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Heat-related illness surveillance data for Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Summary

High temperatures are forecast for the Puget Sound Region this week. Heat can be deadly, but deaths from heat are preventable. During this heat event, Public Health - Seattle & King County is releasing daily reports of preliminary data on heat-related illness surveillance. Today's report is for data from Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

Story

Correction: This version of the media release corrects errors included in previous media release related to data on EMS responses for suspected heat-related illness.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for King County, beginning noon on Tuesday, July 26. Public Health - Seattle & King County urges those who are at higher-risk for health problems in the heat to take precautions to stay cool. Serious health problems from heat include kidney failure, stroke, and heart attacks. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are also risks.

While this heat advisory is in place, Public Health is releasing daily reports of preliminary data on heat-related illness surveillance. Today's report is for data from Tuesday, July 26, 2022.

King County Medical Examiner’s Office (KCMEO):

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office is reporting 0 heat-related deaths and 0 drownings for Tuesday, 7/26.

Because heat-related deaths might not occur, be found, or confirmed immediately after heat exposure, additional deaths from this period may be identified later, and if so, will be included in future issues of this report.

Syndromic Surveillance (King County hospital emergency department [ED] visits for heat-related illness):

  • There were 13 emergency department visits for heat-related illness on 7/26 in King County. This represents 0.6% of all ED visits from 7/26.

Previous years’ data:

  • In 2019-2020, the highest one-day count of ED visits for heat-related illness was 10 ED visits (representing .5% of ED visits in a single day).
  • In 2021 the highest one-day count of ED visits for heat-related illness was 275 visits (representing 11% of ED visits in a single day).

Definition: Emergency department visits for heat-related illnesses (HRI) are defined as those that meet a syndrome definition created by the Heat Workgroup of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Elements of the definition include mention of the terms “hyperthermia,” “sun stroke,” “heat exhaustion,” or their derivations in the chief complaint or discharge diagnosis. It also captures visits with International Classification of Disease (ICD) diagnostic codes for heat-related illnesses, such as heatstroke.

EMS responses for suspected heat-related illness:

  • Tuesday (7/26): <10 incidents

EMS responses for drowning:

  • Tuesday (7/26): 0 incidents

Data from prior time periods for comparison:

In 2019, 2020, and 2021, the highest one-day counts of EMS incidents for heat-related illness were less than 10, less than 10, and 236, respectively.

Our EMS system typically responds to about 600 total incidents per day.

Definition: EMS incidents for suspected heat-related illness include prehospital clinical impressions and patient symptoms of heatstroke, sunstroke, heat exhaustion, heat-related illness, and heat syncope.

About the data source: The EMS Division of Public Health – Seattle & King County manages a regional data repository which includes electronic patient care reports (ePCRs) from ~28 fire departments, 5 Medic One agencies, and several 9-1-1 dispatch centers. While data is collected daily, any analyses for recent dates should be considered preliminary given the operational timing of when records are created and completed by EMS personnel. For more information about King County EMS, visit the King County EMS website.