Residents urged to stay safe if they have to go out during the day.
Baltimore, Md (KM) It’s expected to be very hot over the next few days, and that could take a toll on your body’s ability to cope. Dr. Clifford Mitchell, Director of the Environmental Health Bureau with the Maryland Department of Health, says high heat makes it difficult for our bodies to deal with it.. “The body’s designed to operate at a certain temperature internally. The hotter the outside, the more difficult it is for the body to maintain that internal temperature,” he says. “Above a certain temperature, and even before that, it can be quite dangerous to be in the heat for a long period of time, and even for a short period of time.”:
One of the dangers of being outside in the sun too long is heat cramps, which are muscle pain and spasms caused by a loss of water an salt from heavy sweating. The Health Department says if you notice someone feeling that way, get them into a cool place where they can rest comfortably. Have that person stretch their cramp muscles, and drink fluids.
Another danger is heat exhaustion caused by dehydration. The symptoms are cool, moist skin, extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea and headache. The victim could also vomit or faint. The advice from the Health Department is drink plenty of fluids, rest in a cool, shaded area, and seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen or do not improve in an hour.
There’s also heat stroke. “Heat stroke is the worst and most severe sign of heat-related problem because your internal temperature starts to goes up to a point where you start to have serious medical problems, ” says Dr. Mitchell. They include a body temperature of more than 105-degrees. dry, red skin, rapid or weak pulse, rapid or shallow breathing, convulsions, disorientation, convulsions, delirium and coma. The Health Department says if you notice a family member of friend with these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Treat that person with a cool bath or wet towels. Don’t give that person fluids if the victim refuses water, or is vomiting or fainting.
Health officials say on hot days, it’s best to do any outside work or exercising in the early mornings or in the evenings when it’s not as hot. But if you have to work outside in the heat, Dr.. Mitchell says take precautions. “You take frequent breaks. Make sure that you’re drinking a lot throughout the because you lose water throughout the day even if you’re not aware you’re losing water. We want to make sure people are taking frequent rest breaks out of the sun and in the shade,” he says.
When it comes to drinking fluids, the Health Department says avoid alcohol, caffeine and overly sweetened beverages.
While outside, the Department says, wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light colored clothing, and avoid direct sunlight. “This is a good time to remind people you never, ever, ever want to leave your child or your pet inside of a car because the temperature of the car will get hotter a lot faster than the outside temperature,” Dr. Mitchell says.
He also says check on your elderly neighbors or those who live alone and don’t have a family nearby to make sure they’re coping with the heat.
By Kevin McManus