The desert is a harsh environment!
The temperatures are extreme, and they say everything out there either
"bites, sticks, or stings".
Walking & Driving in the desert
Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Carry at least one gallon of water per person per day.
Stay with your vehicle and signal for help.
If you must walk for help, wait until sunset & leave a note telling which way you went.
If you have water, drink it, don't ration it.
Walking in the desert
Always adapt gradually, going into the heat for short periods at first.
Drink fluids frequently and eat small meals regularly.
Avoid alcohol, which decreases your ability to tolerate heat.
The 3 commonly identified types of illness resulting from exposure to the desert heat include:
The symptoms, becoming progressively more serious, range from abdominal cramps and muscle
spasms (Heat Cramps) to nausea, dizziness, headache, weakness, goose bumps, and cold,
clammy skin (Heat Exaustion) to mental confusion or loss of consciousness with hot dry
skin and no sweating (Heat Stroke). The categories may overlap.
Heat Stroke can be fatal.
Get out of the sun, and out of the heat if possible.
Cool the person with water, not ice (which may cause shock).
Get medical advice ASAP.
Insects and Spiders
There are several poisonous insects you may encounter in the desert. While healthy adults usually survive these
encounters, you should be aware that they are potentially life-threatening to young children, older folks, or anyone with allergies.
Snakes are best avoided by never putting your hands or feet where you can't see.
If you should sustain a snake bite, keep as quiet as possible and get emergency medical aid immediately.
Do not apply ice or a tourniquet.
The last book listed above describes all the snakes you might encounter in Arizona and the toxicity of each.
The two considered responsible for the majority of snake bite fatalities in the U.S. are the
Western Diamondback and the
If you plan to spend much time in the desert, it would be good to become familiar with these two.