Acclimatization to cold is difficult to measure and is relatively slight. Careful planning
and adequate training of both commanders and individual soldiers are essential in the
prevention of cold injuries. Specific guidelines can be found in USAEHA TG 172. Each
major unit is required to publish a directive that details responsibilities for cold injury
prevention and control.
g. The importance attached to the prevention and control of heat, cold, and solar
injuries is illustrated by the fact that, whenever a heat injury, a cold injury, or a case of
solar radiation injury occurs which requires hospitalization, the commander of the MTF
is required to immediately inform the installation or organization commander of the fact.
In addition, AR 40-418 requires that he also report this information by telegraph or other
expeditious means to TSG, the major Army commander, and in the CONUS, the
Commander, Health Services Command. In overseas areas, including Alaska and
Hawaii, the report is made only to the major Army commander, who in turn notifies TSG.
h. One other environmental hazard sometimes encountered by Army personnel
is the effect of high altitudes. Millions of people live and work at altitudes above 12,000
feet. However, when unacclimatized personnel are quickly moved from altitudes lower
than 5,000 feet to altitudes above 10,000 feet, their combat effectiveness is reduced.
This loss of effectiveness increases dramatically above 14,000 feet. Typical effects of
high altitudes may include giddiness, lightheaded, insomnia, headache, and loss of
appetite, elevated pulse rate, and pulmonary edema. Symptoms are usually most
severe 12 to 36 hours after arrival and may be persistent and incapacitating. Although
the ability to work improves rapidly after the first 2 or 3 days at high altitudes, even after
months an individual's maximum work capacity is unlikely to equal that of physically fit
highlanders. FM 31-71 contains detailed information on the problems encountered at
i. Measures to reduce non-effectiveness at high altitudes include medical
screening to remove those personnel with severe obesity, sickle cell anemia, heart
and/or lung disorders, or a history of spontaneous pneumothorax prior to the ascent;
providing prior high altitude experience; and staging ascent with several days' stay at an
intermediate altitude and drug therapy using aspirin or stronger analgesics such as
codeine (when prescribed by competent medical authority).