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Posted on: July 11, 2023

Heat Warning


After record-setting temperatures this summer, and still it's crucial that we address the potential health risks associated with extreme heat and heat-related illnesses. Alarming statistics from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health reveal a 25 percent increase in heat-associated deaths in 2022, reaching a staggering 425 fatalities.

But hHeat Illnesseat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable! By understanding the risks and taking necessary precautions, we can protect ourselves and our loved ones. Certain groups, including infants, seniors, individuals on specific medications, those with underlying medical conditions, and individuals who are obese, are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses.

It's crucial to differentiate heat-related illnesses from fever caused by infections or illnesses.

So, here are the most common heat-related illnesses and their warning signs:

  • Heat Stroke: The most severe and life-threatening heat-related illness, heat stroke occurs when the body's temperature regulation fails, leading to a body temperature of 106 degrees or higher within minutes. Symptoms include high body temperature (defined as 103 degrees or higher), loss of consciousness, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and hot, red, dry, or damp skin. If you witness these signs, dial 911 immediately, move the person to a cooler place, and cool them down with water if possible.
  • Heat Exhaustion: When the body loses excessive water and salt, typically through intense sweating, heat exhaustion sets in. This is more likely in the elderly, those with high blood pressure, and individuals working or exercising in hot environments. Warning signs include heavy sweating, cold and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, fast or weak pulse, dizziness, headache, fatigue, weakness, and muscle cramps. Seek medical help if symptoms are severe, worsening, or not improving, especially for pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions.
  • Heat Cramps: Muscle pains or spasms often occur during strenuous activity, heat cramps are more common in individuals who sweat excessively, depleting the body's salt and moisture. Symptoms include heavy sweating during intense exercise and muscle pains or spasms. To alleviate heat cramps, stop physical activity, move to a cool place, wait for cramps to subside, and hydrate with water or a sports drink. Severe or persistent symptoms, as well as individuals with heart conditions or other medical conditions, may require medical evaluation.
  • Heat Rash: Excessive sweating can lead to skin irritation known as heat rash. Look out for red clusters of small blisters resembling pimples on the neck, chest, groin, or elbow creases. Stay in a cool, dry place, keep the rash dry, and consider using powder for relief.

Let's stay vigilant, informed, and look out for one another during this sweltering season. Stay in cool environments, stay hydrated, wear lightweight and breathable clothing, and seek shade when possible. Together, we can overcome the scorching heat and keep our community safe and healthy!



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