Maryland reports first cold-related death this season
BALTIMORE, MD (December 23, 2015) – The first Maryland death related to hypothermia this season has been reported, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The death was an adult male (aged 45-64 years) in Kent County with underlying medical conditions. The death occurred at the end of November. No additional details will be released, to protect the privacy of the family. There were 41 hypothermia-related deaths in Maryland during the 2014-2015 winter weather season.
“Although we've recently had unseasonably warm weather, it's important to Marylanders to be aware of the risks of hypothermia and other cold-related illnesses,” says Dr. Howard Haft, Health and Mental Hygiene’s Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services. “Most at risk are the homeless population, those with substance use disorders, people with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”
From the end of November through March, Health and Mental Hygiene monitors temperature conditions and incidences of cold-related illnesses and deaths. To see the weekly reports, visit http:/preparedness.dhmh.maryland.gov and click “Extreme Cold in Maryland.” 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 8 other languages.
Health and Mental Hygiene offers these tips for protecting yourself and your family in extreme cold weather:
- Dress warmly in layers.
- If you are in need of housing or energy assistance to keep warm this winter, call 2-1-1 Maryland to connect to available resources.
- Be alert to other common winter hazards, such as carbon monoxide (CO) and injuries from heat sources. CO 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.
- Review your family emergency communications plan and emergency supply kits for homes and vehicles. Each family member should know what to do and how to contact others should an emergency arise. The home emergency supply kit should include unexpired food items, medical supplies and batteries. Vehicles should contain items such as heavy blankets, water, nonperishable food, a flashlight and a snow shovel. More information, including a downloadable emergency supply kit checklist, is available at http://preparedness.dhmh.maryland.gov.
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The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the state government agency that protects Maryland’s public health and also works to help Marylanders make better health decisions for better health outcomes. Stay connected: www.twitter.com/MarylandDHMH and www.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH.