Southern Arizona summers are hot; it’s a given. Here in the desert, temperatures can reach unsafe levels for anyone, no matter how accustomed to the heat.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, nearly 2,000 Arizonans visit emergency departments every year due to a heat-related illness. The fact is anyone can be at risk for heat exhaustion.
“Heat exhaustion can happen very quickly, and you want to limit outdoor activity to the cooler hours of the day,” said TMC Emergency Department physician Dr. Michael Pleasants.
Drink plenty of fluids and use good discretion if you must go outside, even during cooler times, he said. Don’t push yourself, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
Children and seniors are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and should take extra precautions during an excessive heat warning or advisory. Dr. Mehmet Karliyil, a pediatrician in the TMC Pediatric Emergency Department, reminded parents to “limit a child’s outdoor exposure and no exposure during midday, the hottest time.”
Dr. Karliyil noted the importance of keeping children hydrated, “even at the pool, kids can get dehydrated. Make sure they have access to fluids.”
Children and adults experience the same symptoms of heat exhaustion, which include headache, tiredness, weakness, confusion and nausea. If these symptoms are present, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency department.
The Arizona Department of Health Services provides in-depth information and resources on Heat Safety. The Pima County Health Department also offers helpful information and links on their page, Beat the Heat.
When the temps rise, be smart, stay cool, and stay safe.