Lay On! Lay On!

The Heat is On

Hello Northshield Army. I’m Baron Jean-Robert LeMarchand, your current Kingdom Rapier Marshal (KRM). Pennsic is literally right around the corner. This summer has been especially hot, and as such, it is time for the perennial reminder to avoid heat injuries. 


Everyone thinks about sunburn. It’s obvious, and easy to avoid if you actually remember to apply the sunscreen you packed away for the trip. However, because the heat and humidity have been exceptional this year, I want to specifically remind the Northshield Army about two much bigger dangers: Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke. 


Heat Exhaustion


Heat exhaustion occurs after being exposed to high temperatures for extended periods and often is accompanied by dehydration. There are two types of heat exhaustion: water depletion, and salt depletion. The most common signs of heat exhaustion are:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Thirst
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pale clammy skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Weak and rapid heartbeat

If you, or anyone else, has symptoms of heat exhaustion, it's essential to immediately get out of the heat and rest, try to find the nearest cool and shady place. Drink plenty of fluids, especially sports drinks to replace lost salt. Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing. That means, if you need to, get out of your armor.  Take a cool shower, or apply cold cloths to the head, neck, and armpits. 

If such measures fail to provide relief of these symptoms within 15 minutes, seek medical help, because untreated heat exhaustion can quickly progress to heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion is strongly related to the heat index, which is a measurement of how hot you feel when the effects of relative humidity and air temperature are combined. A relative humidity of 60% or more hampers sweat evaporation, which hinders your body's ability to cool itself.

The risk of heat exhaustion increases when the heat index climbs to 90 degrees or more. So it's important to pay attention to the reported heat index, and also to remember that the heat index is even higher when you are standing in full sunshine. 

Some things to remember and consider:

You may be more prone to heat exhaustion if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, take certain medications like diuretics, blood pressure medication, psychotropics, or even if you already have a sunburn. If you perhaps celebrated heavily the night before you may already be starting out dehydrated. Be sure you are fully hydrated BEFORE going out on the field.

 

Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY! Heat stroke can damage the brain or other internal organs or lead to death. Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures in combination with dehydration, which leads to failure of the body's temperature control system. The defining characteristic of heat stroke is a body core temperature greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Common symptoms are:

  • Throbbing headache 
  • Dizzyness and light-headedness 
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat 
  • Red, hot, and dry skin 
  • Muscle weakness or cramps 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak 
  • Rapid, shallow breathing 
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering 
  • Fainting 
  • Seizures 
  • Unconsciousness

If you suspect that someone has a heat stroke, immediately call 911 or transport the person to a hospital. Any delay seeking medical help can be fatal. 

While you are waiting for emergency personnel:

  • Move the person to an air-conditioned environment -- or at least a cool, shady area -- and remove any unnecessary clothing. Get them out of armor and down to skivies if you need to.

  • Fan air over the patient while wetting their skin with water from a sponge or garden hose.
  • Apply ice packs to the patient's armpits, groin, neck, and back. Because these areas are rich with blood vessels close to the skin, cooling them may reduce body temperature.

  • Immerse the patient in a shower or tub of cool water.

As I said before, this is a medical emergency and time is of the essence. Getting the core body temperature down quickly may save a life. 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

The biggest thing to do is be self aware. If you start experiencing the symptoms of heat exhaustion...Stop. Go cool down and hydrate. Don’t try and tough it out.

Hydrate. Drink more than you think you need to. Drink more than just water, salt replacement is also important. 

Pay attention to your fellow fighters. If someone just isn’t acting right, sit them down, get them in the shade, get them checked out. Confusion is one of the early symptoms, and they may not be thinking the best, and you may need to be the one that saves them from themselves. We are one Army, no matter the field, and we look out for each other. 

We are out here to have fun. I want to make sure we all get to do it again next time. 

Hail Hydrate

Baron Jean-Robert LeMarchand de Sel


Other missives from the Kingdom Rapier Marshal
Posted by: Jean Robert LeMarchand de Sel Kingdom Rapier Marshal on 7/23/2019

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