Happy 4th of July AZ!

Summer is definitely underway here, July has finally hit and brought along with it some truly terrifying temperatures. We’ve all been praying for monsoon season to come early this year to relieve us from this blistering heat, and with some luck, this Fourth of July may turn out to be a damp one yet. The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Heat Warning for the valley, effective until Thursday night.

AZ summer heat is not to be taken lightly. Regardless of how you spend the Fourth, whether it’s with friends and family at a barbecue, enjoying outdoor activities, or parking yourself right in front of the AC, heat stroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration are very serious. Nobody is immune from them, and poor preparation and judgment can put you in danger. For example, hiking Camelback Mountain in the early afternoon (the hottest time of day) is probably not a good idea, the amount of water you would have to carry to stay hydrated would be impossible to carry on your person.

A still serious but more common example is hanging out outside by the pool drinking with some friends. Direct sunlight can definitely make you feel like you’re under a broiler. But even the shade (or the pool!) can be hot, and if you’re drinking alcohol, you will still dehydrate quickly. If you aren’t drinking enough water, the effects of severe dehydration can be much worse than suffering through a bad hangover the next day. When it’s still over 100 degrees at 11:00 p.m., the same thing applies, you will dehydrate quicker when drinking alcohol in the heat.

Scientific research tells us that the first thing affected by alcohol consumption is judgment and reasoning. This might mean that we reach for another beer rather than a bottle of water when we’re thirsty, when we actually really need the H2O. Headaches, confusion and dizziness are effects of high heat as well as alcohol, so take these things into consideration when planning your holiday activities.

Here are a few tips for planning ahead when you’re basically living on the surface of the sun:

  • If you’re hosting or just attending a party or gathering, bring along an inexpensive case or two of bottled water. It will not go to waste, and can avoid a risky trip to the store later after everyone’s had a few drinks.
  • Your steering wheel may be scorching, but driving with two fingers after an all-day backyard party may not be the best decision. Come rain, snow, or shine, police are always on patrol during this holiday for DUI offenders. Task forces all over the valley will be out and about looking for impaired drivers. Don’t take that risk.

 Stay healthy and safe this Fourth!

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