News: Preventing heat injuries: tips about how to stay safe in iwakuni summer heat
Story by Lance Cpl. Charles Clark
IWAKUNI, Japan - Summer in Iwakuni can be a festive time of the year, but potential heat injuries can increase.
Before station residents put on their running shoes to go out for some physical training, they should know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.
Station personnel should have a water source nearby while conducting physical training or any kind of physical activity outside.
Lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothes should also be worn by station residents to avoid heat related injuries.
There are certain cooling mechanisms the human body has which help rid the body of unnecessary heat.
Convection, radiation and the evaporation of sweat are considered the body’s cooling mechanisms.
Convection is the loss of heat to air, and radiation is the loss of heat to surrounding objects. High temperatures, humidity and direct sun light while outdoors are different factors which could lead to heat stress. Internal and external factors can subject the body to heat stress, which is the total heat burden to the body.
Different kinds of heat injuries can be experienced when an individual is faced with heat stress.
Excessive muscle contractions are felt in the legs, arms or abdomen of an individual experiencing a heat cramp. Profuse sweating, headaches, nausea and vomiting occur due to excessive loss of water and salt in the body when an individual is experiencing heat exhaustion.
Heat stroke occurs when an individual is feeling dizzy, confused, disorientated, drowsy, weak and nauseous.
An individual with heat stroke may experience headaches and show signs of irritable behavior. The skin may be hot or dry and the internal body temperature may rise above 104 degrees.
Heat stroke may result from heat cramps and heat exhaustion.
Heat strokes are medical emergencies, and anyone thought to be experiencing a heat stroke needs immediate medical attention.
Treat heat cramps by moving the person experiencing the cramp out of direct sunlight and into a cool, shaded area.
Stretch the calf and thigh muscles gently through the cramp. This usually brings immediate relief.
Treating heat exhaustion is very similar to treating heat cramps.
Make sure the person is breathing, and move him or her to a shaded area. Cooler is better when treating heat related injuries.
Make sure the individual is drink liquids and help cool the body down.
Keep these recommendations in mind during the hot and humid summer months in order to stay safe and beat the heat.