With temperatures rising and records being set early in May, Arizona is heating up quickly. Many people suffer from heat-related illness during our blistering summers, and this time of year can be especially threatening for our most vulnerable Arizonans.
The heat is not just an inconvenience – it can be extremely dangerous, and it’s important to stay up-to-date on local heat relief services in your area. Check out and share these tips and resources to stay hydrated, cool, and healthy this summer!
In general, a person should always increase their water intake in the heat – this will help your body cool down faster and do everything it needs to do to keep you healthy. Keep water on you at all times, and hydrate throughout the hot summer day. There are numerous resources and hydration stations in Arizona that provide free water and other products to help you stay cool and safe.
Limit strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day. Try to plan anything requiring outdoor physical activity during the coolest part of the day, which is before 10 a.m. Stay in the shade and, if possible, inside to cool down faster if you feel overheated. Clothing can make a huge difference in your body’s ability to stay cool, so wearing light colored, lightweight and loose-fitting clothing is a great way to keep your body temperature down. Wear sunscreen with at least 15 SPF, as sunburns can make it harder for your body to cool down. Remember to reapply often and cover all areas that will be exposed to the sun. A hat can also help keep you cool, and one that is wide-brimmed will provide the most protection.
There are various centers and organizations that provide water, air conditioning, sunscreen, proper clothing, snacks, and much more. Click here for a map of hydration stations and heat relief centers in Maricopa County. The site also lists donation centers where you can drop off water and other helpful heat relief products. In Pima County, there are two heat resource centers. Yuma County has heat relief programs in partnership with the fire department, which are open during the hottest times of the day to provide the most relief.
A fan may not be enough to stay cool in temperatures over 90 degrees – staying in an air-conditioned space will lower the chance of heat related illness. Costs for utilities can soar in the summer, but there are utility assistance programs to help people cover the extra cost to stay cool and safe in their homes. The Arizona Department of Economic Security offers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Arizona Community Action Association offers the Home Energy Assistance Fund. Both programs help low-income households pay their heating and cooling bills.
This summer is only going to get hotter, so stay up to date on local heat relief resources in your area. Keep an eye on the weather to plan accordingly and monitor heat warnings. By following these tips, you can avoid heat related illness and stay safe throughout the next few months!