Beware of the Arizona Heat
The imminent 100+ degree weather is on its way to Arizona. While most parts of the country are looking forward to summer so they can have cookouts and days on the lake, Arizona residents are dreading the expensive cooling utility bills, discomfort, irritability and cabin fever. Just like winter in Minnesota, Arizonans shut down and don’t do anything during the summer. The neighborhood streets become abandoned while people are either inside or trying to cool off in their luke-warm swimming pools.
Exposure To Extreme Heat
In the extreme Arizona heat, a person’s body temperature rises rapidly. High-risk factors include the elderly, youth (age 0-4), obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, prescription drug use, illicit drug use and alcohol use. When your body isn’t able to cool itself, you are at dire risk for heat stroke.
A heat stroke occurs when the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
- Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
A less serious heat condition is heat exhaustion and can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, those with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in a hot environment. You really have to limit your activities in the extreme Arizona heat. The best time to do physical activity is early in the morning while it’s still in the upper 80’s and 90’s. As soon as the sun comes up (normally around 5 AM), the temperature rises rapidly.
To prevent heat-related illness while in the Arizona summer heat, drink plenty of fluid, wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen, pace yourself, stay cool indoors and schedule outdoor activities carefully.
Are you outside of Arizona while reading this? Are you considering a summertime visit to Arizona? If so, the best prevention for you is DON’T COME TO ARIZONA! The most common victims of the heat in Arizona are often out-of-town visitors not used to having to drink as much fluids. Please refer to my earlier article about how much water you need to drink in Arizona.
The Arizona heat is no joke. This article cites a study where 1,500 people in Arizona died of heat-related illnesses between 1992-2009. The highest number of annual heat-related deaths occurred in 2005 with 225 deaths.
Below are some good video resources highlighting the reality of Arizona summers:
(It got up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit in July 2011)
(Yes, you can literally fry an egg in the Arizona heat)
If you you’re viewing this article in Google Currents or your mobile device, visit the full article to view the videos.
So here we go again, Arizona. Let’s get ready for the summer heat and everyone please be careful out there. It’s not even May yet and it’s predicted to be 100 degrees by the end of the week.
On a personal note, the heat is the hardest thing to deal with living in Arizona. The temperature literally HURTS, and it’s hard to explain. You always hear “it’s a dry heat”. Yes, but so is an oven and it’s also incredibly uncomfortable. The only way to escape the heat is to leave Arizona. Arizona experiences the SAME number of extreme heat days as Baghdad, Iraq (see article)!
Arizona is just hot, and there’s no escaping it. I really miss looking forward to summer and not dreading it. The people who say they love the Arizona summer heat either are crazy (a likely scenario), or they live a life where they are able to run between air-conditioned spaces. At least the “snowbirds” will be gone..