This year members of the Environmental Extreme Lab (EEL) returned to the medical tent at the Brighton Marathon to carry out heat illness prevention research. The purpose of this year’s research was to collect questionnaire data on runners who were suffering from a heat illness. The heat illness susceptibility questionnaire (HIS-Q) was developed by a team of researchers within EEL and the initial reliability and validity was completed within a controlled laboratory environment at the University of Brighton. The Brighton Marathon presented the opportunity to test the HIS-Q in a field based environment, where core temperatures are often higher than that achieved through controlled laboratory testing.

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The temperature on the day was only 12°C, therefore not considered a high heat health risk to the runners. However, at the finishing line we collected HIS-Q data from 8 people suffering from severe enough heat illness to require core temperature monitoring, with some requiring rapid cooling, utilising the CAERvest® – a novel endothermic hypothermic device for core body cooling safety – that was previously tested by members of EEL. One runner in particular had a core temperature above 40°C and required rapid cooling which included; 2 CAERvests applied to the torso (1 after the other), intravenous cold saline solution and ice applied to the legs. Although cooling measures brought down core temperature, after ~45minutes of cooling at the finish line medical tent the decision was made to transport the runner to hospital, where he made a full recovery. The HIS-Q allowed us to record his symptoms of muscle cramps, vomiting, confusions, fatigue and disorientation by asking retrospective questions and observing his behaviour during his time in the medical tent. The aim is to use the data to strengthen the validity of the HIS-Q and its versatility to be used in other field-based situations in the future.

PhD Student Kirsty Waldock, the lead investigator on the HIS-Q studies and Masters Student Rob Moreton, would like to thank the Brighton Marathon Medical Team, lead by Dr. Rob Galloway, for allowing us to take data on the day and present at the Brighton Marathon Medical Conference the day before the marathon.