f. Discipline, Training, and Experience. Proper use of simple preventive
measures that are inspected and enforced by officers and noncommissioned officers
will markedly reduce the incidence of cold injury. Individual and unit discipline, training
and experience are closely related in their influence upon the incidence of cold injury.
Well trained and disciplined men suffer less than others from the cold, as they are better
able to care for themselves through personal hygiene, care of feet, change of clothing,
exercise of the extremities when immobilized, and similar effective measures.
g. Psychosocial Factors. Cold injury tends to occur in passive, negativistic
individuals, who tend to display little muscular activity and are prone to pay less
attention to carrying extra footwear and changing socks when needed.
h. Race. In terms of numbers at risk, and independent of geographic origin, the
Black appears to be considerably more vulnerable to frostbite than the Caucasian. This
has been a consistent observation dating from World War II through Korea and into the
present in Alaska. It suggests that the Black must be particularly vigilant in hand and
foot care during cold exposure.
i. Geographic Origin. Caucasian personnel from warmer climates in the US
(where the mean minimum January temperature is above 20F) appear to be
predisposed to cold injury. The basic factor involved, however, is considered to be
psychosocial and educational, rather than geographic.
j. Nutrition. Starvation or semi-starvation predisposes to cold injury.
Adequately clothed and protected personnel in cold climates do not require more than
the normally provided military ration of 3600-4600 calories. Evidence of a need for
specific nutrients in the diet for cold injury prevention or treatment is lacking.
k. Activity. Too great or too little activity may contribute to cold injury. Over
activity can cause the loss of large amounts of body heat by perspiration, which
becomes trapped in excess clothing, markedly reducing the insulation quality of the
clothing. Conversely, immobility causes decreased heat production with the danger of
resultant cooling, especially of extremities and pressure areas of the body.
effects on peripheral circulation or sweating when prescribing drugs and medications in
cold climates. Morphine is an important example of a drug with a significant effect on
blood circulation and therefore on body heat balance.
m. Alcohol. Because of its questionable vascular effects, coupled with its
influence on judgment, alcohol should be avoided under conditions of extreme cold.
The dangers of excessive lowering of body temperature (hypothermia) and frostbite are
increased greatly under its influence.