Hospitalizations: Facts & Figures

Heat-related illness hospitalizations in Minnesota:

Hospitalizations represent the most severe cases of heat-related illness from heat exposure. People are hospitalized for heat-related illness due to extreme symptoms, including intense dehydration, and complications from other health conditions.

Elderly and young children are more sensitive to heat and may need more care and monitoring to recover from heat-related illness. Hospitalizations due to heat are sometimes not coded as heat-related leading to underestimated counts of hospitalizations from the effects of heat.


Heat-related illness hospitalization and summer temperatures

Source: Minnesota Hospital Association. Temperature data source: National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The rate of hospitalizations for heat-related illness corresponds with the average summer temperatures (May-September). This chart indicates that hospitalizations tend to increase during years with warmer summers and are lower during cooler summers. Heat-related illness hospitalizations increased in both the summers of 2001, 2006, 2011, and 2012.


Heat-related illness hospitalizations & age

Source: Minnesota Hospital Association.

This chart shows heat-illness hospitalizations by age group. Those in the 65+ age category were hospitalized at a greater rate compared to other age categories; this reinforces the current scientific knowledge that those who are age 65+ are most vulnerable to heat.


Heat-related illness hospitalizations in MN by sex

Note: Rates based on numerators of 20 or under are not reliable and should be interpreted with caution.
Source: Minnesota Hospital Association.

The heat hospitalization trend for the summers 2000-2014 is a similar pattern for both sexes. Males are hospitalized more often than women were in every age group.


Heat-related illness hospitalizations in MN, by age and sex.

Note: ED visits that are directly heat-related.
Source: Minnesota Hospital Association.2009-2014.

Males in the 65+ age category are hospitalized at a greater rate as compared to the other age-sex categories. In general, males over age 15 are more likely to be hospitalized than females.


Heat-related illness hospitalizations and Minnesota regions

The Metro area includes: Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey, Washington, Carver, Scott, and Dakota Counties. Non-Metro is all other counties in Minnesota.
Source: Minnesota Hospital Association.

Although urban populations are traditionally thought to be at a greater risk of hospitalizations from heat-related illness due to the urban heat island effect, this chart suggests the rate of hospitalizations for heat-related illness was higher in the non-metro area than the metro area for summers with higher than average temperatures.

During the summers of 2001, 2005, & 2006, the rate of hospitalization for heat-related illness was noticeably higher in the non-metro area than the metro area. In 2011, this pattern reversed and hospitalizations were higher in the metro area.