Climate change can have serious impacts on human health, resulting in increased healthcare utilization. Many studies on the relationship between mortality and temperature exist, but few studies focus on heat related outbreaks. Our objective was to verify the relationship between ambient temperature and heat related illnesses during the summer months. This study analyzed the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) database. Patients with an ICD-10 code T67 (Effects of Heat and Light) presenting between May and September were included. Generalized additive models (GAM) were used to determine the association between ambient temperature and heat related illnesses including differences by region and patient age. A total of 335,759 patients with heat related illnesses were identified from 2002 to 2013. The number of heat related illnesses increased from 14,994 in 2002 to 29,332 in 2013. For every 1 °C increase in the daily temperature above 29.5 °C, the number of patients with heat related illnesses also increased (RR 1.060; 95% CI, 1.059 to 1.061). In addition, a higher association between temperature and outbreaks of heat related to elderly patients (RR 1.084; 95% CI, 1.081 to 1.086) and rural patients (RR 1.229; 95% CI, 1.208 to 1.251) was identified. The association between the daily maximum temperature and outbreaks of heat related illness is identified. The number of patients with heat related illnesses increased over the years and was especially noted in elderly and rural patients.
- Hot temperature