5 Common Tourist Injuries to Watch Out for in New Mexico

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By RobertBass

New Mexico is a beautiful and diverse state with plenty to see and do. However, tourists should be aware of some common injuries that can occur so they can take steps to prevent them. Here are five of the most common tourist injuries to watch out for during your New Mexico vacation.

Altitude Sickness

Many tourists in New Mexico will travel to high-elevation areas and may experience altitude sickness. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. This is caused by the lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. According to the CDC, up to 25% of visitors to high altitude areas like Santa Fe, Taos, and Bandelier National Monument experience altitude sickness. To help avoid it, drink plenty of water, limit alcohol, and ascend gradually if driving to high elevation spots. Descending to lower elevations can also help alleviate symptoms.

Rental Car/Rideshare Accidents

Getting around New Mexico often involves rental cars or rideshares. However, tourists should be aware of the potential for accidents. According to New Mexico’s Health Indicator Data & Statistics, injuries from a car accident are the second leading cause of death. Factors like unfamiliar roads, spotty cell service, and drunk drivers increase risks. Defensive and focused driving is a must. For rideshares, check for driver qualifications, ratings, insurance coverage, and avoid unregulated providers. Buckle up no matter what vehicle you choose. And avoid driving off main roads unless you are an experienced off-road driver. 


The arid climate can cause dehydration, especially during active pursuits like hiking. Many tourists are treated for dehydration issues at New Mexico’s national parks every year. Prevent this by drinking plenty of water, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and recognizing the signs like excessive thirst, headache, and dark urine. Hydrating before, during, and after outdoor activities is key.

Sprains and Falls

Exploring ancient ruins and hiking on uneven terrain can often lead to sprains or falls. According to the New Mexico Department of Health, about 12% of tourist injuries involved fractures or sprains. To avoid this, wear sturdy footwear with good traction and ankle support. Use caution when climbing on or near wet rocks. Trekking poles provide stability while hiking. Avoid stepping backwards without looking at trails, and bring a small first aid kit.

Insect Bites and Stings

New Mexico has scorpions, black widow spiders, and bees that can sting or bite. Though rare, reactions can become serious. Around 72 people per year die from hornet, wasp and bee stings in the US. Check shoes and sleeping areas thoroughly for insects. Carry Benadryl or other antihistamines in case of reaction. Avoid reaching into dark crevices and wear insect repellent when hiking. If you have a known allergy, carry an EpiPen. Seek medical help for severe reactions like difficulty breathing.

What If an Injury Occurs?

Hopefully you can avoid any major injuries during your New Mexico travels by following the safety tips outlined. However, accidents do happen occasionally. If you do suffer a significant injury like a fall or animal bite that requires medical treatment, you may need to consult with a personal injury lawyer.

A personal injury lawyer can advise you if you have grounds to seek compensation, especially if the injury occurred due to negligence on someone else’s part. For example, if you are hurt by improper maintenance at a hotel or theme park. Or if a bite resulted from unsafe conditions at a tourist attraction.

While injuries can’t always be avoided, following basic precautions can help ensure your New Mexico travels are safe. Paying attention to your surroundings, packing proper supplies, and recognizing symptoms early on can go a long way toward an incident-free trip. By knowing what to look out for, you can spend more time enjoying the magnificent scenery and culture of New Mexico.

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