As heat is expected to linger in Phoenix, here’s how to stay safe

Jul 10, 2023, 4:25 AM | Updated: Jul 12, 2023, 5:49 am

a woman protects herself from sun exposure by using an umbrella...

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — As a heat wave drags on, staying cool, hydrated and informed is the best safeguard for getting through the scorching summer in metro Phoenix.

An excessive heat warning is in effect through 8 p.m. Tuesday, and the National Weather Service said there is a chance Valley temperatures could approach 120 degrees this week.

Dr. Ayan Sen, chair of the department of critical care medicine at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, said the Arizona heat can pose dangerous risks.

What causes heat-related illness and who’s most at risk?

“The worst form of heat exposure is called heat stroke, and it occurs when the body can no longer control the temperature and the sweating mechanism fails,” Sen told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“As a result of that, the temperature can go up to about 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Within 10-15 minutes, there can be a lot of complications that can lead to life-threatening situations.”

In such cases, a person’s body temperature rises quicker than it can cool itself down, according to the Center for Disease Control.

“The biggest concern that would direct us to diagnose heat stroke is when somebody is confused, maybe dizzy, nauseous, they have hot, red, dry skin, and that is really something that needs to be attended to urgently,” Sen said.

“When the temperature goes really high, the body has a thermostat. It’s something that regulates the temperature, and as I mentioned, it may start failing. As a result of that, the brain cells — we call them neurons — can get overheated. That can lead to damage in the cells … that can lead to brain injury.”

Those most at risk include older adults, infants and adolescents, and those with a mental illness, the CDC said. Young and healthy adults can also potentially be affected if they take part in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.

Other heat-related illnesses include heat exhaustion, heat cramps and sunburn.

What precautions can be taken?

Sen advised people to stay in the shade, out of the heat, drink plenty of water, wear appropriate clothing that allows evaporation to occur and maintain minimal heat exposure.

Hot and heavy meals should be avoided and outdoor activities should also be scheduled carefully, the CDC said.

Additionally, children and pets should never be left in a parked car.

Pets should also have plenty of fresh water that has been left in a shady area.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Colton Krolak contributed to this story.

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As heat is expected to linger in Phoenix, here’s how to stay safe