The Arizona EMT and Heat Related Injury Challenges

HealthcareJanuary 07, 2014

For those working in the emergency medical field, the expected and unexpected are all in a day's work. In an area where sunshine and high temperatures are a part of the normal forecast, a higher number of heat related injuries can be expected. An Arizona EMT faces a set of routine challenges that other EMTs across the country may only encounter on occasion. Understanding these additional challenges, though, will only make you a better EMT and better prepared to care for your patients.


With summer temperatures soaring, EMTs in Arizona are no strangers to treating heatstroke patients. Heatstroke is, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence during an average Arizona summer. Symptoms include confusion, fainting and even seizures. Removing the patient from their current environment and placing them into one that is cooler is the first order of business. Once the patient is moved to a controlled, air-conditioned environment, cool towels and ice packs are an essential part of the treatment process.

Heat Rash

Prolonged exposure to the intense Arizona sun often leads to heat rash. Recognized as clusters of raised red areas commonly seen on the neck, upper chest, arms and other areas that typically aren't covered up, heat rash is a cause of great discomfort to the sufferer. Caused by blocked sweat glands that prevent the pores from secreting sweat, cooling of the affected area is imperative to one's recovery. Dusting powders are typically on hand in Arizona to help dry up the area as it cools, which allows for the quickest recovery possible for the patient.

Special Considerations

Summer heat is one of the biggest issues that affect the Arizona EMT. With a large retired population living in the state, the elderly are highly susceptible to heat related injury. In the span of ten years, from 1992 to 2002, 570 people died from excessive exposure to the sun. With specialized training and a quick response, many heat-related injuries can be treated before they can cause permanent damage. It is however a race against the clock, as 20 percent of heatstroke survivors will suffer permanent damage to the brain and kidneys.

With an average of 29 deaths annually from weather-related incidents alone, EMTs in Arizona have both a busy and important job. Whether you're on the job already or planning to pursue a career soon, remember to take preventive measures for yourself in the hot summer sun by staying hydrated, using sunblock and dressing appropriately.

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