The U.S. National Weather Service said that the current heat wave in Southwest U.S. is "rare, dangerous and deadly." Weather experts predicted that the temperatures in Phoenix, Arizona will reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.8 degrees Celsius) from Sunday, June 19, until Wednesday, June 22.
Heat stroke happens when the body fails to control its temperature. During a heat stroke, the body's temperature increases very fast while it loses the ability to cool down by sweating.
In just 15 minutes, the body temperature can go up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) or even higher. Heat stroke is the most severe type of heat-related conditions and it can cause permanent disabilities, even death, when it goes untreated.
Here are some tips from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to prevent heat-related illnesses and survive a heat wave.
• Regardless of activity levels, increase your intake of fluids (non-alcoholic), especially water.
• During heat waves, people shouldn't wait until they are thirsty to drink. Always have a bottle of water handy wherever you go.
• Alcoholic and sugary drinks cause people to lose more body fluids while very cold beverages can cause stomach cramps. During heat waves, stick to water.
• Patients who are currently taking water pills or in a health program where water intake is controlled or limited should ask their healthcare providers first before increasing fluid consumption.
• Dress appropriately. Loose-fitting and lightweight clothing can help you stay cooler for longer.
• During heat waves, it is best to stay indoors where there is air-conditioning. A few hours spent in air-conditioned places can help keep the body cooler for longer before going out.
• Electric fans could provide temporary comfort but they can't prevent illnesses or conditions related to the heat. It is advisable to stay at the mall or public library or heat shelters where there is air-conditioning or take a cool shower to help the body cool down.
• For people who really need to be outdoors during the high-temperature days, it is best to limit physical activities such as exercise or do them early in the morning or in the evening.
• Take a rest in shaded areas every now and then to help cool down before you go out again.
• During exercise, ensure that you drink two to four glasses of cold fluids for each hour of physical activity. People can also grab sports beverages so they can efficiently replace the minerals and salts they lose during exercise.
• People who are on a low-sodium diet should talk to their doctors first before swapping water with sports drinks.
• Wear a hat and sunscreen.