Health Experience of 122 Submarine Crewmembers During a 101-Day Submergence
Abstract:Horn WG, Thomas TL, Marino K, Hooper TI. Health experience of 122 submarine crewmembers during a 101-day submergence. Aviat Space Environ Med 2003; 74:858–862.
Introduction: The artificial environment encountered in submarine duty may affect the health of crewmembers. Previous studies of submariner health have not examined self-treatment habits or the incidence of minor health problems for which no care is sought from a health care provider. Our study examined patterns of minor medical problems and self-treatment among the crew of one submarine over a period of continued submergence for 101 d. Methods: Study data were obtained from three self-administered serial surveys of 122 medically screened U.S. Navy personnel onboard a submerged nuclear-powered submarine at the beginning, middle, and end of the study. Results: During the first half of the study, 82% had medical complaints, most commonly runny nose, difficulty sleeping, and backache. In the second half, 77% listed complaints, most commonly difficulty sleeping. Despite readily available medical care, self-medication for minor unreported health problems was common, with use of products such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, multi-vitamins, health supplements, topical preparations, and antihistamine/decongestants. Discussion: Planning for medical care in isolated environments should include consideration of unreported minor medical problems and self-treatment patterns.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 2003
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- The peer-reviewed monthly journal, Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine (ASEM) provides contact with physicians, life scientists, bioengineers, and medical specialists working in both basic medical research and in its clinical applications. It is the most used and cited journal in its field. ASEM is distributed to more than 80 nations.
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