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Heat Death: Common Causes and Prevention Strategies

Arizona summers are hot; there’s no getting around it. For the past several years, it’s only seemed to get hotter in the state. State and medical professionals urge all residents and visitors to the state to practice heat safety, especially when outdoors, warning of the risks of heat death.

Unfortunately, while many people understand the necessity of heat protection, many institutions ignore basic protocols. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are common precursors and causes of heat-related deaths. Most deaths are preventable, which is why knowledge is essential. As a citizen, you have rights and laws that protect you from negligent actions. Contact the offices of the MDK Law Group to learn more about heat regulations and protections and your legal rights.

Heat Death: Contributing Factors

High temperatures and exposure to the Arizona sun can lead to two different heat-related illnesses: heat exhaustion and heat stroke. When you spend too much time in the heat and sun, you begin to sweat. Excessive sweating leads to the loss of water and salt, causing heat exhaustion. Additionally, too much time in the heat can lead to fluctuations in your body’s internal temperature. When the body can no longer control its temperature, a person becomes a victim of heat stroke.

Both conditions can result in death if you fail to take immediate action when signs and symptoms occur. When out in the heat, you will want to look for several common warning signs, including:

  • Excessive sweating, or a lack of sweat
  • Muscle cramping
  • Weakness
  • A weak, fast pulse
  • Clammy, pale, cold skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting
  • Confusion

All the above symptoms can occur because your body cannot cool itself. Sweat is the primary tool your body has for cooling itself. Unfortunately, at times of extreme heat exposure, your body may not be capable of producing sweat because of dehydration. Additionally, sweating may not be enough to cool the body, depending on the outside temperature.

Heat Death: Preventing Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

The prevention of heat illnesses and death is made possible by proper prevention strategies and acknowledging potential risk factors. There are several prevention strategies every Arizona citizen should know and adopt, including:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Avoiding caffeine and alcohol during strenuous activities
  • Wearing light-colored clothing when outdoors
  • Avoiding outdoor activities during hot days
  • Taking cooler showers or baths on hotter days
  • Taking frequent breaks when exercising or working outdoors
  • Staying in temperature-controlled environments
  • Staying out of the direct sun when outdoors

Several situations can increase the risk of heat-related illnesses or death. Some of the most common risk factors include:

  • Age: People under four or over 65 have an increased risk of heat-related illnesses; internal temperature regulation is more challenging in these age groups
  • Obesity
  • High heat index
  • Air conditioning failures
  • Automobile failures
  • Lack of access to water 
  • Rapid temperature changes
  • Prescriptions: Some medicines can cause dehydration, increasing the risk of heat illnesses

Heat Death Attorneys Can Help

As sad as it is to say, sometimes the institutions and people you trust the most to take care of you fail to meet their obligations. Heat death is often the result of negligence. If you believe you are a victim of neglect or someone you love was a victim of wrongful death, contact the attorneys with the MDK Law Group.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-exhaustion/symptoms-causes/syc-20373250

https://www.healthline.com/health/heat-stroke-vs-heat-exhaustion#risk-factors

https://azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/extreme-weather/heat-safety/index.php#heat-illness