- Meeting abstract
- Open Access
Immune responses of urban firefighters following work in the heat
© Walker et al.; 2015
Published: 14 September 2015
When firefighters work in hot environments, immune responses can be elevated for up to 90 minutes [1–3], possibly increasing the likelihood of thrombotic events or illness . Australian firefighters complete multi-day deployments following natural disasters. However, the extent of immune changes following extended intervals, particularly after an overnight rest, is poorly understood. Thus, this study aimed to assess changes in immune responses of urban firefighters up to 24 hours after a work bout in the heat.
Forty-two male urban firefighters completed two twenty minute search tasks in a purpose built heat chamber (mean (SD) 100 (5 °C). Based on standard operating procedures for an Australian fire service, participants had a ten minute passive recovery outside the heat chamber between work bouts, where they consumed 600 mL of water. Core temperatures (Tc) and heart rates (HR), along with platelet and leukocyte numbers were evaluated pre- and post-work and also following one and twenty-four hours of rest.
Increases in temperatures, HR and immune responses of participants directly following work in the heat reflect previous studies. However, this study is unique in demonstrating significantly elevated platelet numbers after a 24 hour period of rest. Any residual elevations in platelet numbers after extended rest may be increasing the risk of thrombotic events when firefighters work over multiple days in adverse environmental conditions.
The ongoing changes to platelet numbers in the present study likely represent a significant factor in ensuring the health of firefighters during multi-day deployments. It is likely that changes in work practices and rehabilitation protocols can minimise changes to immune responses during multi-day events, particularly in hot regions.
- Hostler D, Suyama J, Guyette FX, Moore C, Pryor RR, Khorana P, Reis SE: A Randomized controlled trial of Aspirin and Exertional Heat Stress Activation of Platelets in Firefighters during exertion in Thermal Protective Clothing. Prehospital Emergency Care. 2014, 18 (3): 359-367. 10.3109/10903127.2013.869644.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Smith DL, Petruzzello SJ, Goldstein E, Ahmad U, Tangella K, Freund GG, Horn GP: Effect of live-fire training drills on firefighters' platelet number and function. Prehospital Emergency Care. 2011, 15 (2): 233-239. 10.3109/10903127.2010.545477.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Wright-Beatty HE, McLellan TM, Larose J, Sigal RJ, Boulay P, Kenny GP: Inflammatory responses of older Firefighters to intermittent exercise in the heat. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2014, 114 (6): 1163-1174. 10.1007/s00421-014-2843-8.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar
- Targer G, Seidell J, Tonoli M, Muggeo M, DeSandre G, Cigolini M: The white blood cell count: its relationship to plasma insulin and other cardiovascular risk factors in healthy male individuals. Journal of Internal Medicine. 1996, 239 (5): 435-441. 10.1046/j.1365-2796.1996.815000.x.View ArticleGoogle Scholar
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.