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First cold-related death of winter season reported in Maryland. Doctors urge safety in frigid weather.

First cold-related death of winter season reported in Maryland
First cold-related death of winter season reported in Maryland 02:03

BALTIMORE -- An elderly man who died in Baltimore County was the first death of a cold-related illness in the state this winter, the Maryland Department of Health said Wednesday.

The health department said the man, who was between the ages of 70 and 80 years old, died as a result of hypothermia.

Marylanders are encouraged to avoid exposure to cold weather.  And with temperatures continuing to drop, doctors say all of us need to be mindful with our time outdoors and also layer up.

"When someone passes away from hypothermia, it's because the body essentially starts shutting down just to how cold the body tissues are," said Dr. Cheyenne Falat, at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Falat said that if you're exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time, your body can start to shut down.

"You'll see that you're breathing faster, your heart rate is faster and you might start to see some issues with coordination and fine motor skills," Falat said.

Limiting time outside by wearing several layers of lightweight, insulated clothing that protects the toes, fingers, ears, cheeks, and the tip of the nose can help prevent cold-related illness, according to the MDH.

The MDH also says you should exercise caution while using various sources to stay warm, as some devices can cause fires, electrical injuries, burns, or carbon monoxide poisoning if not used properly. 

Doctors say it's necessary to be a good neighbor this time of the year, so if you see  someone you think might be slipping into hypothermia, bring them inside to a warm place and swap out any wet clothing for warm blankets.

For more resources to stay safe in cold weather, you can visit the Office of Preparedness and Response's Extreme Cold website.

We have a list of warming centers here:

Baltimore City

Baltimore County

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