BACH Health Professionals Urge Soldiers and Families to Stay Hydrated in the Heat – Clarksville Online


Fort Campbell, Kentucky – The current heatwave that is scorching most of the country is creating dangerous outdoor conditions, said Nita Hackwell, environmental health, preventive medicine and environmental health technician at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital.

To reduce the risk of heat-related injury or illness, soldiers, families and civilians can take a few steps to protect themselves, Hackwell said.

heat line

One way for residents to avoid heat-related emergencies is to understand what they face when they go outside, she said.

Knowing what to expect and whether it is advisable to be outdoors can help plan activities and determine how much water to drink or pack.

Contacting the Fort Campbell Heat Line at 270.798.4328 and getting a temperature reading is one way to do this.

“The Heat Line provides the wet bulb temperature [WBGT] index and heat category to members of the Fort Campbell community who train, work and play outdoors in direct sunlight,” said Hackwell. “Monitoring the WBGT index is an important step in determining when modifications to outdoor physical activity should be made to prevent heat-related illness.”

Unlike the heat index, which measures temperature and humidity in shaded areas, the WBGT takes into account the effect of direct sunlight in temperature. The result is a more accurate reflection of what staff will experience during the training.

“The WBGT combines temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and solar radiation [cloud cover],” she says. “The dry bulb is used to measure ambient air temperature, the wet bulb is used to measure relative humidity and airflow, and the black globe indicates exposure to heat. radiant in full sun.”

The WBGT Index is provided by the Environmental Health Section of BACH’s Department of Preventive Medicine every hour from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, when air temperatures are expected to exceed 75 degrees, Hackwell said.

After hours, the WBGT index can be obtained by calling Range Control at 270.798.3001.

“Because the WBGT rating may vary in other locations and over different types of surfaces – grass, asphalt, etc. – the WBGT rating provided by Environmental Health and Range Control should only be used as a guideline. indicative and WBGT should be measured at the same location where outdoor activities take place,” Hackwell said.

Heat categories and exercise

The WBGT is used to calculate heat categories, which determine how long exercise should be performed and the fluid intake needed to cope with the temperature.

“The heat categories range from 1 to 5,” Hackwell said. “As the WBGT index increases, it can become more difficult for the body to cool down properly, which can lead to conditions such as dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. . The WBGT rating is increased by 5 degrees when wearing body armor and 10 degrees in MOPP 4.”

Mission Oriented Protective Posture, or MOPP, is personal protective equipment, or PPE, worn by troops in contaminated environments and significantly increases core body temperature when worn in hot weather.

Exercising in extreme heat without being properly hydrated can lead to dangerous health conditions, said Gabriel Gamez, Environmental Health, Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health Technician, BACH.

“Losing 4% of body weight due to dehydration degrades physical performance by 50%, which can happen in just two hours,” Gamez said.

To reduce the risk of heat-related illness or injury, Fort Campbell personnel should consult the Work/Rest and Water Consumption Chart to measure the amount of water consumed per hour and track rest times. appropriate, Hackwell said.

The work/rest and water consumption chart can be found at

“As the WBGT index increases, physical intensity should be reduced and fluid replacement should increase,” she said. “The work/rest and water consumption chart provides recommendations for work/rest cycles and water consumption for each heat category and work intensity – easy, moderate and hard.”

heat injury

Heat-related illnesses include rashes, sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, clumsy or unsteady walking, and muscle cramps,” Gamez said. “Heat stroke presents as an altered mental state, profuse sweating, convulsions and chills, stumbling, vomiting, confusion, mumbling, combative behavior and fainting, or [falling] unconscious.”

The CDC recommends moving to a cooler area immediately if you experience heat exhaustion or cramps and seeking medical attention if someone is suspected of having heatstroke.

For more advice on heat-related injuries and illnesses, call BACH Preventative Medicine at 270.956.0100, 270.956.0202 or 270.956.0114.


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