By Maureen Robinson
Public Information Officer, Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services
When you live in Maryland, you’re used to warm weather, but there’s warm weather and then there’s THIS. While for most of us, a heat wave is just a shirt-soaking inconvenience, for some it is a very real danger. While heat-related health issues are preventable, too many die every year because they either don’t know or simply ignore easy prevention tips. During times of extreme heat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some easy to follow guidelines:
- Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor limits your fluid intake or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink in hot weather.
- Avoid liquids that have alcohol or a lot of sugar—these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
- Stay indoors and if at all possible in air-conditioning or visit your local shopping mall or public library. Even a few hours spent in air-conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat.
- Take cool showers or baths, or move to an air-conditioned place to keep cool.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Never leave children or pets in a closed, parked vehicle.
- Some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
- Infants and young children
- Those aged 65 or older
- Those that have mental illness
- Those physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure
Stay cool and stay safe!