How the extreme heat wave in Arizona is impacting our physical health

The brutal heat wave hitting Arizona can take a serious and dangerous toll on the body.
Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 8:04 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The intense heat we are experiencing this week and next impacts how people feel daily. Two straight weeks of temperatures at 110 degrees and above with no break change how well we sleep and feel.

Even when the sun goes down, temperatures around Phoenix can stay at 100 degrees or higher for hours afterward. People born in Arizona know the drill, but summer heat waves can still catch people off guard. “You always forget how hot it is until the summer comes and, oh I got to deal with this again,” said Phoenix resident Jordan Darby. “I can handle 100 degrees, but like the moment it hits 110, I’m dying a little bit.”

People living around the Valley should know the extreme heat will continue through next weekend. High temperatures for long periods of time can be dangerous. “Newcomers to the Valley who don’t know how bad the heat can be. The problem with the dry heat is you don’t know because you’re not sweating that you’re losing water,” Dr. Shad Marvasti said. “Before you know it, you’re at a point of heat exhaustion.”

Extreme heat doesn't just impact your physical body but it can be hard on your mental health as well. Experts have tips to help with your mental state.

Dr. Marvasti is the director of Public Health and Prevention at the University of Arizona. He says if people are exposed to the intense heat for too long, people can start to get a headache, nausea or dizziness. Those symptoms typically align with heat exhaustion. The doctor says you should get inside and cool off by drinking water or placing a wet towel on your head and neck.

Heat stroke is more severe and can be life-threatening. Those symptoms can include confusion, dizziness or passing out. If someone is experiencing any of those symptoms, Dr. Marvasti says you should take them to the emergency room as soon as possible. “I think everybody should have water at all times and that’s doubly so for people who need to be outdoors for any period of time during this season,” he said.

Dr. Marvasti says coffee and tea are OK, but energy drinks with lots of caffeine will dehydrate someone quicker. Drinking lots of water is crucial. Fruits like watermelon and cucumber can cool you off while hydrating you.

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