Morbidity Rates during a Military Cold Weather Exercise: Empire Glacier 1980.
ARMY RESEARCH INST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE NATICK MA
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Comprehensive descriptive and reliable data on the nature and magnitude of various medical problems which occur during military maneuvers in cold weather is still not available in useful form to commanders, medical personnel or medical researchers. Only a few studies have approached the problem and even fewer have used adequate methodology. In addition to collecting medical record data, medical surveys must also include requirements for obtaining population statistics on personnel at risk and obtaining data on conditions of exposure. This report describes a survey study conducted during the exercise Empire Glacier 80 which was designed to extend the data base from an earlier study and to improve on the survey methods used. A team of research personnel collected daily medical records, population statistics, climatological data, and responses to interviews during two weeks of the exercise. The data reveal that nearly a quarter of the reported medical cases involved upper respiratory infections. These cases were evenly distributed over the duration of the exercise. This category would be even greater if it also included the fifth largest category of morbidity, viz., ear, nose and throat problems. Orthopedic injuries and acute traumas were also significantly high, involving 18 and 10 of the cases respectively. Other categories of significance were dermatological and gastrointestinal problems. Cold injury complaints were relatively infrequent and reflect the relatively mild weather conditions during the exercise. Analyses of these cases reveal that the majority involve problems of the feet 50 of the cases. Most of these were preventable given proper hygiene and care.
- Medicine and Medical Research
- Stress Physiology