Extreme heat is when temperatures are significantly hotter or more humid than normal. Older adults, young children, individuals with access and functional needs, and those with underlying health conditions, may be more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses including heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps. Heat stroke is a serious illness that requires immediate medical attention. Heat exhaustion and heat cramps should be monitored to ensure they don’t lead to heat stroke.
Heat stroke occurs when the body’s core temperature spikes above 103 degrees. If untreated, heat stroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. Symptoms may include hot skin, redness, fast strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and fainting. If you notice someone with these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately and try to move the individual into a cooler area.
Heat exhaustion is when an excessive amount of water is lost, usually through sweating. If untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, cold or clammy skin, fast weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness, dizziness, headache, and fainting. If you notice these symptoms, move to a cool place, loosen clothing, put a cool cloth on your head, and sip water. Seek medical attention if vomiting or if symptoms get worse.
Heat cramps are painful, involuntary muscle spasms that usually occur during heavy exercise in hot environments. The loss of fluids and electrolytes often contribute to heat cramps. If untreated, heat cramps can lead to heat stroke. If you notice these cramps, stop physical activity, move to a cool place, drink water, wait for cramps to stop before continuing exercise. Seek medical attention if cramps last longer than an hour, you are on a low-sodium diet, or if you have heart issues.
When extremely hot temperatures occur, Anne Arundel County makes several County facilities available to community members for temporary cooling relief. For more information visit www.aacounty.org/cool
. For individuals that need sheltering or special accommodations contact the Crisis Warmline at (410) 768-5522.
The Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management encourage residents to sign up for summer weather related emergency alerts at http://alertannearundel.civicready.com/
and take the following precautions:
- Avoid prolonged exposure to extreme hot temperatures by taking breaks to cool off. This includes limiting exposure for your children and pets as well. If your home does not have air-conditioning, go to an air-conditioned public place or visit one of the County facilities that are open for cooling relief.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to stay cool.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol which can cause dehydration.
- Prepare for the unexpected by building an emergency go-kit. Keep extra water in your kit for the whole family including any pets.
- NEVER leave any person or animal in a closed, parked vehicle
- Monitor at-risk individuals and closely watch them for signs of heat related illness.