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First activity performing at time of injury/poisoning episode

Codes and Frequencies

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For each injury or poisoning episode a person experienced in the past 3 months, IRWHAT1 reports the first activity the person was doing when the injury/poisoning episode occurred. Possible options include: driving or riding in a motor vehicle, working at a paid job, working around the house or yard, attending school, performing unpaid work (such as volunteering), sports and exercise, leisure activity (other than sports), sleeping, resting, eating, or drinking; cooking, being cared for (receiving hands-on care from another person), or some other activity.

IRWATER is part of a series of variables initiated in 1997 that systematically report persons' injuries and poisonings, the cause, what the person was doing while sustaining the injury or poisoning, and where she/he was at the time of the injury or poisoning. For related variables and additional information, please see the User Note on Injuries and Poisonings or use the IPUMS NHIS search function and drop-down menus.


Prior to 2000, injuries and poisonings were asked about separately. For 1998-1999 this variable refers to only injury episodes.


  • 1998-1999: All injuries.
  • 2000-2017: All injuries and poisioning episodes.


  • 1998-2017