Local doctor shares tips for avoiding heat-related illness

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — July and August are the two months with the most emergency room visits for heat-related illness.

“Common sense is common, it’s in the name,” said Dr. Jaren Trost, medical director and rheumatology specialist for Optum in New Mexico. “But it’s things that we forget, right? We usually forget the most common things.”

On a hot summer day, that common sense is to stay cool and stay hydrated. Dr. Trost said heat-related illness can impact everyone.

“You have dehydration on one side, and then in the middle of that its heat exhaustion, and maybe that can end with heat stroke. But there’s a variety of illnesses and symptoms that can happen along that continuum,” said Dr. Trost.

He said it’s about being prepared for the harsh New Mexico sun. Many people at Tingley Beach, on the Fourth of July, said they are.

“A lot of water. You see they’ve got their water bottles with them,” said Taylor Dunham with his twin 2-year-olds. “We actually had a little water balloon fight before we left the house.”

Many are coming up with their own creative ways to cool off.

“I’ve been trying to damp water on me or stay under the shade,” said 12-year-old Ilana Lucero Mora.

“I get a cold water bottle and put it on my forehead,” said 9-year-old Scarlett Benavidez.

Heat illness typically starts with the same thing – not enough water and too much time in the sun.
Dr. Trost said it could cause symptoms like being dizzy, confused, fatigued, and off balance.

“The biggest thing is wear loose clothing, bring a lot of water,” he said. “Be by a pool, be by water, stuff like that.”