The Maricopa County Department of Public Health has confirmed the first death of 2019 directly due to heat-related illness after a year that marked the highest number of heat deaths for the county.
According to health officials, a man, who was dehydrated, was found inside a vehicle. Health officials confirmed the death Wednesday saying the older man was without housing.
According to county health officials, while a majority of heat deaths happen outdoors, 40 percent of them occur indoors.
"The majority of those either don’t have their air conditioning turned on or it doesn’t function," officials said in a release announcing the man's death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heat kills more people in the United States than all natural disasters combined.
The 182 heat-related deaths in 2018 marked the highest number of heat deaths on record for Maricopa County, according to county health officials.
This year, our average high temperature for the month of May was 87.8 degrees. The average high for May is 94.8, seven degrees higher than we saw in 2019.
Here are ways you can help prevent heat-related illness, according to officials:
- Drink water before you get thirsty to prevent dehydration
- Don’t rely on fans as your primary source of cooling
- Come indoors frequently to an air-conditioned location to cool your core body temperature
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and lightweight clothes
- Never leave kids, pets, and others who may rely on you inside of a parked car
- Check on friends and neighbors, especially the elderly, to ensure sufficient cooling and supplies
- Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-associated illness like muscle cramps, headaches, vomiting, confusion, no longer sweating, and rapid heart rate