Most of our Scouts will leave the relative comfort of an air-conditioned house for a week in the out doors. Keeping cool can be a monumental challenge, or a physical impossibility.
We perspire to dissipate heat through evaporation. Increased humidity (more moisture in the air) decreases the rate of evaporation and our ability to keep cool.
R. G. Steadman’s 1979 paper titled “The Assessment of Sultriness,” factors 20 different variables to describe how heat feels. Steadman considers clothing, body size, level of activity, air temperature, humidity, and dew point to name a few.
A simplified formula using air temperature and humidity determines the ‘heat index’ broadcast in most weather reports;
As our ability to keep cool decreases the danger of heat related injuries increase. Simple precautions will prevent heat related injuries;
- Drink plenty of water. Avoid caffeine because it promotes dehydration. Use sports drinks and supplements to replace electrolytes lost through perspiration.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
- Sunburn decreases our ability to keep cool. Use sunscreen, wear a hat and stay out of the sun.
- Take it slow. Adjust the pace of activities to the weather.
- Avoid the hottest part of the day, late afternoon, and plan strenuous activities for early morning and evening.