This article is a guide for preventing heat stroke and other heat-related injuries and heat stresses. Other articles, which will appear later, will go into treating injuries associated with heat.
HEAT STROKE AND HEAT INJURIES PREVENTION
Even in moderate temperatures heat stroke and other heat-related ailments can occur. To prevent this, it all depends on how hard you are working and what precautions you take.
Obviously, though during the summer heat, you are more susceptible to heat injuries with hot temperatures, high altitude, humidity and direct sunlight.
- Your bodies temperature will be harder to regulate.
- You’ll need to drink more water as you’ll sweat more. I.E. Sweat is water.
- If you become dehydrated, you’ll be in greater danger of heat-related injuries like heat stress and your work productivity will likely be diminished.
If possible, you should gradually adapt to the hot weather conditions. For significant temperature changes, acclimatization can occur from three days to up to two weeks. Acclimatize by working in the heat for only one to two hours a day and then incrementally increase your heat exposure. (Table 3-1) If you are coming from a cold climate, you’ll need to spend more time acclimatizing to hot weather.
If gradual adaptation is not possible, then be sure that you and your companions drink plenty of water.
The amount of water you’ll need depends on how hot it is and your physical activity. However, a good rule to go by is that you should try to drink from a half to one and a half quarts of water hourly. This amounts to approximately three gallons of water a day. Also, it should go without saying, but you need to refill your canteen whenever possible.
Sports drink, like Gatorade, may supply your body, supplemental nutrition. These sports drinks are especially beneficial when performing vigorous work. However, sports drinks cannot replace regular water. Caffeine increases your need for water; so, don’t drink coffee, other caffeine drinks and avoid chocolate.
Check Your Pee
Surprisingly, thirst is not the best signal for dehydration. However,
your urine’s color and the amount of urine is a good sign of your overall bodies hydration. Urine that is dark yellow and small amounts of urine means that you could be dehydrated. Ideally, your urine should be clear or a light yellow. Additionally, constipation and hard stools indicate dehydration.
You Only Need To Eat To Get Your Salt
Your meals should contain all of your bodies needed salt. Hint-Consider buying field rations/MREs. So, don’t add salt to your meals. Hint-MRE’s are designed for survival as they contain your daily recommended dosage of vitamins and minerals.
Don’t take salt tablets. A single tablet will increase your needed water by a pint and can cause vomiting.
Your choice of clothes and how your wear them can also help you reduce heat-related ailments. Try to do the following:
- Cover all of your skin with light clothing and use sun lotion (SPF 15 or higher) and chapstick
- Untuck your pants from your shoes or boots.
- Wear UV protected sunglasses. Wraparound glasses are ideal.
- Clothing should be loose around your lower legs, wrist, and the neck.
Above all use common sense. So, when you are either working or playing in high temperatures take breaks and drink plenty of water.