There are many reasons to love Arizona and Phoenix. However, it may be tough to remember a single one if you're stuck outside waiting for a bus or a train in summer. No matter how long you've lived in Phoenix, it's tough enduring temperatures that regularly exceed 110 degrees. Here are some tips and tricks to beat the heat.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate - When it's hot, you sweat. That diminishes your body's internal water supply, which you need to maintain a normal temperature. It's always a good idea to take a big, full bottle of cold water with you on your commute and take sips on a regular basis. On a related note, avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Those won't help you maintain your hydration levels.
Stay in the shade - Anything that blocks your skin's direct exposure to the sun will help you stay cool. You can also carry a small umbrella to make your own shade as you walk to or from your stop. There's always shade available at light rail stations, but any regular bus rider will know that sometimes those bus stops can make you feel awfully exposed. If you feel a bus stop needs more shade, it's a good idea to contact your city about the matter.
Sunscreen - A sunburn can hurt your body's ability to keep cool. Applying a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 can provide your skin with some vital protection.
Dress for success – Light, loose-fitting clothing is the way to go if you’re going to be spending time outdoors in the summer heat. Long sleeves are okay, but you want to make sure that it doesn’t hamper your ability to stay cool. A hat is always a good summer accessory. Also, you may want to consider carrying a cooling towel. You can make it a little damp and store it in the freezer. When it’s time to go outside for your commute, you can hang it around the back of your neck to avoid overheating.
Eat right - Fruits and vegetables aren't just delicious; they have a lot of water as well. You should avoid salty foods if you're going to be spending time out in the sun.
All this hydration is important because it helps avoid heat exhaustion, which can be a serious issue if left untreated. Here are some symptoms of heat exhaustion.
- Heavy sweating
- Heavy sweating
- Cool skin
- A rapid, weak pulse
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should get to a cooler place, ideally with air conditioning, take a break, and drink water or sports drinks. You should also tell someone you're not feeling well so they can keep an eye on you as you recover.
Lastly, there are hydration stations, cooling centers, and emergency heat relief stations located throughout the greater Phoenix metro area. Click here for a map.
Stay cool and stay safe as you travel on Valley Metro this summer!