First Md. heat death of year reported

WASHINGTON – The first Maryland heat-related death of 2013 happened in Howard County, state authorities announced Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) said in a statement that a man between the ages of 45 and 64 who had underlying health conditions died of heat-related complications.

In the statement, the deputy secretary of DHMH warned of the dangers of hot weather. “As we celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, Marylanders should remember that extreme heat can be dangerous, and even deadly,” Dr. Laura Herrera said. “With high temperatures expected throughout the weekend, people need to take steps to stay cool.”

The statement included tips for staying safe in the heat:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, and stay away from alcohol.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothes.
  • Stay in the shade and wear sunscreen and sunglasses.
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas when possible, either at home or a public place such as a mall or library.
  • Never leave pets or children in a car, even with the windows cracked.
  • Check on elderly relatives or neighbors at least daily.
  • Take it easy when outdoors. Athletes and those who work outdoors should take short breaks when feeling fatigued. Schedule physical activity during the morning or evening when it is cooler.

The department said that heat-related deaths have been on the rise in recent years: There were 46 confirmed heat-related deaths in Maryland last year; in 2011, there were 34; in 2010, 32; in 2009, 6.

The DHMH has more tips at http://dhmh.maryland.gov/extremeheat/SitePages/Home.aspx.

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