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Although the Monsoon brings welcome rains and relief from the summer heat, the thunderstorms that come with the Monsoon bring their own hazards. In fact, this is the most dangerous time of year weather-wise in the Southwest. So before the season gets underway, it is a very good idea to review these safety tips.
Although the monsoon is generally associated with slightly cooler temperatures and rainfall, excessive heat is still by far the number-one, weather-related killer in the Southwest. Unfortunately, many heat-related deaths occur during the Monsoon as our typical summertime heat is combined with increased monsoon humidity.
The negative effects of excessive heat can be easily avoided. Some simple steps you can take include:
- Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
- Dress for summer. Lightweight light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
- Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
- Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids.
- Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.
- Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.