Excessive Heat Warning in Phoenix, What Does This Mean?

With Phoenix-area temperatures threatening to rise up past 115 degrees tomorrow, it’s important to take the proper precautions in case you are thinking about spending your day outside. Living in the Phoenix area, you’re probably used to the hearing the term, excessive heat warning, but do you know why exactly the National Weather Service issues these warnings? You can see the current heat warning in effect for the weekend by clicking here.

cool drink on a hot day in Phoenix

Why is there an Excessive Heat Warning in Effect?

With higher temperatures comes heat related illnesses. It’s important to limit your time when you feel uncomfortable out during high temperatures. When the temperature hits over 110 degrees, people that spend just a 30 minutes outside become targets for dehydration that may lead to an illness that is commonly known as heat stroke.

What is Heat Stroke

Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system. When temperatures outside get higher than the normal body temperature, 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the person becomes prone to heat related illnesses.

Our internal body temperature cools off by sweating, If the body cannot cool off, the heat builds up inside of our bodies leading to heat stroke. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit, with complications involving the central nervous system that occur after exposure to high temperatures. Other common symptoms include, seizures, confusion, disorientation, and sometimes loss of consciousness or coma.

With the extreme daytime temperatures combined with the warm overnight lows, the chances of getting heat stroke becomes higher than usual for those sensitive to heat or those without adequate cooling or hydration.

splashing water on face during Phoenix heat

Steps to Avoid Heat Stroke

The first you need to do is never bring kids or infants or dogs/pets with you in the car unless you have to. It’s not the danger of bringing children or pets with you, but it’s that you might forget about them when you get out of the car. Even for 20 minutes unattended, temperatures can rise over 140 degrees inside a vehicle.

Drink more water than you usually and avoid alcohol, sugar, and caffeine. When outdoors, bring plenty of water with you, more than you think you’ll need. Wear light colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to keep your head and body cooler. Take frequent breaks in the shade or air conditioned environments. Overall, it’s important to limit your time outdoors and be conscious of your bodily needs.

Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat stroke or illness. Immediate symptoms include headaches, thirst, and muscle cramps. Serious symptoms that might develop are weakness, skin that is cool to the touch, fast but weak pulse, nausea, and fainting. Severe symptoms include hot and red dry skin, fast and strong Pulse, sweating that has stopped, and unconsciousness. An untreated heat illness can lead to fatal heat stroke.

Stay cool, and stay hydrated. It’s also important to stay informed and watch out for others in your party. Share this story with your friends and family.