Health


Prince George's County, Maryland

Tips for Beating the Heat


For Immediate Release: 7/16/2013 3:05 PM

Contact: Dellia Williams, Press Information Officer Prince George's County Health Department 301-883-7835/240-417-8443

​LARGO, MD—According to the National Weather Service Wednesday July 17, 2013 thru Friday, July 19, 2013 the air quality index will be unhealthy for individuals who are at risk of heat related illnesses due to high heat and humidity in Prince George’s County.

With temperatures in the 90s, combined with humidity levels over 50 percent, residents are at risk of dangerous health conditions such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion. As a result of the high heat, cooling stations have been opened in the county to provide relief for the high temperatures to residents.

“The cooling centers provide a safe environment with activities for all individuals,” said Pamela B Creekmur, Prince George’s County Health Officer. “We strongly recommend that senior citizens take advantage of the cooling centers if they do not have a cooling system in their home.”

Everyone is vulnerable to heat-related illnesses when their bodies are unable to properly cool themselves. In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly and may damage the brain and or other vital organs. We encourage all residents to check on the elderly, neighbors, family and friends.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness that occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature and is unable to cool down. With the potential for body temperature to rise to105 degrees or higher, individuals may begin to exhibit symptoms such as red dry skin, disorientation, delirium, and nausea.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several hours of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, dizziness, weakness and/or headaches.

Children, the elderly and those that suffer from chronic heart or lung conditions are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness because they are unable to adjust to sudden changes in temperatures.

Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Do not leave children, infants or pets in cars any length of time, even if the windows are cracked. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at the greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.

When working in the heat, monitor the condition of your co-workers and have someone do the same for you. Limit heavy exertion when high levels of heat and humidity are present and avoid the hottest period of the day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

At Work

  • Avoid the heat
  • Reduce activity
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Adjust schedule to start earlier if you work outdoors (if possible)

Outdoors

  • Wear light colored clothing, a hat and sunscreen
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take frequent rest breaks in the air conditioning or shade

At Home

  • Check on relatives and friends, especially the elderly
  • Increase time spent in air-conditioned environments like libraries, malls, and movie theatres
  • Eat smaller meals, more often
  • Take cool bathes
  • Make sure pets have access to water and shade

For more information about heat-related illness visit http://www.cdc.gov or http://dhmh.maryland.gov/extremeheat.

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