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Heat Alerts and Hydration

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  • Heat Alerts and Hydration

    Hot and humid everywhere in East. Read everyday has been a red flag day at Jambo. Hope scouts get a weather break soon.

    "Scouts are encouraged to drink water, and they sport a color-coded chart on a lanyard around their neck that helps them determine how much they should be taking in. When Scouts are alerted (signs and phone apps?) that the day has a green flag, they know to drink a half-quart of water per hour. Yellow means three-fourths of a quart per hour. Red flags mean to drink a quart (per hour). Black -- the highest-level caution -- lets Scouts know to drink even more water and avoid highly strenuous activities."

  • #2
    Yesterday, a 30 yr old died hiking in New Hampshire White Mts. The cause has not been determined but heat and dehydration are likely factors. Weather is worse today.


    • packsaddle
      packsaddle commented
      Editing a comment
      Yeah, in this weather it is far superior to die pinned under a rock in a whitewater river or maybe washed over a waterfall or something. My favs involve powerboats, alcohol, and failure to use pfd's...or almost any combination of activities and that alcohol thing.
      Of course, there are always the 'any season' things like cigarettes, lol. Smokers are a dying breed.
      Last edited by packsaddle; 07-19-2013, 10:34 PM.

  • #3
    I recall a "Black Flag" alert during our troop's visit to the 2010 Jambo at AP Hill. Scary sounding siren (really got your attention) followed by the annnouncement. All soda sales were immediately stopped, VA national guard troops were stopping scouts and adults (I was one!) and checking their canteens/water bottles. If it wasn't sufficiently full, they would escort you to a filling station and make sure you took care of it. Hydration during that kind of heat is serious business!!


    • #4
      When I'm in the tropics you'll see me in long pants all of the time. And THAT climate is truly hot and truly humid (100%) much of the time - and I take my charges on some very strenuous activities. Yes, we make sure we're hydrated. But while they tend to strip down to bathing suits a lot of the time and seem to drink everything in sight, I stay covered (I burn really easily and I never use insect repellant). So I compensate by basically staying soaked most of the time. Once it's about 0900, things are pretty steamy and it's about that time that I just soak my shirt and pants (feet are soaked almost all the time anyway, it's unavoidable). Wet bandanna under the hat, wet clothes....and then because my body is still warmer than the surrounding air, the evaporative cooling keeps me comfortable AND requires me to drink less to stay hydrated. AND I don't smell as bad at the end of the day, lol, except for the mildew after a few weeks.

      (heh, heh, I sometimes leave a pair of those gungy shoes at TSA security areas. Let THEM sort it out)

      Even better, once soaked, I agree with John Muir....there is a sense of freedom, that you are ready at that point to just charge right into the bush or the mud without much further concern. It's all good.


      • jblake47
        jblake47 commented
        Editing a comment
        One of the problems with heat is not the lack of water or high heat. It's overconfidence. When I was at the Centennial Jamboree, I wore my reproduction Boy Scout uniform, exact replica right down to the BSA buttons and collar brass. Felt campaign hat to top it off. The pants and tunic were 100% wool and the shirt underneath heavy cotton. Yes, it was hot, very hot, but after 15 years of reenacting in wool uniforms, there are things one can do to survive. I find the people who go down at the events I attend tend to the the younger (seemily invincible) people.

        I know I'm not invincible and at age 60 can still hold my own in heavy heat and wool uniforms. Not only is my uniform coat wool, but it is quilt lined.

        We all know that most of the heat loss in winter is through the head. Everyone says wear a hat, your feet will stay warm. Well the opposite is true. While all the boys are running around being "cool" in the baseball hats, one has to remember there is no room for ice in them. They cling tight to the skull and hold in heat. Well, the campaign and expedition hats have room for a bandana and ice. The full brim also keeps one's head in the shade all the time! I can walk around in 100+ degree heat in a wool uniform with a canteen and a hat full of ice. If one gets a bit "dizzy" or "overheated/tired", dump Gatorade into the canteen and wrap a few cubes of ice in bandanas and stuff into your armpits. I never go anywhere on a scout activity in the summer without a soaking wet neckerchief. When I do reenacting, it's a bandana around the neck and if I get a few small ice chips rolled into it, great.

        Packsaddle's advice on staying wet is vital. The body doesn't have to produce as much sweat because the extra water is doing it already and the body backs off on fluid loss. And if one's going to be wet, it might as well be ice water. While the temptation is to dry out one's clothes, when I'm not wearing my wool coat it is rolled up in the shade to retain as much moisture as possible so when I put it back on, it actually feels cool.

        There's a lot to be said about allowing the body to produce sweat, but if one is trying to preserve body fluids, using external water/ice is just as effective. Most soda vendors have ice on hand. 25-cents for a cup of ice is all you need to last you for at least an hour.

        As far as hydration goes? I actually drink less than anyone else out there. I just sip from a canteen throughout the day. The chugging huge amounts because the SM told them to isn't going to be effective. I have had people tell me they knocked off two canteens already and I'm still not finished with my first.

        I am responsible at reenactments for anywhere from 20-30 people. In the 15 years of reenacting and 40 years of scouting, I have had one young reenactor go down from the heat on my watch. He didn't think my advice worthwhile. He does now.

    • #5
      Troop Motto-- HYDRATE OR DIE!

      Seems to work for us, no color coding necessary.


      • #6
        Hydration is part of it, but you also have to cool the body. On high humidity days, sweat evaporates less and cools the body less. The body responds by sweating more in an attempt to cool more thus causing dehydration. Fails due to humid air, so less activity and more break intervals in cooler spots - shade, lake, etc.

        Air quality is another issue. As power plants respond to higher electrical demand (air conditioning) there are more air pollutants, smog.
        Last edited by RememberSchiff; 07-22-2013, 05:42 AM.


        • #7
          They may also need salt. I had half a dozen kids suffer some amount of dehydration at summer camp (hot and dry) and 2 of them were drinking a gallon a day but not getting enough salt. I use electrolyte tablets but the scouts don't like the taste, so we give them gatorade. One of the 2 scouts is at Jambo and I just hope he remembered how crappy he felt at summer camp (and is taking care of himself)