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Maryland Health Department Announces First Heat Related Death

July 27th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced the first reported heat-related death of 2020 in Maryland. The death occurred in Baltimore City and the decedent was a male in his 30s. 

“As this tragedy shows, heat-related illnesses, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can result in serious ailments and even death,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “Especially as we’re seeing higher heat indexes across the state, Marylanders are urged to take precautions to avoid overheating and to know the signs at the onset of any heat-related illness so they can seek medical attention, if necessary.”

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 website. The site also includes the state Heat Emergency Plan, information about heat-related illnesses and tips for staying safe and healthy during hot weather.

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

  • 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.

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.

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. 

More resources about staying safe in hot weather are available from the MDH Office of Preparedness and Response at: https://preparedness.health.maryland.gov/Pages/resources_hot.aspx

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