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Paul Rhien
505-470-2290 Office

Best Ways to Stay Healthy and Safe While Enjoying the Outdoors

May 25, 2018 - Public Relations - Information

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) offers tips to New Mexicans about the best ways to stay safe and healthy this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer while enjoying all the outdoor activities New Mexico has to offer. With warmer temperatures, there are increased concerns about heat exposure, hydration, safe food handling when in the outdoors and the return of mosquito season. 

Below are some tips for staying safe this summer:

Avoid Heat Induced Illness –

Emergency department visits for heat stress reach their peak in June. 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.
  • Wear sunscreen. Too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to skin cancer.
  • Do not leave children or pets in cars.

To learn more, see the Heat Stress - Environmental Public Health Tracking page.

Handle Food Safely –

Food poisonings are prevalent in the summer months because the warmer temperatures allow foodborne germs to flourish. Anyone can get food poisoning but pregnant women, young children, older adults and anyone with weakened immune systems are at the most risk. Proper handling and storage of foods is important for reducing your risks for foodborne illness.

  • When traveling with raw meat or seafood, keep them below 40°F in an insulated cooler.
  • 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.
  • Use a moist cloth or paper towel to clean the grill surface before cooking. If you use a wire bristle brush, remember those bristles may come loose and stick into the food as you grill.
  • Don’t eat cold or hot foods that have been outside or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

More information can be found on our Foodborne Disease Agents page.

Avoid Mosquito Bites –

Mosquitoes can transmit diseases such as West Nile and Zika viruses. So far there are no reported cases of West Nile or Zika Virus in New Mexico this year, but we are entering the 2018 mosquito season. 

Zika Virus is spread mostly by the bite of two species of mosquito, both of which have been found in some parts of southern New Mexico. However, to date, no local transmission of Zika has happened in the state. The only cases have been from residents returning from foreign countries where mosquito transmission of Zika is more common. There were 10 reported travel cases of Zika in New Mexico in 2016 and none in 2017.

The risk of acquiring West Nile or Zika are reduced by:

  • Using insect repellent
  • Reducing the amount of time spent outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
  • Having screens on your doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out
  • Emptying or eliminating water holding containers (where mosquitoes lay their eggs) such as tires, flower pots and buckets

To learn more about West Nile Virus, visit our West Nile Virus page.

Zika Virus information can be found on our Zika Virus page.

The New Mexico Department of Health works to promote the health and safety of all New Mexicans and we encourage you to access resources available for keeping yourself and those around you safe.

For places to go and things to do in the Land of Enchantment this summer visit the New Mexico True website.


Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact Paul Rhien at 505-470-2290 (Office) with your questions.


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