Twenty-five people in Maryland have died from heat-related deaths so far this summer, marking the deadliest season in at least five years.
Most of the deaths, 12, occurred in Baltimore City, according to statistics from the Maryland Department of Health.
The summer season ends in September, leaving more time for the numbers to continue to rise.
Last year, five people died from complications to the hot weather. Seventeen people died in 2016, six people in 2015, eight in 2014, and 17 in 2013.
State health officials said there are precautions people can take in the heat.
“Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable,” Public Health Services Deputy Secretary Dr. Howard Haft said in a statement. “We want all Marylanders to have the information they need to stay safe this summer, to prevent any further deaths. Marylanders should stay in the air conditioning whenever possible, drink lots of water, abstain from strenuous outside activity, avoid excessive alcohol use, and check on elderly relatives and neighbors who could be adversely affected by the heat.”
Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen extended a code red extreme heat alert through Thursday as the heat index was expected to rise over 100 degrees. The heat index, a measure of air temperature and humidity, indicates how hot it feels to the human body.
“As Baltimore continues to experience very high temperatures this week, all residents should take precautions to protect against hyperthermia and dehydration,” Wen said in a statement. “Heat is a silent killer and a public health threat, particularly for the young, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions. I urge everyone stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay in touch with your neighbors, especially seniors and medically frail individuals who live alone.”
A code red alerts is issued when heat is severe enough to present a substantial threat to the life or health of vulnerable residents, such as the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.