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Hospitals in several states are experiencing high rates of heat-related emergencies, based on updated data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Surprisingly, the areas most affected by heat illnesses are not necessarily those known for having the highest temperatures. Although temperatures typically reach 100°F and higher in the South and Southwest, the highest numbers of heat-related emergency department (ED) visits are now occurring in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Mountain West, where temperatures have been in the 80s and 90s. Such heat is especially unusual for these regions in the early weeks of summer. For instance, last Saturday, during days of peak heat in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, hospitals in several states reported “extremely high” rates of heat-related emergencies—defined as the top 5% of the busiest days for heat-related illnesses over the past 5 years. Daily heat risk data by ZIP code is available on the CDC’s interactive Heat & Health Tracker. Heat risk is categorized from “no risk” to “extreme.”

Is it hot in here? A CDC scientist told CNN that some of the reason for the “extremely high” ED visits in northern states could be because the northern states are less likely to have air conditioned buildings and less likely to be prepared for high heat this early in the summer.

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Northern States Struggle More With Extreme Heat