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Preparing for the Summer Heat

Prince George's County Dept. of Health | 7/20/2010, 11:18 a.m.

The Prince George 's County Health Department wants all residents to be aware that between 2005 and 2010, 99% of the individuals who died from a heat related illness had atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

"Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is a condition that involves the arterial blood vessels and circulation of the heart, brain, kidneys and extremities," said Dr. Donald Shell, M.D., M.A., Health Officer. "We urge all residents with any form of ASCVD of any age to see their medical provider to prepare for the heat".
Risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease include hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and smoking. Individuals with ASCVD may have high blood pressure, angina, peripheral vascular disease, heart failure, have had a stroke, or a heart attack.

Anyone who suffers from a chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses are at a higher risk during these elevated temperatures and should follow the simple heat related tips to stay safe.

Heat related tips:

Drink plenty of fluids such as water and fruit juices to prevent dehydration -- be aware that alcohol can impair the body's sweat mechanism, as can fairly common medications such as antihistamines and diuretics

Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes

Avoid direct sunlight by staying in the shade and by wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses

When possible stay in air-conditioned areas; if your home is not air-conditioned, consider a visit to a shopping mall or public library. Contact your local health department to see if there are any cooling centers in your area or visit http://dhmh.state.md.us and click on 'Heat-related Illness and Cooling Center Information"

NEVER leave pets or young children in a car, even with the windows cracked

Check on elderly relatives or neighbors at least daily

Take it easy when outdoors. Athletes and those who work outdoors should take short breaks when feeling fatigued. Schedule physical activity during the morning or evening when it is cooler.

For additional information about beat the heat visit us at: http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/Government/AgencyIndex/Health/index.asp