DHMH Begins Extreme Cold Weather Monitoring and Reporting; First hypothermia-related death for the season confirmed

Baltimore, MD (December 4, 2013) — The first Maryland death related to hypothermia this season has been reported, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DHMH). The death was an adult male (aged 18-65 years) in Prince George's County. No additional details will be released to protect the privacy of his family.

From December through March, DHMH monitors temperature conditions and incidences of cold-related illnesses and deaths. DHMH today issued it's first weekly report here: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/winterrpts/.

The reports provide guidance and information about deaths and illness caused by extreme cold in the region. Other topics on the site include 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.

“Marylanders can be at risk during periods of extreme cold,” says Dr. Laura Herrera, DHMH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services. “By knowing the risks, you can take steps to stay safe and healthy this winter.”

Some of the dangers associated with winter weather include hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning and injuries from heat sources. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature falls below 95ºF. In the 2012-13 winter reporting season, there were 30 hypothermia-related deaths in Maryland.

Frostbite is the 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.

DHMH offers these tips for protecting yourself and your family in extreme cold weather:
  • 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. Cover your ears and the lower part of your face, too.
  • Wear mittens rather than fingered gloves. The close contact of fingers helps 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.
  • 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 on emergency preparedness is available at http://preparedness.dhmh.maryland.gov.

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WCHD News

Due to ongoing construction issues, the WACS Center will be closed through October 19 and move services to other locations. The center is scheduled to reopen on Monday, October 22nd.

All services at this site have been relocated to either Snow Hill or the Berlin Health Center. We apologize for any inconvenience. For more information or to check on the status of your appointment, please call 410-632-1100.

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This bacterium is found in the nose, throat and mouth of an infected person, and can be easily spread. Pertussis can occur at any age, but often causes serious problems in babies, and is usually milder in older children and adults. Children who are too young to be fully vaccinated and those that have not received all their vaccinations are at highest risk for severe illness and complications. Complications of pertussis can include pneumonia (infection of the lungs), encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), seizures, and other physical and medical outcomes associated with a severe cough.

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Our new Just Walk Worcester website has information on local parks, walking tips, and videos of trails in our area. If you like to walk, check it out! Click the image below to see the new site. 

 

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Snow Hill, MD- Worcester County Health Department will launch “Just Walk Worcester” on October 12. This new website will be an inclusive resource for finding places to walk and explore no matter where you are in the county. The site features maps of all local parks and trails as well as walking tips, helpful videos, and details about each area including the length of trails, if there are any fees and if the spot is pet-friendly. Residents can view drone footage of each trail, allowing walkers to know the ins and outs of the path before they even lace up their shoes.

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Due to ongoing construction issues, the WACS Center will be closed through October 19 and move services to other locations. The center is scheduled to reopen on Monday, October 22nd.

All services at this site have been relocated to either Snow Hill or the Berlin Health Center. We apologize for any inconvenience. For more information or to check on the status of your appointment, please call 410-632-1100.

 

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