SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. – — â€œEverybody, hydrate!â€
This is a saying that is drilled into the minds of Airmen from the day they arrive at Air Force Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.
However, dehydration and other heat related injuries continue to be major issues during the summer months.
â€œPrevention is key,â€ said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Amy Santos, 4th Aerospace Medicine Squadron superintendent. â€œIf you wait until you are thirsty, then typically you are already dehydrated.â€
Since physical fitness is part of any military career, Airmen should learn how to stay protected while working out. The 4th AMDS works to provide Airmen with proper heat advisory and flags to know what they should or shouldnâ€™t do when the mercury rises. To ensure Airmen are aware of heat conditions, green, yellow, red and black flags are placed outside of the fitness center.
Under green flag conditions, it is okay to perform PT tests and work out outdoors. Yellow flag stops fitness testing and alerts Airmen to be cautious when working out. Red flag also stops fitness testing and suggests Airmen carry out activities with caution, and black flag means no fitness testing and no unit PT outside.
â€œYou donâ€™t always have to go running outside for miles to increase endurance and stamina,â€ said Senior Airman Jerad Perea, 4th Force Support Squadron fitness supervisor. â€œCircuit training increases this as well. Your body doesnâ€™t like change, so mix it up!â€
Airmen should understand symptoms of heat related illnesses that can be found in the Airmanâ€™s Manual. Along with dehydration, sunburns and heat exhaustion are also concerns on base.
â€œTake breaks as needed during hot conditions,â€ Santos said. â€œKnow your limits and stay safe. Even, young, active and healthy Airmen are at risk for heat related conditions or illnesses. Also, use sunscreen when outdoors, the most dangerous hours for exposure to the sunâ€™s harmful rays are between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.â€
Like all good things, balance is important.
According to Perea, a good way to track your hydration is by checking urine.
â€œIt should have a slight yellow tint to it,â€ Perea said. â€œBut if itâ€™s dark and has an odor you are dehydrated. If itâ€™s clear like water, you may be over hydrated.â€
With the summer months here, it is important to stay hydrated, protected and knowledgeable to heat related illnesses. For more information refer to the Airmanâ€™s Manual pages 180-184 or contact your unit safety representative.