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Arizona desert

As temperature climbs, so does risk of heat stroke

Emergency room doctor urges heat-related deaths and illness are preventable

(CHANDLER, Ariz. – May 28, 2021) – As triple-digit temperatures return to the Valley, Dignity Health in Arizona is raising public awareness about heat-related illness. Residents are accustomed to our long, hot summers. But even the hardiest desert dwellers need time to get used to the heat after months of fair weather.

“In April, when it hits 90 degrees, it really feels hot. By the end of summer, when we dip back into the 90s, we think, ‘Oh this is glorious,’” says Dr. Erik Mattison, medical director of the Emergency Department at Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center. “Our bodies do become acclimated to the heat. But we have to get our bodies ready for it.”

Dr. Mattison reminds residents to hydrate throughout the summer and that alcohol and caffeine can speed dehydration. He also notes that those who exercise outdoors should do so very early in the morning or after sunset to avoid becoming sick. 

In extreme cases, heat illness may be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2004 to 2018, an average of 702 heat-related deaths (415 with heat as the underlying cause and 287 as a contributing cause) occurred in the United States annually.

“Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable,” Dr. Mattison says.


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Publish date: 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Media Contact

Sara Patterson, External Communications Manager

p: (602) 406-3312

[email protected]