Beating The Desert Heat: A Guide to Getting By in Arizona's Oven-Like Environment

Beating The Desert Heat: A Guide to Getting By in Arizona's Oven-Like Environment
Photo by Cody Doherty / Unsplash

Working in the scorching desert heat of Arizona can be both physically and mentally demanding. As the sun beats down relentlessly, it's crucial to be well-prepared and equipped to handle the challenges that come with the extreme temperatures. In this post, we'll explore working strategies to get by while working in the desert heat of Arizona.

1. Stay As Hydrated As Possible!

The arid climate of Arizona can very quickly lead to dehydration. Always carry a refillable water bottle and make a conscious effort to drink water regularly throughout the day. Aim to consume more fluids than you think you need, as your body loses water through sweat even when you don't feel thirsty. (Drink till you have to pee)

2. Dress Lightly!:

Choosing the right clothing is paramount when working in the desert heat. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics that wick away moisture and allow air circulation. Wearing light-colored clothing can also help reflect sunlight and keep you cooler. (Don’t be like me and wear a black shirt….duh.)

3. Time Your Work For Off-Sun Hours If Possible:

Whenever possible, schedule outdoor work during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon. This can reduce your exposure to the intense midday sun and help prevent heat-related illnesses.  If you are working like me in the heat, try to come inside and in the shade as much as possible.

4. Take Regular Breaks:

Frequent breaks give your body a chance to cool and recover. Find a shaded area or go inside when you can to rest during your breaks, and use the opportunity to rehydrate and recharge.

5. Wear Sun Protection:

The desert sun's UV rays are very strong and can lead to severe sunburns and other skin-related issues. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses, and apply sunscreen with a high SPF to exposed skin. Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours, or more often if you're sweating heavily.

6. Utilize Cooling Accessories:

Consider using cooling towels, bandanas, or vests that are designed to stay cool when wet. These accessories can provide relief by lowering your body temperature during work hours. Even the “neck fans” that are advertised on Amazon or Wal-Mart will help.  

7. Pace Yourself:

Don't push yourself too hard. Overexertion in extreme heat can lead to heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. Listen to your body and take breaks as needed. Think ahead for this and make sure to be aware of your body and how you feel, even if it is just slightly symptomatic!

8. Eat Light and Balanced Meals:

Heavy meals can increase your body's heat production, making you feel even hotter. Opt for light, well-balanced meals that include plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods have high water content and can help keep you hydrated.

9. Train and Educate:

Employers should provide heat-related training and education to their workers. This includes recognizing the signs of heat-related illnesses, knowing when to stop work, and administering first aid if needed.

10. Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses:

Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke. If you or a colleague experience symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, nausea, rapid heartbeat, or excessive sweating.

Take action immediately to cool down and seek medical attention if necessary.  If severe, dial 911 and get help as fast as possible.  These symptoms are NO JOKE!


Working in the desert heat of Arizona requires a combination of preparation, adaptation, and self-care. By following these tips, you can minimize the risks and ensure a safer and more productive work experience in one of the hottest climates in the United States.

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