Don’t sweat heat injuries – People should take precautions to stay cool

It’s summer, and most people are primed for picnics, pools and barbecues. But whether on or off duty, everyone must remain on high alert to avoid heat stress.
Heat stress is the combination of environmental and physiological factors that constitute the total heat load on the body.
Under extreme conditions, heat injuries can result if precautions aren’t taken. The chart below shows varying degrees of heat injury, as well as the corresponding symptoms and first-aid measures.
Excessive heat stress is dangerous and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but people can protect themselves if they play a part in its prevention.
The base bioenvironmental engineering section monitors the Wet Bulb Globe Temperatures and reports the results to base command post. The WBGT index is the best indicator of heat stress exposure because it combines dry, wet and radiant readings. Dry readings are what most thermometers measure and what blinks at many financial institutions, wet readings incorporate humidity, and radiant readings reflect the solar load.
The base command post provides current WBGT conditions upon request and can be reached at 480-2122.
Everyone conducting outdoor activities on particularly hot days should obtain information concerning the WBGT and follow preventive measures below:
• Wear loose-fitting clothes
• Drink plenty of water (small amounts frequently throughout the day)
• Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages if engaged in strenuous activities
• Modify activity schedules to perform the heaviest work in the coolest parts of the day
• Be aware of heat injury symptoms and first aid for heat injuries
For more information, call the 435th Medical Group Bioenvironmental Engineering office at 479-2220. (Courtesy of Ramstein Public Health and Bioenvironmental Engineering sections)