From Harford County government:
With heat index values expected to reach near 105 degrees, the Harford County Department of Community Services is making several senior activity centers available as cooling stations for Harford County residents in need of relief from the heat.
Citizens are welcome to enter the following centers:
– Aberdeen Senior Activity Center, 7 Franklin Street, Aberdeen;
– Edgewood Senior Activity Center, 1000 Gateway Drive, Edgewood;
– Havre de Grace Activities Center, 351 Lewis Lane, Havre de Grace;
– Highland Senior Activity Center, 708 Highland Road, Street;
– McFaul Activities Center, 525 W. MacPhail Road, Bel Air.
The centers will be open effective immediately and will stay open through 4:00pm today, Tuesday, May 31. The same centers will also be open tomorrow, Wednesday, June 1 from 8:30am until 4:00pm.
For more information, contact the Harford County Office on Aging at 410-638-3025.
From the Harford County Health Department:
CLIMBING TEMPERATURES RAISE CONCERNS OVER HEAT ILLNESS
As if on schedule, rising Memorial Day weekend temperatures signaled the beginning of summer as much as did swimming and cookouts. With temperatures already soaring into the 90’s this week along with a rising heat index, Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly raises concerns about heat illness and reminds individuals of all ages to be cautious when vigorously working or playing outdoors or during prolonged exposure to hot and humid weather conditions.
Ms. Kelly states, “Prolonged heat exposure can result in recreational as well as occupational illnesses and injuries. Persons who work or recreate outside in direct exposure to the sun, or indoors in excessive heat for any extended period of time must be particularly mindful of the risks and be exceptionally careful.” She also encourages everyone to remember to pay attention to family members, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. “Make sure they are taking the necessary precautions, especially if they are young, elderly, or ill.”
Heat illness takes many forms, including heat fatigue, heat syncope (sudden dizziness after exercising in the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion or the most serious, heat stroke. Heat stroke, is an advanced form of heat stress that occurs when the body is overwhelmed by heat and unable to control its temperature. Someone with a body temperature above 104 degrees is likely suffering from heat stroke and may have symptoms of confusion, combativeness, strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, faintness, staggering, possible delirium or coma. Seek immediate medical attention for a person with any of these symptoms, especially an older adult.
Basic strategies are key to preventing heat illness and are focused on limiting exposure to excessive heat, limiting activity, and staying hydrated by drinking more non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic fluids than usual.
The risk for heat illness is a combination of the outside temperature along with the general health and lifestyle of the individual. Health-related factors that may increase risk include:
• The inability to perspire, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs
• Taking several drugs for various conditions. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.
• Being substantially overweight or underweight
• Drinking alcoholic beverages
• Being dehydrated
• Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands
• Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever
• High blood pressure or other conditions that require changes in diet. For example, people on salt-restricted diets may be at an increased risk. However, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor.
Lifestyle factors that also can increase risk include extremely hot living accommodations, lack of transportation, overdressing, visiting overcrowded places and not understanding how to respond to changing weather conditions. Individuals at special risk should stay indoors on particularly hot and humid days, especially when there is an air pollution alert in effect. People without fans or air conditioners should go to places such as shopping malls, movie theaters, libraries or area cooling centers.
Cooling centers are accessible at several Community Activity Centers throughout Harford County. The collaborative decision by the County’s Emergency Operations Center and the County Health Officer to open these centers is based on National Weather Service heat index information. In the event of these openings, communities are provided timely notification by means of public service announcements on radio, television and in print media. For more information regarding cooling center openings and locations, the public can call 410-638-3025.
For more information on heat-related illness, visit the National Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov or call the Harford County Health Department at 410-612-1781. For a free copy of the NIA’s Age Page on hyperthermia in English or in Spanish, contact the NIA Information Center at 1-800-222-2225 or go to http://www.niapublications.org/agepages/hyperther.asp or www.niapublications.org/agepages/hyperther-sp.asp for the Spanish-language version.