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  • Plan ahead to beat the heat this summer

    With talk of 100-degree days in the forecast, now is the time to remember that the Sonoran Desert can be a dangerous place to work and play if you don’t plan ahead.

    Southern Arizonans pride themselves on being used to the “dry heat.” Unfortunately, every year heat illness leads to about 300 emergency room visits in Pima County. Most of these are related to people working outdoors or being unprepared for outdoor recreation.

    Heat illness is caused when our bodies begin to overheat and can lead to heatstroke — a dangerous condition that can be fatal. The risk of heat illness increases when we work or do strenuous activities outdoors. Follow these simple steps to be heat smart this year:

    Signs of possible heat illness

    • Heavy sweating
    • Cold, pale and clammy skin
    • Fast, weak pulse
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Muscle cramps
    • Tiredness or weakness
    • Working in the heatDizziness
    • Headache

    Drink lots of water and stay in

    • Drink water before you feel thirsty 
    • Drink 1 to 2 liters per hour when outdoors
    • Spend the hottest times of the day inside (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

    Play early and relax often

    • Plan any outdoor work or activities for the early morning
    • Return from outdoors by 10 a.m. and avoid strenuous activities, if possible
    • Have healthy meals, even if only small portions
    • Take small breaks in the shade often to let your body cool down

    Protect your skin from the sun (and mosquitos too!)

    • Wear loose, long-sleeve clothing, pants and a wide brimmed hat
    • Use sunscreen with a high SPF on exposed skin (30 SPF or higher)
    • Use mosquito repellents with DEET after applying sunscreen

    Tips for those who are most at risk for heat illness

    • Never leave children, pets or those requiring special care inside a parked car.
    • If you are taking psychiatric medications, avoid heat exposure; such medicines increase the risk of heatstroke.
    • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs; they make heat illness worse. 
    • Check to see that neighbors, especially older people, have sufficient cooling and essential supplies.
    • More helpful information and tips are also available by going to www.pima.gov/heat
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    Tucson, AZ 85701

    (520) 724-9999

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