The weather forecast calls for extreme heat across the region over the next several days, with a potentially dangerous heat wave that could last into next week. Heatrelated deaths and illnesses are preventable. Despite this fact, more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Frederick County Department of Emergency Preparedness and the Frederick County Health Department want you to take action now and make a plan to stay safe in the heat.
Very hot weather can make people sick, even healthy adults. Older adults, those who are pregnant, infants and young children, people experiencing homelessness, and people with preexisting health conditions are at higher risk for heat-related illness. If you think someone is having a medical emergency, call 911.
- Keep an eye on older relatives and neighbors and those aged four and younger.
- People aged 65 years or older are less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature or feel thirsty until already dehydrated. Very young children are also sensitive to the effects of extreme heat and rely on their caregivers to make sure that they stay cool and hydrated. It’s important for family, friends or neighbors to check in and make sure that they are staying cool and hydrated.
- Talk with your healthcare provider.
- Some chronic conditions and medications may make you more susceptible to extreme heat events. For example, people with diabetes get dehydrated more quickly and some medicines commonly used to treat high blood pressure, like diuretics (“water pills”), can worsen dehydration. Talk with your healthcare provider on how to protect yourself from extreme heat.
- Stay in an air-conditioned place.
- Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider visiting friends or family who do. Alternately, visit a public air-conditioned space such as a public library, senior center, mall, movie theater, or museum.
- NEVER leave children and pets unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.
- Car interiors can quickly reach lethal temperatures even when it feels cool outside. In 2007, an infant from Virginia died of heatstroke after being left in a car on a 66℉ day.
- Don’t forget about your pets!
- Pets can suffer from heat-related illness, too. Make sure your pet has a ventilated, cool place to lay and plenty of water. If you have air conditioning, keep them inside with you. Do not leave your pet outside for extended periods of time. When outside, ensure there is plenty of shade and cool water. Dog and cat paws have foot-pads which can burn on hot surfaces like concrete, metal, pavement, sidewalks and asphalt. Remember to try to walk them in shaded areas and pay attention to any signs of discomfort.
Additionally, the Department of Emergency Preparedness can be contacted at 301-600- 1746 or via e-mail at EM@FrederickCountyMD.gov.