Outdoor activities are one way to enjoy the warm weather of spring and summer, but service members and their families should be mindful that high temperatures pose a significant risk for heat injury.
According to the U.S. Army Public Health Command, the prevention, early recognition and treatment of heat injuries are critical to curbing weather-related deaths. Service members have been trained to prevent and identify heat injuries on duty, and they can apply that same knowledge to protect themselves and their family members 24/7.
One helpful source is Technical Bulletin Medical 507/Air Force Pamphlet 48-152 (I), which describes the symptoms of and treatment protocols for the three most common heat injuries:
Symptoms: spasms in the arms, legs or stomach. Treatment: Sip water, massage cramping areas and replace lost salt through food. Never take salt tablets unless directed by a physician.
Symptoms: headaches, paleness, clammy skin, excessive sweating, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, nausea and exhaustion. Treatment: sip water, lie in a shaded area and rest, and loosen or remove clothing.
Symptoms: headache, dizziness, delirium, nausea, vomiting and body temperature of 106 F or higher. Treatment: Heat stroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal. Immediately call an ambulance (on-post — 117 or civilian 0711-680-117; off-post and cell phone — 112). Reducing body temperature is paramount in rescue efforts, and the most effective cooling strategy entails removing the victim’s clothing and immersing him or her in cool or iced water while massaging the skin (ice sheets or ice packs are acceptable if immersion isn’t possible).
Anyone suspected to be suffering from heat stroke should be transported to a hospital immediately, preferably by trained medical professionals such as paramedics.
For more information on heat injuries, visit https://safety.army.mil.