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 Wednesday, July 27, 2022.
King County is currently under an excessive heat warning from the National Weather Service. 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 excessive heat warning is in place, Public Health is releasing daily reports of preliminary data on heat-related illness surveillance. Today's report is for data from Wednesday, July 27, 2022.
This report may also include updated data for previously reported days, as preliminary reports are revised.
King County Medical Examiner’s Office (KCMEO):
- As of Wednesday, 7/27, KCMEO is reporting 0 hyperthermia-related deaths and 0 drowning deaths from 7/26 to 7/27.
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 18 emergency department visits for heat-related illness on Tuesday, 7/26 in King County (revised up from previous report). This represents 0.8% of all ED visits from 7/26.
- There were 10 emergency department visits for heat-related illness on Wednesday, 7/27 in King County. This represents 0.5% of all ED visits from 7/27.
Previous years’ data:
- In 2019-2020, the highest one-day count of ED visits for heat-related illness was 10 visits (representing 0.5% 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 that include mention of the terms "hyperthermia," "sun stroke," "heat exhaustion," or related terms. It also captures visits with diagnostic codes for heat-related illnesses, such as heatstroke.
About the data source: These data are reported by emergency departments (EDs) to the Washington State Department of Health’s Rapid Health Information Network (RHINO). All data are preliminary and subject to change.
EMS responses for suspected heat-related illness:
- Tuesday (7/26): less than 10 incidents
- Wednesday (7/27): 10 incidents
EMS responses for drowning:
- Tuesday (7/26): 0 incidents
- Wednesday (7/27): less than 10 incidents
Previous years’ data:
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.