Maine CDC issues heat health advisory for southern counties

Posted June 19, 2012, at 5:45 p.m.
Dr. Stephen Sears, Maine's state epidemiologist
Maine.gov
Dr. Stephen Sears, Maine's state epidemiologist

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Center for Disease Control is advising citizens in York, Oxford and Cumberland counties to protect themselves, their families and neighbors from heat illness Wednesday.

The health message was sent out after the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory Tuesday, warning of Wednesday afternoon temperatures expected to rise in the mid to upper 90s in sections of southern and central New Hampshire and interior southwest Maine.

Combined with dew points in the upper 60s to low 70s, however, the temperatures will feel like between 100 and 103 through the late afternoon, states the advisory, which is in effect from noon to 7 p.m.

“The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation where prolonged exposure to the heat can cause serious health problems,” according to the National Weather Service’s Gray office.

Dr. Stephen Sears, state epidemiologist at the Maine CDC, said, “We are most concerned about Maine’s senior citizens, especially those who live alone, because they are more likely to have serious health problems when it is hot out.”

“The best way to prevent heat illnesses is to spend time in air-conditioned buildings,” Sears said. “If you know an older person living alone, it’s a good idea to check on them at least twice a day and to take them to an air-conditioned location if they can’t drive themselves. Encourage them to drink more fluids than normal, but check with their doctor first if they take water pills or have fluid intake limits. Watch for signs of serious illness.”

For heat health information, go to maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/heat.

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