Health & Safety

May 11, 2012

Health professionals offer cool advice

By Airman 1st Class Lincoln Korver
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

(AFNS) — Anyone who has gone through basic military training knows how seriously the instructors take “hydrating,” but do the trainees really know why they are encouraged to drink water regularly and beyond thirst?

The human body’s main goal is to maintain homeostasis, or balance, in all aspects of function. This includes maintaining a constant core internal temperature. Two main ways the body tries to combat overheating is by increasing blood flow to the skin’s surface in order to dissipate heat and by releasing sweat through pores to cause conventional cooling. Replacing fluids that were lost through sweat and urine is therefore essential.

“When cooling mechanisms begin to decompensate, the results can be catastrophic if not dealt with early on,” said Dr. Peter Paily, of the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Family Medical Care Clinic. “This can develop into heat illness.”

There are three types, he said.

Heat cramps are painful, involuntary contractions usually developed in large muscle groups including the arms, legs and trunk. They result from dehydration and an extreme loss of electrolytes. If the body does not receive proper treatment, this can lead to heat exhaustion.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include rapid heart rate, fatigue, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting, headaches, blurred vision and possible fainting, Paily said.

If these symptoms are not taken seriously, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

This is a complete breakdown of the body’s cooling system, he said. Common symptoms include body temperature surpassing 103 degrees; a stopping of sweat production; dry, flushed and red skin; headaches; weakness; lightheadedness and fainting; rapid pulse; shortness of breath; seizures; confusion; hallucinations; and unconsciousness.

“This is a medical emergency that can lead to death,” Paily said. “Call 911 immediately and move the victim to a cool area, cool them with water and loosen constrictive clothing.”

Four thousand Americans die from a heat-related illness each year, Paily said.

Although people of all age groups are at risk of getting heat illness, there are specific things that can make certain people more susceptible to it, said Brenda Wallsmith, a registered nurse at the clinic.

“Those at greatest risk for heat-related illness include infants and children up to 4 years of age, people 65 years of age and older, people who are overweight and people who are ill or on certain medications,” Wallsmith said.

While heat illness is a serious issue, precautionary actions can be surprisingly simple.

To prevent heat illness, people should stay hydrated; wear loose, light-colored clothing; get proper rest; and stay committed to having a healthy diet, Paily said.

“Heat-related illnesses … should not be taken lightly,” Paily said. “Symptoms can creep up on you faster than you think. So simply staying hydrated and taking precautions can prevent a fatal outcome from heat-related illness.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
summer

Don’t risk it, avoid being a driving statistic

U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Rachel Loftis As summer temperatures soar into the high 100s, vacations and road trips are becoming more necessary in order to escape the blistering heat. It is important to remem...
 
 
doctor

Ask the Doc

Q.“I’m an active duty family member. My family and I are moving to a different TRICARE region. How do we transfer our TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Prime Remote, TRICARE Overseas Program Prime, TOP Prime Remote enrollment? &#...
 
 
swimming-safety

Swimming safety serious every single summer

  Airmen are reminded to take all precautionary swimming safety steps prior to jumping in the pool, lake or ocean this summer. According to the National Safety Council, preparation is important for all sporting activities,...
 

 

Pediatrics to begin school, sports physicals

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The 99th Medical Operations Squadron Pediatric Clinic is offering ‘after duty hours’ school and sports physicals. These exams will be offered from 4 to 5:45 p.m., July 23, 30, and Aug. 4, 6, 13, 14, 19 and 21. Due to space limitations, patients will need to check-in at the family medicine...
 
 
tattoo

Tattoos: Good, bad, permanent

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Tattoos are becoming more commonplace in today’s society and therefore in the Air Force, which makes it important for Airmen to know wha...
 
 
doctor

Ask the Doc

Q.“I am a TRICARE Reserve Select member. Will my newborn baby be covered under TRICARE Reserve Select?“ A. Your newborn baby will be covered only if you register your baby in Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reportin...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin