Md. Dept. of Health Urges residents to stay safe.
Baltimore, Md (KM) In addition to making us all feel uncomfortable, the extreme heat we’ve been experience in recent days could make us very sick. “If people are feeling light headed; they;’re having a little trouble breathing; they’re feeling a little dizzy, that can be one of the earliest warning signs—or a little sick to their stomach–that could one of the earliest warning signs of a heat-related illness,:” says Dr. Clifford Mitchell, Director of the Environmental Bureau of the Maryland Department of Health.
“The most important thing is to get someplace cool, make sure you’re hydrated adequately, and get out of the heat,” he continues.
The Maryland Department of Health also says wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing, avoid direct sunlight, use sunscreen, and never leave children or pets in a car, even with the windows cracked.
One piece of advice is to stay inside where it’s air conditioned. But if you are a farmer, construction or highway worker, or have another job where you work outside, Dr. Mitchell says you need to take precautions. “Always make sure you’re adequately hydrated and you have plenty of water with you; take it easy; take plenty of breaks; and, again, listen to your body,”: he says.
If you start feeling short of breath, dizzy, and slowing down, that could be a sign that your body is overheating, says Dr. Mitchell, and you need to stop. He says that means getting into the shade or an air conditioned building, and drinking plenty of fluids.
When it comes to fluids, he says it’s best to drink water, and avoid alcohol, caffeine or overly sweetened beverages.
For those who like to run, walk, or do outdoor chorea, it’s; best to do them earlier in the day. “Not only is it hotter during the day, but in many cases because of things like urban heat island affects, it doesn’t cool off that much at night,”: says Dr. Mitchell. “Early in the morning is generally the best time to do it because that’s the lowest temperature of the day.”
During hot temperatures we’re experiencing, one of the big concerns is heat stroke. Dr. Mitchell says that’s when your body starts heating up to over 100 degree similar to a fever. “But in this case, your body can’t get rid of that extra heat. And when that happens, you can quickly lose consciousness.”
“When somebody is at the point their pulse is weak and irregular, it’s running very, very fast, and they’re not making sense, that’s a medical emergency. Somebody needs to get to the emergency room immediately, to be monitored and be cooled faster than they can be just by normal means,” Dr. Mitchell continues.
The Health Department says everyone’s health can be affected by extreme heat, but the highest risk groups are those under five, persons 65 and older and individuals with chronic illnesses.
By Kevin McManus