Florida Public Health Review

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Background: Temperatures globally have been predicted to increase due to changes in the climate. As the earth gets warmer, it is expected that heat-related illness will also increase worldwide. An effective and appropriate public health response will be critical. Purpose: The aim of this review was to identify risk factors associated with heat-related illness and injury to provide target areas for future interventions. Methods: A review of existing literature was analyzed for risk factors that may increase the likelihood of being admitted to an emergency department for a heat related illness or injury. Results: Of the included articles in this analysis (n=85), the common risk factors for emergency care or hospitalization from heat exposure were patient’s age (n=42), gender or sex (n=33), underlying health conditions or comorbidities (n=12) and time of year (n=24). Discussion: Community education and public health messages for prevention with focus on risk factors and common symptoms are important to decrease the rates of emergency care and hospital admissions. Further research is needed to determine mitigation strategies to decrease heat-related illness or injury as well as investments in early warning systems to protect vulnerable populations.