Summer heat wave: Health Dept warns of dangers

La Paz County Health Department Press Release

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“It’s very hot outside,” said Marion Shontz, Director of the La Paz County Health Department. “Be informed, drink plenty of water, and try to stay indoors as much as possible.”

The National Weather Service in Phoenix issued an Excessive Heat Warning for the southwest portion of Arizona. Temperatures are expected to be in the 120s this weekend. 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. Most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition.

When outdoors or in the heat for any period of time drink 2 to 4 cups of water per hour and avoid alcohol or drinks containing high amounts of sugar. Wear a wide brim hat and loose clothing while outside. Stay in the shade as much as possible. Spend more time in air-conditioned or well-ventilated places when possible.

Some of the more common health conditions that occur during prolonged heat are dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Symptoms of dehydration include: dry or sticky mouth, lack of urination or dark urination, headache, nausea, not producing tears, and sunken eyes. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: headache, dizziness or lightheadedness, weakness, nausea or vomiting, cool moist skin, and dark urine.

Symptoms of heat stroke should be taken very seriously and are different from heat exhaustion. Get to an emergency room or call 911 if any of the following symptoms appear while exposed to heat immediately. Symptoms of heat stroke include: fever of 104 or higher, irrational behavior, extreme confusion, dry hot and red skin, rapid shallow breathing, rapid weak pulse, seizures, and unconsciousness. Heat stroke can be fatal.

“We joke that Arizona has dry heat but remember, it can also be a dangerous heat,” cautioned Public Information Officer Katie Turnbow. For more information on extreme heat visit www.lpchd.com.

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