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99 Capacities Series – Capacity #30: Avoid and Treat Dehydration, Shock, Heat Illnesses

The thirtieth  capacity that I introduce in my eBook is that you must [be able to] avoid and treat dehydration, shock, and heat-related illness. In it I state that:

You must “avoid and treat dehydration, shock, and heat-related illness. A variety of other conditions could become serious problems. Know your limitations, signs and symptoms of the aforementioned conditions, as well as how to best treat them without the aid of trained professionals, if need be. You can view videos regarding these conditions here as well as several free medical guides here.”

Although officially listed as the last capacity in the medical and first aid section, this could easily be the first to concern yourself with, and for good reason. Dehydration and heat stroke are killers.

As with any serious medical condition, the easiest way to “treat” them is to avoid the trouble in the first place. Certainly, at times this is easier said than done, especially when you’re stressed out, tired, and not thinking clearly. But any prepper worth his weight in, well… anything must always consider their actions (or lack thereof) and the intended or unintended consequences that result.

I would suggest that the most likely reasons for dehydration or heat-illnesses are either a direct result of not paying attention to the situation or from pushing yourself too hard. Therefore, the best way to avoid such problems is to make plans to avoid them in all your actions. For example, this could mean an hourly water break or rest from the sun. It could–and should–mean ensuring people wear proper clothing when outside at all times. It might also mean actually monitoring water intake (by volume) for each person and recording it in a log; that may sound a bit overboard and I’m not saying I would do it but who knows what needs to be done when everything is chaotic.

As for treating dehydration, I would encourage you to read Dehydration in Survival Situations, an article written by Joe and Amy at DoomAndBloom.net, that lays out what you can expect to see from patients experiencing the various levels of dehydration. I would also encourage you to understand how and when to use an oral re-hydration therapy for replacing lost water. In severe situations IV therapy would be useful but likely not accessible to non-medical people like me. Again, the best therapy is to aviod it at all costs. STAY WELL HYDRATED!

A person going into shock has got to be scary; I’ve never seen it and never want to. Anyway, apparently a person can go into shock for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common is Anaphylactic Shock such as from a Bee Sting. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can really do without true medical intervention but it may be advisable to keep an Epipen around if you can get your hands on one for this very occasion.

Heat stroke is another life-altering and definitely life-threatening condition that can be avoided as well. The basics are to stay out of the heat and stay well hydrated. This article on How to Prevent Heatstroke, an article written by The Survival Doctor, talks about the signs and symptoms of heatstroke and several suggestions to prevent it. This article on Treating Heat Stroke at DoomAndBloom.net roughly echoes that advice.

Above all else, the point is to think about what you’re doing. In the midst of surviving a major emergency I’m sure it will be difficult to remember to drink plenty of fluids and avoid overdoing it in the hot sun, but that’s a large part of what prepping is all about: to not become one of the statistics BECAUSE you’ve had the foresight to prepare for avoidable disasters such as these.

Note: This post is part of an ongoing series detailing the ideas from my free eBook, The 99 Capacities You MUST Acquire BEFORE Disaster Strikes You!, which you may freely download here.

3 comments to 99 Capacities Series – Capacity #30: Avoid and Treat Dehydration, Shock, Heat Illnesses

  • survivalken

    I feel one of the most important aspects to survival is medical training. I was an EMT basic for awhile and the skills I learned in that training have come to be handy in the wilderness. If you haven’t had training before, it is best to get some, either through your local Red Cross or college or a survival school such as Sigma III (www.SurvivalSchool.US)

  • Martin

    So true that avoiding such problems is the best course of action. These are serious life-threatening conditions that are best to be avoided.