Surviving the Heat

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ashley N. Steffen
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Asphalt hot enough to fry an egg, winds that feel like a million blow-dryers, and sun baking your skin to the color of lobster red, welcome to another summer in Tucson, Arizona.

There are a variety of dangers associated with the rise in temperature that should not go overlooked. When the weather warms up, people like to barbecue or go for a hike on nearby trails to enjoy the sun. Often forgetting that they need to drink more water while engaging in activities in the extreme heat. Staying properly hydrated can avoid overheating and overexertion of the body.

"In the summer time we have a huge increase of injuries happen, not just because of the heat, but because it's hotter outside, people want to get out and do more things," said Senior Airman Joshua A. McKay, 355th Fighter Wing occupational and health safety inspector. "Around this time of year, we have more illnesses, like heat stress and dehydration."

Our bodies react to being active in the heat by releasing sweat; that release of water has to come from somewhere, which is why hydration is a key part in staying healthy.

"Once you feel thirsty in this heat, you are already dehydrated," McKay said. "You should be drinking water regardless if you feel thirsty or not."

Drinking water, wearing loose clothing, long sleeved shirts, and following work/rest cycles are a few ways to fight against dehydration, sunburns and heat related illnesses.

"One of the biggest dangers on the flightline is being overworked in the heat, especially with the weather being so hot," said Staff Sgt. Antwoine L. Giles, 355th Fighter Wing occupational and health safety inspector, and former maintainer. "Follow the work-rest cycle. If overworked, there is an increased risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke."

Giles also encourages the use of the wingman concept. If someone is looking pale in the face, complains of stomach cramps, or looks exhausted, step in and take their workload so they can rest and rehydrate.

"It's team work," Giles said. "We all have to follow the wingman concept, and look out for each other out there."