June 1, 2016, is Extreme Heat Awareness Day in Maryland. The Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management , Anne Arundel County Health Department, and the National Weather Service want to remind people of the dangers associated with extreme heat and to encourage citizens to take protective measures. Summer heat waves can be one of the biggest weather-related killers. According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, from 2012 to 2015, excessive heat claimed 77 lives a across Maryland. People at greatest risk include those who are elderly, disabled, overweight or have chronic medical conditions; infants and young children; and outdoor workers.
To encourage citizens to be prepared for severe heat, the Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management offers these tips to keep safe in hot weather:
1. Never leave children, disabled persons or pets in a parked car – even briefly. Temperatures in a car can become life-threatening within minutes. On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car even with the windows cracked slightly can reach 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes!
2. Keep your living space cool. Cover windows to keep the sun from shining in. If you don’t have an air conditioner, open windows to let air circulate. When it’s hotter than 95 degrees, use fans to blow hot air out of window, rather than blow hot air on to your body. Basements or ground floors are often cooler than upper floors.
3. Slow down and limit physical activity. Plan outings or exertion for the early morning or after dark, when temperatures are cooler.
4. Drink plenty of water and eat lightly. Don’t wait for thirst, but instead drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid alcohol or caffeine and stay away from hot, heavy meals.
5. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light colored clothing. When outdoors, add a hat or umbrella to keep your head cool and don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen.
6. Take a cool shower or bath—it will cool you down faster than an air conditioner. Applying cold wet cloths to the neck, head and limbs also cools down the body quickly.
7. Check regularly on people at higher risk of a heat-related illness. These include:
- Older adults
- Infants and young children
- People with disabilities or chronic heart or lung problems
- People who are isolated that don’t know when or how to cool off – or when to call for help.
8. Don’t stop taking medications without your doctor’s approval. Take extra care to stay cool and ask your doctor or pharmacist for any special heat advice. Users of some medications, especially those taken for mental disorders, movement disorders, allergies, depression and heart or circulatory problems are also at higher risk of heat-related illness.
Know the possible signs of heat exhaustion, and get cool or help if you feel:
- Muscle Cramps
- Nausea or Vomiting
Call 9-1-1 for these symptoms:
- Hot, dry skin
- Chest Pains
- Shortness of Breath
For more information on extreme heat, please visit the Anne Arundel County Department of Health’s web page at www.aahealth.org/heat or https://www.ready.gov/heat