December 11, 2019
McCabe, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-3536
Maureen Regan, Deputy Director,
Office of Communications, 410-767-8649
Maryland Department of Health reports first
cold-related illness death of the 2019-2020 winter weather season
Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health
(MDH) today reported the first cold-related illness death in Maryland for the
2019-2020 winter weather season. The deceased individual is an adult male in
the 45-64 age range. The death occurred in Baltimore City.
temperatures continue to drop, Marylanders are urged to take every precaution
to help prevent cold-related illnesses,” said Deputy Secretary for Public
Health Fran Phillips. “Take care to limit your exposure to the cold. Wear
layers if you go outside and contact your local health department if you need access
to a warming center in your area.”
through March, MDH’s Office of Preparedness and Response (OPR) monitors
temperature, weather conditions and incidence of cold-related illnesses and
deaths in the state. During the 2018-2019 winter weather season, MDH reported
54 cold-related deaths.
illness includes conditions like hypothermia and frostbite. Hypothermia occurs
when the body’s temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Frostbite is the
freezing and subsequent destruction of body tissue that may occur when skin
temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Body parts that are most likely to
freeze include toes, fingers, ears, cheeks and the tip of the nose.
prevent the onset of cold-related illness, individuals should curb their exposure
to cold weather, both by limiting time outside and by wearing several layers of
lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Insulate toes, fingers, ears, cheeks and
the tip of the nose, as they are especially vulnerable to frostbite.
Marylanders in need of warming
centers are encouraged to reach out to their local health department or to call
2-1-1 and provide their county location and ZIP code to get information about warming
center locations, hours of operation and available
should also use caution while using various heat sources to stay warm. Some heating sources can cause fires, electrical injuries, burns or carbon monoxide poisoning if
not installed, operated and maintained properly. Check heat sources to ensure
they are safe prior to use, install carbon monoxide detectors and never use an
oven as a heat source for the home.
More resources to help stay safe
in cold weather — including cold-related illness surveillance reports, information about how to prevent cold-related
illnesses, how to safely heat your home and how to drive safely in winter
weather — are available via the OPR’s Extreme Cold website:
The Maryland Department of Health is
dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders
through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community
Follow us on Twitter @MDHealthDept and at Facebook.com/MDHealthDept.
201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399
(410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464