Survival: Preparedness for medical situations

Heeeyho Readers! Let's talk about our health!

Yup! I'm sick.

The idea for this post comes from a mild flu that's put me on hold these past days. It's not Covid nor Influenza, though not least miserable. Nothing that good nutrition and rest won't solve. Anyways. Let's talk about preparedness for a potential illness.


Lifestyle is a key factor for disease prevention — that's a scientifically proven fact. Good practices (e.g. balanced nutrition, exercising, proper sleep, etc) influence our future, plus, help along the way dealing with seasonal infections or recovering faster from other disabilities such as broken bones. As much as we dislike being sick, dealing with the most common conditions is a mere inconvenience we treat at home.

However, are we prepared to heal under a survival situation? Alone? Can we treat others? Common infection or a broken leg? Let's discuss.


My medical kit seen on the bicycle while surviving in Europe

I always try to imagine different survival situations when writing these posts. Normally, the range of possibilities go from cutting an arm off with a pocket knife while rock climbing (have you seen the movie 127 Hours?) or dealing with a gut infection.

Chances are slim for us to be trapped in a rock while climbing, but the later is just matter of time — it's happened to me several times. I fell sick while cycletouring in Wales and spent two days grunting in a tent; also had to deal with fever and sore throat cycletouring in Poland during the winter; dealt with eye infection in remote Patagonia; stung by a bee and feeling swollen to death. Those mishaps were easily treated with medicines, good nutrition and rest, and hospitals were there if life didn't improve. Let's assume there was no real risk.

Now, imagine we are amidst an economic crisis with rampant inflation. Our globalized supply chain is disrupted. On top of that, there's a worldwide virus outbreak; hospitals are flooding with sick people. We get to a drugstore to buy regular antibiotics to treat an infection, but there's none. What do we do? Well... that happened to me during the worst Covid wave. We could also be on the run to escape a war and face all sorts of health issues. How to prepare for that?

Awareness and Supplies

Our first line of defense against health issues is prevention. Building up vital nutrients and vitamins through good nutrition creates a stronger immune system. I always try to eat properly when traveling/camping alone to remote areas. Identifying different fruits in nature is a useful skill.

The second line of defense is our supplies. Although medicines have expiry dates, having a diversified stash is crucial — especially if you are allergic like me. A bee attack out in the wild is life-threatening.


Medical supply for general symptoms

Along the medicines, a general first-aid kit is useful to heal cuts and other mishaps. The kit below contains various bandages, gloves, band-aid, etc. It's useful and has been used in long trips and quick day-long bicycle rides.


Emergency kit

Both medical kits follow me on different occasions and are always easily accessible. It's far from complete for a more complex survival situation and wouldn't supply for a prolonged period, though it's been serving well so far. Healthcare is definitely a survivalism field I have to explore more.

Knowledge and Skills

Identifying medicinal herbs should be in everyone's repertoire — and it's something I lack. Countless times a few herbs saved me from gut infections. When I was a little kid, my grandma used medicinal herbs to stop an anaphylactic shock after a bee sting, that way saving me.

Lastly, skills. Medicines, herbs, bandages and etc are useless if we don't have the skills. The only way to become a skillful carer/first-attender is to practice through courses, studying or asking doctors.


Well... it took me a while to write this post and I feel it should be way longer and more detailed. Here's a summary of what I seek to be prepared for medical issues in times of crisis.

  • Build up immune system through good nutrition
  • Acquire knowledge (learn about herbs, first-aid and medicine in general)
  • Create a solid medical supply that's ready at all times
  • Learn from past crisis

There's still a lot to learn and prepare, though preparedness seem to never be enough.

How would you prepare?

I'd like to know how would you prepare to deal with your health in times of crisis. Drop your post in the comments!


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Disclaimer: The author of this post is a convict broke backpacker, who has travelled more than 10.000 km hitchhiking and more than 5.000 km cycling. Following him may cause severe problems of wanderlust and inquietud. You've been warned.

I'm Arthur. I blog about Adventure Stories, Brazil, Travel, Camping, & Life Experiences.

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Arthur! thanks for this reminder!!! I was actually going through my health kit today to restock. Anyway, great info as this is often missed. To be continued!

So, lately Indonesia has been hit with constant EQ and more natural disaster. Though we get video explanation about the bag and the things we should have, I think most people are still ignorant about it. I was organizing my medical kit with my mom and found out I needed to restock. For some reason these days, I just keep worrying about it because the earthquake has been intense. I don't want to be put in a situation where I am not prepared at all. But even in my personal travel, I make sure that I bring my essentials and made sure whatever I am going to need is going to be available in the destination that I am visiting too. I'd go at length to ask locals to buy me if it's not accessible for foreign person or such.

First and foremost, I hope that you are safe. Keep everything you need in a backpack just in case you need to rush. It's great that you are already restocking; most people don't or leave it for the last minutes.

Do you have a water filter? I'd get one, considering water supply is one of the first services to end during earthquakes.

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