County urges caution amid high heat forecast
Temperatures in parts of Yavapai County are expected to approach 105 degrees and higher this week, causing Yavapai County Emergency Management and Yavapai County Health Services to urge residents to take precautions to stay cool.
“Temperatures this high can put people at risk for heat-related injuries or medical complications, especially if they are young, elderly or have underlying medical conditions such as heart disease,” according to a news release from the county.
“If you are not able to keep your residence cool, you should consider leaving your home for the day and staying with a friend or head to a building that is air-conditioned until the temperatures drop in the evening.”
Yavapai County Health Services also warns that people should know the signs of heat illness, make sure they drink more water than they think is necessary, and cautions that the inside of cars can reach more than 150 degrees.
Heat illness symptoms include thirst, which is a signal the body is starting to get dehydrated, heat cramps and spasms in abdominal muscles and legs, which signifies a person is losing too much water and salt.
If left untreated, these can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Signs of heat exhaustion are cool, moist, pale, flushed or red skin; heavy sweating; headaches or body aches; nausea or vomiting; dizziness and exhaustion. Body temperature may still be near normal.
“With these symptoms, get inside right away, loosen or remove tight clothing, spray clothes with water and drink half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes until you improve,” the release states.
With heat stroke, body temperature spikes, opening the possibility for brain damage and organ damage. Other signs of heat stroke are hot, red and dry skin; the absence of sweating; fatigue and muscle cramps; rapid, weak pulse and rapid shallow breathing. There may also be changes in consciousness. Anyone with heat stroke should call for emergency services.
Heat illnesses can be avoided by staying indoors, wearing lightweight clothes in light colors, taking regular breaks and drinking water.
The county warns that in the summer, humidity ranges only between 2 percent and 10 percent. Those who are outside should drink more than eight cups of water for the day.
“You can drink an entire glass of water and your mouth will feel parched within a minute,” the release said. “Even worse, your sweat often evaporates almost as soon as it leaves your body, so you might not realize how much water you are losing.”
Going outside for any reason necessitates a bottle of water or several, or a drinking system for hikes.
With car interiors reaching temperatures of 150 degrees or more, pets should be left at home.
Children and pets should never be left in a parked car.
“To remind yourself that a child is in the car, keep a stuffed animal in the car seat,” the release said. “When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in the front with the driver. Another idea is to leave one of your shoes, your purse, or your wallet in the backseat so when you get out it requires you to look in the back seat.”
For more information about being prepared, call 928-771-3321 or 928-442-5596 or visit www.yavapaihealth.com or www.regionalinfo-alert.org.