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When Too Much of Something Goes Bad

While we’ve seen our cool months extend a bit further into the springtime this year in Phoenix, we can’t fool ourselves into thinking the heat isn’t coming.

Heat-related deaths are a serious issue for Arizonans and not something to be taken lightly.

Exposure to prolonged periods of high temperature can cause heat-related illnesses including heat cramps, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and even death.

Heat exhaustion is the most common heat-related illness with signs and symptoms including intense thirst, heavy sweating, weakness, paleness, discomfort, anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, fainting, nausea or vomiting, and headache.

While someone is experiencing heat exhaustion, a person’s core body temperature can be normal, below normal, or slightly elevated, and the skin can be cool and moist. If unrecognized and untreated, these mild to moderate signs and symptoms can progress to heat stroke—a severe illness clinically defined as core body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit accompanied by hot, dry skin and central nervous system abnormalities, such as delirium, convulsions, or coma.

It is a necessity for Arizonans to take a pro-active stance on preventing heat exhaustion. Children, elderly persons, and persons without access to air conditioning are at increased risk for heat-related illness and death.

Additionally, persons with chronic mental disorders or cardiopulmonary disease and those receiving medications that interfere with salt and water balance, such as diuretics, anticholergic agents, and tranquilizers that impair sweating, are at greater risk for heat-related illness and death.

Drinking alcoholic beverages, ingesting illicit drugs and participating in strenuous outdoor physical activities in hot weather also are risk behaviors associated with heat-related illness.

Periodic heat waves highlight the need for public health interventions to prevent excess morbidity and mortality.

All heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. In hot weather, persons can reschedule strenuous outdoor activities to cooler times of the day, reducing the level of physical activity, drink additional water, wear lightweight and light-colored clothing, and increase the amount of time spent in air-conditioned environments.

Please be mindful this summer of the heat and be sure to drink plenty of water.

This post was intended to provide general information only and is not intended as specific legal advice. You should not rely upon this information alone, but should consult legal counsel regarding the application of the laws and regulations discussed and as applied to your specific case or circumstance.