An elderly man in Frederick County died of hypothermia recently, the first cold weather-related death of the winter season, state health officials said Thursday.
The man was aged 65 or older. Maryland medical examiners confirmed hypothermia as his cause of death some time between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24. The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene did not release additional details on the death, citing privacy concerns.
State residents – the elderly, children, and anyone who remains outside for prolonged periods in particular – are encouraged to prepare for the cold. Health officials recommend wearing a hat, scarf, mittens, heavy socks, boots and several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing to stay warm in cold weather.
Hypothermia occurs when body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Frostbite occurs when skin temperature gets below 32 degrees, causing freezing and destruction of body tissue.
Last winter, 15 people died of hypothermia in Maryland during one of the mildest winters on record. The previous winter, for 2010-2011, 43 people died of hypothermia in the state.