Health Department Recommends Actions in Case of Heat Emergency
Leonardtown, MD - 6/12/2012
With the summer months coming and the possibility of high temperatures, the St. Mary’s County Health Department would like to remind citizens of the dangers of hyperthermia. Hyperthermia can develop from hot and humid conditions typically associated with Maryland summers. Symptoms of heatstroke may include dry red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath or wet towels. Emergency medical care should be obtained by dialing 9-1-1.
Signs of heat exhaustion, a milder form of heatstroke, may include extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, headache, vomiting or fainting. 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.
“There are things St. Mary’s County residents should do to be careful in hot weather,” said Dr. William B. Icenhower, St. Mary’s County health officer. “Chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses increase the risk of heatstroke and heat exhaustion.”
Icenhower reminds citizens the St. Mary’s County Department of Aging has a Heat Emergency Preparedness Plan in place for senior citizens in the event of a heat emergency. If deemed appropriate, local senior centers will extend hours to provide an air-conditioned environment for those considered at-risk
Icenhower adds the following precautions should be taken during hot weather:
· Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration
· Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing
· Avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses
· When possible, stay in air-conditioned areas
· NEVER leave young children or pets in a car, even with the windows cracked
· Check on elderly relatives and neighbors at least daily
· Schedule outdoor physical activity during the morning or evening hours when temperatures are cooler.
Anyone with concerns regarding heat-related medical questions should contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department at 301-475-4330.