Heat killed 139 people in Arizona in 2013. The best way to reduce that number is to be prepared.
A new report, “The Trend in Morbidity and Mortality from Exposure to Excessive Natural Heat in Arizona,” shows heat is linked to an average of 118 deaths every year since 2000. It also shows that men account for seven of every 10 heat deaths in Arizona. The National Weather Service says the beginning of our summer will be hotter than normal this year.
“High temperatures start early in Arizona,” said Matthew Roach, Arizona Department of Health Services Climate and Health Program manager. “Our most serious months for heat illness are May through September. People need to be prepared – be aware of temperatures, plan outdoor activities accordingly and know the symptoms of heat illnesses.”
The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center three-month outlook calls for a greater chance of above-average temperatures for the first half of summer in much of the Southwest, including Arizona.
There are hundreds of people going to Arizona’s hospitals because of heat. In 2013, 526 people were admitted to hospitals because of heat, and more than 2,000 were treated in emergency rooms. Almost half of the state’s heat-related emergency department visits in 2013 were young adults.
ADHS partners with national, state and local agencies to determine causal factors such as whether the overnight low temperature plays a part in the number of illnesses and deaths.
“Excessive heat in our desert climate climbs to the top of public health priorities every summer,” said Will Humble, ADHS director. “We want to make sure people continue being active, but that they are smart about it. We all share a community responsibility to help those in need stay cool.”