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Home / Outdoor Survival

OUTDOOR SURVIVAL

Basic Survival Medicine: Environmental Injuries

Heatstroke, hypothermia, diarrhea, and intestinal parasites are environmental injuries you could face.

Heatstroke

The breakdown of the body's heat regulatory system (body temperature more than 40.5 degrees C [105 degrees F]) causes a heatstroke. Other heat injuries, such as cramps or dehydration, do not always precede a heatstroke. Signs and symptoms of heatstroke are--

  • Swollen, beet-red face.
  • Reddened whites of eyes.
  • Victim not sweating.
  • Unconsciousness or delirium, which can cause pallor, a bluish color to lips and nail beds (cyanosis), and cool skin.
Note: By this time the victim is in severe shock. Cool the victim as rapidly as possible. Cool him by dipping him in a cool stream. If one is not available, douse the victim with urine, water, or at the very least, apply cool wet com-presses to all the joints, especially the neck, armpits, and crotch. Be sure to wet the victim's head. Heat loss through the scalp is great. Administer IVs and provide drinking fluids. You may fan the individual.

Expect, during cooling--

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Struggling.
  • Shivering.
  • Shouting.
  • Prolonged unconsciousness.
  • Rebound heatstroke within 48 hours.
  • Cardiac arrest; be ready to perform CPR.
Note: Treat for dehydration with lightly salted water.

Hypothermia

Defined as the body's failure to maintain a temperature of 36 degrees C (97 degrees F). Exposure to cool or cold temperature over a short or long time can cause hypothermia. Dehydration and lack of food and rest predispose the survivor to hypothermia.

Unlike heatstroke, you must gradually warm the hypothermia victim. Get the victim into dry clothing. Replace lost fluids, and warm him.

Diarrhea

A common, debilitating ailment caused by a change of water and food, drinking contaminated water, eating spoiled food, becoming fatigued, and using dirty dishes. You can avoid most of these causes by practicing preventive medicine. If you get diarrhea, however, and do not have antidiarrheal medicine, one of the following treatments may be effective:

  • Limit your intake of fluids for 24 hours.
  • Drink one cup of a strong tea solution every 2 hours until the diarrhea slows or stops. The tannic acid in the tea helps to control the diarrhea. Boil the inner bark of a hardwood tree for 2 hours or more to release the tannic acid.
  • Make a solution of one handful of ground chalk, charcoal, or dried bones and treated water. If you have some apple pomace or the rinds of citrus fruit, add an equal portion to the mixture to make it more effective. Take 2 tablespoons of the solution every 2 hours until the diarrhea slows or stops.

Intestinal Parasites

You can usually avoid worm infestations and other intestinal parasites if you take preventive measures. For example, never go barefoot. The most effective way to prevent intestinal parasites is to avoid uncooked meat and raw vegetables contaminated by raw sewage or human waste used as a fertilizer. However, should you become infested and lack proper medicine, you can use home remedies. Keep in mind that these home remedies work on the principle of changing the environment of the gastrointestinal tract. The following are home remedies you could use:

  • Salt water. Dissolve 4 tablespoons of salt in 1 liter of water and drink. Do not repeat this treatment.
  • Tobacco. Eat 1 to 1.5 cigarettes. The nicotine in the cigarette will kill or stun the worms long enough for your system to pass them. If the infestation is severe, repeat the treatment in 24 to 48 hours, but no sooner.
  • Kerosene. Drink 2 tablespoons of kerosene but no more. If necessary, you can repeat this treatment in 24 to 48 hours. Be careful not to inhale the fumes. They may cause lung irritation.
  • Hot peppers. Peppers are effective only if they are a steady part of your diet. You can eat them raw or put them in soups or rice and meat dishes. They create an environment that is prohibitive to parasitic attachment.

Basic survival medicine
Requirements for maintenance of health | Medical emergencies | Lifesaving steps | Bone and joint injury | Bites and stings | Wounds | Environmental injuries | Herbal medicines

 

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