The monsoon can have unwelcome effects on your health

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The monsoon is showing some signs of life as early as Friday, and the changeover from a dry heat to muggy air with clouds can have an impact on our health.

Thomas Ardiles, a pulmonary and critical care physician with Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, says he sees a rise in patients complaining of respiratory issues this time of the year.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Monsoon 2018)

“They feel short of breath faster, they may find that they are coughing up more; they find that they get tired faster," said Ardiles.

That’s not all.

"A good subset of people that (sic) suffer migraines when the humidity sets," said Ardiles.

The culprit? High levels of ozone that develop from sunny skies, then give way to high levels of dust pushed into the Valley from outflows of nearby thunderstorms.

"Our highest dust concentrations here in the Valley generally during the monsoon, are from the very first part of June going through the first week of July," said Matt Pace, a meteorologist with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

[RELATED: The 5 best things about the Arizona monsoon]

Add clouds and humidity, then a blanket of pollution gets trapped close to the ground, and all those who are outside breathe it in.

According to Pace, just because a High Pollution Advisory has not been issued, does not necessarily mean it’s safe to be outside.

“If you see that dust, if you can’t see across the street, if visibility drops to a couple miles, just stay indoors, and then afterward, change your air filter in your house," said Pace. "That’ll obviously help clear out a lot of that particulate matter that was in the air.”

Breathe in that dust now, and you’re at higher risk of getting sick later.

“As the wind comes and we get dust storms, especially in areas of desert, we do get a spike in Valley fever a few weeks after the monsoon," said Ardiles.

Representatives with ADEQ report they'll soon be releasing an hourly air quality forecast to help the public better plan out their days and avoid times of unhealthy air quality.

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