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The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

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BALTIMORE, MD (June 19, 2012) - The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is reminding Maryland residents to take necessary precautions this week as a traditional summer heat wave arrives in the region. As part of the Maryland Heat Emergency Plan , DHMH is alerting affected jurisdictions of a potential extreme heat event in central Maryland on Wednesday, June 20th and statewide on Thursday, June 21st.

DHMH activates its extreme heat event Plan when heat index values have the potential to meet or exceed 105 degrees. These conditions may pose danger for some residents, especially those with other significant health concerns.

"Heat can kill, so now is the time to take precautions," said DHMH Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein. "It is especially important to look in on vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors."

The DHMH Extreme Heat web site offers the State Heat Plan, Heat Reports, FAQs, heat preparedness tips, updated contact information and more. The DHMH Extreme Heat web site is available at:

Extreme heat related illness includes:

Heatstroke is a serious illness characterized by a body temperature greater than 105 degrees.

Symptoms may include dry red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Onset of heatstroke can be rapid: a person can go from feeling apparently well to a seriously ill condition within minutes. Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath or wet towels. A heatstroke victim should be kept in a cool area; emergency medical care should be obtained by dialing 911.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heatstroke that may develop due to a combination of several days with high temperatures and dehydration in an individual. Signs of heat exhaustion include extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, or headache. Victims may also vomit or faint. Heat exhaustion is treated with plenty of liquids and rest in a cool, shaded area. Those on a low-sodium diet or with other health problems should contact a doctor.

Marylanders in need of a cooling center or assistance are advised to contact their Local Health Department for information by phone or the internet or by going to the DHMH Heat Emergency website:

No heat related deaths have been reported this season.  In 2011, there were 34 confirmed heat related deaths between the months of May and August. In 2010, a total of 32 deaths, in 2009, six heat related deaths; in 2008, 17; and in 2007, 21 deaths were confirmed as heat related.


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