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Friday, July 23, 2010

Hot Weather Continues - Save a Life and Check on Senior Citizens!!!

The population of the National Capital Region does not need to be told that it is HOT outside; they can feel it themselves. What does need to be reinforced is the message to check on elderly relatives and neighbors during this period of hot weather. Across the State of Maryland, many of the heat related deaths involve people found in a non air conditioned environment with an existing health ailment contributing to their death. Please, take the time and visit homes and ensure our senior citizens are safe and healthy.

Does the Fire/EMS Department need to remind residents how stupid it is to leave people and pets in hot cars??? It is criminal to do so and shows a lack of common sense and compassion.

The weekend forecast is for high temperatures and unhealthy air. Stay cool by staying indoors and drinking plenty of water. Check in with senior citizen neighbors and relatives, you might just be saving a life!!!

The volunteer and career men and women of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department want you to stay safe during this current heat pattern. It is important to recognize symptoms of heat related illness and take action quickly.

HEAT RELATED ILLNESSES:

Heatstroke is a serious illness characterized by a body temperature greater than 105 degrees. Symptoms may include dry red skin, convulsions, disorientation, delirium and coma. Onset of heatstroke can be rapid: a person can go from feeling apparently well to a seriously ill condition within minutes. Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath or wet towels. A heatstroke victim should be kept in a cool area; emergency medical care should be obtained by dialing 911.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heatstroke that may develop due to a combination of several days with high temperatures and dehydration in an individual. Signs of heat exhaustion include extreme weakness, muscle cramps, nausea, or headache. Victims may also vomit or faint. Heat exhaustion is treated with plenty of liquids and rest in a cool, shaded area. If the persons condition does not show signs of improvement call 911.

Follow these safety tips to help keep you safe.

HOT WEATHER TIPS:

• Drink plenty of fluids such as water and fruit juices to prevent dehydration -- be aware that alcohol can impair the body's sweat mechanism, as can fairly common medications such as antihistamines and diuretics;

• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes;

• Avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade and by wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses;

• When possible, stay in air-conditioned areas. If your home is not air-conditioned, consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library.

• NEVER leave pets or young children in a car, even with the windows cracked;

• Check on elderly relatives or neighbors at least daily; and

• Take it easy when outdoors. Athletes and those who work outdoors should take short breaks when feeling fatigued. Schedule physical activity during the morning or evening when it is cooler.

Read the Washington Post Article of 7/23/10 about heat related deaths in Maryland.

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