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New Mexico Department of Health warns of heat-related illnesses

Farmington hit a high of 79 degrees Monday
New Mexico Department of Health warns of heat-related illness as temperatures begin to climb. (Associated Press file photo)

Rising spring temperatures prompted the New Mexico Department of Health to remind residents of heat-related illness.

Symptoms of heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke can occur as temperatures approach 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Monday, Farmington reached a high of 79.

Although anyone can get sick from the heat, people who face higher risk include those who work outside, athletes and people participating in outdoor recreation, young children, infants, older adults, and pregnant women.

To lower the risk of getting sick from the heat, the Department of Health recommends New Mexicans prepare for the heat.

Outdoor workers should acclimate to the heat by gradually increasing work hours as it gets hot, then slowing down during high heat and shifting work time to avoid the hottest times of the day.

Athletes and others who spend time outside should avoid being outside in the hottest parts of the day, drink water regularly and rest in the shade.

Children and pets should not be left in a car. When the temperature outside a car is 72 degrees, the temperature inside a car can reach 117 within 60 minutes.

The department also encourages people to:

  • Service swamp coolers and air conditioners before it gets too hot. Apply for low-income home energy assistance to help cover the cost of using air conditioners.
  • Keep window shades drawn during the day and consider planting trees in your yard.
  • Use appliances early in the day or at night when there is less strain on the electrical grid.
  • Plan to go somewhere with air conditioning, such as a library or friend’s house, especially for older adults and people with medical needs.
  • Ask a doctor about medications that make it harder for the body to cool itself in hot weather. These may include diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and some heart and blood pressure medicines.
  • Help people who have limited capacity to understand how to avoid heat-related illness.

For more information, visit NM-Tracking – Heat Related Illness.