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The Influence of Antiperspirants on Foot-Blister Incidence Following Road Marching.

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Final rept.,

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The influence of antiperspirants on foot blister incidence during road marching was examined in 1,130 cadets from the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York. Cadets were separated into two groups that received either an antiperspirant or placebo preparation, and the study was double blinded. The antiperspirant was a commercially available substance consisting of 20 aluminum chloride hexahydrate in anhydrous ethyl alcohol. The placebo was anhydrous ethyl alcohol without aluminum chlorhydrate. Cadets were briefed as a group and told to apply the antiperspirant to the entire foot for five consecutive nights before the road march, just before retiring for the evening. As part of their normal training, cadets completed a 21 km road march in about 6.5 hours, carrying a total load of about 33 kg. The cadets feet were examined by trained personnel for blisters on the night before the march and after completion of the march. Many cadets were not present for the pre-march foot examination, some were on profile for the march, and some did not complete the march. The final sample size was 667 cadets with 328 in the antiperspirant group and 339 in the placebo group. There was a high rate of noncompliance with the treatment schedule cadets used the preparations from 0 to 5 nights before the march. For cadets using the preparations at least three times before the march, the incidence of foot blisters was 21 for the antiperspirant group and 48 for the placebo group. However, reports of skin irritation were 57 for the antiperspirant group and 6 for the placebo group. These data suggest that antiperspirant may be an effective method of reducing foot blisters during road marching, but the side effects of skin irritation should be considered and preventive measures examined.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Stress Physiology

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