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Heat Wave Continues To Grip Maryland

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Linh Bui joined WJZ Eyewitness News in July 2013 as a weekend anchor...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The hot wave is not over yet. To make matters even worse, it’s not just the hot weather causing problems, it’s also the air we’re breathing.

Linh Bui has more.

If you’re spending hours in the sun, you have to be extra careful.

The heat doesn’t just feel suffocating, it really is harder to breathe.

“It is steaming. It’s really hot,” said Ryan Deise.

A Code Orange has been declared in the Baltimore metro area for the third day in a row.

“When these ground level ozone levels rise, when we have high temperatures, it can be a real breathing problem,” said Randy Mosier, Maryland Department of the Environment.

A Code Orange means the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups: children, the elderly and people with asthma. Half a million people in the Baltimore-Washington area suffer from asthma or similar breathing difficulties.

To protect your health and the environment, limit your time outside, drive less, consider carpools or public transit and put off mowing the lawn or painting the house. If you’re having trouble breathing, get inside.

“It’s actually like a sunburn in the lungs, so there’s a little bit of a tightness in breathing, they have a little bit more shortness of breath,” Mosier said.

If it’s an emergency, call 911. Baltimore City fire crews have been working nonstop, responding to a spike in heat-related calls.

“A lot of people don’t even realize when they’re having a heat-related emergency until it’s too late,” said Baltimore City Fire Battalion Chief Lawrence Goldberg.

So far this year, there have been five confirmed heat-related deaths in Maryland.

And now that it’s the weekend, even more people will head outside.

“You gotta get outside and enjoy the summer. It’s only a couple months a year,” Deise said.

So start drinking water now.

“It’s really important that people start hydrating. Most people do not hydrate properly. A normal person needs between eight and ten eight-ounce glasses of water a day,” Goldberg said.

And take breaks inside to let your body cool off.

Drink plenty of water but avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages while outside. Those drinks can really make you dehydrated.

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