PREVENTING/TREATING ENVIRONMENTAL INJURIES
Section I. HEAT INJURIES
CAUSES OF HEAT INJURIES
Heat injuries usually occur during hot weather or when a person is working near
equipment that produces heat. However, heat injuries can also occur during temperate
conditions. Heat injury can occur whenever the normal temperature control
mechanisms of the body are overwhelmed. This may occur when fluids are not
adequately replaced, soldiers are not adequately rested, or body heat is not adequately
dissipated. Even a healthy person can suffer heat injury. Heat injuries can be painful
and, in some cases, fatal.
TYPES OF HEAT INJURES
The three principal types of heat injuries are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and
a. Heat Cramps. Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms (contractions)
caused by loss of water and salt from the body, usually through perspiration. Signs and
symptoms of heat cramps include:
Grasping or massaging an arm or leg.
Bending over in an effort to relieve the pain of an abdominal cramp.
Skin excessively wet with perspiration.
b. Heat Exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is primarily caused by the body losing
water, usually through perspiration, without the water being adequately replaced. Heat
exhaustion usually occurs in fit individuals who are involved in extreme physical exertion
in a hot environment and are not acclimatized. The signs and symptoms of heat
exhaustion are very similar to those of shock. The first five signs and symptoms listed
are the most common.
Profuse sweating with pale, moist, cool skin.