Maryland Reports First Hypothermia-Related Death this Winter

 Baltimore, MD (December 27, 2012) — The first Maryland death related to hypothermia this winter has been reported, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Preparedness and Response (OPR). The Department reminds residents to take necessary precautions as temperatures continue to remain low this week.

The death, which was confirmed between Dec. 18 and Dec. 24, was an adult (aged 65 years or older) male in Frederick County. No additional details will be released to protect the privacy of his family.

OCME reported 15 hypothermia-related deaths in Maryland during the 2011-2012 winter weather season, and one death had been reported by this time in December 2011.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for most of Maryland until 6 p.m. today, and parts of Western Maryland are under a Winter Weather Advisory.

“Protect yourself from the winter elements before you head outside,” said DHMH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Laura Herrera. “A few extra moments to prepare could keep you safe as we head into the coldest months.”

Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls below 95ºF. Frostbite refers to actual freezing and subsequent destruction of body tissue that is likely to occur any time skin temperature gets much below 32ºF. The areas most likely to freeze are toes, fingers, ears, cheeks and the tip of the nose.

Persons at greatest risk for frostbite include those with impaired circulation, the elderly, the very young and anyone who remains outside for prolonged periods. The danger increases if the individual becomes wet.

Tips for staying warm and healthy in extreme cold weather include:
● Cover your head. You lose as much as 50 percent of your body heat through your head.

● Wear several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. The air between the layers acts as insulation to keep you warmer.

● Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect lungs from direct cold air, and also cover your ears and the lower part of your face.

● Wear mittens, not gloves. The close contact of fingers helps to keep your hands warm.

● Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks, or two pairs of lightweight socks.

● Wear waterproof boots or sturdy shoes to keep your feet warm and dry


To find more cold weather safety tips and to view weekly DHMH Cold Weather Reports that will be posted by Wednesday’s, visit http://dhmh.maryland.gov/winterrpts or go to our homepage (www.dhmh.maryland.gov) and click on “Cold Weather Facts” under “Hot Topics.”


 

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