Arizona summer safety: What are the signs, symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion?

PHOENIX - It's approaching that time in Arizona where the thermometer tends to stay above the 100-degree mark and the sun stays in the sky a little bit longer. Welcome to summer!

This summer your ABC15 Forecasters want to keep you safe, healthy and informed.


WEATHER FORECAST: View your full ABC15 forecast on, ABC Mobile or during an ABC15 newscast.


What heat-related warnings can the National Weather Service issue?

The National Weather Service can issue three heat-related warnings:

Excessive Heat Outlook means that extreme heat could be hitting the Valley within the next three to five days.

Excessive Heat Watch means that extreme heat could hit the valley within the next two to three days

Excessive Heat Warning means extreme heat will occur today or tomorrow.

The National Weather Service issues these warnings when unusually hot weather, noting Arizona's hot standards, will be making its way into the Valley.


Fun Fact: The NWS issues an Excessive Heat Warning on June 1, 2013 because it was the first day of the year temperatures were approaching the 109 to 110-degree mark.


What are the symptoms of heat-related illness?


  • Thirst: When you feel thirsty, your body is telling you it is already dehydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water, even if you don't feel thirsty.
  • Heat Exhaustion: According to the Arizona Department of Health, heat exhaustion occurs when the body loses a lot of fluids through heavy sweating, usually because of a strenuous activity or working in a hot environment. Signs of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale, flushed or red skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and fatigue.
  • Heat Stroke: HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Call 9-1-1 if you think you're experiencing heat stroke. Heat Stroke occurs when the body's internal temperature rises to a dangerous level that can cause brain damage or death. Signs of heat stroke include hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid or weak pulse and shallow breathing. The body's normal temperature is 98.1 degrees. A very high temperature is considered 105-degrees, according to the Arizona Department of Health.

Visit the Arizona Department of Health website for more information and signs on heat-related illnesses.


How to protect yourself against the heat:

When the temperatures get hot, it's easy for us to get dehydrated and suffer from heat exhaustion. In Arizona, the heat can be dangerous. There are ways to protect yourself against the heat.

  • Drink plenty of water! Water is the best way to keep your body's temperature cool. The NWS says to keep yourself hydrated even if you don't feel thirsty. Drinking non-alcoholic fluids is OK, too. Avoid alcoholic beverages.

  • Keep yourself cool. Whether it is inside a restaurant or your home, spend time in air-conditioned spaces to keep yourself cool. This will protect your body, get you out of the sun and you'll feel better.
  • Wear light clothing. Light-colored clothing helps reflect the sun light and keep you cool. Wear a baseball cap or a big hat to keep the sun out of your face.

  • Limit sun exposure. Don't stay out in the sun to long. You won't be as hot and you can protect your skin from getting burned.

  • Slow down. Working out, running, bike riding or hiking are ways to keep your body healthy and active. Reserve strenuous activities when the temperatures are the coolest, whether that is early in the morning or into the evening. It may be good to take strenuous activities inside an air-conditioned facility, such as a gym.


For more information regarding protecting yourself against the Arizona summer heat, visit the National Weather Service or the Arizona Department of Health Services websites.

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