The National Weather Service may issue heat advisories during the summer months 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, County cooling stations may be opened to provide relief from high temperatures. "The cooling centers provide a healthy safe environment with activities for all individuals," said Donald Shell, M.D., M.A., Prince George's County Health Officer. "We strongly recommend 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 or other vital organs. 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. When body temperature rises to 105 degrees or higher, a person may begin to exhibit symptoms such as red and dry skin, disorientation, delirium, and nausea.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days 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 in any vehicle, even if the windows are cracked. Children and pets 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 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 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
- Avoid the heat
- Reduce activity
- Drink plenty of water
- Adjust schedule to start earlier if you work outdoors (if possible)
- Wear light colored clothing, a hat and sunscreen
- Drink plenty of water
- Take frequent rest breaks in the air conditioning or shade
Senior Citizens and their families should contact the Prince George's County Department of Family Services Administration on Aging at (301) 265-8450 for information and/or assistance.