Maryland Department of Health announces first reported heat-related death of 2019

News Release, Maryland Department of Health

Baltimore, MD — The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner today announced the first reported heat-related death of 2019 in Maryland. The death occurred in Anne Arundel County and was an adult female over the age of 65.

“This tragic event reminds us about the dangers associated with hot weather, which can raise the body’s temperature, increasing the potential for heat-related illnesses, heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Fran Phillips. “Marylanders are urged to take every precaution to avoid overheating and to stay hydrated — if necessary, move to a cooling center.”

From May through September, MDH monitors temperature conditions and incidents of heat-related illness and death. Weekly reports may be found online through the Office of Preparedness and Response Extreme Heat website. The site also includes the state Heat Emergency Plan, information about heat-related illnesses and tips for staying safe and healthy during hot weather. Fact sheets are available for download in English and eight other languages.

The Department encourages residents to use the following tips to help cope with hot weather:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and overly-sweetened beverages
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing
  • Avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen; stay in the shade when possible
  • Avoid salt tablets, unless advised by a doctor to take them
  • Take it easy outside: schedule physical activity in the morning or evening, when it’s cooler, and take short breaks if necessary

Residents should never leave children or pets in a car for any amount of time during hot weather, even with the windows cracked. Residents also are encouraged to check on elderly neighbors or relatives to ensure they have a cool place to stay.

Residents in need of cooling centers are encouraged to reach out to their local health department or call 2-1-1 and provide their county location and ZIP code to get information about cooling center locations, hours of operation and available accommodations.

More resources about staying safe in hot weather are available from the MDH Office of Preparedness and Response (OP&R) at: https://preparedness.health.maryland.gov/Pages/resources_hot.aspx