Posted by: spacewritinguy | December 18, 2008

Death by Heat or Cold?

Some interesting stats from the Center for Disease Control on the number of deaths sustained due to hypothermia vs. extreme heat. Neither set of stats is too encouraging, but you’ve got about a 25% better chance of dying of freezing to death than overheating.

Figure 1

During 1999–2002, a total of 4,607 death certificates in the United States had hypothermia-related diagnoses listed as the underlying cause of death or nature of injury leading to the underlying cause of death (annual incidence: four per 1,000,000 population). Exposure to excessive natural cold (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision [ICD-10] code X31) was the underlying cause in 2,622 deaths. Hypothermia (ICD-10 code T68) was the nature of injury in 1,985 deaths with underlying causes of death other than exposure to excessive natural cold (e.g. falls, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, or drowning).

During 1999–2003, a total of 3,442 deaths resulting from exposure to extreme heat were reported (annual mean: 688). For 2,239 (65%) of these deaths, the underlying cause of death was recorded as exposure to excessive heat; for the remaining 1,203 (35%), hyperthermia was recorded as a contributing factor. Deaths among males accounted for 66% of deaths and outnumbered deaths among females in all age groups (Figure). Of the 3,401 decedents for whom age information was available, 228 (7%) were aged <15 years, 1,810 (53%) were aged 15–64 years, and 1,363 (40%) were aged >65 years. The state with the highest average annual hyperthermia-related death rate during 1999–2003 was Arizona (1.7 deaths per 100,000 population), followed by Nevada (0.8) and Missouri (0.6).

I’m calling Heat Mizer. His odds are better.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: