Risk of dehydration rises with coming heat wave

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 12:38 PM

PHOENIX -- The Valley of the Sun is living up to its name with the hottest temperatures of the year -- so far -- forecast for this weekend.

According to 3TV meteorologist April Warnecke, Phoenix is looking at high of 106 and 108 on Saturday and Sunday. The record high for Sunday date is 110 degrees. We haven't seen highs like this since last August.
(Check the forecast)

Soaring mercury brings increased risks of heat-related illness. Because such problems can sneak up on you and go from bad to worse incredibly quickly, it's essential to be proactive and know the signs of impending trouble.

While tornadoes and hurricanes are devastating, heat claims more lives in the U.S. each year.

When it comes to dehydration, the best defense is a good offense, which means drinking plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you're going to be outside. If you wait until you feel thirsty, you're already dehydrated.

Doctors say you should listen to your body. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to ignore the alerts your body sends you.

  • Symptoms of dehydration include:
  • thirst or a dry, sticky mouth,
  • headache and muscle cramps,
  • extreme fatigue and irritability,
  • weakness and dizziness,
  • decreased performance.

While dehydration can strike anyone, visitors to Phoenix and surrounding cities are especially prone to succumbing to the heat because they're not used to it and are often ill prepared.

Dehydration can turn into heat exhaustion. That can turn into heatstroke, which is the most serious form of heat illness. It can be deadly.

The hallmark symptoms of heatstroke are a core body temperature above 105 degrees, but fainting may be a sign, as well.

Other symptoms include:

  • throbbing headache,
  • dizziness and light-handedness,
  • lack of sweating despite the heat,
  • muscle weakness or cramps,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • rapid heartbeat,
  • shallow breathing,
  • confusion, disorientation,
  • unconsciousness.

If you suspect that someone has a heatstroke, call 911 immediately.

Summer doesn't officially start until June 21, but heat is here to stay for the next three or so months.

According to data from the National Weather Service, Phoenix saw an average 92 days a year with highs of 100 degrees or more between 1896 and 2010. Looking at 1981 through 2010, that number jumps to 110.

The mercury climbed to 110 degrees or higher on an average of 11 days per year, looking at data from 1896-2010, and 19 days, looking at numbers from 1981 through 2010.

In 2007, Phoenix hit 110 degrees or more a whopping 32 days.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Phoenix is 122 degrees on June 26, 1990.
 

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