f. Protection from the Environment.
(1) Sunburn. Sunburn is caused by overexposure of the skin to the
ultraviolet radiation of the sun. Severe cases are disabling and can predispose to other
forms of heat illness. Sunburn can be prevented by using adequate shelter, clothing,
sun screen lotions containing para-aminobenzoic acid or its derivatives, and limiting
sequential exposure (exposure too long, several days in a row). Fair-skinned
individuals should be particularly careful, although dark-skinned individuals can also be
(2) Clothing. A person is better off in a hot environment wearing the least
allowable amount of clothing (except when exposed directly to the sun's rays). Clothing
reduces the exposure of the body surface to solar radiation. At the same time, clothing
decreases the movement of air over the skin. So, to take full advantage of the benefits
and minimize the disadvantages, clothing should be loose fitting especially at the neck,
wrists, and lower legs to allow circulation of air.
Protection from the environment also includes such simple but frequently
overlooked things as marching troops over grass rather than concrete and
operating in such shade as is available.
g. Special Considerations in Recruit Training.
(1) Basic trainees make up a special group of unseasoned personnel who
need particular attention because of the unusual physical stresses involved in basic
training in summer heat. Adjustment to this stress is difficult and must be taken into
account in planning training schedules. It is best to plan work and schedule training
activities for the coolest parts of the day. This will yield greater efficiency and less
disruption of training than will insistence on routine completion of a heavy schedule.
(2) Heat casualties occur most frequently during the first two weeks of basic
training and during the bivouac week. These casualties are associated especially with
firing on the rifle range, squad tactical training, and retreat parades. Particular attention
should be paid to decreasing the heat strain accompanying these activities.
(3) Recruit heat casualties tend to occur in groups within particular units.
Responsible commanders and medical officers should, there- fore, promptly investigate
each case to determine the unsafe practice or condition responsible. Measures should
be instituted to prevent additional cases.