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Weather Tips

Cold Weather Tips | Hot Weather Tips

Cold Weather Tips

Freezing and Bursting Pipes:

How pipes freeze and burst, and what to do to prevent damage.
frostbite and hypothermia infographic

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health encourages residents to exercise caution during extremely cold temperatures. Whether inside or out, cold weather can be dangerous to those who are unprepared to deal with it.

Advanced hypothermia (decreased core body temperature) is usually accompanied by stiffness, excessive shivering, confusion, slurred speech, numbness or a weak pulse. Watch for the stumbles, mumbles, fumbles and grumbles which show changes in motor coordination and levels of consciousness. Symptoms of frostbite (skin damage due to cold temperatures) include gradual numbness, pale or purple skin, hard (wooden) skin, or tingling or burning in the affected area. Contact your local emergency services if you or someone you know may be suffering from hypothermia or frostbite. Click here for an infographic about preventing, identifying and treating hypothermia and frostbite.

Children, the elderly and people with poor circulatory systems are at particular risk for hypothermia or frostbite. The Department of Health offers the following tips to help residents cope with winter conditions when outside:

  • Dress for the cold weather by wearing coats, hats (as much as 50% of body heat is lost through the head), scarves or knit masks to cover the face and mouth, and gloves or mittens.  Wear waterproof boots, shoes and gloves.
  • Dress in layers of loose-fitting clothes, including extra socks.  Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers hold in more body heat than cotton. Avoid cotton clothing for winter activities.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Most problems with hypothermia occur because of an unexpected change in the weather or temperature.
  • Avoid getting wet when the temperature dips.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol.

Residents should also be aware of the risks cold weather poses when inside the house. The Department offers the following tips to help residents remain safe in their homes during cold conditions:

  • Store several days worth of non-perishable food and bottled water.
  • Keep several days worth of medications.
  • Keep fireplaces and wood-burning stoves clean.
  • Never leave space heaters on and unattended.
  • Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
  • Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operating properly.
  • Check on elderly or disabled neighbors and relatives.
  • Bring pets inside. If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for them. See Cold Weather Pet Safety.
  • For Shelter Information: Office of Emergency Management – 410-222-0600

Here is more information about dealing with winter weather conditions outdoors, at home or in a vehicle:

Hot Weather Tips

When the temperature rises and more people are enjoying outdoor summer activities, it is important to avoid dehydration and excessive exposure to the sun. The humidity also makes it harder to handle the hot temperatures. The Department of Health encourages all residents to be cautious of heat-related illnesses.

The elderly, young children, those who are overweight and those who have chronic health conditions (like heart disease or diabetes) are especially at risk of dehydration and overheating. This can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. The following suggestions can help you avoid heat-related illnesses:

  • Drink fluids. Water is the best fluid to drink.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. They can make dehydration worse.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing to protect against the sun’s rays.
  • Wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed light-colored hat.
  • Remember to use sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin.
  • Never leave children or pets in a car unattended — even with the windows open!
  • Instead of large meals, eat smaller meals more frequently.
  • Limit strenuous activities outdoors. Slow down and take frequent breaks.
  • Limit outdoor activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on days when poor air quality is announced. Air Quality Forecast
  • Check frequently on the elderly and those in poor health. They may not be able to handle heat stress as well.

The first sign of heat illness is often heat cramps. ​Some of the signs of heat exhaustion​ are heavy sweating​, ​cold pale clammy skin, headache, nausea​,​ vomiting, muscle or abdominal cramping, fast weak pulse, fainting, weakness, thirst or ​an ​altered ability to think​. If someone has signs of heat exhaustion, immediately take ​the person​ to a cool place and provide water or a sports drink. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention by calling 911 ​at once.​

Heat stroke, the most serious heat-related illness, occurs when the body temperature increases to 104 F or higher and requires immediate medical treatment. Symptoms include hot dry and reddened skin (no longer able to sweat), nausea and vomiting, rapid irregular pulse, seizures, confusion and disorientation​,​ and delirium.​ Call 911 immediately.​

Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off. Air conditioning is the strongest protective factor against heat-related illness. Exposure to air conditioning for even a few hours a day will reduce the risk for heat-related illness. Consider visiting a shopping mall or public library for a few hours.

Whether you are working outdoors, attending social functions or relaxing by the water, it is important to take the proper precautions in warm weather.

For more information, go to Sun Safety and Sun and Water Safety.

Hydration Station (PDF)
Summer Food Safety
Extreme Heat in Maryland and Maryland Heat Reports (MDH)
Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide (CDC)

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