"Despite guidance that's been in place, relatively unchanged, for decades, and warnings ranging from PowerPoint presentations to charts breaking down urine color, more than 2,500 active-duty service members suffered some form of heat-related ailment in 2016.
That figure, slightly up from 2015's total, included 401 cases of heat stroke and 2,153 reports of "other heat illnesses," according to March's Medical Surveillance Monthly Report from the Defense Health Agency.
The report calls heat illnesses "a significant threat to both the health of U.S. military members and the effectiveness of military operations." So service members receive training on how to diagnose and treat such illnesses, how much water they should drink to remain hydrated, how to adjust hydration and work schedules based on environmental factors -- break out the wet bulb globe temperature index calculator to gauge the threat level -- and, yes, how to gauge their hydration levels based on urine color.
"You can mitigate the problem, but you can't get away from it altogether," said Samuel Cheuvront, a research physiologist with the thermal and mountain medicine division at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.
"It's just like any intractable problem; there is always going to be some risk." Cheuvront outlined several reasons why heat illness remains a concern throughout the services,"
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