Medical Conditions in Survival hope for the best expect the worst

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Nobody goes on vacation expecting the worst. Holidays are meant to be enjoyed and not to worry about something going wrong at any moment. Of course, if you go on an adventure, there is a chance that you will get heatstroke. Skiing can throw you off course and lead to frostbite or hypothermia. You can get lost while hiking, leading to several worst-case scenarios – dehydration, fatigue, or some food or water-borne illness. You don’t even need to be on a camping trip to experience some of these diseases. A simple wrong turn can leave you stranded alone with the scorching heat or cold.

hope for the best expect the worst

You need to know how to deal with some of these scenarios before you leave. If you’re heading mountains in winter, be aware of the illnesses you may encounter in cold weather. If you’re heading into the woods for a summer hike, read about the plants you should avoid and how you can deal with illnesses from tainted water or food. Preparing for the worst doesn’t mean being a pessimist – it means being smart.


Cold has a strong effect on a person. Humans do not have the protective coverings of fur that most animals have, so extreme cold can lead to sickness and even death. The total fatalities increase by 15% in winter due to hypothermia, pneumonia, and influenza.

Hypothermia is pretty simple – your body loses more heat than it produces, and your body temperature drops. So watch out for the following symptoms of hypothermia:

  • slurred speech;
  • stiff joints;
  • loss of coordination;
  • slow pulse;
  • uncontrollable trembling;
  • loss of bladder control;
  • swollen face;
  • mental confusion.

To protect yourself from hypothermia, find shelter from the wind and cover yourself with anything you can find: blankets, a sleeping bag, or even a cellophane. Most of your body warmness is lost through your head, so cover your head. If you are wearing wet clothes, immediately replace them with dry clothes. or you don’t have anything dry to wear, it’s better to strip nude and dry your clothes by the fire than to wear something wet.

If you are with someone showing signs of hypothermia, handle them with care. He may go into cardiac arrest. Keep it horizontal. Crawl into a sleeping bag with your partner, or hug each other tightly to create warmth. Unless you are trapped in the wilderness, seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.


If you are exposed to the scorching heat of the desert or the humid tropical conditions of an island, you will suffer from heat stroke. This is when your body cannot regulate body temperature because it loses water and salt due to excessive sweating. The sodium and chloride in salt are electrolytes your muscles need to function correctly. Heat cramps are accompanied by heat exhaustion and eventually heat stroke, or a complete failure of your body’s heat regulation system. Your body temperature rises rapidly, and you cannot sweat and cool down. The symptoms are as follows:

  • severe headaches;
  • dizziness;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • muscle cramps or spasms;
  • confusion and attack;
  • very elevated body temperature and hot, red skin;
  • hallucinations;
  • unconsciousness.

Lie down in the shade to treat heat stroke, unbutton your clothes, and drink water. Pour cool water over your skin. You can die from heatstroke, so don’t skimp on water. If you have a good compress in your first aid kit, apply it to your underarms and groin area. This will help lower your overall body temperature. If you don’t have a compress, blot a towel or bandana and apply it to your skin. Stay in the shade until you feel yourself cooling down. Your stomach will calm down, and your heartbeat will calm down. 


You need to worry about hypothermia if you are in a severe frost. Frostbite is when your skin temperature drops below freezing, and ice crystals form in your skin cells, killing them. There are two types of frostbite: superficial and severe. If you warm your skin in a short time, you will have external damage. Your skin will blister, turn blue to black, and harden. The damaged skin disappears to expose the new skin underneath unless the damage is too severe.

Severe frostbite penetrates the muscles and bones, usually causes tissue damage, and can even lead to the amputation of fingers, toes, hands, and feet. The stages of frostbite are as follows:

  • Red skin is the initial stage.
  • White skin is the middle stage.
  • Hard skin – moderate to severe.
  • Blackened skin is an advanced stage.

With frostbite, it is vital to warm the skin gradually. Cover your ears and warm your fingers under your armpits. Never rub damaged skin or immerse it in hot water. Use warm water between 37.7 and 41°C. Move to a more hospitable place immediately, even if it’s a tent. Remove any tight clothing that may restrict blood flow. Place gauze or cloth between your fingers and toes to absorb moisture and keep them from sticking together. As with any illness, see your doctor as soon as possible.


Dehydration can happen in any weather. It simply means that you are not providing your body with enough water. In hot conditions, this happens faster because you lose a lot of water through sweat. If you get caught in extreme heat without water, dehydration can occur within one hour.

In addition to sweat, you also lose water in your feces, urine, and breath. Every cell and organ in your body needs water to function. With mild dehydration, you will experience the following:

  • lack of saliva
  • decreased frequency of urination
  • decreased urine output,
  • the dark color and a strong smell of urine.

Moderate dehydration:

  • even less urine
  • dry mouth
  • dry and sunken eyes,

Severe dehydration:

  • no urine,
  • lethargy and irritability
  • vomiting and diarrhea.

The final stages of dehydration are shock and then death. If you’re in reasonably good shape and haven’t been caught in extreme heat, you might be able to go 3-5 days without water. But your body needs so much water every day. If you weigh 90 kg, you should consume at least 2.5 liters or 12 glasses of water daily.

To treat dehydration, drink water and avoid soda, tea, or anything with caffeine. This will only increase urine output and slow your body’s rehydration process.


From a medical point of view, people can go without food for 4 to 8 weeks, as long as they have water. Hunger strikes lasted longer, and some people starved to death in less time – it all depends on the individual and several other factors.

The body stores energy from fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Carbohydrates go first if you don’t eat them. Next comes fat, which explains why people with more fat can survive longer. After that, it will be the turn of the proteins. If you reach a point where your body uses up protein, you will be in critical condition.

Your metabolism, which converts food into energy, also plays a role. If your metabolism is slow, you will burn food more slowly and for longer. If you go without food for a long time, your metabolism adjusts on its own, turning on for survival.

The climate also plays a role. Both cold and hot weather will quickly kill you if you don’t have food. In terms of life without food: heat means faster dehydration, and cold means more energy is burned to keep the body temperature at the required level. If you are lucky enough to be in a comfortable environment with a temperature of 20 to 25 ºС, you can live a little longer without food.

Some of the symptoms you may see if you go without food for more than two days are:

  • weakness,
  • confusion,
  • chronic diarrhea,
  • irritability,
  • wrong decision making
  • immunodeficiency.

Progressive fasting will cause your organs to shut down one at a time. If you suffer from severe hunger, you may experience the following:

  • hallucinations,
  • convulsions,
  • muscle spasms,
  • irregular heartbeat.

If you are suffering from hunger, look to plants and insects for protein and food energy. The main rule is to avoid eating insects or plants that are brightly colored or emit a strong, pungent odor.


We were all tired after a long day of physical activity. In a survival scenario, fatigue is a little more dangerous than it looks. You may experience a lack of food, water, mental stress, and anxiety. All these factors will only exacerbate your fatigue. In addition to just feeling tired and weak, you may experience the following:

  • it feels like you might pass out
  • dizziness,
  • dyspnea.

Your best survival tool is your brain’s and body’s excellent health. Fatigue can leave a hole in both of them. If you get lost and heading toward civilization, take more frequent breaks or pause your hike for a day or two to recuperate. Camp as close to a water food and source as possible to lower the energy needed to get both. While you are taking a break, try to relax your mind as well. You will also restore your energy levels by staying positive and avoiding panic and anxiety.

Sleep is crucial in the fight against fatigue, so make sure that the place you choose to rest is as conducive to sleep as possible. Stay horizontal for as long as possible until your energy levels rise. From now on, take more frequent breaks until you feel fully recovered.


Incorrect food intake in a survival scenario can render an outdoor expert in excellent physical condition powerless and weak. Eating spoiled or undercooked meat can lead to many diseases, including E. coli or salmonella. You can also get sick by eating an insect or a poisonous plant. All of the above is likely to manifest itself with the following symptoms:

  • diarrhea,
  • nausea,
  • vomit,
  • stomach cramps,
  • fever.

The bad news is that these symptoms will also speed up the dehydration rate. You can avoid foodborne illness by cooking meat until it is well done. If there is any doubt, cook it a little more. Never eat anything you haven’t caught yourself, or if it’s already dead when you find it. Even the freshest meat is likely riddled with harmful bacteria.

If you have to resort to eating insects and plants, avoid anything that is brightly colored or has thorns. Nature itself warns: “avoid me.” If you must eat insects, tear off all the limbs and cook the body by boiling or frying it. Plants can be tested with the universal edibility test: rub the plant on your wrist and put a small piece in your mouth without swallowing to see if you react. Do not eat it if it tastes very bitter or has any signs of a rash or swelling.

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