The Human Hotel compares the body to a hotel. Reggie, a fun-spirited, hard working red blood cell, is your travel guide through this adventure. This book will captivate the attention of young readers and subtly deliver an educational message.
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The Human Hotel
By Lisa Wood
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Lisa Wood
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Hi! I'm Reggie, and I am a red blood cell. I'll be your travel guide on this exciting adventure through your body-your human hotel."
(Skin) Integumentary System
Hotels come in many different colors and sizes, just like people. The outside of a hotel protects against rain and snow. The outside of our body, our skin, protects us against germs. Windows help control the temperature in a room, just like the pores on your skin.
A hotel would need to be fixed if it cracked. Fixing small problems is a good idea, because they could turn into big problems. We wouldn't want to let a lot of bugs in, especially termites!
Reggie says it's a good idea to wash your hands often, especially when you get a cut. You don't want the cut to get infected.
Have you ever had a Band-aid on your finger?
Your bones are like the support beams in a hotel. Your bones give you structure so you can stand. A broken support beam in a hotel's framework would spell trouble.
Construction workers repair damages at a hotel. Doctors can help repair damages to bones. You might need a cast applied if you broke a bone.
A doctor sometimes needs to take a picture of a broken bone; this is called an x-ray. Once the bone has healed, you can run and play again.
Have you ever had a cast on your arm or leg?
A hotel hires many different types of workers. Our body has many different types of muscles that we can use to jump and play. Our muscles have various shapes and sizes.
They allow us to move. Round muscles help your mouth and eyes open and close (so you can wink and talk). Flexors let us shorten our muscles, like when we make a fist. Extendors do the opposite, like when we open a fist.
A sprain is what happens when you stretch a muscle too far. Ouch! Reggie has been working out at the gym. His biceps are very large. Reggie says exercising is great for your body.
We have over six hundred different muscles in our body!
At the Human Hotel there are many hallways and elevators that connect the rooms. The guests and the employees can use these hallways and elevators to move around. Housekeeping can bring fresh food and clean towels to the rooms and remove dirty dishes and used towels from them.
Blood vessels are like these hallways. Blood vessels allow for the transportation of oxygen and chemical messages to the cells and the removal of waste from the cells. The heart is an amazing four-chambered pump that keeps all the blood moving throughout your body.
What would happen if all the hallways were blocked? Reggie would have trouble delivering this delicious meal. A medical problem called atherosclerosis (ath-uh-roh-skluh-roh-sis) can cause your blood vessels to get clogged up. We don't want that!
Did you know that if all your blood vessels were lined up, they could go around the world three times?
Mmm. What smells good? The kitchen of a hotel is where food is made for the guests. Our bodies need nutritious foods so we can have energy. We use our mouth to chew food, and then it goes through our intestines to be absorbed.
A hotel has many pipes that twist and turn. This is called the plumbing system. Much like our digestive system, it removes waste products that the guests have created.
If a hotel gets a clogged drain, a janitor can usually fix the problem. If your body gets clogged, your tummy may hurt. Sometimes your mom may need to give you some medicine. Reggie says to drink lots of water and eat fruits and vegetables to keep your system functioning smoothly.
The body's urinary system filters your blood and removes extra water and waste. It's also like the plumbing system in a hotel. The urinary system is what makes you need to tinkle.
The hotel's heating and cooling vents allow air to move in and out of each room. They have filters to keep the air clean.
Your respiratory system allows air into and out of your lungs when you breathe. Tiny cells in your lungs called alveoli allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to be exchanged. The respiratory and circulatory systems work hand in hand to bring oxygen to your cells and to remove carbon dioxide from your cells. Nose hairs act like filters to keep germs from getting into your lungs.
Reggie says it's a good idea to cough into your sleeve if you have a cold, so you won't get others sick.
Did you know that when you sneeze, the air can travel over one hundred miles per hour?
Security guards keep us safe at a hotel. Our lymphatic system is like a security guard. When germs try to make us sick, our body can usually fight off the intruders. If the security guard falls asleep, trouble could result for the guests.
Similarly, the body's systems could be in danger if the lymphatic system falls asleep. Antibiotics help us if we get sick or if our immune response is too weak.
A security guard walks the hallways at a hotel, keeping his eyes open, just like white blood cells in our lymphatic system and circulatory system that search for infections in the body. Your lymphatic system provides protection against germs that may enter your body.
Have you ever had an infection?
A hotel is controlled by a boss. The brain is the organ in charge in your body. Our brain sends electrical signals to tell our body what is needed, just like a boss sends instructions to workers by e-mail or cell phone.
The wiring system in a hotel is similar to the nervous system in our body. Both systems relay messages by an electrical type of communication.
The five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing) receive a stimulus from the environment and then send that information to the brain. The brain then interprets the information and sends orders back to the body on how to respond.
Reggie says to get plenty of sleep to keep your brain functioning at its best.
Did you know you have more brain cells than there are stars in the sky?
The boss of a hotel can also communicate with the employees by way of memos and letters. Our body can also communicate with our 100 trillion cells by way of chemical messages, thanks to the endocrine system.
Endocrine organs secrete molecules called hormones, which are chemical messages. These messages travel through the blood stream to your cells to keep your body functioning correctly.
If our brain didn't tell our pancreas to make insulin after eating a meal, the blood sugar in our body would increase too much and we could develop a condition called diabetes.
Miscommunication at a hotel can lead to problems. Miscommunication in our body systems can lead to illness and disease. The endocrine system and the nervous system work hand in hand to keep the body in balance.
Do you know anyone with diabetes?
A power outage in a hotel would cause many problems in the building. For example, guests could not use the elevators; they would need to use the stairs. Flashlights would need to be used for lighting instead of light bulbs. Toilets could not be flushed.
A breakdown in one body system can cause problems for the other body systems. If your brain had an injury, messages could get mixed up. But there is good news: our body does adapt and adjust fairly well.
Did you know the heart has eight backup mechanisms? Did you know not drinking enough water can give you a headache? Did you know your heart has to work harder if you're overweight?
Reggie says to take good care of all your body systems.
Hotels have yearly inspections. If a problem is found, it can be fixed.
It is also a good idea to visit your doctor once a year. Your doctor will record your weight, blood pressure, and temperature, and he or she will check to see if your body is working properly. Sometimes your body is good at telling you when something is wrong, by sending pain.
But sometimes the body can go for years without a warning signal. High blood pressure is a good example of a condition that does not show many warning symptoms.
Doctors will give you good advice on how to stay healthy, such as recommendations to exercise, eat right, and get plenty of sleep. Sometimes you need a vaccination to prevent harmful conditions, like the measles or the flu. You probably had many vaccinations when you were little and don't even remember!
Hotels are built from a blueprint. If the workers make even a small mistake when they are building, problems can happen.
We are built from our parents' blueprints. A small mistake can sometimes happen to people.
My cousin Ronald looks a lot different from me because of a small mistake in his blueprints. Instead of being round like me, he is pointed at the ends and skinny in the middle.
He has a hard time rolling through the hallways. He has trouble bringing food and supplies to the guests because he gets stuck as a result of his pointy end. Maybe someday scientists can figure out how to make him round again!
Do you know anyone with sickle-cell anemia?
So long for now. I hope you had a good time learning about your incredible human body - your human hotel. When all the body systems work together, in balance, you can feel great! The medical term for this balance is homeostasis (hoh-mee-uh-stey-sis).
Well, I must get back to work now and get this luggage upstairs to the guests.
I hope the hallways aren't blocked!
Excerpted from The Human Hotel by Lisa Wood Copyright © 2010 by Lisa Wood. Excerpted by permission.
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