State health officials have begun tracking the heat and heat-related illnesses and are reminding residents to take precautions when the temperature rises.
Last year, there were 17 confirmed heat-related deaths in the summer months, down from 46 in 2012, 34 in 2011 and 32 in 2010.
“Heat-related illnesses can be preventable,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, state health secretary, in a statement. “Marylanders should know the signs and symptoms and how they can protect themselves to stay safe this summer.”
When the body's temperature rises about 105 degrees, it can lead to heat stroke. Symptoms can begin in minutes and include dry red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Officials say to call 911 and cool the victim with wet towels ora cool bath.
High heat and dehydration can cause a milder form of heat stroke called heat exhaustion. Symptoms include weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, headaches, vomiting and fainting. Offer victims liquids and rest in a cool place.
In general, officials recommend people drink plenty of liquids, though not alcohol, wear loose and light-colored clothes, avoid direct dunlight and wear sunscreen and hats. They also say people should never leave children or pets in a car, even with windows cracked. People should avoid physical activity outdoors during the hottest midday hours and check on elderly neighbors.
To see weekly reports on deaths and illnesses and guidance, as well as information on cooling stations, go to www.dhmh.maryland.gov/extremeheat. Those who need energy assistance should call 211 to inquire about available resources.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun