Worcester residents urged to exercise extreme caution, check on neighbors during heatwave this week

The following is a release from the Worcester County Health Department:

(Snow Hill, MD)- Worcester County Emergency Service officials urge residents to exercise extreme caution and check on elderly and infirm neighbors during the heatwave forecasted to last through Sunday. Heat indexes for the shore are expected to rise above 100 degrees this week and exposure to extreme heat can be dangerous for humans and animals, even deadly.

Cooling stations will be open at the following locations across Worcester County:

Libraries – all five Worcester County branch libraries will be open Friday and Saturday. Friday all branches will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday the Berlin branch will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Ocean City branch will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Ocean Pines branch will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the Pocomoke and Snow Hill branches will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information and additional operating hours, contact library officials at 410-632-2600 or visit www.worcesterlibrary.org.

Worcester County Recreation Center in Snow Hill – The WCRC will be open Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and will be open and offering special programs for families with children Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition, residents are invited to walk on the four-lane competitive track or simply relax on the retractable bleachers. For more information and additional operating hours, call Recreation and Parks at 410-632-2144.

Commission on Aging – the Charles and Martha Fulton Senior Center in Snow Hill will be open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The senior centers in Berlin, Pocomoke, and Ocean City are open Monday – Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for senior citizens that may need shelter from the heat. Commission on Aging staff can be reached at 410-632-1277.

What can you do to help remain safe during extreme heat conditions?

· Drink plenty of fluids, wear sunscreen, avoid alcohol and caffeine, wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and take frequent breaks from stressful activities to avoid becoming dehydrated and overheated, which can lead to heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

· Be aware that heat stroke and heat exhaustion are both serious, life-threatening conditions. Heatstroke, which is characterized by a body temperature greater than 103 degrees, can develop quickly and is often accompanied by the following symptoms: dry, red skin, fast strong pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and passing out. A heatstroke victim should be kept in a cool area; emergency medical care should be

obtained by dialing 911. Heatstroke is treated by rapidly lowering the body temperature by a cool bath or wet towels.

· Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heatstroke, and symptoms may include heavy sweating, cold/pale and clammy skin, fast/weak pulse, muscle cramps, nausea, and headache, vomiting or fainting. Heat exhaustion can be treated by drinking plenty of liquids and resting in a cool, shaded area, and applying cool, wet towels. If symptoms become worse seek medical attention immediately.

· Never leave people or pets in a parked car. As temperatures rise outdoors they soar even higher inside of a parked vehicle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include infants and children up to four years of age, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight, and people who are ill or on certain medications.

For more information from the CDC visit: www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/faq.html and

www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html

The County Commissioners urge all residents to take proper precautions to protect themselves and take time to check on vulnerable neighbors and to contact 911 in the event of a health related emergency. For more information on how to keep safe during extreme heat, visit the Worcester County Health Department at www.worcesterhealth.org.

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