Heat sickness whether it’s heat exhaustion or the more dangerous heat stroke is always a concern in hot climates. Visitors to the most popular national park in the U.S. especially need to know how to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon.
To visit the Grand Canyon safely there are some things that you should know. First, the Grand Canyon can be safely visited. My family and I have been there during the hot summer months. We’ve always enjoyed ourselves but we have also taken appropriate heat precautions.
Of the 5 million visitors that the park receives only a very small percentage will become sick. Heat sickness is one of the more common maladies. For most people, heat related illnesses are also preventable.
If you have any sort of medical condition you should visit your doctor before you visit the park. The combination of high altitude with extreme heat can exacerbate some health conditions. The best advice on how to prevent heat sickness on your Grand Canyon visit (or any other illness) will come from your healthcare professional.
The Grand Canyon is the most visited park in the U.S. According to the Grand Canyon Hiker the danger months with the highest temperatures are from May ‘” September when temperatures can easily reach 106 degrees in July. This is exactly when most of the visitors arrive.
Because of the altitude walking and other activities put more demand on your body. Even though there is a free shuttle bus system all visitors should still take precautions. Heat can be one of the primary health challenges faced even by people who are perfectly healthy.
According to the National Parks Service an average of 250 people have to be rescued from the depths of the Grand Canyon annually. Most of the people who are rescued are health and between the age of 18 ‘” 40. Many of these rescues are because of heat sickness, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Remember, the vast majority of the people who visit the Grand Canyon will not succumb to heat illness. Many of them prepare ahead of time by reading up on how to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon. Here are a few tips that you can use.
How to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon tip #1
Recognize the symptoms.
Research the symptoms of heat sickness well before your trip. Be familiar with them so that you know what to look for in case any heat illness begins to happen. Some symptoms can include paleness, cool and moist skin, cramps, a headache, nausea, poor judgment and tremors. More symptoms are listed on the National Park Service website.
How to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon tip #2
Constantly sip on bottled water or electrolyte replenishing drinks. Bring more fluids than you think you are going to need. It’s recommended that hikers drink up to 1 quart of fluid an hour alternating with an electrolyte drink and eat a salty snack with every drink. Click the website link above for more suggestions.
How to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon tip #3
Know your limits.
Don’t try to take on too much in one day. Allow plenty of time for your visit. If you only have a couple of days pick the areas of the canyon that you most want to see. Consult a map and think through the logistics.
How to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon tip #4
Time your visit.
Early morning and later in the evening are cooler than mid-afternoon. Time your visit so that you can take advantage of the cooler temperatures. You may also find that sunrise and sunset can provide spectacular views.
How to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon tip #5
Wear cool clothing.
Loose clothes in a light weave help to keep your body from becoming overheated. Shorts and sleeveless shirts may help. This is not the time to wear those heavy designer jeans. No matter how cute they are you need to dress to combat the heat.
How to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon tip #6
Doing everything you can to prevent sunburn will also help you avoid heat illness. Sunburned skin cannot regulate body temperature well. Choose a good quality sunscreen and apply it according to the manufacturer’s directions.
How to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon tip #7
Wear a hat. Use an umbrella or parasol.
The US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine suggests that a big floppy hat with a wide brim can provide some shade to help keep you cooler. Similarly, an umbrella or parasol may help.
How to prevent heat sickness at the Grand Canyon tip #8
Get into the air conditioning.
Sitting in the air conditioning can recharge your batteries and help you have a better visit. If you suspect that you are getting too hot find air conditioning and sit until you feel better. Go into the bookstore or grocery store on the South Rim. Visit the services area of the park. . Turn on your car’s air conditioning. If you do not feel better soon or if you begin to feel worse, call for help immediately.
These are just a few suggestions. More information is available in the resources section of this article.
These photos were taken by my daughter. Following the above tips can help you have a better vacation. Plan your trip, relax and have fun on your Grand Canyon adventure!
More articles by this author are available on Associated Content.
National Park Service