Monday, March 10, 2008


Dehydration is the term given to a critical loss of water from the body. The first noticeable effect of dehydration is fatigue, which in turn makes top physical and mental performance difficult, if not impossible. As a pilot, flying for long periods in hot summer temperatures or at high altitudes increases the susceptibility of dehydration since the dry air at altitude tends to increase the rate of water loss from the body. If this fluid is not replaced, fatigue progresses to dizziness, weakness, nausea, tingling of hands and feet, abdominal cramps, and extreme thirst.

Heatstroke is a condition caused by any inability of the body to control its temperature. Onset of this condition may be recognized by the symptoms of dehydration, but also has been known to be recognizable only by complete collapse.

To prevent these symptoms, it is recommended that an ample supply of water be carried and used at frequent intervals on any long flight, whether thirsty or not. If the airplane has a canopy or roof window, wearing light-colored, porous clothing and a hat will help provide protection from the sun. Keeping the cockpit well ventilated aids in dissipating excess heat.

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