The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) encourages everyone statewide to be mindful of heat-related illness and know the signs to watch for during this period of extreme heat. It is forecast that most of the state with exceptions of high mountain regions (over 7,000 feet above sea level) will experience temperatures approaching or even above 100 degrees Fahrenheit lasting through the upcoming weekend.
Outdoor recreation and activities should be avoided between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. during these high-temperature days. The Department of Health reminds New Mexicans to never leave children or pets in a parked car even for a few minutes.
“While for many, warnings about leaving children and pets in hot cars may seem like common sense, these accidents happen, with a record number of children (53) dying in hot cars in the U.S. in 2018,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel. “We’re all vulnerable to extreme heat at one point or another, so please do your best to seek out cool indoor places and stay well-hydrated even in these difficult times with COVID-19.”
Heat stress can have many symptoms like dizziness, nausea, cramping, and weakness and can progress to heat stroke and death, if left unchecked. To help New Mexicans and visitors spot the signs of heat-related illnesses, NMDOH offers tips at: https://nmtracking.org/health/heatstress/Heat.html.
NMDOH has also recently launched its Stay Hydrated New Mexico Social Media Campaign, and has partnered with the National Weather Service Albuquerque to produce this video about high heat and preventing heat-related illness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsgrn5zDoG8.
Local entities should consider deploying plans for ensuring people have access to drinking water and checking on those who are home-bound. People with disabilities are especially vulnerable to extreme heat events. The combination of physical and social factors means that people with disabilities are, on average, more vulnerable to heat stress, heat exhaustion or death during extreme heat events.
If communities provide cool places for their constituents, assure that facilities comply with CDC guidance on COVID-19 and cooling centers. Full CDC guidance may be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/cooling-center.html.
For more information about heat-related illnesses and much more, please visit https://www.nmhealth.org/.