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ALTHOUGH heat-related illness and death are readily preventable, exposure to extreme temperatures causes at least 240 deaths* during years with no heat wave. A heat wave is defined by the National Weather Service as ≥3 consecutive days of temperatures ≥90.0 F (≥32.2 C). In 1980,1983, and 1988 (recent years with prolonged heat waves), 1700, 556, and 454 deaths, respectively, were attributed to heat. This report describes four instances of heat-related illness and death that occurred in the United States during 1994 and 1995 and summarizes risk factors for heat-related illness and death.
On June 13, 1994, in Houston, Texas, a 29-year-old mentally impaired women was found lying on the floor of her garage. She was unresponsive when admitted to a local hospital and had a rectal temperature of 107.9 F (41.9 C). She died within 2 days of arrival at the hospital. The