In 2016 4,847 North Carolinians visited the emergency department for heat-related illness. This is a 43% increase from previous years.
Heat waves pose a serious threat to public health. Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States! In the Carolinas we are seeing increasing numbers of high heat and high humidity days, which have resulted in record numbers of people seen in emergency departments for heat-related illness. While increasing numbers of days of high temperatures is certainly a problem, even more concerning are the increasing numbers of evenings in which temperatures remain well into the 70s. It is this combination of high heat days and high night-time temperatures that have the greatest impact on human health.