BALTIMORE— Officials from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have activated the state's heat plan in preparation for extreme temperatures predicted this weekend.
The heat advisory and plan activation applies to all parts of the state, including the Western Region, on Friday, June 29. It will remain in effect through Saturday, June 30 for all areas, and Sunday, July 1 for all regions, excluding western Maryland.
DHMH is alerting affected jurisdictions of a potential extreme heat event throughout the region this weekend as part of the Maryland Heat Emergency Plan that states that local health agencies must "monitor surveillance of problems and gauge the potential impact of the anticipated event."
Officials said the DHMH extreme heat event plan is activated whenever heat index values have the potential to meet or exceed 105 degrees, creating potentially dangerous conditions for some residents, especially those with other significant health concerns.
According to the most recent DHMH Weekly Heat-related Illness Surveillance Report, covering June 19-25, there have been no heat-related deaths in 2012 thus far. In the past five year, between the months of May and August there have been a total of 110 confirmed heat-related deaths: 34 in 2011, 32 in 2010, six in 2009, 17 in 2008, and in 21 in 2007.
"Lives can be saved this weekend," said DHMH Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. "By taking simple precautions, Maryland residents can protect the safety of vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors."
According to the DHMH, extreme heat-related illnesses include:
Heatstroke: A serious illness characterized by a body temperature greater than 105 degrees. Symptoms may include dry red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Onset of heatstroke can be rapid: a person can go from feeling apparently well to a seriously ill condition within minutes. Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath or wet towels. A heatstroke victim should be kept in a cool area; emergency medical care should be obtained by dialing 911.
Heat exhaustion: A milder form of heatstroke that may develop due to a combination of several days with high temperatures and dehydration in an individual. Signs of heat exhaustion include extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, or headache. Victims may also vomit or faint. Heat exhaustion is treated with plenty of liquids and rest in a cool, shaded area. Those on a low-sodium diet or with other health problems should contact a doctor.
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