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1st cold weather-related death reported in Md.

Posted: 12:06 PM, Dec 23, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-24 13:08:23Z

The first hypothermia-related death in Maryland this season has been reported, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The victim, an adult male from Kent County, died late November with underlying medical conditions.

No additional details have been released, to protect the family’s privacy. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports there were 41 hypothermia-related deaths in Maryland during the 2014-2015 winter weather season.

"Although we've recently had unseasonably warm weather, it's important to Marylanders to be aware of the risks of hypothermia and other cold-related illnesses," Dr. Howard Haft, Health and Mental Hygiene's Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services said in a news release. "Most at risk are the homeless population, those with substance use disorders, people with underlying health conditions and the elderly."

Health and Mental Hygiene keeps track of temperature conditions and cold-related illnesses and deaths beginning late November through March. Weekly reports are posted on their website under “Extreme Cold in Maryland,” along with health fact sheets and tips on how to stay safe on the roads during extreme weather.

Health and Mental Hygiene suggests these tips for protecting yourself and your family this winter:

  • Dress warmly in layers.
  • If you are in need of housing or energy assistance to keep warm this winter, call 2-1-1 Maryland to connect to available resources.
  • Be alert to other common winter hazards, such as carbon monoxide (CO) and injuries from heat sources. CO is produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. This colorless, odorless gas can cause severe illness and death. Heating sources can also cause fires, electrical injuries and burns if not properly installed, operated and maintained.
  • Review your family emergency communications plan and emergency supply kits for homes and vehicles. Each family member should know what to do and how to contact others should an emergency arise. The home emergency supply kit should include unexpired food items, medical supplies and batteries. Vehicles should contain items such as heavy blankets, water, nonperishable food, a flashlight and a snow shovel. More information, including a downloadable emergency supply kit checklist, is available at http://preparedness.dhmh.maryland.gov/ .

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