Assessing the Burden of Cold-Related Illness and Death in Minnesota
Exposure to cold temperatures can have negative health impacts that lead to cold-related illness or death. We explored the case definition for cold-related illness that was developed and piloted by the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using their case definition, we assessed the burden of cold-related illness and death in Minnesota. We analyzed the results by season, demographics, and chronic disease. Overall, <10% of all cold-related events in Minnesota occurred during the hot season; we did not identify any distinct differences between the type of cases by seasons. During the cold season, there was an average annual rate of 13.3 cold-related emergency department visits per 100,000 population (n = 704) and 2.8 cold-related hospitalizations per 100,000 population (n = 155). There was an average annual rate of 0.6 cold-related deaths per 100,000 population (n = 33). Climate change is extending the typical winter season. Therefore, we recommend other jurisdictions consider expanding their surveillance window to include all seasons. Cold-related illness surveillance can detect changes over time and identify high-risk populations for prevention initiatives.
Publication: Journal of Environmental Health
Published: November 2023
- Madison Kircher, MPH, Environmental Health Division, Minnesota Department of Health
- Tess Konen, MPH, Environmental Health Division, Minnesota Department of Health
- Jessie Carr, MPH, DrPH, Environmental Health Division, Minnesota Department of Health