Stay cool and safe this summer in the Community

Emma Hughes
Gila River Indian News



June 21 marks the first day of summer and according the Center for Disease Control, heat kills more than 600 people in the U.S. each year. Heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion, is a danger for all ages, but extreme heat poses a greater risk for children and elders.


Here are some tips for staying cool and safe: Stay hydrated! It is vital to keep your body properly hydrated, especially here in the desert. Drink more water than usual and try to avoid drinks with sugar, alcohol and caffeine. By the time you become thirsty, you are already mildly dehydrated. According to Arizona Department of Health Services, even those that mostly stay indoors should drink at lease 2 liters of water per day. People that spend more time outdoors should drink 1 to 2 liters per hour during strenuous activity. 


Limit your exposure to the heat but if you are outdoors, pace your physical activity, take frequent breaks. Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing. Try to plan outdoor activities for early morning or evening. 


Know the signs of heat exhaustion: feeling faint or dizzy, excessive sweating, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, cool, pale or clammy skin, rapid, weak pulse. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, get to a cooler, air conditioned place. Drink water if fully conscious. Take a cool shower or use cold compresses. 


Heat stokes are more severe and life threatening. During a heat stroke, your temperature spikes and can damage your brain and internal organs. Here are signs and symptoms to look out for: throbbing headache, no sweating, body temperature above 103, nausea or vomiting, rapid strong pulse, may lose consciousness. Take immediate action and call 911 if any of these symptoms occur.


In the U.S., just this year, 11 children have died after being left in a hot vehicle, two being in Arizona. The inside of your vehicle can heat up very quickly, even with the windows slightly open. 80% of the increase in temperature occurs in the first 10 minutes, and the temperature can reach 125 degrees in minutes, according to the safety organization Another safety tip is to make sure that seat buckles are not too hot when putting your children in their seat and put your phone or hand bag in the backseat as a reminder not to leave children or pets behind.