First time attending Great Western War?
Here are some great tips and info!
For a wonderful and thorough packing checklist click here for Duchess Bridget’s packing list!
Special thanks for “Dehydration” by Baroness Ida Haroldsdottir, astkona, OP Mentor Chirurgeon MKA Ginger Jensen RNC, BSN
The weather at war could change without notice so you will need to plan and pack your clothing, supplies and encampment accordingly.
Plan to hydrate
The desert air is very dry and dangerous dehydration happens very quickly! Be sure everyone in your party brings a bag or basket to carry personal water when they leave camp. Our bodies give off excessive moisture in the dry desert climate no matter what the weather is like. This is especially important for children and during periods of physical exertion (like putting up/taking down your camp or working or fighting on the battlefield). Remember also that adult beverages and caffeine dehydrate the body, so drink plenty of water.
Protect your skin!
Bring sunscreen, a hat or head covering, a parasol and remember to stand in the shade when you can. Remember also to bring shade and watering supplies for pets, medications for sunburn and moisturizers/hand lotion. Bring clothing that adapts to weather changes during the day. Dress in layers that can easily be removed as the morning heats up and replaced as the evening cools down. Cover your head at night to avoid excess heat loss.
Bring all of your prescriptions
and over the counter medications, including seasonal allergy medications, and take them!
Plan for rain!
Put at least one change of clothing, shoes, socks and bedding into plastic trash bags to ensure you have something dry to wear, an umbrella and something dry to cover yourself with when the rain subsides.
Setup your camp so it is prepared for wind gusts, cold weather and rain!
Use sufficient stakes and ropes and drive tent stakes at an angle to give a better foothold to your tent (straight up and down pull right out in heavy winds). Sleep off of the ground if at all possible and make your bed in layers.
The sun is very strong and shade is at a premium at the site, so you must protect your skin! Apply sunscreen regularly throughout the day. Chirurgeon’s Point will have sunscreen available until our supplies run out.
Black Widow Spiders
The Park has black widow spiders. These spiders are the most common poisonous spiders in California. They can be identified by the red or orange hourglass spot on its abdomen. Should you find yourself bitten by one, please seek help immediately.
If you believe you could have a spider bite, please have it looked at as soon as possible. Without early care a spider bite can last a very long time and be extremely uncomfortable. It is a good idea to shake out your bedding before retiring for the night.
Please be aware that mosquitoes like to be around water. Use of bug repellant is highly recommended.
Bed bugs are on the rise in Kern County. Bedbugs are flat, reddish-brown insects about the size of an apple seed.
Please check all bedding for the little blood droplets and fecal matter they leave on sheets.
Head, Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
Symptoms of a head, neck or spinal cord injury can occur right away. Or symptoms develop slowly over several hours or days. Even if the skull is not fractured, the brain can bang against the inside of the skull and be bruised. The head may look fine, but problems could result from bleeding or swelling inside the skull. In any serious head trauma, the spinal cord is also likely to be injured.
Get medical help right away if the person becomes very sleepy, behaves abnormally, develops a severe headache or stiff neck, has pupils (the dark central part of the eye) of unequal sizes, is unable to move an arm or leg, loses consciousness, even briefly, or vomits more than once.
DO NOT wash a head wound that is deep or bleeding a lot
DO NOT remove any object sticking out of a wound.
DO NOT shake the person if he or she seems dazed.
DO NOT remove a helmet if you suspect a serious head or neck injury.
DO NOT pick up a fallen child with any sign of head or neck injury.
DO NOT bend, twist, or lift the person’s head or body.
DO NOT attempt to move the person before medical help arrives unless it is absolutely necessary.
Call for medical assistance if you think someone has a head or spinal cord injury.
Do not move the person unless there is urgent danger.
Plan to hydrate with water or other replenishing fluids, regardless of the weather. Remember also that adult beverages and caffeine dehydrate the body, so drink plenty of water, diluted fruit juices and sports drinks during the 24- hour period prior to exercise (fighting), even if not particularly thirsty. Drink one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half cups of fluid 2 to 3 hours prior to exercise (fighting). This allows time for both hydration and excretion of excess fluid. During exercise (fighting) lasting more than 30 minutes, consume at least half to one-and-a-half cups of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes beginning at the start of the event. On hot days, cold drinks are preferable to help keep the body cool. Caffeine and alcohol both have diuretic effects which lead to dehydration. Therefore, neither caffeinated nor alcoholic beverages should be part of any hydration plan immediately before, during or after exercise (fighting). Watch your urine!
Despite the temperate weather the site usually enjoys, one may still easily become dehydrated. Remember to drink plenty of fluids. Both alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body. Be moderate in your consumption of both and drink at least an equal amount of water to counter the dehydrating effects.
Fluid Needs at War
Daily water needs for the average man is 13 (8 ounce) cups and for the average woman it is 9 cups. Athletes (fighters) need even more water to maintain the body’s ability to regulate internal temperature and to keep cool. Heat production in contracting muscles can rise 15 to 20 times above that of resting muscles. Unless this heat is quickly dissipated, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and deadly heat stroke may result.
Heat Cramps are a frequent complication of heat exhaustion but may appear without other symptoms of dehydration. These cramps usually occur in people who have been exposed to several hours of heat, experienced significant sweating and have consumed a large volume of water without replacing sodium losses. The University of Massachusetts School of Medicine recommends: Please note that salt pills are not recommended as they may cause stomach problems and severe hypernatremia (sodium overdose) which is a whole problem in itself. Instead, use something that will help you replace both fluid and sodium at the same time; for example, pickles, olives, Gatorade. Heat cramps occur in skeletal muscles, including those of the abdomen and extremities. They consist of a contraction
This occurs when heat stress causes loss of body fluid followed by depletion of blood volume. When environmental temperatures (external or inside a suit of armor) rise, virtually all body heat and sodium loss is through the evaporation of sweat from the skin. Sweat rates during prolonged exercise (fighting) range from 3 to 8 cups per hour. However, as humidity rises and/or skin is completely covered, evaporation slows and sweating becomes an ineffective way of cooling the body. What follows is rapid fatigue, increased work for your heart and dehydration. The most common symptoms of heat exhaustion include profuse sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, visual disturbances and flushing of the skin. Not all of these symptoms need to be present at the same time. Any person exhibiting heat exhaustion should be taken to a cool area immediately. Excess clothing (armor) should be removed. The body should be sponged with cool (not iced) water. Oral fluid replacement should be given, slowly, as tolerated.
This can occur when the internal (core) body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Heat stroke is a cause for immediate medical attention. Fainting is not unusual with heat stroke. Symptoms include nausea, confusion, irritability, poor coordination, a cease of sweating, skin hot and dry, seizures and coma. If left untreated circulatory collapse, nervous system damage and even death may occur. Heat stroke is not something to be toyed with. This is a medical emergency. Immediate action is necessary. The first and biggest objective is to lower the core temperature and do it by any means available. Move the person out of the hot environment. Set air conditioning, if available, to maximum. Remove the person’s clothing. Put cold packs on neck, armpits, groin. Cover the person with wet sheets or towels, or spray a mist of water on him/her. Aggressively fan the person, even if you can’t dampen the skin. Obtain EMS services for transport to hospital. Do not try to put the person into hypothermia. If shivering starts, body temperature will go back up again.
Things to Consider
Freely drink water, diluted fruit juices and sports drinks during the 24-hour period prior to exercise (fighting), even if not particularly thirsty. Drink one-and-a-half to two-and-a- half cups of fluid 2 to 3 hours prior to exercise (fighting). This allows time for both hydration and excretion of excess fluid. During exercise (fighting) lasting more than 30 minutes, consume at least half to one-and-a-half cups of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes beginning at the start of the event. On hot days, cold drinks are preferable to help keep the body cool. Caffeine and alcohol both have diuretic effects which lead to dehydration. Therefore, neither caffeinated nor alcoholic beverages should be part of any hydration plan immediately before, during or after exercise (fighting). Watch your urine! Dehydration causes a decrease in how often you urinate. In a well hydrated person, urine will be no darker than lemonade. Thirst is a late sign of dehydration and should not be relied upon to indicate the need for fluid replacement. If you drink only when thirsty it may take up to 48 hours to fully replace lost fluids. Keep an eye on your family members and friends as they may not recognize the symptoms in themselves.