Cold-related mortality

Cold-related mortality is conflating deaths occurring during the cold season and deaths attributed to cold. The latest
ICD-10 codes (WHO 2011) that consider cold-related causes are included in L50.2 (urticaria due to cold), P80
(cold injury syndrome), T33.0-T35.0 (superficial frostbite), T68 (hypothermia) and X31 (exposure to excessive natural
cold causing hypothermia). Most cold related deaths occur due to hypothermia [core temperature drops below 35°C,
which is below the temperature range specified for a normal active state (IUPS Thermal Commission 2001)]. However, there is no uniformly accepted definition of what constitutes a cold-related death, as additional deaths due to other primary causes occur. Epidemiological evidence indicates such causal relationships of cold weather with mortality (Keatinge et al. 2000; Martin et al. 2012), with excess mortality related to cold associated with ischaemic heart disease, cerebro-vascular disease, respiratory disease, and influenza (Hassi 2005;McGregor 2005; Näyhä et al. 2011; Ou et al. 2011). Cold-related mortality is highest 1–2 weeks after a cold spell occurs (Anderson and Bell 2009; Martin et al. 2012). Hypothermia is preventable, and public health strategies tailored to vulnerable populations to cold aids in reducing hypothermia related morbidity and mortality rates. Three risk factors for this are advanced age (>65 years), mental impairment, and substance abuse (CDC 2005).

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