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Tips for Ruining Your Southwest Vacation

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The high deserts of the Southwest are breathtakingly beautiful, but the rough terrain demands respect and vigilance. Being too careless can bring an early end to an otherwise incredible Southwest vacation.

Here are some of the fastest ways to end a perfectly fabulous Southwest vacation and possibly get very, very sick.

1. Getting Too Hot

The dry conditions of the desert can mask the heat by helping the body's best cooling mechanism (sweating) work very well. Dehydration creeps up on the unsuspecting. When the body's core temperature gets too high, victims may become weak or confused. Vomiting makes the victim more dehydrated and eventually all sweating stops. Learn how to recognize heat illnesses before hiking Joshua Tree.

2. Too Much Sunshine

Sun worshippers beware! There is plenty of sunshine in the great Southwest. Victims of too much sunbathing will find themselves basking in the glare of hospital lights. It's important to use appropriate sunscreen and stay covered up as much as possible. Don't get me wrong, you can ski Lake Havasu. Just be sure to keep a high SPF lathered on. Know how to treat a sunburn if someone in the party gets too many rays.

3. Play with Snakes

Diamondback rattlesnakes are extremely common in the Southwest, not to mention dangerous. Getting bitten by a rattlesnake is a quick and potentially deadly way to end a Southwest vacation. Some of the common snake bite treatments may actually make things worse. Carry a cell phone and make sure to learn how to treat snake bites.

4. Play with Scorpions

The Southwest is home to the bark scorpion, the most dangerous scorpion in North America. Stings are capable of causing numbness, paralysis, and death. Scorpions are also notorious stowaways, which means this hazard of the Southwest can follow its victim home in luggage and clothing. Learn how to treat scorpion stings.

5. Getting Too High Too Fast

I don't know what you think I mean, but I'm talking about acute mountain sickness (AMS), also known as high altitude illness. AMS may cause fluid in the lungs or swelling in the brain. It's important to know how to recognize and treat high altitude sickness.

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