How Does Heatstroke Happen in Phoenix?
Phoenix is an incredible place to play, hike, swim, ride horses, and bike. There are plenty of local parks—like Phoenix South Mountain Park, with its more than 16,000 acres and 51 miles of trails, plants and wildlife, and play areas for families. The highest points in the park are Mount Suppoa, at 2,960 feet, and Dobbins Lookout at 2,330 feet. The gated entrances are open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., with trails staying open until 11 p.m.
However, temperatures can reach triple digits in the summer months, so it’s important that people take necessary precautions to stay safe while enjoying the park. Even the park rules state that dogs are not allowed on any of the trails when the temperature is above 100 degrees.
What Is Heatstroke?
Heatstroke is an extremely serious condition where your body overheats, reaching temperatures of 104°F or higher. It requires immediate medical attention. It begins as heat exhaustion, fainting, or heat cramps and can turn into full-blown heatstroke, which can be deadly. Heatstroke affects the major organs and the brain, causing permanent injury and death.
When Heatstroke Strikes…
Symptoms of heatstroke include headaches, red skin, sweating, dizziness, loss of consciousness, confusion, rapid breathing, change in heart rate, and vomiting. If you or someone you are with begins to experience any of these; or if you notice the symptoms of any type of heat injury, such as cramps, fatigue, or fainting; get them to a cool location and call 911 immediately.
Begin first aid while you wait for medical personnel. This includes placing a cool rag or water bottle on the person’s major arteries: on the neck, armpits, and inner thighs. Remove any unnecessary clothing. Make sure he or she is in a cool place, or at least in the shade if you don’t have a building or air-conditioned car available while you wait. Have him or her sip water if possible. Try to get his or her body temperature down to below 102°F.
How to Avoid Heatstroke
If you decide to enjoy one of Phoenix’s many parks, go prepared. For example:
- Choose to visit during the cooler morning or later evening hours instead of the hottest part of the day.
- Pack plenty of water for yourself, your family, and your pets.
- Know where to fill up on water if you run out.
- Pack a hat or an umbrella for extra shade.
- Bring an ice pack or bandanna to wet and help cool down your neck as you walk.
- Wear sunscreen, as people with sunburns are more susceptible to heat injuries; their skin has to work harder to cool itself.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll be back if you are going alone.
- Pack a fully-charged cellphone and extra battery if you’ll be gone longer.
- Pack foods that help replenish your water and electrolytes such as melon, grapes, and sports drinks.
Who Is in the Most Danger?
Sometimes, no matter how prepared you are, heat injuries can still occur. Sometimes, they are caused by someone else’s carelessness. Often, athletes, young children, and seniors are the ones first affected by heat injuries. It’s important that the people who are caring for them or in charge of the event take necessary precautions to protect them from heatstroke.
If you or a loved one suffered a heatstroke injury, you can contact The Husband and Wife Law Team to discuss your potential case.