FREDERICK, MD – June, July, and August can see scorching temperatures and high humidity. Frederick County emergency partners urge residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their pets against heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Extreme heat affects the body's ability to regulate temperature, which can create dangerous conditions if appropriate safety measures are not taken. Heat may affect air quality, especially in urban areas, and may have a stronger impact on the elderly, children, and sick persons.
Residents should check on elderly friends, relatives, and neighbors who may be isolated to be sure they are not showing signs of heat-related illnesses.
These tips will help residents remain safe and comfortable during excessive heat days:
- Stay indoors, whenever possible. Visit nearby air-conditioned buildings in the community if a home is not air-conditioned, such as shopping malls, movie theaters, and museums.
- Be careful to avoid strenuous activities that can result in overexposure to the sun, such as sports and gardening. If there is a need to do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning before 9 a.m.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration, cramps, exhaustion, or heat stroke can result from not drinking enough fluids. Water is the safest liquid to drink.
- Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
- When outdoors, wear proper protection from the sun. Light-colored clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen protection are recommended.
- Never leave pets, young children, or vulnerable adults in a car for ANY amount of time, even with the window open, because the temperature inside parked cars can reach 130 degrees in only a few minutes.
- Monitor those at high risk. Those at greatest risk of heat-related illness include:
- Infants and children up to four years of age;
- Individuals 65 years of age and older;
- Individuals who are ill or on certain medications; and
- Individuals who are overweight.
- Knowing the signs of heat exposure can prevent serious illness from becoming life-threatening. Should any of the following occur, get out of the heat, loosen any tight or heavy clothing, and drink plenty of water:
- Heat cramps: symptoms include painful muscle spasms, usually involving the abdominal muscles or legs;
- Heat exhaustion: first signs are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headache, and weakness; and
- Heatstroke: the most serious sign of overexposure. Symptoms include red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing, and changes in consciousness. Seek medical attention by calling 9-1-1.
Residents and businesses are strongly encouraged to register to receive emergency information specific to Frederick County from county and municipal officials via the ALERTFC notification system at www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/ALERT.
For more information on preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and hazards, visit www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/READY. Additionally, the Division of Emergency Management may be contacted at 301-600-1746 or via e-mail at EM@FrederickCountyMD.gov.