Arizona is one of the hottest places on earth from May to September which makes heat related illness very common during these months. Over 1,500 deaths from exposure to excessive natural heat have occurred in Arizona from 2000 to 2012. Anyone can be affected by heat-related illness but children under 4 years of age are at an even greater risk. One of the best ways to prevent heat related illness is to stay hydrated. The amount of water someone needs is variable depending on age, heat exposure, activity and other factors. Everyone should drink enough water to quench their thirst, however in extreme heat; we may forget to drink enough water. Most people will need at least 8-10 cups of water under normal conditions. More water may be needed if it is hot and the person is active. Try to minimize alcohol and caffeine intake because these drink may dehydrate you more. Offer kids water instead of sugary beverages such as juice, soda, Gatorade, kool-aid, and sweet tea.
Heat-related illness usually comes in stages. The signal of the first stage is thirst. Drinking water at this stage can prevent you from progressing to the more serious kinds of heat related illnesses. When temperatures are on the rise, watch for these other symptoms of heat related illness:
• Thirst, dry mouth and skin
• Dizziness and confusion
• Less frequent urination
• Increased heart rate
Check out the following resources to stay cool this summer and stay hydrated.