Heat Illness Prevention & Sun Safety

Last Updated: June 06, 2019
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Soldier in desert

​Leaders and soldiers should understand that sun safety and the prevention of heat injuries are vital to sustaining combat power. Leaders must continually be aware of the condition of their soldiers and be especially alert for signs and symptoms of heat and sun injuries. Prevention, early detection, and immediate treatment are the leader initiatives through which heat and sun injuries should be managed in the field.

Heat Illness

Heat illness refers to a spectrum of conditions (e.g., heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke).

Heat illness occurs when the body cannot compensate for increased core temperature due to environmental heat and/or metabolic heat produced by physical exertion.

Heat Illness Impacts Readiness
  1. Heat illness is a threat to individual health and to military operational success
    1. Since 2014, each year more than 1,500 Soldiers have developed a heat illness that required medical attention and/or lost duty time
    2. Heat illnesses were responsible for more than 20,500 lost/limited duty days in 2017

          2. Heat illness and dehydration can significantly degrade performance and increase core body temperature
    1. Losing as much as 4% of body weight from dehydration degrade physical performance
    2. Every 1% loss of body weight increases core temperature (0.10-0.23⁰C or 0.18-0.40⁰F) increasing risk of a more serious heat illness

If you have additional questions, please contact the APHC Disease Epidemiology Division at: 

Email Address: usarmy.apg.medcom-aphc.mbx.disease-epidemiologyprogram13@mail.mil

Telephone: 410-417-2377       

DSN: 867-2377