National Safety Month: Prevent Heat-Related Injuries

Every June the CDC partners with The National Safety Council to provide weekly topical information to celebrate National Safety Month. Summer Solstice happens on June 21st, so appropriately, the theme for this week is “heat-related illnesses.”

Thankfully, Howard County has not experienced any heat-related deaths in the last 5 years, according to the Maryland Department of Health 2022 Heat-related Illness Surveillance Summary Report. However, according to that same report,  between May 17, 2022 and September 12, 2022 there were approximately 200 visits to emergency departments in Howard County with the chief complaint of heat-related illnesses.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that “People with behavioral health conditions are among those at highest risk of heat-related illnesses or death from extreme temperatures, including heat waves. Psychotropic medications may increase risk, and use of alcohol and other substances also can place people  at more risk of harm.”

During high temperatures avoid the use of alcohol or drugs, and if taking medications for mental illness, stay inside an air-conditioned environment. Also, drink plenty of cold fluids not containing caffeine or alcohol. For more information visit

Heat-related illnesses happen when the body is not able to properly cool itself. While the body normally cools itself by sweating, during extreme heat, this might not be enough. In these cases, a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down. This can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs.

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