Our military members have strong shoulders, carrying great burdens every day as they willingly serve. They face stress and extreme conditions, putting themselves at risk of numerous health problems. However, service members can be proactive to remain as healthy as possible and loved ones can be a part of the effort. Family and friends want to feel like they can do their part. They can help by taking action to safeguard a military members health.
People may often overlook a service member's mental and emotional health, yet this is extremely important. There are many simple things that can be done to help a person on active duty to deal with mental strain. Friends and family need to be a support system, showing how much they care even when separated by time and distance. Regular care packages with notes, mementos, and reminders from home, can help to ground a person. Phone calls, video chats, and e-mails help to close the gap and lift the spirits. When the time of service is over, those who are stateside need to realize that our military members may need help upon their return. Having a listening ear, being patient, and setting up counseling services are essential. Taking a mental health screening is a good place to start. Members can be screened for depression and post traumatic stress disorder amongst other things using services like Military Pathways.
Many of the physical problems are easier to identify because we can see the symptoms and are able to head them off at the pass. But some are also as subtle as the mental health problems. If they experience a persistent, chronic cough that seems like a bad cold or respiratory infection, mesothelioma (What is Mesothelioma?) could be the problem. Have your soldier consult a doctor and discuss all the possible dangerous and harmful chemicals they may have been exposed to. Make regular trips to see this doctor because the diseases and health problems caused by chemicals such as asbestos or Agent Orange, as well as the various pollutants that get released into the air from burn pits.
Service members should be dressed properly to suit the conditions. Family members can make sure to send packages with socks and underwear. Eating well is important also. Packages from home can include favorite snacks, protein bars, beef jerky, and other foods that will provide added energy to keep going. Gum will help to quench thirst in dry conditions. Vitamins and supplements can help to ward off illness. A first aid kit with pain reliever, cold medicine, and any necessary medication, can be on hand to take care of any minor issues that may arise.
Lets make our soldiers feel appreciated while they are away and once they arrive back home. Love, care, kindness and appreciation can go a long way in keeping our soldiers safe while away and making their transition back to civilian life a little bit easier. Lets never forget whose freedom they fight for.
Thanks for the great tips and reminders, Emily!