Alright folks, it is getting to be that time of year again so I wanted to share some information with you about heat related injuries. Workers’ in Virginia contend with hot temperatures and sever humidity that can very easily lead not only to a heat injury, but to a life threatening situation. Severe heat injury can lead to muscle damage, kidney failure, neurological disorders and even death.
Understand what a heat stroke is and be familiar with the symptoms so you may be more likely to recognize it if you or someone you know is reacting to a heat injury – it could save a life!
According to http://orthoinfo.aaos.org:
“Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat injury. When suffering from heat stroke, your body cannot cool itself. This is an acute medical emergency.”
“Heat stroke is medically defined as core body temperature greater than 104 degrees F. Organ system failure can result from this high of a body temperature.”
Some heat stroke or heat exhaustion can be identified by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, disorientation or seizures and in extreme cases, a person can slip into a coma. In other cases, there may not be any outwardly recognizable signs, making it very dangerous for those who work in conditions of extreme heat.
The best way to fight a heat injury is prevention.
Tips for People Who Work in the Heat
*HYDRATE HYDATE HYDRATE!! Drinking plenty of water and keeping your body hydrated is key for keeping your body temperature regulated and preventing injury. Hydrate even if you are not thirsty. Everything I have read suggests you should hydrate before, during and after exposure to extreme temperatures.
*Know the Weather Conditions Watch the weather before you report for work, know what temperatures you can expect and the possible humidity index.
*Take Frequent Breaks
*Wear Appropriate Clothing Wearing anything tight or restricting can keep the heat in. If you are able, wear clothing that is light, loose and breathable
*Look at Your Medications You may need to talk to your doctor and find out if any of the medications you are on can cause reactions to sunlight, extreme heat or dehydration. If you medications do have any of these effects, he/she may be able to prescribe something else or this could mean that you should not be working in extreme heat because of the increased risk of heat injury.
If you suspect heat exhaustion or a heat stroke, call 911 immediately and follow these tips for lowering body temperature until help arrives.
*Remove as much clothing as possible
*Get out of the sun
*Immerse the person in an ice bath OR apply ice packs to the neck, groin and arm pits to aid the body in cooling
*Continue efforts to lower body temperature until emergency services arrive
I have represented the heart broken loved ones of workers’ who lost their lives because of a heat injury. Take precautions as the temperature climbs this summer and protect yourself, no amount of compensation can ever take the place of a loved one.
For more information on Virginia Workers Compensation, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.
Michele Lewane, Esq.