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Heat Safety Know How – A Lesson From the US Armed Forces

heatsaftyWe’ve seen record breaking heat across the country this year and Summer’s not over yet. here are some safety tips from the U.S. military that’s great knowledge for everybody.They call them “the 101 critical days of Summer”, the days that pose the better chances of heat illnesses for our hard-working, always training service members and August typically accounts for the hottest of those days. The Summer heat is dangerous for everybody; it’s been the number one weather related killer in the U.S. for the past ten years.

High heat and humidity can reduce your body’s ability to cool itself and that’s dangerous for anybody spending time outdoors without proper shelter or who may overexert themselves. Major Christopher Brett is chief of ambulatory nursing at Fort Mead and gives us early warning signs that can lead to more serious heat related complications.

“We start out with mild dehydration and there are two main symptoms – increased thirst and decreased urine output”

After that, he says the symptoms can worsen and we should all know the warning signs…
“When you get into heat exhaustion, the body starts to sweat profusely, confusion sets in; your heart rate goes, up, you actually stop sweating.”

heat saftyYour body loses the ability to regulate your temperature and that’s dangerous!
Major Brett emphasizes, “This is a medical emergency; you need to get into air-conditioning quickly!”
Then it’s time to call 911 and get medical help on the way immediately. Of course the goal is prevention and staying hydrated is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Drink plenty of water! The best advice is to drink room temperature or cool water. Cold water actually causes the body to use more needed energy to warm up the water to absorb it.

Fort Meade Safety Director Kirk Fechter says, “Only in extreme cases do people drink too much water. If you do drink too much water, then drink something like Gatorade to maintain your electrolyte balance.”
We still have many more hot days left this year, so remember these tips while you work and play outdoors.

For WeatherNation: John Van Pelt


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