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Review
. 2015 Nov;29 Suppl 11:S77-81.
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001086.

Novel Cooling Strategies for Military Training and Operations

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Review

Novel Cooling Strategies for Military Training and Operations

Jason K W Lee et al. J Strength Cond Res. .

Abstract

The deleterious effects of environmental heat stress, combined with high metabolic loads and protective clothing and equipment of the modern Warfighter, impose severe heat strain, impair task performance, and increase risk of heat illness, thereby reducing the chance for mission success. Despite the implementation of heat-risk mitigation procedures over the past decades, task performance still suffers and exertional heat illness remains a major military problem. We review 3 novel heat mitigation strategies that may be implemented in the training or operational environment to reduce heat strain and the risk of exertional heat illness. These strategies include ingestion of ice slurry, arm immersion cooling, and microclimate cooling. Each of these strategies is suitable for use in different scenarios and the choice of cooling strategy is contingent on the requirements, circumstances, and constraints of the training and operational scenario. Ingestion of ice slurry and arm immersion cooling are practical strategies that may be implemented during training scenarios; ice slurry can be ingested before and during exercise, whereas arm immersion cooling can be administered after exercise-heat exposure. In the operational environment, existing microclimate cooling can be implemented with retrofitted vehicles and as an unmounted system, and it has the potential for use in many military occupational scenarios. This review will discuss the efficacy, limitations, and practical considerations for field implementation of each strategy.

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