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NMSU nursing students develop story map to examine health and extreme heat

Las Cruces heat map

Nursing students at New Mexico State University have developed a story map that examines the impacts of extreme heat.

NMSUs school of nursing is working with the city of Las Cruces on an online story map to give people an interactive perspective on how extreme heat affects health.

Five nursing students at NMSU have created a visual story using technology to map out hot islands in the city.

The students used a survey tool that shows the demographics most vulnerable to heat.

“As nursing students, we were just kind of taking from a community impact to just see what were the health risks for people and were they experiencing them,” Randee Greenwald, an NMSU nursing assistant college professor said.

Populations most vulnerable to extreme heat include the homeless, children younger than 5 and adults older than 65.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 618 people die every year from extreme heat. Students found those most affected are those who live in urbanized areas with little shade and abundant asphalt and concrete.

Sixty participants were surveyed about the impacts of extreme heat.

Of the 60, extreme heat had a health impact on people 24, of those, 11 reported their health worsening because of hot temperatures.

”We talked to people living in tents and it was pretty shocking. Their temperatures up to 140 degrees in the daytime,” Greenwald said.

Rick Horpon lives at the Community of Hope, best known as Tent City, and said he won’t go into his tent during the day.

“I won’t get in it because I know it’s like an oven. There’s no wind, nothing. All the heat settles in there, and so basically it’s the hottest place there is to be,” Horpon said.

KFOX14 spoke with a caregiver who said her mother nearly had heat stroke without even realizing it.

“Some people who tend to be cold, they don’t recognize the fact that they’re overheated, and I took care of my mom and there were a couple of times she came really close to a heat stroke. She didn’t recognize it. We had to watch for her,” Cheryl Young said.

The city of Las Cruces has set up cooling stations around the city for people to visit during extreme heat.

The cooling stations are at:

* Frank O’Brien Papen Community Center, 304 W. Bell St. (575/528-2455)

* Henry R. Benavidez Community Center ,1045 McClure Rd. (575/541-2006)

* Meerscheidt Recreation Center, 1600 E. Hadley Ave. (575/541-2563)

* Munson Center, 975 S. Mesquite St. (575/541-3000)

* Sage Café, 6121 Reynolds Dr. (575/528-3151)

The cooling stations will be open until 8 p.m.

http://nmcdc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=67e4c8cb42f443469bdcf320082a0590

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