Heat Stress Hospitalization
Heat stress is defined as a constellation of explicit effects of hot weather on the body. These effects include heat or sun stroke (hyperthermia), heat syncope/collapse, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat fatigue, heat edema, and other/unspecified clinical effects attributed to excessive heat exposure.
Physiologic mechanisms such as sweating and circulating blood closer to the skin’s surface enable the body to maintain an ideal core body temperature. When heat exposure exceeds the body’s capacity to cool itself, however, core body temperature will rise and heat stress will develop.
Any individual, regardless of age, sex, or health status can develop heat stress if engaged in intense physical activity and/or exposed to environmental heat (and humidity). The very young, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or obesity, are more susceptible to the effects of heat.
|Did You Know?|
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects with “virtual certainty” that climate change will cause more frequent, more intense, and longer heat waves. In fact, the year 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S. and the National Climatic Data Center estimates that 99 million people (nearly one third of the nation’s population) experienced 10 or more days of summer temperatures over 100°F.
The relationship between extreme heat and increased daily morbidity and mortality is well established. Hospitalization rates for heat stress are just one potential indicator of the impact of a changing climate. Tracking these data can help document changes over time and place, monitor vulnerable populations, and evaluate the results of local climate-adaptation strategies.
Data on hospitalization visits are collected by the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) from all acute care hospitals and satellite emergency facilities in the state. CHIA collects information on all inpatient hospital admissions and emergency department (ED) visits.
When reviewing and interpreting heat stress hospitalization data, it is important to take into consideration the following:
|Available Data on Heat Stress Hospitalization|
Click the Maps and Tables button on this page to access the following measures for heat stress hospitalization in your community. The most current available data will be shown. Be sure to check the site periodically as new data are added each year. To protect privacy, no information is shown that could identify an individual.