4-12. HEAT EXHAUSTION
Heat exhaustion results primarily from excessive loss of water from the body without
adequate fluid replacement. This dehydration results in decreased blood volume. Salt
depletion is often present also. The mortality rate from this disorder is extremely low.
The removal of the casualty usually to a cool environment, rest, and the administration
of water will result in prompt recovery.
a. Signs and Symptoms. Heat exhaustion is characterized by:
Faintness (especially on standing).
Loss of appetite.
Nausea and muscle cramps may also be present.
Skin--cool, pale, clammy.
Pulse rate--rapid (140-200 per minute).
Blood pressured may be lowered.
The patient rarely loses consciousness.
(1) Protect casualty from sun. Move the casualty to a shaded area or
construct shade for the casualty.
(2) Loosen clothing. Loosen or remove tight-fitting clothing and boots if you
are not in a chemical environment.
(3) Cool casualty. If the day is very hot, pour water on the casualty and fan
the casualty. This will help the casualty's body to lose heat.
(4) Give salt and water solution. Have the casualty drink at least one quart
(one canteen) of the salt solution described in paragraph 4-11 b (3). If salt is not readily
available, have the casualty to drink at least one quart of cool water. Encourage the
casualty to drink the water slowly and steadily. This will decrease the likelihood of
(5) Elevate legs. Have the casualty lie down on his back and place a pack,
small log, rolled-up field jacket, or other stable prop under his feet. If a litter is available,
have the casualty lie on the litter and elevate the foot of the litter. This procedure will
help blood to return from the casualty's legs to his heart and will help to prevent shock.