The easily contracted diseases in a survival situation


In a survival situation, contracting a disease can further aggravate our psycho-physical condition, also decreasing the chances of survival.

We must evaluate situations very well, being very careful not to do anything that could expose us to contagion.

The main avenues of contagion

Through the water:

World health services identify the types of water-related diseases in 5 points:

bacterial and viral diseases transmitted through contaminated water (typhus, cholera, dysentery, legionella, gastroenteritis and hepatitis);
infections of the skin and eyes due to contaminated water (trachomas, leprosy, conjunctivitis and ulcers);
parasites related to water (amoebiasis);
diseases due to vector insects, which multiply in humid environments, for example flies and mosquitoes (malaria);
diseases due to lack of hygiene (Teniasi).
Water can transmit all sorts of viruses and microbes. Symptoms resulting from the contamination of contaminated water are: dysentery, severe and prolonged bloody diarrhea, fever, weakness, viruses and diseases (typhus, cholera, etc.) or the presence of parasites in the body. One of the most serious diseases is malaria, it causes the highest number of deaths in the world.


  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Urine.
  • Blood.
  • Sea water.
  • Ice or snow.
  • Gasoline or chemical compounds.
  • Stagnant water of ponds, pools (which has no outflow channels).
  • Whitish liquid, milky sap of some plants (particularly bright and bitter in color, it could be poisonous).
  • Dirty water with foam and bubbles and nauseating smell.
  • Water where there are dead animals inside.
  • Water of strange color or where the surrounding vegetation is dead or missing.
  • Always purify the water to be safe. The classic method involves boiling it and filtering it if it is dirty.

3 methods to purify the water recommended by the green berets:

  1. Drinking water tablets (1 for clear water, 2 for dark water).
  2. Boil the water for at least 10 minutes.
  3. 5 drops of 2% iodine in a container, wait 30 minutes before drinking. 3 drops of iodine per liter if the solution is 3%.

Through food:

eating raw meat or fish, eating live insects, eating animals already found dead are things to avoid in a survival situation. Hunger can lead us not to think clearly but we must think: “what sense does it fill our stomach with food that once ingested could make us sick and cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreasing our energy, vitamins and mineral salts even more?” .

Some rules to eat safely:

  • Eat only freshly hunted or fished food.
  • Cook the food well.
  • Avoid raw meat dishes.
  • Avoid cibarvi of plants that you do not know.
  • Do not eat mushrooms.
  • Clean your hands before eating.

Through an exposed wound: cuts, stings, small wounds, abrasions and abrasions if not medicated can be a simple way for the proliferation of bacteria. Always dress with long clothes (even humid climates) covered arms and legs to avoid bites and bites of insects and small cuts with wild vegetation (branches, prickly or irritating plants …).

Some advices:

Stop immediately to medicate and cover the wounds.
Wear a long-sleeved shirt, trousers and a scarf around your neck to secure every area of your body.
Use anti-mosquito repellents to avoid punctures.
Also disinfect bites and insect bites.
Remove any parasites attached to the skin.
Check your hair often.

Hands-to-mouth passage:

the hygiene of the hands and nails is very important. If we found some food; before eating it let’s remember to wash our hands, the easiest way to catch viruses is through the passage from hands to mouth. Even the fingernails must be clean, in fact under the nail can easily nest and proliferate various microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, etc … See chapter dedicated to hygiene.

AVOID touching with dirty hands: eyes, mouth, nose, ears, intimate parts but also wounds, food and water that you must consume.

Through the animals:

Lice can transmit typhus, mosquitoes can pass many diseases (malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever), flies can infect you with dysentery, cholera, African human trypanosomiasis, fleas can pass the bubonic plague and pulmonary, ticks the maculose fever of the rocky mountains. Bites and bites of animals can infect you, for example bee venom or wasp can trigger allergies in the subjects brought or the bites of the bat can pass the rage. Attention also to snakes, spiders and scorpions.

Unsuitable clothing:

clothing not suitable for climatic conditions (heat, frost, rain, humidity, wind) could weaken your immune system and make you more exposed to diseases.



More known as frostbite. Hypothermia begins when the internal temperature of the human body falls below 35 degrees. Serious hypothermia is considered when the internal temperature reaches 26 degrees, below 24 degrees, hypothermia is considered lethal. The freezing of tissues occurs when their temperature falls below 4 degrees, the action of cold immediately affects the nose, ears, fingers and feet, this because they are the most exposed parts of the body, so you must cover them and keep them warm.

Prolonged exposure of hands and feet to extreme cold can cause the tissues to irreversibly necrotize, in these cases unfortunately it is necessary to proceed with the amputation, even if you can wait several days or even weeks before proceeding with the operation surgical. Particular attention should be given to the defrosting that must be gradual to avoid serious injuries caused by the too rapid expansion of the blood vessels.

If your hands are frozen or in any case very cold, DO NOT place them above the fire, but let them warm up gradually with their heat. NEVER drink alcohol to warm up, as at the beginning they give a sense of warmth but immediately cause a drastic cooling of the body. Possibly drink a warm and sweetened drink. To keep your hands warm you can put them under your arms.


known as heat stroke (strong increase in body temperature 39 ° / 40 ° C). The first symptoms of hyperthermia are a severe headache and a sense of tiredness, if you do not immediately find shelter in the shade and a little water, the situation precipitates quickly, you stop sweating and you feel stunned and if you do not receive adequate care you can even die. The first aid in cases of hyperthermia must try to maintain the vital functions of the injured person, bringing him into an airy environment but without causing a sudden cooling. The first thing to do if it’s very hot is to cover your head with whatever you have available. You can use a large piece of cloth or a cut of a garment (better if clear). To find some relief you can urinate on the headgear. Also cover areas of skin exposed to sunlight to avoid burns.

Pirexya or Fever: fever is a classic of survival and of those who travel a lot. As soon as the first symptoms appear, one must try to understand from what the increase in body temperature can result.

Body temperature (febrile states):

subfebrile 37 ° – 37.3 ° C
low-grade fever 37.4 ° – 37.6 ° C
moderate fever 37.7 ° – 38.9 ° C
high fever 39 ° – 39.9 ° C
hyperpyrexia> 40 ° C
Heat stroke (temperature increase):

hyperthermia 39 ° – 40 ° C
Severe hyperthermia 40 ° – 40.9 ° (risk for life)
very serious hyperthermia 41 ° (the brain begins to suffer damage)
hyperthermia with certain death + 45 ° C
hyperthermia with immediate death + 50 ° C
HYPOTHERMY (temperature decrease):

hypothermia 35 ° – 32 ° C (chills).
moderate hypothermia 32 ° – 28 ° C (soporific state, the patient responds to stimuli).
severe hypothermia 28 ° – 24 ° C (unconsciousness, detectable vital parameters).
very severe hypothermia 24 ° – 20 ° (absence of vital signs).
deep hypothermia 20 ° – <14 ° (almost certain death).

Drugs to lower fever:

Acetylsalicylic acid if the fever has inflammatory origins (Aspirin), paracetamol which is a classic antipyretic (Tachipirina), ibuprofen (analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic) and ketoprofen similar to the previous (Oki). In case of hyperthermia, dab the body with water and alcohol.

Types of fever:

Continue: body temperature rises and remains stable (eg lobar pneumonia).
Discontinuous: fever fluctuates by 2 ° / 3 ° C during the day (eg presence of bacteria in the blood)
Intermittently: alternating periods of fever and normal temperature (eg malaria).
Recurrent: fever oscillates from 3 to 5 days (eg bacterial peritonitis).
Oscillating: the fever oscillates from 10 to 15 days (from bacterium eg brucellosis).
fever: it is an intermittent fever that does not exceed 37.5 ° C and lasts for weeks, months and sometimes even years.

Causes of fever:

Infectious diseases.
Destruction of tissues (tumors, wounds, burns, fractures).
Non-infectious inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout).
Brain injuries.
Excessive increase in heat production (thyrotoxicosis).

Stages of fever

First phase: the increase in temperature can be slow or abrupt (with chills, goose bumps and tremors).
Second phase the fastigio. This phase is classified for the duration (hours, days, weeks) and for the type (continuous, intermittent fever …).
The third phase is the defervescence which can be slow and gradual or abrupt (with abundant sweating).
Intermittent fever

Bidaily fever: 2 febrile states and 2 relapses (eg sepsis).

Ague fever : Rises suddenly lasts 1 day, and then disappears for 3 days, then reappears and so on (plasmodium vivax).

Quartan fever: On the 1st and 4th day (plasmodium malariae).

Quintan fever: fever on the 1st and 5th day (richeziosi).


Diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems are also a classic of survival and of those who travel a lot. Diarrhea consists of an increase in the daily stool emission and a decrease in their consistency (liquid stools, and sometimes blood). Half of the diarrhea are triggered by bacteria such as Shigella or Salmonella and Rotavirus, Adenovirus and hepatitis viruses. In addition, diarrhea can be triggered by toxins produced by bacteria present in food or in contaminated water, in this case the frequently responsible bacterial agent is Staphylococcus.

Types of diarrhea:

Acute diarrhea: from one day to a maximum of two weeks. It is almost always triggered by infectious agents. Causes of diarrhea may be the use of non-potable water, the presence of waste not disposed of, and the inadequate cooking of certain foods.
Persistent diarrhea: from one day to four weeks.
Chronic diarrhea: over a month.
In case of diarrhea it is better to wait, and to free the intestine from potential germs, before taking care. If, on the other hand, it is a question of infections, it is better to start treatment immediately.

Treatments: use of anti-diarrhea to reduce symptoms and supplements to restore lost fluids. However, the root cause of diarrhea must be found in order to proceed with the true antibiotic or probiotic cure.

Diarrhea causes water loss and salts to the body, they must be quickly reintegrated (salts and sugars, carbonated drinks such as Coca Cola are also astringent, pretzels contain sodium and potassium, broths and teas).

Possible causes of diarrhea:

bacterial or viral infections, including “traveler’s diarrhea”.
presence of intestinal parasites.
diseases of the intestine (colitis, celiac disease, chronic inflammatory diseases, irritable colon).
psychophysical stress.
Dysentery: an infectious disease affecting the digestive system. It is caused by the ingestion of infected food and water containing microorganisms (shigella and entamoeba histolytica). Symptoms include diarrhea with presence of mucus and blood, and also fever and vomiting.

Dehydration: this pathology is found when the amount of water taken is less than the water lost. The heat, the cold, the sweat, the fever, diseases like vomiting, diarrhea can cause the body to lose a lot of fluids that must be replaced as soon as possible to avoid dehydration. The body must take at least 1.5 liters a day of water. The symptoms that we will experience in case of dehydration will be: thirst, dry skin and mouth, dizziness, palpitations, weakness, asthenia, fatigue, drowsiness and numbness.

How to avoid dehydration

Rest each time it is possible.
Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
Stay in the shade or cool in warm climates.
Never lie on the ground interposing anything between you and the ground (the soil causes heat to dissipate to your body).
Eat a little if you have little water (digestion takes a lot of fluids from the body).
Breathe with your nose and avoid speaking.

Starvation or vitamin deficiencies:

In a survival situation we could suffer from malnutrition. The lack of the right nutrient supply can also lead to anemia (decrease of hemoglobin in the blood), beriberi (lack of vitamin B1), pellagra (lack of B vitamins and vitamin PP) and scurvy (vitamin C deficiency). A prolonged state of starvation (over 40 days) can cause permanent damage to organs and can even lead to death. Treatment for starvation is a recovery of nutrients lost slow and gradual. Recovery must be progressive to avoid re-feeding syndrome (which can also be fatal).


In the highest areas (generally above 2500 meters, even if the most sensitive subjects show the first symptoms at only 1500mt) it can incur in altitude sickness, a pathology of our body that manifests itself because we are not used to the altitudes. The symptoms are: headache, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, fatigue or asthenia, dizziness or dizziness, insomnia and irritability. Mountain sickness can also prone to death (cerebral edema and pulmonary emphysema). At the onset of the first symptoms immediately drop in altitude. Drink plenty of water or soft drinks. You can also take drugs like Diamox or Decadron.

Other conditions that can alter our psycho-physical state:

Fear and anxiety Continuous states of anxiety and terror can weaken our immune defenses. Stress, on the other hand, is a topic of discussion among experts, some say that stress spurs the body to give more to others, instead they say that stress is not positive and weakens the body. But both agree that too high stress is harmful to the mind and the body.


From poisonous plants, fungi or poisonous animals.

Beware of poisonous plants (hemlock major, saponaria officinalis, delphinium, digitalis, frangola, atropa belladonna, datura stramonium …).

Never eat mushrooms (they also have a low nutritional intake, avoid them if you do not know them 100%).

Pay attention to snakes and scorpions.

Poisonous fish: scorpion fish, tracery or spider fish (there are 9 species), parsnip, puffer fish, catfish, stone fish, lion and scorpion, jellyfish (among the most dangerous we mention the Sea Vespa), some species of conus.

But by sea:

The irregular movement of water can lead people predisposed to feel a sense of general malaise and anxiety that soon turns into pallor, cold sweating, nausea, vomiting and severe headaches. Those who suffer will be physically weakened and will have morale on the ground. If you are on a raft, keep busy, give yourself some homework, try to pass the time in this way, you will reduce the chances of someone suffering from seasickness.

If the victim vomits, rinse the boat well to eliminate traces and the smell of vomit. Cover it, let it relax and rest, do not give it food. If you have drugs suitable for this condition administer them (eg, dimenhydrinate). The seasickness lasts a few hours try to stay calm and take long and deep breaths. Avoid drinking gassy, exciting drinks (coffee, tea), or alcohol. Avoid staring at the horizon.

Fractures, sprains, dislocations, cramps.

Wounds: in case of clean wounds and well disinfect the area, remove any foreign bodies and cover with a plaster. Check the wound from time to time and redo the dressing. Beware of parasites that may find hospitality in the wound.

Bleeding: if a significant amount of blood is lost, the body will go into shock (the state of shock can also be reached with excessive fluid loss through sweating, vomiting and diarrhea). See also first aid.

Allergies: Many plants, even if edible, could trigger an allergic reaction, which is why it is very important to know which plants you are intolerant (the main test for the diagnosis of allergy is the “prick-test” skin test). If an allergy is triggered, symptoms may be treated with antihistamine drugs such as cetirizine, desloratadine and loratadine. Cortisone can also be used.

For urban survival:

RADIATION: (in case of nuclear attack). Absorbing massive doses of radiation can lead to death, this event is known as radiation poisoning. The doses of ionizing radiation absorbed by an organism are measured in rad or gray, while the biological effects on the human body are measured with seviert or rem.

From 0.5 Sv up to minus 1 Sv you can have symptoms also serious (temporary sterility) but still transient.

From 1 Sv to 2 Sv: 10% mortality within a month.

2 Sv – 3 Sv: 35% mortality within a month.

4 Sv – 6 SV: death in more than half of the cases even in less than a month.

Over 6 Sv: survival impossible beyond the month.

Unfortunately, there are no medical treatments that can reverse the effects of radiation, and can manage the damage caused to organs, reduce symptoms and alleviate pain. However, even with non-fatal exposures, the chances of developing cancer in the future can be increased.

Aging of nerve agents:

After use of GA, GB, GD and Vx gas by terrorist organizations or enemy nations.

Symptoms of poisoning include:

  • Epistaxis
  • Chest pains
  • Weakening of the eyesight and narrowing of the pupils
  • Excessive sweating
  • Defecation and involuntary urination
  • Contractions, convulsions and loss of balance
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Suffocation and death

Antidotes: atropine and obidossima.