Metabolic Acclimatization to Tropical Heat

Clarence A. Mills Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Cincinnati

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Present enforced activity of large military forces in tropical heat gives sharp emphasis to our need for a clear understanding of the influences such heat exerts. Just what does acclimatization, through the weeks and months of exposure, mean in terms of mental and physiologic processes? It is indeed unfortunate that several recent reports from government-sponsored war research projects have failed to present the matter in a balanced manner, tending to give the impression that such adaptation involves nothing more than the needed vasomotor adjustment.

Complete acclimatization to tropical heat has two quite distinct physiologic aspects. One of these is called into play during the first few days of heat exposure, while the other requires weeks for its appearance. When difficulty in heat dissipation is encountered by the unadapted subject, marked stress is placed upon the vasomotor mechanism for transport of waste heat from interior tissues to cutaneous surfaces.

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