A man with an underlying health condition died of heat-related complications in Howard County recently, marking the state's first death linked to hot weather so far this summer, health officials said Wednesday.
Health officials said he was between 45-64 years old but would not release more details on the man's death because of health privacy concerns.
They used the incident to warn residents to be wary of heat exhaustion and heatstroke as temperatures climb. Heat typically plays a factor in dozens of deaths each summer when temperatures rise into the 90s and 100s, most often in those with underlying illnesses and the elderly.
Last summer, heat was a factor in 46 deaths, most of them occurring in the days after a derecho storm knocked out power to much of the region, leaving residents without air conditioning for days as temperatures surged above 100 degrees.
Heat stroke can occur when body temperature rises above 105 degrees, showing symptoms including red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heatstroke, caused by repeated exposure to hot temperatures and dehydration. Symptoms include weakness, muscle cramps, headache, fainting, or nausea and vomiting.
Health officials encouraged residents to drink plenty of fluids, but not alcohol, avoid direct sunlight and wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing when spending prolonged periods outside in the heat.
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