Maryland reports 1st cold weather-related death of the season, repeats tips
Baltimore, MD (December 21, 2016) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is announcing the first Maryland death related to hypothermia this season, based on data from its Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The death involved an adult female in Baltimore City and occurred last week. No additional details will be released, to protect health privacy. There were 20 hypothermia-related deaths in Maryland during the 2015-2016 winter season.
“Temperatures can drop quickly across the state, and it’s critical to prepare before a system of winter weather hits,” says Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “Stock your family’s emergency kit for home and for your car. Be sure to include extra blankets, food, water and a first aid kit.”
From December through March, Health and Mental Hygiene monitors temperature conditions and incidences of cold-related illnesses and deaths. Weekly reports can be found by visiting http://dhmh.maryland.gov/cold. The site also includes the State Cold Weather Emergency Plan and fact sheets on cold weather health issues, carbon monoxide, driving tips for extreme cold weather, and the warning signs of a heart attack. The fact sheets are available for download in English and eight other languages.
Some of the dangers associated with winter include hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning and injuries from heat sources. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls below 95ºF. Frostbite is the freezing and subsequent destruction of body tissue that is likely to occur any time skin temperature gets much below 32ºF. The body parts most likely to freeze are toes, fingers, ears, cheeks, and the tip of the nose.
Health and Mental Hygiene encourages you to stay warm by covering your head, mouth, ears, and lower part of your face during extreme cold weather. Wear several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and waterproof boots or sturdy shoes to keep your feet warm and dry.
Be alert to other common winter hazards such as carbon monoxide – which is produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. This colorless, odorless gas can cause severe illness and death. Heating sources can also cause fires, electrical injuries and burns if not properly installed, operated and maintained.
Maryland residents in need of housing or energy assistance to keep warm this winter should call 2-1-1 to see if there are resources available to help. For more information on emergency preparedness, visit http://preparedness.dhmh.maryland.gov.