Temperatures in Phoenix are expected to climb into the 120-degree range on Tuesday June 20th.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Phoenix was on June 26th back in 1990 where it hit 122-degrees. It brings me to wonder, how hot is too hot? If I had a job working outdoors, which I do sometimes, I would be terrified of that kind of temperature. It’s not like summers here in Phoenix are ever mild. In fact, most of us have adapted to the 100+ degree heat without even thinking about it. It doesn’t take long to acclimate to extremely warm weather. The truth is that even in our worst season in Phoenix, summer, you can still get out and enjoy this beautiful area. Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years here that help me cope with extreme heat.
Hydrate before doing anything. Most of us don’t hesitate to drink water because it just comes naturally. I never leave my house without my insulated cup full of ice water. What some people don’t realize is that you need to be hydrated well before stepping foot outside. Phoenix’s heat and dry climate will pull the sweat right off of your body before you even notice that you are sweating. It is very easy to get dehydrated, develop a bad headache and suffer a heat stroke if you don’t have enough water in your system. There is no shame in extremely overdoing it when it comes to hydration.
Protect your skin. I am personally bad at this one. If you notice most of the men and women who work outside, they aren’t wearing cut off shirts and shorts. They are wearing loose fitting, long sleeved shirts with pants. Keeping the sun off of your skin completely will keep you cooler even though extra clothes seem counter intuitive in the heat. Wear sunscreen. My family goes through ridiculous amounts of this stuff. So much in fact that I’ve even done research on how to purchase sunscreen in bulk. That stuff isn’t cheap and goes fast. I recommend using an SPF of 50 or more and reapplying every couple of hours, especially if you or your children are spending time in the pool. Wear a hat. Wear a big hat if possible that acts as an umbrella to shield you from the sun. When possible get your had wet with cold water. I learned that trick out on the golf course. Cold water on your hat makes it feel like its 70-degress outside for about 15 minutes.
Stay indoors. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. If you want to beat the heat completely just don’t be outside between 11am and 7:30pm. The sun comes up very early this time of year in Phoenix. I love to enjoy the outdoors, go for walks and even do yard work. This can all get done between 5am and 11am and going for a walk at sunset is warm but not too bad. Our overnight lows this time of year are around 80-degrees and that temperature is much more manageable. I am fortunate enough to work for a web design company here in Phoenix that allows me to work indoors. I do have to travel throughout Phoenix and surrounding areas every week. Be sure to start your vehicle ahead of time if possible. No one enjoys burning their hands and elbows climbing into a scorching hot vehicle. Use a sunshade in your car when covered parking isn’t available. The extra shade makes a huge difference inside the vehicle. I love to find a shaded parking spot next to a tree. I think there is competition for those in every parking lot in the valley.
Pack a cooler. I know I mentioned the importance of hydration but sustaining that hydration is crucial. You can also throw a couple of towels into the ice and take those with you. Wrapping your neck in a cold towel will cool your blood down and make all the difference. I prefer a mango-scented towel; it keeps vultures from circling above you when you’re outdoors J
Seek refuge. One great thing about living in Arizona is our great diversity in climate throughout the state. This time of year, northern Arizona is beautiful! You still need to employ summer strategies but you can trade the valley for a moderately cool climate in just a couple hours drive. I like going up to Flagstaff and staying for a few days, it really is nice to get out of the heat and enjoy the fresh mountain air.