High heat — couple with the reemergence of Canadian wildfire smoke — has created unhealthy outdoor conditions for Baltimore area residents.
Doctors are warning area residents to be on alert for symptoms of heat illness in the wake of Maryland’s first heat-related death of the year. Meanwhile, Canadian wildfire smoke caused a widespread haze to cover the region and large parts of the northern United States.
Baltimore was expected to have a high temperature of 93 degrees Monday even though it remained dry, with temperatures dropping into the mid-70s overnight. The temperature is forecast to reach 95 degrees on Tuesday, with widespread haze until noon and a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 5 p.m. High temperatures were expected to hover around 90 degrees the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service.
The Air Quality Index was 150 out of 500 as of 6 p.m. Monday, making the air quality unhealthy for everyone, according to AirNow.gov. Fine particle pollution caused by the smoke, known as PM 2.5, are tiny enough to get deep into the lungs and cause short-term problems such as coughing and itchy eyes with long-term effects to one’s lungs and heart.
Those who have heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teens are most at risk, AirNow.gov’s site said. Less strenuous activities and shortened amounts of activity outdoors are strongly advised, the site said.
The Canadian wildfire smoke has moved from British Columbia and Alberta into Maryland, and except for some isolated thunderstorm activity, cloudy skies could persist well into Tuesday afternoon.
Wednesday is expected to be partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers and a high near 91 degrees, according to the NWS.
In its detailed seven-day forecast, both Thursday and Friday were expected to have highs in the 90s with a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms. Storms chances could be scattered, but no day in particular will be a soaker.
WJZ-TV, The Banner’s media partner, reported that July is one of the most dangerous months for heat illnesses and cautioned people to know the signs of heat exhaustion.
Dr. Omoyemi Adebayo, an emergency medicine physician from the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center, told WJZ that symptoms to watch out for include “headaches, nausea, vomiting and an extremely high heart rate.”
A key indicator between heat exhaustion and heatstroke is a change in mental status, such as when someone starts feeling very confused or even delirious.
“Ultimately, if these situations aren’t corrected quickly, it results in death,” Adebayo said.
The Maryland Department of Health said in a statement Thursday that a 52-year-old Cecil County man had died as a result of a heat-related illness.
The agency said that people under the age of 5 and over the age of 65 are most at risk for heat-related illnesses, along with people with chronic illnesses and those exercising and working outdoors.