The Effect of Shower/Bath Frequency on the Health and Operational Effectiveness of Soldiers in a Field Setting: Recommendation of Showering Frequencies for Reducing Performance-Degrading Nonsystemic Microbial Skin Infections
Final rept. Aug 90-Sep 91,
LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LAB CA ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES DIV
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Historically, military personnel deployed in the field, particularly in hot regions or humid environments, have suffered disabling microbial infections of the skin severe enough to contribute to significant reductions in combat-troop strength. Currently, the U.S. Army makes facilities available to field personnel for showering on a weekly basis to prevent infestations of the body louse and the subsequent spread of louse-borne disease. However, a weekly showering frequency has never been evaluated for its efficacy in preventing microbial infections of the skin-a significant cause of man-days lost from combat in modern-day military conflicts. Consequently, field showers may be more important for maintaining combat effectiveness of military personnel than previously thought however, providing such facilities requires tremendous logistical support. Therefore, we developed shower frequencies for troops in field environments that should minimize or prevent microbial skin infections. According to our calculations, the optimum showering frequency can range from as often as four times per day to as little as once every seven days, depending on skin integrity, environmental conditions, and cleansing agent. We also reviewed the scientific and regulatory information concerning the efficacy and safety of skin-cleansing products the antimicrobial and antiseptic compounds, triclocarban and chlorhexidine, may be the most suitable for routine use by U.S. military personnel.
- Hygiene and Sanitation
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics