How To Stay Cool on the Airsoft Field: Heat Injuries and Prevention

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For your own safety, and the safety of players around you, learn how to identify and deal with heat exhaustion and heat stroke which are the most common heat-induced illnesses on the airsoft field and many other outdoor sports and activities.


Prevention - The best way to stave off heat-related illness is to:
1.Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the event.
2.Stay cool: Try to stay out of direct sunlight between 10 am and 2 pm. Wear loose, light clothing.
3.Take a break: When you start panting and sweating profusely, take a break and sit down in the shade. Remove outer layers of equipment when appropriate. If wearing moisture-wicking garments, expose as much surface area to the air as possible. Use this time to hydrate while your heart and respiratory rates return to normal.

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Identification - Know the signs and symptoms.
1.Mild: The earliest symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are rapid heart rate and profuse sweating. Even a sunburn can be a symptom so wear that lotion!
2.Moderate: Symptoms will progress to dizziness or disorientation, lightheadedness, headache, weakness, thirst, muscle cramping, nausea, vomiting, decreased urine output with dark-colored or strong-smelling urine.
3.Severe: Late symptoms include cessation of sweating, hot red skin, altered mental status, syncopal episodes (fainting spells), seizure and unresponsiveness.

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Treatment - Deal with it.
1.As soon as you recognize symptoms of heat casualty in yourself, or see the signs in someone else...ACT!, seek medical attention.
3.The onset of moderate symptoms is an indication for removal from the airsoft playing field to a staging area. Escort the patient from the field to a shaded, cooler location. Have the patient remove equipment and excess clothing. Fan the patient to increase evaporative cooling. If the patient can tolerate it, have them sip water. Monitor the patient until symptoms resolve. If symptoms persist after 30 minutes, seek medical attention.
4.A patient showing advanced signs constitutes a medical emergency requiring immediate advanced medical care and treatment at an Emergency Department. If you are in a field with an emergency response plan, activate it without delay and stop play in the vicinity. If there is no emergency plan in place, call 911 or your local emergency phone number. Move the patient to a cooler area out of direct sunlight. Remove equipment from the patient including heavy, tight, or restrictive clothing. If the patient is still sweating, fan the patient to provide cooling. Apply ice packs to the groin, armpits, and neck. If the patient is not sweating, douse their core with tepid water and continue fanning. If the patient is unconscious or otherwise unable to protect his airway, GIVE NOTHING BY MOUTH and ROLL THE PATIENT INTO THE RECOVERY POSITION. This patient should be closely monitored until care is turned over to a higher medical authority. If the patient seizes, STAY CALM, do not attempt to restrain them. Do not insert anything into the patient's mouth. Remove hazardous objects from around the patient to prevent injury. Monitor the patient's airway, if the patient vomits or makes gurgling sounds, try to roll them into the recovery position to protect their airway. When the patient stops seizing, do not expect them to regain consciousness immediately. Continue efforts to cool the patient, maintain their airway and get them medical help as soon as possible.

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Conclusion:
Most instances of heat-related illness can be avoided entirely by practicing moderation of exertion and adequate hydration. Unfortunately, many players can be stubborn, even in the hot weather or on a hot cloudy day, and will choose to ignore the minor symptoms in an effort to "work through" their discomfort. Often, this usually only leads to a worsening illness and increased recovery time.

If you see someone showing signs of heat-related illness, please talk to them. Tell them what you are seeing, and what they can do to help themselves. If you are playing at a well-run field, consider notifying a staff member when you recognize the above symptoms in yourself or another player so they can deal with it per their protocols.

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1 COMMENTS
Posted: 
July 28, 2017  •  11:53 AM
1: is super important, but people dont understand HOW much water you need to take in whiling doing physcial exercise in the heat. When I backpack I usually drink almost 4 liters of water a day, and even so I have come out dehydrated.
 
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