Summer weather may be beautiful, especially compared to the dreary winter months, but it can be just as dangerous as it is pleasant if you don’t take care of yourself. While everyone should worry about their safety in these sweltering temperatures, construction workers, and other people who work outdoors need to take extra precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses and injuries.
Why Is Heat Such A Big Issue?
In order to keep your internal temperature at a safe level, your body needs to get rid of excess heat through sweating and circulating blood to the skin. Normally there’s no issue keeping body temperature within safe levels, but when the outside air is close to or hotter than normal body temperature, it becomes much more difficult. Add in summer humidity, and even sweating loses its effectiveness, forcing your body to store excess body heat, which will increase your core temperature. The more heat your body is forced to store, the more likely you could suffer from serious complications.
Severe sunburns, also known as sun poisoning, can appear within a few hours after your skin has been exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light for too long, and can take several days or more to heal. Excessive sun exposure can increase your risk of developing skin cancers like melanoma, as well as accelerate the skin’s aging process. More immediate symptoms of sun poisoning include:
- Pain, itching, or tenderness
- Fluid-filled blisters
Blisters that rupture are susceptible to bacterial infections, which can lead to further complications, and may need to be treated with antibiotics to get them under control. If you notice any signs of infection, including swelling, redness, pain, or oozing, see a doctor in order to receive the necessary medical treatment.
If your core temperature rises too high, you could suffer heatstroke, the most serious form of heat injury. If left untreated, heatstroke can cause damage to the kidneys, heart, brain, and muscles. The longer it takes to receive the necessary treatment, the worse the damage and risk of death becomes. Symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Body temperature of 104 degrees or higher
- Increased heart rate
- Change in sweating
- Flushed skin
- Rapid breathing
- Change in behavior or mental state
One of the main ways your body deals with increased body temperature is by sweating, and if that fluid isn’t replaced fast enough, you could suffer from dehydration. If you notice yourself becoming dehydrated early on, it’s easy enough to replenish the missing fluids by increasing the amount of water you’ve been drinking. However, if dehydration progresses to more serious levels, you may require immediate medical treatment to avoid more serious complications like a cerebral edema, hypovolemic shock, kidney failure, a coma, seizures, and even death. Symptoms of severe dehydration include:
- Incredibly dry skin, mouth, and mucous membranes
- Extreme thirst
- Sunken eyes
- Little to no urination, or incredibly dark urine
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid breathing
- Increased heartrate
Employers are required to provide a safe working environment for their employees, and that includes ensuring that their workers aren’t suffering from heat-related injuries. If you or a loved one suffered from a heat-related injury while at work, you may be able to seek the compensation you need to cover any medical costs or damages resulting from the injury. At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our personal injury lawyers understand the complications and issues you may face as a result of your injury, and have the skill, resources, and experience necessary to provide you the legal representation you deserve. Visit our website to request a free case evaluation, or give us a call at (732) 440-3089 to set up a meeting with one of our personal injury attorneys.