How to stay healthy in Arizona’s triple-digit temperatures

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It’s the end of June in Arizona. That means dangerous triple-digit temperatures are the norm. The Arizona Department of Health Services reports that nearly 3,000 people visit emergency rooms for heat-related illnesses every year. We spoke with Dr. Shad Marvasti, Director of Public Health at the University of Arizona, about how to stay safe in the summer heat.

A lot of times people don’t realize they are dehydrated, “the key thing here in Arizona is that we have a lot of insensible loss of water, and by that I mean that you’re not able to really gauge that you’re losing water that you’re getting dehydrated, because we’re not sweating actively because of the dry temperatures, but you’re still losing water because of the high temperatures and the heat that we have,” Marvasti said.

He suggests that you should be, “…really be careful about your time outside in the heat. Especially during the peak hours of 10am to 4pm… and then of course remembering that things like caffeine and alcohol will dehydrate further so you are going to have to replenish that water that’s going to be lost,” Marvasti said.

So how much water should one be drinking daily to maintain hydration?

Marvasti said, “On average, you want to have usually six to eight glasses of water a day.”

Some things to pay attention while outside that could mean dehydration are, “…early signs of fatigue,” Marvasti said.

He mentions other warning signs that could continue:

  • Thirst
  • Dryness
  • Lightheaded or Dizzy
  • Feet swelling
  • Headache
  • Palpitations

“Do not underestimate the heat just because you’re not sweating and you’re not thirsty, it doesn’t mean you’re not dehydrated. So basically assume that you are dehydrated and that you’re getting dehydrated and that you need more water. Drink more,” Marvasti.

And make sure to carry a water bottle with you wherever you go.

Dr. Shad Marvasti, Director of Public Health, UArizona College of Medicine

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