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Arizona health department to begin water drive for extreme summer temperatures

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Health Services is set to kick off a water drive and social media campaign this week to encourage Arizonans to stay safe and hydrated during the hot summer months.

The ADHS said that heat killed 139 people in Arizona in 2013. Additionally, 526 people were admitted into hospitals because of the heat, and 2,242 were treated in emergency departments across the state last year. Nearly half (1,102) of those heat-related ER visits were individuals between the ages of 15 and 44, the health department said.

Citing its report on the effects of heat exposure in Arizona, the ADHS said that an average of 118 people have died each year since 2000 because of excessive heat.

The health department is encouraging residents to donate water at one of several locations in the Valley or to hold water drives at their workplaces.

“Excessive heat in our desert climate climbs to the top of public health priorities every summer. We want to make sure people continue being active, but that they have to be smart about it,” said ADHS Director Will Humble in a press release.

The ADHS’ campaign this month will mark the fourth year in a row it has held a water drive. The department said its employees have donated almost 200,000 bottles of water in the past three years to people in need all over the state.

The ADHS will also have special messages and tips on how to beat the heat on its Twitter and Facebook accounts this week.