13 July 2023- The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced the first reported heat-related death of 2023 in Maryland. The death occurred in Cecil County; the decedent was a male aged 52.
“We are very saddened to report our first heat-related death of the season,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Nilesh Kalyanaraman. “As we experience more hot days like today, this tragedy reminds us of how important it is to take every precaution to avoid overheating. Also, be sure to check on family and neighbors who are at risk for heat-related illness.”
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 webpage. The site also includes the state Heat Emergency Plan, information about heat-related illnesses and tips for staying safe and healthy during hot weather.
Marylanders should never leave children or pets in a car for any time during hot weather, even with the windows cracked, and are encouraged to check on elderly neighbors or relatives to ensure they have a cool place to stay.
MDH encourages using 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
While anyone can be a victim of heat-related illness, the highest risk groups include people under age 5 or over age 65, people with chronic illnesses, people taking certain medications, and those who are exercising or working outdoors. During the 2022 extreme heat season, Maryland had 5 heat-related deaths.
Individuals 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 at: https://preparedness.health.maryland.gov/Pages/resources_hot.aspx