How to Survive Common Environmental Injuries

The following conditions are common medical issues that people face after a disaster. It’s important that if you want to survive these easily treatable conditions that you get at least a basic understanding of the symptoms and know how to treat them. Keep in mind that we are not doctors and following the advice given is done at your own risk. These methods have worked for others though and are common treatments in many parts of the world (especially where/when modern medicine isn’t readily available.

Preventing Hypothermia and other environmental injuries

Heat Stroke

Your body operates with a regulatory system that works well below 105 degrees. Above that, you are at risk for heat stroke. You may not get dehydration sensation before hand, or cramps. You’ll know it’s a heat stroke if the face is swollen and bright red. The whites of the eyes will be red. The person will not be sweating, even though they are overheated. Also probable is going unconscious or into delirium. This will actually cause the skin to go cool and bring a blue color to lips and nails.

Your goal is to cool the person as quickly as you can. The victim of heat stroke will be in shock. If there is a cool stream, set him in it immediately. Otherwise pour water or urine on him. If you can’t do that, put cold wet compresses all over his body, especially at the neck and armpits, and the crotch. Keep the person’s heat wet – a great deal of heat escapes through the head. If you can get an IV going to hydrate the victim, do that. Also try to get the victim drinking anything you’ve got. Water with a bit of salt is best. Fanning can also help.

While getting cooler, the victim might vomit, have diarrhea, struggle, shiver, shout incoherently at you, stay unconscious for a while, and even go into cardiac arrest. You should stand by to perform CPR.


This is the opposite problem from heat stroke. If your body stays below 97 degrees for a while, it can cause hypothermia. If you’re hungry or dehydrated, often a risk in a survival situation, that will make you more likely to get hypothermia. Your goal with hypothermia is to warm the body. Dry the person, change into warm clothes, and keep by a fire or other source of warmth. Also hydrate the victim, as it aids in recovery.


There are quite a few causes for diarrhea. The easiest way to avoid it is by staying safe: drink clean water, eat food that isn’t spoiled, don’t get too exhausted, don’t use dirty dishes again. To treat diarrhea, don’t drink much for a full day. Limit yourself to one cup of tea or similar fluid every 2 hours. It’s the tannins in the tea that will help. If you boil the inner bark of a hardwood tree for more than two hours, you can get a good tannic solution.

Intestinal Parasites

The best way to treat intestinal parasites is to not get them in the first place. Don’t walk around barefoot. Don’t eat uncooked meat, and don’t eat raw vegetables that you suspect may have been near sewage or feces.

If you do get a parasite, drink salt water, but only once. Mix 5 tablespoons in a gallon of water and drink it. If you have nicotine in tobacco, eat it. One or two cigarettes should be enough to harm the parasites long enough so that you can pass them through your body. The maximum you can repeat this is once every day. If you have chili peppers, eat them. This will only help if you do it consistently, meal after meal. If the peppers are strong enough and present often enough, they will kill the intestinal parasites.