Heat: The Enemy

The warm winds of summer are fast approaching, and even now, fighter practices are being held outdoors. As the sun moves higher in the sky, so looms one of the fighter's greatest enemies - Heat. As with any enemy on the field of battle, the master Sun Tzu  tells us "know thy enemy, know thyself."

The Enemy. Heat attacks on many fronts. Direct solar radiation, hot winds, and even from within as you exert yourself. Heat is in cahoots with Humidity by preventing evaporative cooling. It lays siege upon you with your own armor by containing the heat within. If successful at his attack, you will find yourself under the spell of Heat Exhaustion, Heat Cramps, or the ultimate deadly force of Heat Stroke.

Yourself. Prepare - acclimate. If you live in an air-conditioned home, drive to an air-conditioned office in an air-conditioned car, then you will never acclimatize to the summer heat. Regular workout in the environmental extremes  you will be facing will help you be prepared.

Winning the Fight. If you see nothing else upon this page, please heed the following: HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!!! Keeping your fluid intake up in warm weather will be your best defense from Heat. Yield to the water-bearer's advise. If you are not urinating about every hour, and the color is darker than weak lemon-aid, then you are not sufficiently hydrated. Remove your helm and sit in the shade during breaks in the fight. Prepare your body by getting accustomed to the environment well ahead of the event.

Though Heat is an enemy you cannot see, he will stalk you down and can truly kill you, or at least give you the Mother of all Headaches. Either way your event would be less than enjoyable.

© 1997 Galen of Ockham (MKA Keith E. Brandt, M.D.)  May be used in SCA pubications as long as content is not modified and proper credit given. For all other uses, please contact the author at galen@chirurgeon.org .

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