With warmer temperatures, there are increased concerns with heat exposure, hydration, safe food handling when in the outdoors, and the return of mosquito season. There are a variety of ways to reduce your health risks:
Avoid Heat Induced Illness: There were 137 emergency department visits in New Mexico for heat stress June 2016, the most for any month in the year. Heat stress is a heat-related illness that with inadequate fluid replacement and continued exposure to high temperatures, can progress to more serious conditions such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. To protect yourself from the heat, take the following steps:
• Stay cool indoors; do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
• Drink more water than usual but avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
• When going out, wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
• Do not leave children or pets in cars.
To learn more, go to: nmtracking.org/health/heatstress/Heat.html
Handle Food Safely: Food-borne illnesses affect an estimated 48 million people every year in the United States. Proper handling and storage of foods is important for reducing your risks for food-borne illness.
• Cook meats on the grill thoroughly using a thermometer for correct temperature.
• Wash your hands, and be careful not to cross contaminate when preparing meats and other foods.
• Don’t eat cold or hot foods that have been held at room temperature for more than two hours.
More information can be found on NMDOH’s website at nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/fdp/.
Avoid Mosquito Bites: So far this year, there has been just one reported case of West Nile Virus and no reported cases of Zika Virus in New Mexico. However, we are entering the 2017 mosquito season. With increased time spent outdoors, it is important to act to reduce your risk of mosquito bites.
• Create a barrier by wearing insect repellent, long sleeves, long pants, and a hat.
• Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors when mosquitoes are most active (at dusk and dawn).
• Use screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
• Empty or eliminate water holding containers (where mosquitoes lay their eggs) such as tires, flower pots, toys, and buckets.
To learn more about West Nile Virus, go to nmhealth.org/about/erd/ideb/zdp/wnv/.
Zika Virus information can be found at https://nmhealth.org/go/zika/.
The New Mexico Department of Health works to promote the health and safety of all New Mexicans and provides resources for keeping yourself and those around you safe.
For places to go and things to do in the Land of Enchantment this summer visit newmexico.org.