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New Mexico Heat Stress Emergency Department Visits by Year, Age-adjusted Rates, 2010 to 2022

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Why Is This Important?

Temperatures in New Mexico are expected to continue to rise, with a higher average temperature as well as more episodes of extreme heat and heat waves. As temperatures increase, the public health concern is heat-related illness. Anyone, regardless of age, sex, or health status, may develop heat-related illness if they are engaged in intense physical activity and/or exposed to environmental heat. The normal body temperature for most people is around 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). When core body temperature rises, the body's response is to sweat and circulate blood closer to the skin surface to increase cooling. If heat exposure exceeds our capacity to cool and the core body temperature continues to rise, then a range of heat-related adverse health effects can develop. Although some of these signs and symptoms, such as heat-related cramps, fainting (syncope), and mild swelling (edema) are relatively minor and readily treatable, they should be used as important warning signs to immediately get the person out of the heat. Heat exhaustion symptoms include mild disorientation, fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), and low blood pressure (hypotension) that may progress to heat stroke if untreated. Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat-related disease, which if untreated can result in death or permanent neurological impairment. The New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking Program (NM EPHT) develops, monitors, and analyzes indicators of heat stress to document changes in morbidity and mortality over place and time due to heat. EPHT also monitors vulnerable areas in New Mexico communities and informs and evaluates the results of local climate-adaptation strategies and extreme heat warning systems. One of the heat-related indicators EPHT monitors are emergency department (ED) visits due to heat stress.


Heat stress or heat-related illness ranges from mild heat edema and rash, heat syncope, heat cramps, to the most common type, heat exhaustion. Heat-related cramps, rash, and edema are relatively minor, readily treatable conditions. However, they should be used as important warning signs to immediately remove the person from the heat. Untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke, the most serious form of heat-related illness. Heat stroke is an extreme medical emergency that if untreated can result in death or permanent neurological impairment.

Data Notes

Rates have been age-adjusted using the direct method and the 2000 U.S. standard population.

Data Sources

  • Emergency Department (ED) dataset, Health Systems Epidemiology Program, New Mexico Department of Health
  • New Mexico Population Estimates: University of New Mexico, Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) Program.

How the Measure is Calculated

  • Numerator:

    New Mexico resident emergency department visits between April 1 through September 30 having ICD-9-C 992 or external causes of injury and poisoning (E-code) E900.0 or E900.9 excluding E-code E900.1 (man-made source of heat) anywhere in the record. For data 2016 to present, ICD-10-CM T67, X30, or X32 excluding W92 (not of natural origin) anywhere in the record.
  • Denominator:

    Midyear New Mexico resident population.

Data Issues

  • Emergency Department (ED) dataset

    ICD Stands for 'International Classification of Diseases.' It is a coding system maintained by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics and is used to classify diagnoses for hospital and emergency department visits. This coding system underwent a major revision from version 9 (ICD9) to version 10 that went into effect October 1, 2015. In most cases, the two versions do not provide comparable results and the two time periods should not be combined in a trend line. The emergency department data include visits to NON-FEDERAL HOSPITALS only. Visits to Veteran's Administration (VA) facilities and Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities have not been included, unless specifically stated otherwise. The data include all emergency department visits. An individual will be counted more than once if he or she had more than one visit over the time period. The emergency department dataset includes only New Mexico residents hospitalized in New Mexico hospitals, and may undercount injury ED visits of New Mexico residents. In cases of serious injuries near the state borders, oftentimes patients will be transported to a nearby trauma center in the bordering state.

  • New Mexico Population Estimates

    All population estimates apply to July 1 of the selected year. These estimates are considered the most accurate estimates for the state of New Mexico and should match those found on the University of New Mexico Geospatial and Population Studies website. Estimates include decimal fractions. Census tract population estimates were summed to produce County and Small Area population estimates. Population estimate totals may vary due to rounding. Population estimates for previous years are occasionally revised as new information becomes available. When publishing trend data, always be sure that your rates for earlier years match current rates on NM-IBIS that have been calculated with the most up-to-date population estimates.

Health Topic Pages Related to: Heat Stress Emergency Department Visits

Indicator Data Last Updated On 04/16/2024, Published on 04/16/2024
Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau, Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health, 1190 S. Saint Francis Drive, Suite 1300, Santa Fe, NM 87505, Srikanth Paladugu, Bureau Chief,, or Chelsea Langer, Environmental Epidemiologist Supervisor,