Extreme, summer heat is nothing new to those of us that live in Arizona. As this time of year passes through, we all find a way to deal with rising temperatures. Unfortunately, if unprepared, the heat can put us in real danger. This past weekend in Arizona was a rude awakening of how extreme and dangerous the heat can be. Several hikers needed medical rescue, and one person even fell victim to the severe heat.
Several of us here at Bulwark practically live outdoors when we’re not slaving away at the world’s worst bug problems, so as a company of employees, we have a vested interested in outdoor safety. In light of the this past weekend’s brutal heat spell, we wanted to shed light on a few important points when it comes to saying safe in the Arizona heat.
We wholeheartedly agree with everything the nightly newscasts suggest: drink water, don’t leave children or pets in the car, all that good stuff. Here are a few things extra to consider.
Electrolytes. The heat gets so intense in Arizona, that it’s perfectly normal to start sweating on the walk from your car to the entrance of Costco. Then again on your way out. Then again as you unload all those groceries from your car into your house. Aside from losing water when you sweat, you are also losing bodily salts and other essential minerals. Addling electrolytes to your fluid intake will help combat that loss. Sport drinks are an easy purchase to make and we’d recommend having a cold supply available in your fridge. If you’re concerned with the extra calories that sport drinks bring, you can opt for low-calories versions, Gatorade’s G2 or Powerade’s ZERO options. Alternative drinks include Smartwater, Vitaminwater or any of these same or similar products that come packaged as single servings. Mio even sells a fluid additive that comes packed with necessary electrolytes.
Another alternative to keeping your electrolytes levels topped off is to carry sport products. Think the kinds of products you would take with you if you were to go hiking. Clif Bar Bloks are a great electrolytic source. My personal favorite are Jelly Belly’s Sport Beans. Not too far off from the original Jelly Belly themselves, Sport Beans come in a variety of flavors.
Carry it with you, keep it cool. Most of us tend to drink fluids throughout the day when we are stuck in one place. It’s easy to keep drinking when you’re at your desk or at home. Instead, try taking your drink with you. Grab a bottle of water on your way out the door. Better yet, put it in a small cooler with an ice pack and it’ll stay cool for at least the next hour while you’re out around town doing errands.
Cover your melon. If you are spending a significant amount of time outdoors this summer the main component of controlling your body heat is regulating the heat through your head. Keeping a cool head is a major factor in maintaining your core temperature at a safe level. First off, cover your head with a hat. If you’re on the golf course or taking a hike in the hills, don’t go without a hat. It’ll do wonders for you. It’s even a good idea to douse your head every so often with water, just for good measure. Personally, I ride my bike about 150 miles a week and sometimes I’ll stop at a gas station to refill my bottles with ice and water. Half of one of those bottles is dedicated to simply squirting through the top of my helmet to cool off my head. A little bit goes a long way.
Fill it with ice. Here’s a pro tip. If you’re out riding bikes, on the links or hiking Camelback, fill your bottle with as much ice as possible. Then fill the rest of it with your water or sport drinks. The ice will take a while to completely melt, keeping your fluid cold during your activity.
There’s a saying that goes like this: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” The first step to beating the heat in Arizona is to plan your activity. Ensuring you have enough to eat and drink while in the sun is the most important part. If you’re unsure on how much food or drink you will need, always error on the side of caution. I almost always carry an extra energy bar with me on my bike rides. I don’t have plans on eating it, but its there if I, or someone else, needs it.
Stay active, but stay safe!