d. Excessive Use of Alcohol. Excessive use (abuse) of alcohol or other drugs
can contribute to heat injuries.
e. Medications. Certain medications make a person more likely to suffer a heat
f. Age. Older adults are more likely to have heat injuries than younger adults.
g. Poor Health. A person is more likely to have a heat injury if he is suffering
from cardiovascular problems, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, or poor general health.
h. Previous Occurrence. A person who has had a previous episode of heat
injury is more likely to have another heat injury than a person who has not had a
previous heat injury.
INITIATE PREVENTIVE MEASURES
Heat injuries are caused by a lack of water in the body or by a lack of salt and
water in the body. Heat injuries can be prevented by consuming adequate amounts of
water and salt and by taking other preventive measures.
a. Drink Sufficient Water. The amount of water a person needs to drink
depends upon the temperature and upon the work being done. A person working in a
hot environment should drink at least one full canteen (one quart) every hour. A person
who is performing strenuous physical labor or who is working in a very hot environment
should drink one quart of water every half hour. The water should be consumed in small
amounts throughout the work period rather than drinking a large amount of water at one
(1) A person cannot rely on thirst to remind him to drink water. People in a
hot climate seldom feel thirsty enough to replace all of the water lost through
perspiration, urination, and respiration. Leaders may need to order their troops to drink.
(2) It is important to drink water in adequate amounts, but it is also important
to not "over-hydrate." This happens when a soldier dilutes the electrolytes in his body.
This can cause mental confusion and muscle cramps due to the lack of electrolytes.
(3) A soldier should drink extra water before an attack or mission. The extra
water in his system will help to keep him physically strong and mentally alert until the
tactical situation allows him time to drink again.