From Harford County government:
With the temperature projected in the mid-90’s for the next few days, Harford County Government is urging citizen to take precautions to guard against heat exhaustion and related illnesses.
“Citizens must be equally prepared for hot weather as they are for extreme weather conditions such as winter storms, hurricanes and tropical weather conditions. High temperatures are a serious concern for young children, our elderly as well as those with respiratory and heart conditions, “stated County Executive David R. Craig.
Among the precautionary measures Harford County Government officials recommend to help citizens better cope with higher temperatures are the following safety tips:
– Avoid outdoor activities as much as possible.
– Close curtains or blinds to help keep the sun outside and in turn help reduce heat in rooms.
– Delay using major heat producing appliances such as ovens, stoves, clothes dryers, etc. until the evening hours after the temperature begins to drop.
– Use ceiling fans to help circulate air
– Use an outdoor grill or barbeque instead of the stove or oven.
– Drink plenty of fluids, especially water to stay hydrated. At least 64 ounces of water a day or more if necessary.
“The best advice to help cope on hot weather days is to limit physical activity, stay indoors as much as possible and drink plenty of fluids. The weather conditions in Maryland change frequently and rapidly and we must all be prepared to deal with extreme weather conditions at all times,” stated County Executive Craig.
STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS ACTIVATE HEAT EMERGENCY PLAN: LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT OFFERS EARLY PRECAUTION AGAINST HEAT ILLNESS
From the Harford County Health Department:
Coinciding with the “official arrival” of summer, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is reminding Maryland residents to take necessary precautions this week as a traditional summer heat wave arrives in the region.
As part of the Maryland Heat Emergency Plan, DHMH is alerting affected jurisdictions of a potential extreme heat event in central Maryland on Wednesday, June 20th and statewide on Thursday, June 21st. A DHMH Extreme Heat web site, available at http://dhmh.maryland.gov/extremeheat/SitePages/Home.aspx, offers the State Heat Plan, Heat Reports, FAQs, heat preparedness tips, updated contact information and more. Says DHMH Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, “We hope to reduce illness and death by preparing everyone for those hot summer days.”
DHMH activates its extreme heat event Plan when heat index values have the potential to meet or exceed 105 degrees. The heat index is a scale that combines air temperature and relative humidity to determine the “human-perceived equivalent temperature,” or in simpler terms, “how hot it feels.” These conditions may pose particular danger for some residents, especially the elderly and those with other significant health concerns.
Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly 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.
In addition to State Heat Emergency web site at: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/extremeheat, for comprehensive information on heat-related illness and an expansive list of web-based resources in English and Spanish translation, visit Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com or contact the Health Department at 410-612-1781.