MESA, Ariz. (July 23, 2019) – The monsoon is here, and emergency departments are gearing up to treat more patients because of the summer storm season.
When the storms hit, EDs can treat anything from car-accident and drowning victims, people who have difficulty breathing and those caught unaware by heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
“Monsoon is a busy time for the ER,’’ says Zach Bair (pronounced “bear’’), DO, assistant medical director of Banner Desert Medical Center, the nation’s fifth busiest emergency department. “Not just the monsoon itself but everything that comes with it.’’
Download audio/video of Bair
“We will see more motor accidents during this time of the year, around the holidays and around bad storms. When visibility is decreased, your reaction time comes more into play and you are more likely to get into accident,’’ he says.
Emergency responders suggest that if drivers encounter bad dust storms, they should pull off the roads and turn off their lights.
Desert storms can also bring highly localized bursts of rain such as microbursts.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize that a flash flood can occur anywhere even if it is not raining over your head,’’ Bair said
“We have definitely seen our share of near drownings and drownings as a result, so it is always a good idea to avoid crossing or getting in moving water.’’
People with chronic respiratory conditions who happen to be out during a dust storm will feel the effects immediately.
“People with COPD or emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthmatics tend to have problems, when those dust storms get moving,’’ he said.
And even people who try to get some extra exercise in during storm season may encounter problems.
“If you are exercising during these periods of time when the humidity goes way up, you might experience some heat exhaustion due to that. When it is more humid, it is difficult for the body to cool itself due to perspiring and evaporation.’’
About Banner Desert Medical Center
Banner Desert Medical Center is a nonprofit hospital in Mesa, Arizona, providing a range of inpatient and outpatient services, including emergency services, Level I trauma care, cancer care, heart care, orthopedics, women and infant services, rehabilitation, neurological care and more. The medical center is one of the most comprehensive hospitals in Arizona and serves as a regional referral center in the East Valley of metropolitan Phoenix. The medical campus is also home to Cardon Children’s Medical Center. Both facilities are owned and operated by Banner Health, the largest provider of health care services in Arizona. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com/Desert.