Excessive heat warning across Arizona calls for healthy habits

June 17, 2016 - 12:20 pm

As temperatures across the state are expected to reach record levels this weekend the Arizona Department of Health Services is encouraging residents and visitors to focus on healthy activity to avoid heat exhaustion.
The National Weather Service issued a heat warning for 13 Arizona counties including Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Pinal, Yuma, Coconino, Yavapai, Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, Pima and Santa Cruz. Temperatures are forecast to reach up to 120 degrees during the excessive heat warning period Sunday, June 19 through Wednesday, June 22, 2016.

“As we head into the Father’s Day weekend, it’s important for everyone to pay attention to symptoms of a heat-related illness,” said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Outdoor activities by the grill or by the pool can add to the heat effect. Stay cool, hydrated, and informed to prevent heat illness.”

Extremely high or unusually hot temperatures can affect your health. On average, 126 deaths from extreme heat events occur each year in Arizona. Last year there were nearly 2,500 emergency room visits due to heat-related illness. Most vulnerable are adults age 65 and older, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants an children, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition or people on certain medications.

Take the necessary precautions to prevent serious health effects such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Stay cool

  • Contact the Arizona Department of Health Services at 602-364-3118 or visit an air-conditioned cooling center in your area. Locations of cooling centers can be found on the ADHS Heat-Related Illness page.
  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when it is the hottest part of the day, and avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family and neighbors at least twice a day.

Stay hydrated

  • Drink more than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Make sure your family, friends and neighbors are drinking enough water.

Stay informed

  • Check your local news for extreme heat warnings and safety tips.
  • Visit the ADHS Heat page to find local information and tips for preventing heat sickness.
  • Sign up for free weather alerts to your phone or e-mail.
  • Keep your friends, family and neighbors aware of weather and heat safety information.
  • Learn how to care for a loved one in a heat emergency experiencing heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke under our General Care section.
  • Excessive Heat Warning: Issued within 12 hours of the onset of the following criteria: heat index of at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit for more than three hours per day for two consecutive days, or heat index more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit for any period of time.

Excessive Heat Watch: Issued by NWS when the heat index rises above 105 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and the night time low temperature above 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for two consecutive days.

For more information on extreme heat, visit the ADHS Extreme Weather and Public Health website.