How to Treat Heat Injuries

Former Navy SEAL and preeminent American survivalist Cade Courtley delivers step-by-step instructions on how to treat bites and stings. To learn more survival tips from Cade, you can purchase his book: Cade Courtley’s SEAL Survival Guide Be sure to tune in to America Unplugged, Thursday’s at 8PM E/P, to see how Cade and other survivalists live unplugged from society.

Someone can die from heat when they engage in physical activity when the heat production within their body exceeds the body’s ability to lower its own temperature adequately. This results in a rise in inner body temperature to levels that interfere with normal body functions. There are many environmental factors that contribute to this condition, such as air temperature, humidity, wind speed, and sun exposure.

The primary goal in treating a heat injury is to cool down the human body and get it closer to the baseline norm of 98.6 degrees. Artificially re-regulating an individual’s body temperature until their body can once again self-regulate is what we’ll be doing here.


Dehydration stems from a sudden loss of body fluids. If not enough water is consumed, or there is severe diarrhea, vomiting, or sweating, dehydration can occur. The body can go for weeks without eating but only a few days without water. In the short term, you will feel thirsty and hot. In the long term, the best indicator that you are becoming dehydrated will be the color and frequency of urination. Less frequent and darker in color is bad.


Prevention is simple: Drink water constantly and not occasionally. Additionally, avoid beverages that are high in sugar and hydrating. Electrolyte-enhanced waters are great, or if unavailable you can make your own by adding a teaspoon of salt and some fresh-squeezed orange, lemon, or lime juice to a liter of water.

Pickles and pickle juice are higher in electrolytes than beverages like Gatorade or Powerade and have been shown to reduce cramping caused by exertion in high temperatures. The acetic acid in pickles and pickle juice is considered superior to the citric acid found in commercial sports drinks, at least when it comes to rehydration properties.

Fresh produce has a very high water content. So it’s a great way to hydrate without having to drink a ton of water. For example, an apple is up to 85 percent water by volume. Again, remember to avoid any food that is high in sugar or contains caffeine.

Heat Cramps

This is when you experience a painful cramping in a large muscle. It could happen in your legs, arms, or abdomen. This stems from a sudden and exccesive loss in salt, due to heavy sweating or sevbral hours of nonstop exertion.

Heat Exhaustion

This is displayed by a sudden amount of profuse sweating. You may experience a pounding headache or tingling sensation, or feel light-headed , or vomit. What’s happening is that the body temperature has risen to between 99 and 104 degrees, and it’s attempting to regulate the surface temperature of your skin.


If your body temperature reaches more than 105 degrees, then the entire nervous system could malfunction. This is marked by an absence of sweat in a person and can lead to organ damage and death.


17211_2769_5The immediate goal in all three of these cases is to cool down the body by performing as many of the following functions as possible:

  1. Get to a shaded environment.
  2. Lie down and elevate the legs.
  3. Loosen clothing.
  4. Take sips of fluid, but don’t gulp or guzzle.
  5. Remove most clothing.
  6. Fan a cold-water mist over the body, which increase evaporation.
  7. Put ice packs under the groin or on the back of neck.

product3 To learn more tips to surviving any disaster buy Cade Courtley’s SEAL Survival Guide.


What's On Now