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DHMH Press Releases : Officials Activate State Heat Plan

MARYLAND HEALTH OFFICIALS ACTIVATE STATE HEAT PLAN DUE TO PREDICTED EXTREME HEAT THIS WEEKEND

BALTIMORE, MD (June 28, 2012) – In preparation for the extreme heat predicted this weekend, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is activating the state Heat Plan during the next few days.  This heat advisory and heat plan activation applies to all parts of the state, including the Western Region, on Friday, June 29.   It is also in effect on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1 for all regions of the state, except western Maryland.

As part of the Maryland Heat Emergency Plan , DHMH is alerting affected jurisdictions of a potential extreme heat event throughout the region this weekend.

The DHMH extreme heat event plan is activated whenever 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.

“Lives can be saved this weekend,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, DHMH Secretary. “By taking simple precautions, Maryland residents can protect the safety of 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:  http://dhmh.maryland.gov/extremeheat/SitePages/Home.aspx.

According to the most recent DHMH Weekly Heat-related Illness Surveillance Report, covering June 19 through 25, there have been no heat related deaths thus far in 2012. 

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.

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:  http://dhmh.maryland.gov/extremeheat.

 
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