Extreme Weather and Public Health

Excessive Heat Warning

Check out the Trends in Morbidity and Mortality from Exposure to Excessive Natural Heat in Arizona, 2012 Report. The report contains the latest information on natural/environmental heat-related deaths and illnesses in Arizona.

Residents are advised to stay cool, stay hydrated, and stay informed.

Extremely high or unusually hot temperatures can affect your health. On average, 675 deaths from extreme heat events occur each year in the United States.

Those most vulnerable to excessive heat are:

  • adults age 65 and older
  • individuals who work or exercise outdoors
  • infants and children
  • the homeless or poor
  • people with a chronic medical condition
  • people on certain medications

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

Stay Cool:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings
  • Contact the Arizona Department of Health Services at 602-364-3118 or locate an air-conditioned refuge station in your area
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device
  • 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

Additionally, the Arizona Department of Health Services encourages all residents to learn the signs and first aid response for heat-related illness. Warning signs and symptoms vary but may include:

Heat-Related Symptoms and Recommended Care
Heat Exhaustion Heat Stroke

Symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Skin cold, pale, and clammy
  • Weak pulse
  • Fainting and vomiting

Symptoms:

  • High body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

What You Should Do:

  • Move to a cooler location
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible
  • Sip water
  • If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately

What You Should Do:

  • Call 911 immediately—this is a medical emergency
  • Move the person to a cooler environment
  • Reduce the person's body temperature with cool cloths or even a bath
  • Do NOT give fluids

Excessive Heat Warning
Issued within 12 hours of the onset of the following criteria: heat index of at least 105°F for more than 3 hours per day for 2 consecutive days, or heat index more than 115°F for any period of time.

Excessive Heat Watch
Issued by National Weather Service (NWS) when the heat index rises above 105°F during the day and the night time low temperature above 80°F or higher for two consecutive days.

Emergency cooling centers and hydration stations will be open throughout Maricopa County. Each center will provide cool air and water free to the public.

For more information on extreme heat, call the Office of Environmental Health at 602-364-3118 or visit the ADHS Extreme Weather and Public Health website.

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