Maine saw nearly 100 heat-related emergency visits during heat wave

By Leela Stockley, Bangor Daily News Staff

If there’s one thing to learn at the height of summer, it’s that heat waves can seriously affect your health. 

Heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke and heat cramps, can become deadly if not treated properly according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s why it’s common to see more heat-illness related emergency room visits during intense heat waves like the one that rolled through the state this week. 

Preliminary data collected by the Maine Department of Health and Human services show that between June 16 and June 20, heat-related illnesses prompted around 78 emergency room visits. On Tuesday at least 15 people were admitted to emergency rooms with heat illnesses. That number jumped to 27 on Wednesday, and 33 on Thursday. 

Data from July 26 through Aug. 1 of 2020, when the state experienced then-record temperatures, show that just 40 people were admitted to emergency rooms with heat illnesses. 

Since the beginning of the year, Maine has recorded at least 131 emergency room visits prompted by heat illnesses. 

The majority of Maine’s heat-related emergency room visits were in Cumberland and York counties, with Cumberland County reporting 22 heat hospitalizations, and York County reporting 21.

In Penobscot County, 12 hospital visits due to heat exposure were reported, while that number was 14 in Aroostook County. Somerset County reported 11 hospitalizations, while Kennebec, Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties all reported nine heat hospitalizations.   

Oxford County saw six admissions, Lincoln, Knox and Franklin counties all saw four and Waldo and Piscataquis counties reported three. 

Since 1999, people over the age of 65 have been several times more likely to die from heat-related illnesses and cardiovascular issues than their younger counterparts, according to the US CDC. Although all six New England states collect data on heat deaths, the information is not typically available until years after the heat event. According to data collected by WBUR NPR Boston reporters, heat could be linked to approximately 60 deaths across New England in the period between 2012 and 2022.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.