Live to Fight Another Day: Basics of Survival Medicine Part 1: Health Requirements

Keeping healthy isn’t too difficult in our current society but in a survival situation the need to protect your health becomes one of the most important factors to most decisions.


In a non-survival situation, if you get a cold you go buy cold medicine. If you eat some bad food you drink Gatorade and hug the porcelain throne for a little while. Get a nasty cut? Bandage it up with some antibiotic cream and if it’s really bad you go to the ER and get a few stitches.

In a survival situation however, a simple cut can kill you if not treated correctly. This can cause a feeling of apathy and helplessness, since such minor illnesses can and often kill. With some basic medical knowledge however, you can not only save your life but that of others as well. In a long-term survival situation this could mean a way to barter with your medical skills and get much needed supplies.

Survival MD is a complete survival system with a strong emphasis on preparing you for the main cause of death in any crisis: disease and illness.

We’ll be looking at survival medicine in a multi-part series with this first post all about basic health requirements.



The need for water is a pretty big no-brainer, which is why we’re getting it out of the way first. While everyone understands the need for water, what you might not know is that under everyday exertion in ~68° weather, the average adult loses 2-3 liters of water every day. That’s a lot of water lost in basically ideal circumstances, so when you add in higher or lower temperatures, more exertion, burns, illness, or ever higher altitude that number goes up dramatically.

So what happens when you run out of water? Well, a lot of bad things happen pretty quickly actually. Click here for more on how important water really is. In short, water is just about the most important aspect to your health requirements. Period.

Plant Foods

backyard-libertyContrary to what society might tell you, most of your carbs that give you energy will come from plant foods. This is a good thing since unlike animal-based food, plants tend to run less so you exert less energy in eating them.

Moving past carbohydrates, many plants will even give you the protein you need to survive. While you probably won’t be gaining any muscles in the process, you should get enough to run at normal efficiency. Aim for nuts and seeds as these will give you the fats, oils, and proteins that you need to keep going.

Roots, green vegetables, and sweet plants are great sources for calories and carbs that not only sustain you, but will give you energy. In our meat-based food system this seems very contrary to what we’re taught, but in actuality plants are the main food source when you’re surviving.

Remember that plant foods can be dried more easily than animal foods, stored more safely, and carry less risk of spoilage. In a survival situation plants are definitely not diet food.

Animal Foods

While animal-based foods are indeed more nutrient-rich than plant-based food sources, there are some major issues that arise from adding them to your survival diet.

Even if local wildlife is plentiful, you need to have the skills to capture the animals. Meaning if there are hundreds of squirrels running around they won’t do you any good until you learn how they operate, where they live, and learn how to trap them.

You should include animal-based foods in your diet as often as possible when surviving, though. Look for the more easily accessed types of animal foods like insects, fish, reptiles, and mollusks. These don’t tend to run as easily and are far simpler to trap.

Plant foods are great and will make up the majority of your diet, but these meats will help keep you strong enough to survive just about anything.

Personal Hygiene

You may not think that keeping clean is important for basic health requirements, especially if you’re surviving alone, but keeping clean will help to stave off infection and disease. Poor hygiene does more than make you stink; it hurts your chance to survive effectively.


Daily showers/baths are ideal even in a survival situation, but this isn’t always possible. Here are a few ways around daily showers that’ll still keep you clean.

  • Washcloth Bath – Soap up a washcloth and wipe yourself down once a day. This can be used between actual bathing and is very effective. Make sure to wipe off the soap as well, as it can dry your skin out.
  • Air Bath – Take off as much of your clothing as possible and lay in the sun for an hour or so, making sure to avoid getting sunburned. This will kill off some bacteria and dry any wet or sweaty areas out.
  • Dirt Bath – If you don’t have any soap you can make like the birds and take a dust bath. Rub sand or ashes all over you and wipe the excess off when you’re done. This dries up any damp areas and protects your skin.
  • Make Your Own Soap – You can make your own soap with only 5 ingredients. This post tells you how.


Make sure your hands stay clean, especially when preparing food and attending to any wounds, no matter how small. Fingernails need to be trimmed and your hair should be kept as clean and trimmed as possible to help avoid parasites like lice and fleas.

While most people think of washing their clothes, you might forget about your bedding. Make sure to clean your bedding regularly to avoid bugs and other issues. If you can’t wash your bedding at least air it out and shake any dirt out between sleeps.

Don’t forget to keep your teeth clean as well. An abscessed tooth could kill you as easily as a bullet can, and quite a few people throughout history have fallen to a simple tooth infection. Baking soda is great for cleaning teeth but listen to your dentist and keep flossing. It could mean the difference between life and death.

Lastly, keep your feet as clean and healthy as possible. If you get a blister, don’t ignore it. Try your best to not pop any blisters but rather to pad them in your shoe or boot. If you pop a blister by mistake or if it requires popping, make sure to clean it thoroughly and keep it bandaged.


Sleep is an often-overlooked part of overall health. Without regular sleep you’ll experience symptoms ranging from disorientation and increased reaction time to full-blown hallucinations and an impaired immune system.


While it’s nearly impossible to get perfect sleep in a survival situation, dealing with sleep deprivation is important and if it’s handled incorrectly you can really hurt yourself.

Keep Clean for Safety

You’ve already seen why personal hygiene is important for health, but the cleanliness of your campsite or bunker is just as important.

One of your first priorities when planning on spending any amount of time in an area is to make a latrine of sorts. While you won’t be building an outhouse, digging a “cat hole” or KYBO (Keep Your Bowels Open) box is a very good idea, and should be covered up after use.

Make sure to not leave food scraps around and to suspend any supplies high enough for no animal to reach. Lastly, make sure any latrine you use or cooking area you keep is downstream from where you get your water. You don’t want to dirty the water before you get a chance to drink it.

Part 2 of the Survival Medicine series where we’ll look at medical emergencies.


A Survivalist’s Introduction to CPR – Survival MD

Survival MD – Introduction To Survival MD

6 Ways To Limit Spread Of Cold Or Flu Germs From A Sick Person

MEDICAL KIT – 30 Things you should have in your Medical First Aid Kits


Other useful resources:

Pioneer Survival - Lessons We Should All Learn
Alive After The Fall (Advice onto handling crisis situations )
US Water Revolution (Have Plenty of Water when others don't have any!)
Blackout USA (EMP survival and preparedness guide)
Conquering the coming collapse (Financial advice and preparedness )
Backyard Innovator (All Year Round Source Of Fresh Meat,Vegetables And Clean Drinking Water)
Liberty Generator (Easy DIY to build your own off-grid free energy device)
Backyard Liberty (Easy and cheap DIY Aquaponic system to grow your organic and living food bank)
Bullet Proof Home (A Prepper’s Guide in Safeguarding a Home )

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