Health & Safety

March 7, 2014

Surviving the summer in Arizona

summer-art
With summer on the way, there are a few extra precautions that Airmen and their families should take before heading outdoors. 

Tech. Sgt. Mathew Anderson, 355th Fighter Wing ground safety noncommissioned officer, and Cindy Davis, the Health and Wellness Center’s community dietician share helpful tips to keep Airmen safe during the Arizona summer.

“When school lets out you will have the children, bicyclists, and runners as one of the main things to watch out for on base,” Anderson said.

Not only should Airmen be aware of pedestrians, but also the unique animals that come out in Tucson during the summer months.

“Animals to watch out for are snakes, spiders, scorpions, javelinas, and Africanized Honey Bees,” Anderson said.

Africanized bees have much stronger venom then normal honey bees, and will attack and chase in numbers.

Anderson explained that the difference between Africanized bees and regular honey bees is that the Africanized bees will make a hive anywhere. Places like on the sides of walls, fire hydrants, and trash cans are possible places for these bees to call home.

If one were to come into contact with a hive on base, stay as far away from it as possible and call entomology at 520-228-5368.

Remaining aware of your surroundings when going out is important and knowing about the area prior to arriving will help prevent mishaps.

“The more you know about the surrounding areas, the more you’re going to know what to look out for,” Anderson said.

Taking precautionary measures for the Arizona heat is very important. However what may seem like a good idea to keep cool and make life easier could get you into trouble.

“Leaving a car running and unattended on base is something you could be cited for,” Anderson said.

Some ideas to keep the temperature down in your car are cracking your windows or purchasing a sun shade. Also remember the golden rule, never leave your children unattended in a vehicle.

It’s always a good idea to watch what you eat during the summer as well as drinking plenty of water. This particular food group is not only nutritious but delicious.

“Fresh produce has water, which will help hydrate you and help better regulate your body temperature,” Davis said.

Davis cautioned that foods containing large amounts of fat during the summer months as well as protein should be consumed in moderation. Fats have a high calorie count, therefore the energy burned to work off the extra calories causes body temperatures to rise. Proteins also take more energy to break their bonds, causing body temperature to rise and overheat.

“If you eat something and realize it raises your heat, then you’re going to want to eat it in moderation or eliminate it from your diet till cooler weather,” Davis said.

Poor diet, a lack of hydrating and extended periods of sun exposure can lead to heat exhaustion or even stroke.

The 355th FW ground safety team wants you to look out for these sign: sweating heavily, headaches, upset stomach or vomiting as well as cool, pale or flushed skin. These are signs of heat exhaustion. This should be treated by seeking a cool place to rest and consuming a half a glass of water every 15 minutes. If not treated heat exhaustion could lead to heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, red skin, dizziness and confusion, a weak rapid pulse and rapid shallow breathing. If someone begins exhibiting these symptoms call 911 immediately.

To prevent heat exhaustion or stroke, Airmen should avoid strenuous activity during the heat of the day, rest in shade often, and limit activities to the coolest part of the day.

For more information on how to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke you can visit http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oeh/pdf/heat_brochure.pdf . For additional safety tips visit the ground safety site https://dm.eim.acc.af.mil/355FW/SE/default.aspx .




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(U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

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