Beating the Heat in Prince George 's County

Prince George's County Health Department | 7/8/2010, 2:14 p.m.

The Prince George 's County Health Department would like to offer tips to help the public beat the heat during this extended heat wave.

"We strongly recommend children and senior citizens to first get out of the heat into an air conditioned location. If you cannot avoid the heat, you must take precautionary measures to avoid becoming ill as a result of the heat," said Donald Shell, M.D., M.A., Health Officer. "There are several very simple steps one may take to reduce their chances of suffering from heat related illness."
The 10 day forecast for the National Capital region predicts temperatures in the 90s with a heat index near 100+. Residents are at risk of suffering from heat strokes and heat exhaustion due to such high temperatures. . Everyone is vulnerable to heat-related illnesses when their bodies are unable to properly cool it self.. In such cases, a person's body temperature rises rapidly and if appropriate measures are not taken to cool the body, damage to the brain or other vital organs may occur.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness that occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature and is unable to cool down. When body temperature rises to 105 degrees or higher an individual may begin to exhibit symptoms such as red dry skin, disorientation, delirium, and nausea.

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, dizziness, weakness and/or headaches.

Children, the elderly, and those that suffer from chronic heart or lung conditions are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness because they are unable to adjust to sudden changes in temperatures.

Even in cool temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures very quickly. Do not leave children, infants or pets in cars any length of time, even if the windows are cracked. Children who are left unattended in parked cars are at the greatest risk for heat stroke, and possibly death.

Proper hydration is essential during this current heat wave. Make sure you are fully hydrated before you go out into the heat. During exercise or physical activity in excessive heat, individuals should drink water periodically. The longer the exposure to the heat, the more likely an individual will dehydrate. There is not a "one size fits all" amount of fluid a person should consume when exposed to prolonged excessive heat.

On average, a healthy individual participating in increased physical activity and or exercise in excessive heat and humidity should consume one-half to one liter (approximately 16 ounces to 32 ounces) of a conventional sports drink each hour to provide enough carbohydrates to sustain energy and enough fluid replacement to prevent dehydration.

When working or exercising in the heat, monitor the condition of individuals with you and have someone do the same for you. Limit heavy exertion when high levels of heat and humidity are present and avoid outdoor activity during the hottest period of the day between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

At Work

*Avoid the heat
*Reduce activity
*Drink plenty of water
*Adjust schedule to perform outdoor work before 10:00 am or after 3:00 pm
*Wear light colored clothing, a hat and sunscreen
*Drink plenty of water
*Take frequent rest breaks in an air conditioned place or in the shade

At Home

*Check on relatives, friends and especially the elderly throughout the day
*Increase time spent in air-conditioned environments like libraries, malls, and movie theatres
*Eat smaller meals, more often
*Take cool bathes
*Make sure pets have access to water and shade

The following Cooling Centers are available in Prince George 's County to individuals who are at risk of heat-related illnesses:

Camp Springs Senior Center

6420 Allentown Road

Camp Springs , MD 20748

(301) 449-0490


9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

New Carrollton Nutrition Center

6016 Princess Garden Parkway

Lanham , MD 20706

(301) 459-6103


8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Senior citizens and their families should contact the Prince George 's County Department of Family Services Administration on Aging at (301) 265-8450 for information and/or assistance.

For more information visit the Prince George 's County Health Department Website or http://www.cdc.gov