Don’t be a statistic- Maryland records first heat-related death of 2024

05 June 2024- The Maryland Department of Health today announced the first reported heat-related death of 2024 in Maryland. The death occurred in Prince George’s County; the decedent was a male aged 59. 

“We are very saddened to report our first heat-relat​ed death of the 2024 season,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Nilesh Kalyanaraman. “As we experience more hot days in Maryland this summer, this tragedy reminds us to take the necessary steps to avoid overheating. Also, be sure to check on family, friends, and neighbors who may be particularly vulnerable to heat, including young children, senior citizens and people with chronic diseases.”

The Department monitors temperature conditions and incidents of heat-related illness and death from May through September. Extreme heat is defined as summertime temperatures that are much hotter and/or humid than average, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because some places are hotter than others, this depends on what’s considered average for a particular location at that time of year. Humid and muggy conditions can make it seem hotter than it really is.

Residents can find more information on the Office of Preparedness and Response Extreme Heat webpage, which includes information about heat-related illnesses and tips for staying safe and healthy during hot weather. Residents can download fact sheets in English and eight other languages.

The Maryland Department of Health encourages use of the following tips to help cope with extreme heat:

  • 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
  • Schedule physical activity in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler, and take breaks if necessary

Warning signs that you could be suffering from a heat-related illness, include heat exhaustion, heat stroke or heat cramps.

Marylanders are advised never to leave children or pets in a car during hot weather, even with cracked windows. Always check twice to ensure that children or pets are not in a vehicle—on an 80-degree day, within one-half hour, the temperature inside the vehicle can climb to well over 100 degrees.

Residents in need of a cooling center 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. 

During the 2023 extreme heat season, Maryland had nine heat-related deaths.