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Health Department advises precautions regarding heat


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People in several southeastern New Mexico counties are being advised by the New Mexico Department of Health to take precautions to avoid potential health problems related to high temperatures.

In an announcement issued Thursday, the Department of Health said residents of Chaves, Eddy, Lea, Roosevelt and Quay counties should rest, drink a lot of water and get under shade when outdoors to reduce risks of heat stress or heat stroke.

The department had received reports of 21 emergency department visits and two hospitalizations in the past week due to the heat, the announcement indicated. Through recent data analysis, the New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking Program and the Epidemiology and Response Division of the Environmental Health Epidemiology Bureau also determined that people often end up in the hospital due to heat-related problems even when temperatures are at 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

“People in southeast New Mexico who work outdoors should especially take precautions such as frequently going indoors to a place with evaporative cooling or central air conditioning to cool off, staying well-hydrated and by taking breaks often in shaded areas,” said Cabinet Secretary Kathy Kunkel. “These steps are also recommended if you play sports or are hiking, fishing and camping.”

The Health Department also recommends staying inside during the hottest part of the day, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, the department reminds New Mexicans never to leave pets, the elderly or children in cars while running errands.

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More information about heat stress and its symptoms — which can include dizziness, nausea, cramping or weakness — is available on the following webpage: https://nmtracking.org/health/heatstress/Heat.html.

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