Michaelson (re: archaeology)

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Posted by Cap'n Paul from on June 28, 1998 at 03:21:09:

Saw your posting below concerning your plans to join a dig. It sounds great! I just wanted you to know that I'm a little concerned by one of your responses about "taking salt tablets" because of the heat.
As an Army Medical Service officer, I should warn you that that kind of mythology was debunked in the late seventies as a preventative for heat exhaustion/sun stroke. (It makes no more sense than that myth about rubbing snow on a frozen foot to make it better.)
Many people thought that because high heat caused one to sweat excessively, one needed to consume salt tablets to replace the lost minerals. Research shows this to be a false belief and, in fact, a very dangerous one. The body replenishes all the salt it needs by eating balance meals. What you really need working in a hot environment is plenty of fluids. When you sweat, you need to replace the lost moisture. Eating salt tablets makes the fluid loss only worse because the body draws more moisture to deal with the salt in the stomach/colon. (Kind of like why we can't drink sea water.) In effect you're robbing yourself of vital fluids to sweat and cool yourself. In the worst case, it could lead to heat exhaustion or sun stroke. That's why salt tablets where banned in the U.S. Army a long time ago.
Drink plenty of water, eat balanced meals, and stay away from salt tablets! -CP

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