Private, I Know This Is A Battlefield. Now Go Get Me More Ice!

Research Paper Title

Crushed Ice Ingestion – A Practical Strategy for Lowering Core Body Temperature.

Abstract

Exercise together with environmentally induced heat stroke continue to pose a problem for military operations in hot climates.

A variety of cooling strategies are required by the military to mitigate the risk of heat stroke due to the variety of climates and physical workloads encountered by defence personnel, combined with their individual physical characteristics and uniforms/protective attire.

This paper highlights that cooling is traditionally applied as a treatment for heat stroke rather than used to prevent its onset.

Recent evidence from the field of sport science demonstrated that cold fluid consumption can act as a heat sink to blunt the rise of core body temperature. Furthermore, the addition of crushed ice to beverages substantially improves its heat storage potential, resulting in decreased core body temperature and enhanced endurance performance.

While crushed ice will not be universally available in defence settings, it is a strategy that requires minimal equipment (apart from a freezer & power source), is relatively quick to prepare (3-4 hours for small ice cubes), is not labour intensive (1 person with access to clean running water) and does not require the removal of a soldier’s uniform. The military should therefore consider the use of crushed ice ingestion as a preventative measure against heat stroke.

Practical Application

When in camp, at home or abroad, personnel already have access to the above suggestion! However, for those personnel who conduct field operations this is not a very practical suggestion. The author also confuses the matter by blurring the difference between organised physical training in barracks and training for, or being on,field operations where the ready access to water, and therefore ice, is different. Unfortunately the author has taken a completely scientific vision without consideration of practical issues on the ground.

Source: Brearley, M. (2012) Crushed Ice Ingestion – A Practical Strategy for Lowering Core Body Temperature. Journal of Military and Veteran’s Health. 20(2).

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