19, into cooling centers.|.
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