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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Heat Related Illnesses - Do You Know When to Go Just Cool Off or Go to the Hospital ER??

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Watch today from 12 Noon until 7 pm.  This Heat Watch is for high temperatures combined with high humidity. Heat indexes are likely to meet or exceed 100 degrees. Because this is still early in seasonal heat our bodies are not acclimated yet, heat exhaustion and heat stroke will be a bigger threat than they would be later in the summer. Everyone is reminded to take precautions to stay safe and healthy.

With high heat and humidity upon us in Prince George’s County the men and women of your Fire/EMS Department want you to stay informed and take precautions to stay safe and healthy. Temperatures in the nineties, combined with high humidity may create a dangerous situation for children, the elderly, and those who suffer from chronic heart or lung conditions.

Your best protection is to stay well hydrated. Sweat, or water, allows heat to evaporate from your skin’s surface. If you become dehydrated, it is more difficult for your body to maintain an acceptable temperature. The best thing to drink is water. Gatorade or other sports drinks are also good. Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine. Limit heavy exertion when high levels of heat and humidity are present. High humidity levels make it more difficult for your body to dissipate heat.


Any heat related illnesses will require a victim to be removed from the hot environment in an air-conditioned or cool/shaded area. 
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. 

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. Your body has lost the ability to sweat and naturally “cool-off” – this is a true medical emergency.  Treatment of heatstroke involves the rapid lowering of body temperature, using a cool bath, bags of ice or wet towels. Place ice bags in each armpit, groin and back of the neck.  A heatstroke victim should be kept in a cool area; emergency medical care should be obtained by dialing 911. 

Stay Informed - Stay Ready - Stay Safe

At Work

• Avoid the heat
• Reduce activity
• Drink plenty of water


• Wear light colored clothing
• Drink plenty of water
• Take frequent rest breaks in the air conditioning or shade

At Home

• Check on relatives and friends, especially the elderly
• Increase time spent in an air-conditioned environment
• Eat smaller meals, more often
• Take cool baths
• Make sure pets have access to water and shade

Remember to Stay Safe to ensure everyone goes home.

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