Four Life Saving Steps

1) Start the breathing.

2) Stop the bleeding.

3) Treat the wound.

4) Check for shock.

B. Bites and stings Reptiles and insects of all kinds can complicate your survival situation. One of the best methods to reducing this risk is to wear your clothing properly. Do not scratch the bite or sting as this can cause the area to become infected.

1) Bee and Wasp stings. If stung by a bee, immediately remove the stinger and venom sac by scraping it with a fingernail or knife blade. Wash the sting site thoroughly.

a) Relief for itching and discomfort caused by bites and stings: Cold compress.

c) Application of different plants.

2) Spider bites. Some people are extremely allergic to the venom associated with spiders. The spiders most venomous in this region are the black widow and the brown recluse. The black widow is black in color with a red hourglass on her belly which has a neurotoxin. The brown recluse has a fiddle on it's back which has a hemotoxin.

3) Scorpion stings. Scorpion stings may lead to respiratory distress. There are scorpions in the MWTC area. Scorpions throughout the world generally have neurotoxins.

4) Snakebites. There is always the possibility of snakebite throughout regions in the world. Learning the habitats of the indigenous snakes of the area you will be operating in will reduce the chance of being bitten.

a) Deaths from snakebites are rare, and the primary concern in treatment is to limit the amount of eventual tissue destruction around the bite area.

C. Wounds. Wounds are actual breaks in the integrity of the skin. Wounds can be caused by accident or by animals. These wounds are most serious in a survival situation, not only because of tissue damage and blood loss, but also because of infection. By taking proper care of the wound you can reduce the chance of a debilitating infection.

D. Animals. Prevention of an animal bite is best accomplished through knowledge of behavior, personalities, and patterns.

1) Animals generally give ample warning of their intentions, which are to repel the intruder or permit its escape. Animals that act out of character and approach humans should be considered rabid and avoided.

2) Tearing, cutting, and crushing injuries are combined in animal bites. Always look for secondary injuries.

B. First Aid. Whether the wound was caused by accident or by animal, the treatment remains the same.

1) Early cleansing of the wound reduces the chance of bacterial infection and is extremely effective in removing rabies and other viruses. Cleanse by irrigation. Bleeding wounds also helps the irrigation process initially.

2) Open wound management is best described by the "open treatment" method. Do not try to suture or close the wound. This will seal any dirt or infection into the wound. As long as the wound can drain it will usually not become life threatening.

3) Tourniquet in a survival situation. If no rescue or medical aid is likely for over 2 hours, an attempt to SLOWLY loosen the tourniquet may be made 20 minutes after it is applied:

a) Ensure pressure dressing is in place.

b) Ensure bleeding has stopped.

c) Loosen tourniquet SLOWLY to restore circulation.

d) Leave loosened tourniquet in position in case bleeding resumes.

e) Bandaging is meant to protect the wound from foreign objects (i.e., dirt).

f) As with any injury to the body you must increase water intake, more so with an open wound.

F. Herbal Medicines

1) Consider using herbal medicines only after proper training and when you lack or have limited medical supplies.

2) WARNING Some herbal medicines are dangerous and may cause further damage or even death.

7. CASUALTY EVACUATION. Casualty evacuation in a cold weather mountainous environment will require a well thought out plan prior to conducting. Poorly planned evacuations will possibly result in additional casualties, lost time, and equipment damage. In a group survival situation expedient litter will have to be constructed in order to transport the patient effectively.

A. General Considerations. (WSVX.02.15d) The following considerations are critical for planning a successful evacuation. A useful acronym to use is "APASSNGG".

1) Apply Essential First Aid. (i.e., splints, pressure bandage, etc.)

2) Protect the Patient form the Elements. Provide the casualty with proper insulation and ensure that he is warm and dry.

Avoid Unnecessary Handling of the Patient.

4) Select the Easiest Route. Send scouts ahead if possible, to break trails.

5) Set Up Relay Points and Warming Stations. If the route is long and arduous, set up relay points and warming stations to switch stretcher-bearers and assess the casualty.

6) Normal litter teams must be augmented in Arduous Terrain.

7) Give Litter Teams Specific Goals to work towards. This job is extremely tiring, both physically and mentally.

8) Gear. Ensure all of the patient's gear is kept with him throughout the evacuation.

8. WILDLIFE DISEASES. (WSVX.02.15e) When handling animals, whether dead or alive, individuals must use preventive measures against possible exposure to wildlife diseases. Although the possibility of disease is remote, certain signs may indicate that an animal may be diseased. The following are some of the more common diseases found in the United States and throughout the world.

A. Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. Hantavirus, or HPS, is a serious respiratory illness that was first recognized in 1993 in an outbreak in New Mexico and Arizona. It is caused by a virus that is carried by a common field rodent called the deer mouse.

1) Method of Transmission. The virus is shed in the droppings, urine, and saliva of the deer mouse. The virus is transmitted to humans when the material dries, becomes airborne and is inhaled.

2) Signs & Symptoms. The disease begins with flu-like symptoms 3 to 45 days after exposure. The disease can rapidly progress into a life-threatening lower respiratory illness characterized by the flooding of the lungs with fluid.

3) Treatment. No cure or vaccine is yet available against infection. The sooner after infection medical treatment is sought, the better the chance of recovery.

4) Prevention. Mice should not be handled; rodent dens should not be disturbed. Package food so that rodents do not crawl all over it. Do not occupy shelters that may have contained rodents.

B. Plague. The cause of plague is Yersiniapestis, a bacterium that is maintained in nature through a complex flea-rodent cycle.

1) Method of Transmission. Infection in humans results by flea bites, direct contact with plague-infected rodents, or direct contact with affected non-rodent hosts such as rabbits, hares, cats, and occasionally other animals.

2) Signs & Symptoms. Infection in humans results in severe disease, with a fatality rate of over 50% in untreated cases. An abnormal swelling in the lymph nodes is usually present.

3) Treatment. Infected people must seek medical treatment.

4) Prevention. Animal noted with fleas should be avoided. In a survival situation, a killed animal should be immediately submerged into a cool water source until all the fleas are remove by water or have died.

C. Tick Borne Diseases.

1) Lyme Disease. Infection occurs most often between May and September. In some cases, a characteristic skin rash may develop at the site of the tick bite. The rash may expand to a diameter of 5 inches or more, and there may be an accompanying flu-like illness. If left untreated, infection can lead to chronic disease characterized by neurologic impairment, cardiac problems, or arthritis.

2) Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The incubation period in humans is 2-14 days. Initial symptoms are flu-like and commonly include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, and vomiting. A rash may appear. The fatality rate in cases that are treated with antibiotics is about 5% and up to 25% that are untreated.

3) Treatment. Infected people must seek medical treatment.

4) Prevention. Daily body inspections should be conducted to remove all ticks.

D. Food Borne Diseases. Food borne illness, frequently called "food poisoning," is acquired by eating food that is contaminated with microbes or their toxins. Live animals may carry the agent, or contamination may occur from another source during processing or preparation of the food.

1) Botulism. Botulism probably is the most widely known and is generally caused by improper storage of meats. Symptoms may begin with vomiting and diarrhea but proceed to the characteristic impaired vision and descending paralysis. Botulism can be fatal.

2) Salmonella. The bacteria are found in the intestinal tracts and feces of a wide range of animals including poultry, swine, cattle, and household pets. Salmonella maybe fatal.

Trichinosis. Trichinosis is caused by a parasite contained within the muscle tissue. Most common carriers are wild swine and bear. Thorough cooking of meats will destroy the parasite.

Tularemia. Discovered in Tulare County, California. Tularemia has been reported in over 45 species of vertebrates; however, the disease most often involves ticks. It is also commonly found in rabbits and rodents. It is transmittable by uncooked meats or handling contaminated meats with open sores. Tularemia is a life-threatening disease found throughout the world and can only be treated with antibiotics.

Treatment. Consuming charcoal will aid in reducing the body's absorption rate. Medical treatment should be sought if available.

Prevention. Prevention of food borne diseases can be accomplished by:

a) Promptly dress game.

b) Avoid or minimize contamination by gastrointestinal contents.

c) Cook food thoroughly. Internal cooking temperatures should be 165 degrees F or more.

d) Eat cooked foods immediately.

e) Store preserved foods properly.

E. Animal Scat. Certain parasites found on scat can infect humans, if the scat is handled unprotected. Raccoon Roundworm can be found in the scat for at least 30 days, while Fox Roundworm will last only approximately 7 days on their scat. Both of these parasites can possibly infect human, which is almost fatal.


2. Paul S. Auerbach, Wilderness Medicine, 3rd Edition, 1995.

3. William R. Davidson, Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases in the United States, 2nd Edition, 1997

MSVX.02.16 2/6/05

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