Five Tips to Avoid Heat Exhaustion

Flagstaff, Arizona, is probably one of a handful of desert destinations that is green.  Every other place I’ve been to in Arizona, from Sedona to Tombstone is dry and hot like the desert I’ve always known. It’s easy to remember the basic principles of being in the heat when the sun is beating down on you and there’s no shade for miles, but in a place like Flagstaff, it’s easy to forget that the rules of the desert still apply.

The last time I drove through Flagstaff I found myself pulling over into a random apartment complex, and throwing up in the parking lot. I’ve never had major issues with heat illness so it was a scary moment for me. I had a four hour drive home alone to make, and no one around near by to help me.

Heat exhaustion can take a big toll on you, whether you’re getting ready to enjoy the night at hand or you’re getting ready to hit the road. In some cases, it can even put you in the hospital. Here are a few tips to make sure that you avoid the same situation:

  1. Water. Water is by far the most important thing that will keep you from passing out or going to the hospital. It’s generally recommended to try and drink your weight in ounces under normal circumstances, so you’ll want to aim even higher. This feels unreasonable to most people, but if it’s hot enough, you’ll chug through it like nothing. Just be sure to keep plenty available, and you will avoid dehydration.
  2. Loose fitting clothes. Only crazy people and firemen wear heavy thick layers in the desert heat. Keep it simple, and mostly cotton. Make sure your skin can breathe, and you’ll cut down on any extraneous sweating.
  3. If you’re going to be mostly outdoors, take plenty of breaks. If you’re hiking or camping, find places with plenty of shade to cool down. Taking the time to relax and catch your breath will not only help you avoid overexertion, but will also force you to stop and enjoy the scenery.
  4. Keep snacks on hand. Fruit, protein bars and trail mix will ensure that you do not succumb to a dip in blood sugar in your time in the heat. Finding yourself without sufficient food and water can lead to dehydration, which is also one of the first signs of heat exhaustion. If you keep plenty of each on hand will ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
  5. Plan your time outside right. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, and sometimes you want to be out in the heat of the day. If you don’t though, try to organize your activities to either the early morning or late afternoon hours. You’ll avoid the hottest temperatures of the day and still have plenty of sunlight to enjoy the day.

Have you ever experienced heat exhaustion? What happened?


3 thoughts on “Five Tips to Avoid Heat Exhaustion

  1. I have indeed experienced it, but I was lucky enough to be with people who recognized what was happening and got me back to my camper! These tips are wonderful, and I wanted to thank you for sharing! I accidentally read like 5 posts on your blog before slowing down to follow you and comment a thank you! I love finding other travel bloggers to follow!


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