Health, Weather

Maryland Department of Health announces first reported heat-related death of 2021

BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Department of Health on Wednesday announced the first reported heat-related death of 2021 in Maryland. The death occurred in Prince George’s County and the decedent was a male in his 40s.

“As this tragedy shows, heat-related illness, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can result in serious ailments and even death,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan. “As the weather gets hotter, Marylanders are urged to take extra precautions to avoid overheating and check on friends and neighbors that may be susceptible to heat-related illness.”

From May through September, MDH monitors temperature conditions and incidents of heat-related illness and death. Weekly reports may be found online through the Office of Preparedness and Response Extreme Heat webpage. The site also includes the state Heat Emergency Plan, information about heat-related illnesses and tips for staying safe and healthy during hot weather.

Marylanders should never leave children or pets in a car for any amount of time during hot weather, even with the windows cracked, and are encouraged to check on elderly neighbors or relatives to ensure they have a cool place to stay.

MDH encourages using the following tips to help cope with hot weather:

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  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and overly-sweetened beverages
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing
  • Avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen; stay in the shade when possible
  • Avoid salt tablets, unless advised by a doctor to take them
  • Take it easy outside: schedule physical activity in the morning or evening, when it’s cooler, and take short breaks if necessary

While anyone can be a victim of heat-related illness, highest risk groups include people under age 5 or over age 65, people with chronic illnesses, people taking certain medications, and those who are exercising or working outdoors.

Individuals in need of cooling centers are encouraged to reach out to their local health department or call 2-1-1 and provide their county location and ZIP code to get information about cooling center locations, hours of operation, and available accommodations.

Click to access HotWxHealthIssues.pdf

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