The Effects of Physical Conditioning on Heat Tolerance in Chemical Defense Gear.
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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Today the threat of chemical warfare is real. The only effective defense is the use of chemical defense gear and gas masks. Since they render chemical warfare gases and liquids impermeable to penetration, they also prohibit sweat evaporation in conditions of thermal stress and thus, contribute to heat illness development. Historically, it has been the hot, humid tropics where United Nations peacekeeping forces have been called, thus the use of chemical defense gear in these regions is a realistic possibility and heat illness could affect the outcome of any mission carried out there. The human body only operates within a narrow range of core temparatures and heat illness is the result of a breakdown in homeostasis. Many factors influence heat tolerance, thus maintaining core temperature within a safe range. Adequate hydration, acclimitization to heat, low body weight, young age, low alcohol intake, and physical fitness all contribute to heat tolerance. This proposal attempts to look specifically at the effect of physical conditioning on heat tolerance in chemical defense gear as a possible solution to the heat stress problem noted in this gear. The subjects basic trainee graduates attending technical training schools at Lackland AFB, Texas, will be tested for maximum oxygen uptake VO2max and heat tolerance time HTT in chemical defense gear on bicycle ergometers at Brooks AFB, Texas. Half of these subjects will be physically conditioned for 12 weeks.
- Stress Physiology