Veronica Mammina

Drinking on the Job: The Importance of H2O

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Veronica Mammina

USS BOXER (LHD 4) NNS – July brings in new uniform trends for Sailors aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), undergoing a major maintenance period. The Navy’s latest blue sun-blocking hardhat along with a brand new pair of safety glasses, issued to protect one’s delicate eyes from any stray object, send the message that work is about to get done. In addition, sweat and tears from a scorching San Diego sun pool under the hardhats and uniforms of these Boxer Sailors. Water is limited aboard the ship, so every Sailor sports a water bottle.

Summer is here and as temperatures continue to rise in San Diego, so does the need to stay hydrated-especially aboard Boxer. Boxer is currently undergoing an overhaul of various systems and equipment as part of a Planned Maintenance Availability (PMA) period, which is slated to last for the next several months.

Due to Boxer’s PMA period, some air conditioning units and water supply tanks are among the many systems that may be temporarily shut down aboard the ship.

“Drinking water isn’t that easy anymore due to the ships maintenance period,” said Neil Roberts, Boxer’s afloat fitness specialist.

Dehydration occurs when your body is losing fluids quicker than they are being replenished, according to Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Christopher Woodhouse.

“When you sweat, it’s not just water, but other nutrients and electrolytes that your body uses to perform basic functions,” said Woodhouse.
Woodhouse added that energy drinks and coffee won’t kill you but will not keep you hydrated.

Just like a car needs a certain amount of gas to run, our bodies require a certain amount of water to achieve maximum performance daily.
There are signs of dehydration Sailors can look for in someone who might be dehydrated.

“Common signs of dehydration you might see in Sailors on Boxer include dry mouth, increased thirst and general weakness or dizziness,” said Woodhouse. “These can generally be remedied by sipping water in a cool, dry place.”

Dehydration becomes dangerous when a shipmate exhibits an altered mental status, confusion, or stops sweating. Anyone showing signs needs advanced medical attention immediately.

“We should make it a conscious effort to drink at least one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day,” said Roberts.

Woodhouse suggests one or two liters of water during a normal work day and then one or two more by the time you go to bed and repeat.

If drinking water isn’t your thing, you can supplement it.
“Eating fruits and vegetables are really helpful to staying hydrated as well,” said Roberts.

Roberts added that certain fruits and vegetables contain have very high water content.

Heat related injuries are common, and the number one weather related killer in the United States in 2011, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The United States had 400 heat fatalities that year.

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