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  • Beat the Heat

    Stay cool, stay safe

    Arizona is one of the hottest places on earth from June to September. In addition to being uncomfortable, the heat can actually be harmful. People can suffer from heat-related illness when their bodies cannot properly cool themselves. Every year, people in Pima County get sick and die from extreme heat (36 deaths from 2019 through 2021, not including undocumented border crosser deaths).

    The good news is that heat-related illnesses and deaths are preventable. Learn to beat the heat to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Also check out the National Weather Services Heat Risk page, which offers guidance on what actions you should take depending on the risk level. Plan ahead by checking out the Tucson-area forecast from the National Weather Service.

    Signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke

    Also available for download: Be Cool with these Heat Relief Tips (English, Spanish

    Cool Down

    Beat the Heat Keep cool to avoid heat-related illness.
    • Stay indoors during the hottest times of the day. Seek out air-conditioned locations, such as libraries or malls.
    • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device. Getting wet in the shower or bath, then sitting in front of the fan may make it more efficient, but taking advantage of air conditioning is your best bet.
    • Take cool showers or baths.
    • Avoid outdoor activities or limit them to the morning and evening hours. Avoid direct sunlight.
    • If you do go outside, wear loose, light-colored clothing and use a shade hat or an umbrella to block the sun. Wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 and re-apply according to directions.
    • Never leave adults, children and pets inside a parked vehicle.
    • Check on those most at-risk twice a day. 

    Caretaker Checklist

    Keep a close eye on those in your care by visiting them at least twice a day, and ask yourself these questions:
    • Are they drinking enough water?
    • Do they have access to air conditioning?
    • Do they know how to keep cool?
    • Do they show any signs of heat stress?

    Drink Up​

    Drink a lot of fluid to replace what you lose through sweat, which is your body's way of cooling itself.
    • Drink more water than usual, regardless of activity level.
    • Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink fluids.
    • Avoid alcohol, caffeinated beverages or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
    • Remind others to drink more water than usual.

    Plan Ahead

    Check the weather forecast and plan heat-safe activities when it's hot outside.
    • Regularly check the Pima County Health Department website for updates and safety tips.
    • Pace yourself, schedule breaks from outside activities, and seek out shade.
    • Plan to eat many small meals and snacks rather than a few big meals.
    • Learn the signs of heat illness. If you think someone has heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately and begin cooling that person.

    What happens to the body as a result of exposure to extreme heat?

    People have heat-related illnesses when the body's temperature control system is overloaded. The body normally cools itself by sweating, but sometimes sweating isn't enough and body temperature can rise rapidly. Very high body temperatures may damage the brain or other important organs and can lead to death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

    How fast can body temperature rise to dangerous levels?

    Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.

    How many people get ill from the summer heat?

    Nearly 800 people in Arizona are admitted to hospitals because of heat related illnesses each year. Each year 30-50 Arizonans die from heat-related illness.

    Who is most at risk for heat-related illness?

    Anyone and everyone is susceptible to heat-related illness, especially if they push themselves too hard during work or exercise, but some people are at a higher risk: Beat the heat
    • Infants and children younger than 4 years old
    • People age 65 and older
    • People with heart disease or high blood pressure
    • People who are overweight
    • People who drink alcohol

    How much water should I drink during hot weather?

    During hot weather you need to drink more than you think. Increase your fluid intake, regardless of your activity level. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink at least two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour even if you're not thirsty. Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine because they will cause you to lose more fluid. Those exercising or working in hot weather should include sports beverages or juices in addition to water in their fluid intake.

    What should I wear in hot weather?

    Wear as little clothing as possible when you are at home. Choose lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. If you must go outdoors, avoid getting sunburned - that affects your body's ability to cool itself and causes a loss of body fluids in addition to pain and skin damage. Wear a wide-brimmed hat. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to going out and reapply according to the package directions.

    What should I do if I have to be active in the heat?

    Pace yourself. If you are not used to working or exercising in the heat, start slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If your heart pounds and leaves you gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Get into a cool area or at least in the shade, and rest, especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint.
    Problem Symptoms Signs Response
    Heat cramps
    • Muscle cramps - pain or spasms in arms, legs or abdomen
    • Stop all activity
    • Rest in cool place
    • Drink water, juice or electrolyte fluid
    • May cautiously resume prior activities if symptoms entirely resolve
    Heat exhaustion
    • Weakness
    • Tiredness
    • Blurred vision
    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Muscle cramps
    • Nausea/vomiting
    • Fainting
    • Extreme sweating
    • Rapid pulse rate, pulse may be weak
    • Pale face
    • Slight stumbling
    • Normal to slightly elevated temperature
    • Shallow rapid breathing
    • Lay person down flat in a cool area
    • Loosen clothing
    • Give plenty of water or electrolyte fluids to drink if conscious
    • Take a cool shower or bath
    • Call 911 if the person vomits, refuses water, loses consciousness, or is not improved in an hour (can progress to heat stroke)
    • Person should not return to strenuous activity in heat that day
    Heat stroke
    • Chills
    • Restlessness
    • Irritability
    • Throbbing headache
    • Loss of coordination
    • Confusion
    • Red face
    • Hot dry skin (no sweating)
    • Strong rapid pulse
    • Disorientation or erratic behavior
    • High body temperature (greater than103°F)
    • Shivering
    • Collapse
    • Seizures
    • Unconsciousness or coma
    • Call 911 or make arrangements for hospital transport
    • Immediately move to shady/cooler area and start cooling person by loosening clothing and applying cool water or cloths soaked in cool water
    • Do not give victim fluids to drink

    Medications and Heat

    High temperatures can be very dangerous for people taking psychiatric medications. Psychiatric and illicit drugs can decrease the body’s natural responses to heat. This means that it is even more important to prevent 

    Drugs that can put you at most risk include:

    Alpha adrenergics (for blood pressure)
    Anticholinergics (for COPD – inhaler)
    Antihistamines (for allergies)
    Benzodiazepines (sedatives)
    Beta blockers (for hypertension or heart disease)
    Calcium channel blockers (for hypertension)
    Diuretics (for heart disease, fluid retention)
    Neuroleptics (antipsychotics)
    Phenothiazines (antipsychotics, anti-nausea)
    Thyroid agonists
    Tricyclic antidepressants (anti-depressants)

    and illegal drugs like:



    For printed copies of any of this material, please email healthcommunications@pima.gov. Or, feel to print copies of the documents below:

    County Branded Heat Illness Collateral:

    Heat Handout English  Spanish   
    Hotel Heat Handout English  Spanish   
    Poster English  Spanish 
    Digital Poster English  Spanish   
    Hiker Guide English  Spanish   
    Hiker Guide (Sheriff's Department) English
    Heat Basic Sign English  Spanish   
    Social media graphics Style 1   Style 2 Style 3
    Social media graphics (Spanish) Style 1   Style 2 Style 3

    Co-Brand Ready Collateral:

     Samples available to show logo placement    
     Heat Handout English   Spanish  Sample 
     Hotel Heat Handout English   Spanish  Sample 
     Hiker Guide English   Spanish  Sample
     Heat Basic Sign English   Spanish   Sample 
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    Ste. 100
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