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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: June 21, 2013


DOVER (June 21, 2013) - On this first day of summer, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and Division of Public Health (DPH) of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) advise Delawareans to be prepared for extreme summer heat, while offering precautions for withstanding rising temperatures, and also what to do when you are involved in a heat-related incident.

Extreme heat kills an average of 1,500 people in the United States each year - exceeding deaths from hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and blizzards combined. Since 1993, more than 400 Delawareans have died due to excessive heat.

Heat illness occurs whenever the body cannot compensate for excessive heat. When temperatures and humidity are high, sweat ceases to evaporate and the body's natural cooling system slows down, in some cases shutting down completely. Very hot weather can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which can be fatal.

Most at risk of suffering heat-related illnesses are children, the elderly, the socially disadvantaged or homeless, people who work or exercise outdoors, and those with chronic medical conditions. Of all who are susceptible, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions are less likely to sense and respond to rises in temperature, and medications can intensify heat effects. Extremely hot weather can worsen existing chronic medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

DNREC and DPH advise Delawareans to:

For further information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.