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NEWS | July 8, 2008

Prevent heat injuries or death during ‘dog days of summer’

By Capt. Isaiah Manigault 437th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Bioenvironmental and Engineering Flight

Hundreds of heat-related deaths and injuries occur each year throughout America. The onset of heat stress, heat stroke and death can occur quickly when the situation is ignored.

It is important that Airmen are aware of when their environment and bodies approach their limits in regards to heat. Monitoring and preventing these conditions are important to surviving the heat. Schedule workouts or heavy work in the mornings, wear loose-fitting clothes when possible, avoid working in direct sun, use fans to create air movement whenever possible and drink the recommended amounts of water. Airmen should be especially wary of the onset of heat injuries if they're not used to being outside in hot and humid conditions. It takes nearly two weeks of constant exposure for the body to become acclimated.

Always work or work-out with a wingman and call 9-1-1 the second it is suspected that someone is experiencing any heat-related symptoms like headaches, fatigue, dizziness, fainting, profuse sweating, hot skin (wet or dry), confusion, nausea and possible vomiting. Move the individual to a cooler environment, cool them with water on and in the body if possible and elevate their legs. Everyone is physiologically different; heat and other unique factors will affect individuals differently.

Don't let the heat compromise health. Contact the command post at 963-8400 for current heat stress conditions.

Personal awareness can help prevent the onset of heat stress during the "dog days of summer."