Maryland has seen its first reported heat-related death of the year, the Maryland Department of Health said in a Thursday statement, urging residents to take precautions to avoid overheating this summer.
A 52-year-old man died in Cecil County, the statement said.
“As we experience more hot days like today, this tragedy reminds us of how important it is to take every precaution to avoid overheating. Also, be sure to check on family and neighbors who are at risk for heat-related illness,” said Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Nilesh Kalyanaraman in the release.
The number of people entering emergency rooms and urgent care facilities complaining primarily of heat-related illnesses spiked from last Wednesday to last Saturday, according to health department weekly surveillance reports. The hardest hit group this summer are people aged 18 to 44, the reports show.
Heat-related deaths have been decreasing in Maryland each year since at least 2018, according to the weekly reports. During the period of extreme heat in 2022, the state saw five heat-related deaths. The year before that, 16 people died. And in 2018, 28 people died.
People under the age of 5 and over the age of 65 are most at risk for heat-related illnesses, the statement said, along with people with chronic illnesses and those exercising and working outdoors. But, the statement adds, “anyone can be a victim of heat-related illness.”
During hot weather, Maryland residents should make sure to never leave children or pets in a car, the statement said, even with the windows cracked.
Marylanders should also drink lots of water, wear light-colored clothing and sunscreen, and avoid alcohol and caffeine, the statement said. They should also exercise outdoors in the morning or evening when it’s cooler.