Health Department Warns Marylanders To Protect Against Extreme Heat

Maryland had its first heat-related death of 2021 this week.

Baltimore, MD (KB) It’s that time of year again. Dr. Clifford Mitchell, Director of the Maryland Department of Health’s Environmental Bureau, is urging residents to protect themselves against heat-related illnesses.

“There are situations when it gets very, very hot that you exceed the ability of your body to cool off internally. That’s when people get into trouble,” warned Dr. Mitchell.

He said early warning signs of heat exhaustion are dizziness and discomfort.

“That’s why it’s particularly important that especially, for example, with pets and older people and children, that you look for those signs — those early warning signs,” explained Dr. Mitchell.

He said others who are vulnerable to heat-related illnesses are outdoor workers and those who do not have air conditioning.

“The things we tell people is if you’re not feeling normal, that’s a good time to stop,” said Dr. Mitchell. “People may have very subtle altered mental status, they may be a little dizzy, they may just be a little uncomfortable. You shouldn’t ignore those signs if a child tells you ‘I just don’t feel right.’ That’s a sign they may be overheating, they should get out of the heat, drink something cool, get into cool temperature.”

Maryland had its first heat-related death for 2021 in Prince George’s County this week. The Maryland Department of Health said it was a male in his 40s.

In the months May through September, the Health Department monitors temperature conditions heat-related illness incidents. The Office of Preparedness and Response Extreme Heat webpage and the state Heat Emergency Plan are resources for information about heat-related illnesses. The sites also include tips for staying safe during extreme weather conditions.