It is difficult to prepare for the physical and emotional health risks that so many of our servicemen and women face on a daily basis. While military personnel may be more exposed to certain injuries and illnesses, there are ways to prevent these risks from happening or treat any problems once they have occurred.
Not surprisingly, there are many physical injuries and illnesses that can danger those who serve in the military. Even minor injuries incurred from explosions; vehicle accidents, and other dangerous events should never be taken lightly as future issues can arise if the victims of these accidents do not seek treatment for their injuries. While most cases are mild, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can cause symptoms such as sensitivity to light and sounds, forgetfulness, and a ringing in the ears. If any of these symptoms have been experienced and a suspected accident has occurred, it is important to seek a health screening from a physician and find out if any undiagnosed brain injuries exist.
While some physical illnesses are more evident through an individual’s appearance, exposure to dangerous chemicals and agents can cause internal damage that, in some cases, does not trigger symptoms until years later. Asbestos exposure can cause several lung illnesses including mesothelioma. What is mesothelioma? It is a very rare type of cancer that is only known cause is asbestos. Soldiers may be exposed to asbestos while working in older buildings that have become damaged or unstable, releasing the asbestos into the air. Wearing protective clothing and masks would be helpful in preventing exposure, as well as avoiding contact with any materials that might contain asbestos particles.
Perhaps the most common problem that soldiers face is the development of mental health issues while being deployed or in post-deployment status. Any kind of serious traumatic incident can cause a person to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, called PTSD. While some cases of PTSD are mild, others can cause extreme symptoms such as nightmares and trouble sleeping, flashbacks, excessive anger, and anxiety attacks. It has been found that ground troops, such as Army soldiers and Marines, are more likely to report mental health issues related to PTSD than are air and sailor servicemen and women. Sadly, PTSD can trigger an increasingly violent nature and even suicidal thoughts so it is important to pay attention to the symptoms and seek professional help if they’ve been identified.
Fortunately, there are ways to cope with PTSD and prevent some of the harmful issues that can result from this illness. Those who have experienced a traumatic event while serving in the military are encouraged to jump back into a “normal” way of life as soon as they’re able; this includes finding or going back to an old job, meeting with close friends, or developing a hobby to occupy time in a positive manner. Although veterans may feel weary about seeking professional help for their emotional problems and PTSD symptoms, it is important that these individuals ignore any stigma that is attached to therapy and reach out for guidance. One of the best ways to cope with PTSD is to talk about feelings with a trusted source, even if it is just a family member or close friend. If symptoms are serious, a doctor may even be able to prescribe medication to relieve PTSD patients of their burdensome symptoms.