Wilderness Survival: Basic Medical Tips

wilderness first aidFinding yourself stranded in the wilderness is hardly a recipe for fun; however, a thorough or at least partial understanding of how to survive will prevent you from becoming bear food. Some basic knowledge of medicinal plants and first-aid skills is very, very helpful when trying to stay alive in the wild, and with that in mind, check out the following tips to store in your brain’s “survival” section.

 Makeshift Sunblock

Dying of exposure is generally more likely than death by cougar, bear, etc. Exposure is not only uncomfortable if you get a sunburn, but it’s also dangerous when it comes to dehydration. Keep to the shade as much as possible, and protect exposed skin with ash, charcoal, caked mud, woven grasses or leaves. Any of these things shield flesh from harmful UV rays.

Burn Treatment

Aloe vera remains a celebrated treatment for burns because it works, and it works very well. The pulp of this succulent is what you want; simply break it open and pour the gel directly on affected areas. Aloe vera also works as an antiseptic, so use it on any cuts and scrapes as well as burns.

Infection Cleanser

In addition to aloe vera, there are many other medicinal plants that function as antiseptics. The pressed juices of wild onion and garlic work wonders, as do the crushed leaves of the burdock plant. If you have access to raw honey, use it as an antiseptic and burn treatment. Honey’s drawing powers suck nastiness from any wound and heal it something quick.


Itchy skin finds relief with witch hazel or jewelweed poultices, which also treat rashes, topical plant poisoning, and sunburn.

Scalp Wounds

Lacerations and similar scalp wounds tend to bleed a lot. If no resources are available to help stop the bleeding, use your hair to tie and subsequently bind the wound. This naturally only works on those with long hair, but it’s an effective way to pull the wound shut. Tie hair from opposite sides of the wound to close it and keep it shut. Go with a square or surgeon’s knot to keep strands in place.

What are your best basic medical tips for wilderness survival? Share them in the comments section!

About the Author:


Kent Page McGroarty is a freelance lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in AZ Central Healthy Living, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, SF Gate Home and Garden, LIVESTRONG, Moblized.com, I Do Take Two.com, and many other online publications. Twitter: @KentsStuff.


DIY, Tips & Tricks, Emergency Preparedness, First Aid


dyi sunscreen, medicinal plants, basic medical tips, survival first aid

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