SANTA FE, NM (KTSM) — The New Mexico Department of Health and Children's Youth and Families Department advise residents to take extra precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Temperatures over the next several days are expected to top 100 degrees in many areas of the state, they said.
"It's important to remember the dangers that come with severe heat," said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Retta Ward, MPH. "It doesn't have to reach 100 degrees to make you sick. You can become ill from the extreme heat if your body can't compensate for it and properly cool you off."
Tuesday in Albuquerque, CYFD reported a 7 month-old was hospitalized after being left in a vehicle for 1 ½ hours. New Mexico reported one child death in the last three years from being left in a car.
"Knowingly or negligently putting a child in a situation in which the child's health or safety could be at risk can be considered child abuse," said CYFD Cabinet Secretary Yolanda Deines. "There should never be a reason to leave a child alone in a hot vehicle or alone in a vehicle period."
People at highest risk are the elderly, the very young, and people with existing chronic diseases such as heart disease, and people without access to air conditioning. But even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.
The Department of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises you to take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:
· Stay cool indoors; do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
· Drink more water than usual
· Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar
· Replace salt and minerals.
· Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.