The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) reminds all people in New Mexico of the dangers of heat-related illnesses and encourages staying hydrated and indoors whenever possible.
Temperatures are on the rise in most parts of the state. Areas in the southeast such as Clovis, Portales, and Roswell are experiencing temperatures from the mid 90’s to a high of 103° F. These temperatures are expected to remain high and increase into the weekend in most parts of the state. Heat-related illness under these circumstances are possible, and can get serious, even deadly, very quickly if not recognized. Here is what to look for:
- Heat cramps are muscle pain or spasms accompanied by heavy sweating, especially during intense exercise.
What to do: Stop any physical activity and get to a cool place. Drink water or a sports drink and wait for the cramps to go away before starting activity again. Get medical help right away if the cramps last longer than an hour, if you are on a low-sodium diet, or if you have heart problems.
- Heat exhaustion appears with heavy sweating, cold, clammy skin, a fast, weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, tiredness or weakness, dizziness, headache, and fainting.
What to do: move to a cool place, loosen clothing, cool down with damp cloths or take a cool bath and sip water. If you are throwing up, if symptoms last longer than an hour or worsen, get medical help right away.
- Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness and happens when the body loses its ability to sweat. Body temperature will climb (103° or higher), skin will be hot, red, and dry or damp. Pulse will be fast and strong and can be accompanied by a headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion and passing out. It is important to recognize heat stroke in others, as they may not realize the danger that they are in because of confusion.
What to do: heat stroke is a medical emergency, so call 911 right away. Try to lower the person’s body temperature with cool wet cloths or a cool bath. Do not give them anything to drink.
Consider checking on neighbors–especially those elderly–as they can be especially prone to heat-related illnesses. The DOH urges New Mexicans to never leave children, pets, or anyone in a parked car, even for a few minutes.
Visit https://nmtracking.doh.nm.gov/health/climate/HeatIllness.html online for more details about heat-related illness.