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Maricopa County up to 3 heat-related deaths this season

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Department of Public Health has confirmed three heat-related deaths this season.

Between the end of April to July 6, three deaths, one heat-related and two heat-caused, were recorded.

According to the MCDPH, the victims were two men and one woman.

As the temperatures continue to rise in the Valley, the MCDPH conducts weekly reports of all heat-related and heat-caused deaths.

“In Arizona, we’re actually under an excessive heat warning right now for nine counties across the state,” Jessica Rigler, assistant director for public health preparedness with the Arizona Department of Health Services, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday. “That’s because we are expecting temperatures of up to 115 degrees through [Tuesday].

“In addition, with monsoon [storms] coming our humidity levels are increasing and that’s also causing an increase in heat.”

Since 2006, 59% of heat-associated deaths have been ruled as heat-caused.

Last year, men attributed to 77% of heat-associated deaths.

The first death was confirmed June 3, while 37 additional deaths remain under MCDPH investigation.

Last year over the same course of time, there were two confirmed deaths, with 27 under investigation.

In 2018, the month of July proved to be the worst in terms of heat-related and heat-caused deaths, recording 23 and 54 deaths, respectively.

All told, last year was the worst in terms of heat-associated deaths, as 182 people died. The previous record was 179 in 2017.

Individuals aging from 20 to 34 had the highest percentage of medical visits associated with heat at 25%.

Common practices to stay safe in the heat include:

  • Drinking water before you get thirsty.
  • Not relying on fans as a primary source for cooling.
  • Coming indoors frequently to an air-conditioned space.
  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen and lightweight clothes.
  • Checking on friends and neighbors, especially the elderly.
  • Never leaving a child or pet in a parked car.

In 2018, 23% of heat-associated deaths occurred on excessive heat days.

According to Rigler, elderly are the most vulnerable to heat-related issues.

A person should seek medical care immediately if they experience symptoms of heat-related illness, including muscle cramps, headaches, vomiting, confusion, lack of sweat and rapid heart rate.

A list of heat relief centers offering free water and air conditioning throughout the Valley is available online.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Nailea Leon contributed to this report.

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