Has anyone told you it’s hot outside? Call me Captain Obvious, but I may have lost 10 pounds in water weight the last few weeks. Ironic humor aside, when the temperatures rise, so do the risks of heatstroke and exhaustion, and after a week of running on tennis courts reaching triple digit temperatures, I think it’s a very important topic to discuss.
Our bodies are active and adaptive machines. Whenever we come into contact with a change in our environment, our body naturally begins to maintain our homeostasis. In the heat our bodies react by sweating and breathing. These behaviors help to cool the skin and keep our core temperature level. However, when temperatures rise too quickly, do not decrease during the nighttime, or the humidity levels rise too high, our bodies find it hard to regulate.
We are susceptible to heat exhaustion and heatstroke when we cannot regulate our body’s core temperature. While the two illnesses are related, they manifest in different ways. See our infograph below for a list of symptoms.
Heat exhaustion can be treated without seeking medical attention. Much like your iPhone, once heat exhaustion sets in, we recommend you go onto “low power mode”; rest, try to find a cooler area, and drink water. Do not attempt the ice bucket challenge or go from extreme heat to extreme cold, as the rapid fire temperature change can shock the body causing more issues and potentially cause you to be hospitalized.
Heat exhaustion becomes heatstroke when the body can no longer cool itself. Sweat cools the body by evaporating off skin and leaving the area cool. Without sweat, the body’s outer temperature will rise, causing the core temperature to rise as well, impacting the central nervous system and circulatory system. One of the biggest indicators of impending heatstroke is muscle cramps. If you or a loved one are suffering from heatstroke call 911 immediately. According to the National Weather Service, on average 130 people die in the United States each year from heatstroke. Elderly people and children are the most susceptible to heatstroke, and thus extreme caution must be taken when a heat wave occurs.
To combat these heat related illnesses we suggest double checking your air conditioning and making sure it is in working order. Drink lots of water to replenish your body’s supply. Your body is not a closed circuit so when you perspire often you will lose water more quickly. Do not leave pets or children unattended in parked cars. Even with the windows down cars heat up extremely quickly.
While this heat wave may be a sure sight better than the “Snowmaggedon” of February past, it’s still affecting us greatly. More than 20 children have died in cars these past few weeks and many people have been sent to the hospital with heatstroke. We urge our readers to protect themselves against heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Enjoy the outdoors, but enjoy them responsibly!
Tom Curcio, the driving force behind Curcio Law, is a dedicated trial lawyer with more than 35 years of experience in Northern Virginia. He has dedicated his career to representing people who have been seriously injured through no fault of their own. He works tirelessly to obtain the compensation his clients are legally entitled to…
Rakin Hamad is a recent graduate of the George Mason Law School and joined Curcio Law as an associate in August 2018. Rakin works closely with Tom Curcio and staff in preparing cases from the initial client meeting through trial and has been a perfect fit for the firm. During law school, Rakin interned at…
Julia Martinez, a Florida native, joined Curcio Law as a paralegal in 2013. She began her legal career in 1998 working at a personal injury firm that primarily handled automobile accidents, slip and falls, and products liability cases. Then, in 2008 she expanded her knowledge by working at two other law firms. She obtained her…
As the firm’s office manager, Kathy McAfee is dedicated to making sure the office runs smoothly and that the team has what it needs by way of resources, technology, and supplies to best serve our clients. Kathy graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Roanoke College in 1986 and afterward, returned to Alexandria. She began…
Maureen Burke was born and raised in the Boston, Massachusetts area and relocated to the Alexandria area in 1984 where she and her husband raised their three children. Maureen graduated with a BS in Nursing from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire and an MS in Nursing from George Mason University. Maureen has worked at…
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