By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
As the heat rises in Phoenix, prepare before you venture out!
Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer! In extreme heat, the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. Each year, we see cases of extreme illness or death because someone was unprepared for the heat, overexposed or both.
Maricopa County cited a record number of heat-related deaths in 2016. Recommendations focus on prevention:
- Check your local forecast via radio, TV or internet.
- Check your refrigerators, freezers, fans and air conditioners to make sure they work properly.
- Create a cool room or cool area to go to during extreme heat. This room or area ideally should be east or south facing in the house and can be cooled using indoor and outdoor shading, ventilation and use of a fan or air conditioning.
- If possible, have curtains with pale linings in rooms that get a lot of sunlight to help reflect the heat. Avoid dark, reflective curtain linings and metal Venetian blinds — they absorb heat and may make rooms hotter.
- Consider buying a cool pack to have in the fridge or freezer to help you cool down if needed.
- Put together a small emergency kit to plan for a possible power failure. This may include a torch, batteries, candles, matches, a battery-operated radio and first-aid kit.
- Stock up on food (for your household and pets), water and medicines to last up to a week so you can limit the trips in a heat wave.
- Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles — not even for a few minutes.
- Eat small meals and eat more often.
- Limit intake of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
- Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- If you need to be outside, bring extra water. If your doctor limits your water because of a health issue, check how much to drink in hot weather.
- Don’t get caught on a mountain without water!