Harford County Public Libraries to Serve as Cooling Centers as Heat Index Nears 105 Deg

From Harford County government:

With the heat index expected to reach 105 degrees on Thursday, July 13, the Harford County Department of Emergency Services, in cooperation with Harford County Public Library and the Harford County Health Department, will offer “cooling centers” at all library branches during normal business hours.

On Thursdays, Harford libraries are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at all branches except for Darlington, which operates on Thursdays from 12 – 5 p.m.

The branch locations of Harford County Public Library are as follows:

· Aberdeen – 21 Franklin Street, Aberdeen, Maryland 21001

· Abingdon – 2510 Tollgate Road Abingdon, Maryland 21009

· Bel Air – 100 E. Pennsylvania Avenue, Bel Air, Maryland 21014

· Darlington – 1134 Main Street, Darlington, Maryland 21034

· Edgewood – 629 Edgewood Road, Edgewood, Maryland 21040

· Fallston – 1461 Fallston Road, Fallston, Maryland 21047

· Havre de Grace – 120 N. Union Avenue, Havre de Grace, MD 21078

· Jarrettsville – 3722 Norrisville Road, Jarrettsville, Maryland 21084

· Joppa – 655 Towne Center Drive, Joppa, Maryland 21085

· Norrisville – 5310 Norrisville Road, White Hall, Maryland 21161

· Whiteford – 2407 Whiteford Road, Whiteford, Maryland 21160

For updated information, please go to www.hcplonline.org or the Harford County Public Library Facebook page.

According to the Harford County Health Department, 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. A person 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. Individuals with any of these symptoms, especially older adults, should receive immediate medical attention.

HARFORD COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT URGES CAUTION DURING EXTREME HEAT CONDITIONS

From the Harford County Health Department:

As if on schedule, almost exactly a year out from 2016, soaring temperatures along with humid conditions, will bring heat index to dangerous levels. The Harford County Health Department warns residents to be prepared, use common sense and follow a few simple recommendations in hot weather over the next several days, and throughout the summer months.

Harford County Health Officer Dr. Russell Moy reminds the public about the seriousness of heat illnesses, advising residents to take measures to prevent potentially deadly heat illnesses. “Individuals of all ages must be exceptionally careful when engaging in outdoor activities or even when exposed for extended periods of time to hot indoor environments. Prolonged exposure to hot and humid weather conditions can result in potentially life-threatening heat-related illnesses and injuries. Persons who are exposed to excessive heat for any length of time, whether indoors or out-of-doors, must know risks and take precautions.”

Basic strategies are key to avoiding heat illness. Limit exposure to excessive heat, limit activity, dress accordingly in lighter weight clothing, and stay hydrated by drinking more non-caffeinated, nonalcoholic fluids than usual.

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.

Risk for heat illness combines air temperature and humidity factors along with an individual’s general health and lifestyle. Health-related factors that may increase risk include:

– Being considerably 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. Salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor.

– The inability to perspire, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs. Although it is important to continue taking prescribed medication Taking several medications may increase risk and it is important discuss possible problems with your health care provider.

Additional lifestyle factors that also can increase risk include extremely hot living accommodations (without cooling and/or adequate ventilation), lack of transportation, 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. For more information about a cooling center near you, contact your local branch of the Harford County Public Library.

Dr. Moy also encourages everyone to remember to pay attention to family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and even pets. “Check in with them, especially if they are young, elderly, or ill.”

For more information on heat-related illness, visit the Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com or call 410-612-1781 or the National Centers for Disease Control website at www.cdc.gov. Also, to obtain 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 visit their website at: www.niapublications.org/agepages/hyperther.asp or www.niapublications.org/agepages/hyperthersp.asp
for the Spanish-language version.

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