Nature survival basics

Biological hazards

Disease can be your worst enemy in the battle for survival. While an intimate knowledge of diseases is not required, you should know a thing or two about their nature and distribution in certain areas, how they are transmitted, and how to protect yourself from them.

Many diseases are caused or transmitted by parasitic plants and organisms of animals or insects, such as a tick, which digs into the body, causing a lot of trouble. With enough knowledge to protect yourself from a certain disease, you can prevent it, protect yourself from its carriers. Lower forms of biohazard Insects can be more inconvenient and dangerous for you than lack of food and water.

The greatest danger comes from their ability to carry a contagious and often fatal disease through a bite.

1) Microbes transmitted in this way are able to survive and multiply under certain conditions, especially in sunny places with positive temperatures. Given these factors in a certain location and at a certain time, you will be dealing with a certain limited number of vectors.

2) Often, the causative agent of a particular disease is transmitted by a person through one or many specific carriers, but usually through an organism that feeds the parasites. If this organism is absent, then the causative agent of the disease does not exist, no matter how many potential carriers there are. Such a specific organism becomes the person himself in the case of, for example, malaria.

Mosquitoes (mosquitoes) and malaria. A mosquito bite is not only unpleasant, it can be fatal. Mosquitoes are found everywhere on earth. In some northern areas and in regions with a temperate climate in late spring and early summer, there are more of them than in the tropics. Tropical mosquitoes are more dangerous anyway, as they carry malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis and other diseases. Take every precaution against mosquito bites.

Be guided by the following rules:

– set up camp in an elevated place away from the swamps;

– sleep under an anti-mosquito net, if possible. If not, replace it with any other suitable material;

– lubricate your face with mud (silt), especially before going to bed;

– tuck trousers into socks or boots;

– dress all your clothes, especially at night;

– wear anti-mosquito mask and gloves;

– use anti-mosquito ointments. Applied to clothing, they last for weeks. They are absorbed into the skin in a matter of hours; – take antimalarial pills; – as a last resort, smoking can be used to disperse mosquitoes.

Flies. Like mosquitoes, flies come in many different types and sizes, but they are also uncomfortable and dangerous. The same measures as for mosquitoes may be useful to protect against them. Fleas. These small wingless insects can be extremely dangerous in some areas, as they can transmit plague from rodents. If you use a rodent as food in such areas, hang the animal as soon as it was killed, and do not touch it until it cools down. Fleas are found only on warm bodies. To protect against fleas, use an appropriate powder against them and wear tight-fitting gaiters or boots. Ticks. This parasite is distributed throughout the earth, but especially in the tropics and subtropics. It is a carrier of recurrent fever and typhoid fever. There are two types of mites: hard or wood mites and loose mites. Ticks, chigi (tropical sand flea) and lice. These very small parasites are found in many places in the world, and their ability to irritate is much greater than their size. Chigi are immature forms (varieties) of some mites, which, digging into the skin, cause considerable inconvenience, scabies. People who are especially susceptible to bites can get sick. In some parts of the world, they can cause severe typhoid infection. Mites can cause a variety of skin conditions such as scabies, which in turn can lead to other infections. Primitive settlements are usually infested with lice. Try to avoid premises and personal contact with Aboriginal people. If you are bitten by a louse, try not to scratch the area, as this will only speed up the penetration of the infection. It is in this way that you can contract epidemic typhus and recurrent fever. If you don't have a lice powder, you can get rid of them by boiling your clothes. If this is not possible, then expose your body and clothing, especially its seams, to the sun's rays for several hours to cleanse lice. After that, wash your face, preferably with soap. If there is no soap, use sand or other natural sediments from the river bed, which will successfully replace it. Examine the hairy parts of the body often in order to detect parasites in a timely manner. Spiders. With the exception of species such as black widow, hourglass, brown or hermit, spiders are generally safe. There are no known fatal or serious consequences of their bites, other than tarantula bites. Avoid the "black widow", which, along with other members of the family, is found in the tropics, because her bite is painful and can cause swelling and even death. All these spiders are black with white, yellow or red dots. The bite may be followed by severe stomach cramps, intermittently for a day or two. Sometimes you can mistake stomach pain from indigestion or an attack of appendicitis for the effects of a spider bite.

Scorpions. The bite of this usually small insect is painful and often fatal. Some large species of scorpion are very dangerous and fatal when bitten. Scorpions are found in separate large areas and represent a real danger, getting on clothes, shoes or bed. Shake your clothes well before putting them on. If you are bitten by a scorpion, apply a cold compress or mud to the area. In the tropics, the contents of a coconut can be useful for this. Centipedes and caterpillars. Centipedes are very common in the tropics and some of their larger varieties can cause severe pain with their bite. They often bite a person, especially in cases when they cannot avoid meeting with him. Like scorpions, they are dangerous only when they are trapped in objects and clothes that we wear. Centipedes and caterpillars sometimes inflict a large, painful swelling (when they are swept from the skin "against the grain"). Caterpillars can also cause painful blisters. Let us add to the above that the death of a seriously ill person may occur as a result of numerous contacts with some varieties of the so-called "electric caterpillars" found in Central and South America. Wild bees, wasps and hornets. Bites from an agitated swarm of bees, wasps, or hornets can be dangerous and even fatal. Avoid their nests, but if you have been attacked by them, dive into dense bush or undergrowth. The twigs bent by you, returning to their original position, will drive them away. Leeches. These blood-sucking organisms are widespread in many areas. They cling to and stick to grasses, foliage or branches and adhere firmly to individuals passing by. Their bite creates discomfort, blood loss, and infection. Leeches can be removed by burning them with a burning cigarette, a match, wet tobacco, or using insect repellents (insecticides). Trematode and flat worms. These parasites are found in the slow fresh waters of the tropical regions of America, Africa, Asia, Japan, the Philippines and some other islands of the Pacific Ocean. Trematodes are not found in salty waters. In case of contact with them, flukes penetrate the skin or through the infested water used for drinking or bathing. They feed on red blood cells and lay eggs in the blood or intestines. Clothes that are clean and washed will help you avoid contact with these parasites. Nematoda (worm). Distributed in the tropics and subtropics, its larva enters the body through bare feet when moving on the ground or through other open areas of the body. However, it is absent in deserts or in areas remote from human habitation.

Poisonous snakes and lizards.

Fear has big eyes. Fear of snakes is widespread among humans, but has more to do with fictional legends than real experience. By the way, only a small proportion of snakes from the snake kingdom are poisonous. A wide variety of venomous snakes are found in the tropics, but some areas of the globe are completely devoid of venomous snakes, including New Zealand, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Polynesian Islands. Be on the lookout. Some snake species are more aggressive than others and can attack without visible signs of provocation.

However, aggressiveness is the exception rather than the rule.

1) The danger from snakes cannot be ignored in high temperature areas where they are active day and night during hot months. In cold weather, they are passive or hibernate. In desert and semi-desert lands, snakes are more active in the early morning, in the afternoon they behave sluggishly and hide in the shade. Many snakes are only active at night.

2) Snakes are slow travelers, but they can make amazing, lightning-fast jumps. They do not run away from a person, and only some of their species can pounce on him. Snakes with a long poisonous tooth. Among the most venomous snakes are vipers from Europe, Asia and Africa; copper-red and cotton, moccasin snakes in North America; shrubs and some other varieties in the American tropics.

1) Common vipers and "trench" vipers (found in pits), as a rule, have a thick body and a flat head. Widely known varieties of true (common) vipers are found only in Europe, Russell's viper in India, hooded viper in South Africa, American viper in dry areas of Africa and Arabia, Gabonese in tropical Africa.

2) The snakebite of this group of snakes is very dangerous and is accompanied by an increasing swelling as the venom penetrates the tissues. Snakes with a short, venomous tooth. Since the teeth of individuals of this group are relatively short, even light clothing reduces the danger of their bite to humans. This group of short-toothed snakes includes cobras, krait and coral snakes. They make up the majority of the snakes found in Australia, and many species are found in India, Malaysia, Africa and New Guinea.

1) There are over 10 species of cobras, all of which are found in Africa and Asia. All of them are capable, to a greater or lesser extent, of doing a "stance".

2) The venom of the cobra and snakes like it attacks mainly the nervous system, and the pain from its bite is felt some time later. The poison quickly dissolves and spreads through the blood arteries throughout the body.

3) Many sea snakes adjoin this group. Sea snakes. Poisonous sea snakes are not found in the Atlantic Ocean, but they are found in many places in the Indian and in the southern and western Pacific Oceans. They can appear unexpectedly in the course of rivers near the coast, but sometimes even far from the sea. They usually do not attack swimmers, so the danger of being bitten by them is negligible. They can be recognized by their vertical, paddle-like flat tail. Boa and pythons. These are slow-moving, peaceful and relatively rarely attacking snakes, unless you annoy them. Their sharp teeth and powerful "hugs" that can suffocate are dangerous. Large specimens of these snakes inhabit the dense jungles of the Philippines, South India, China, South America, Central and South Africa, and Southeast Asia. Lizards. Nowhere in the world is any species of lizard venomous, with the exception of the "Gila monster" and the "stringed bead" lizard, which are found only in the southwestern parts of America, Central America and Mexico. These lizards, due to their slowness, do not pose a great danger. Both of them are found only in deserts.

First aid for snakebite.

1) Remain calm, but act quickly.

2) Taking into account the limited time, localize the bite site below the level of the heart, i.e. so that the poisoned blood does not reach the heart.

3) Tie a strong compressive tourniquet around the area 2-4 inches above the bite. If the swelling progresses, move it even higher on an arm or leg. The tourniquet should compress the blood arteries hard enough to keep the poison from spreading, but not so hard that it stops the pulse (arterial circulation).

4) Within an hour, make an incision above the teeth marks. It should be no more than half an inch long and a quarter deep, parallel to the bite site.

5) Suck the poison out of the wound. If you have special snakebite tools on hand, use them to suck out the venom; if not, use your mouth to spit out blood and other sucked fluid as often as possible. Snake venom is not harmful to the oral cavity, unless there are cuts and sores there. But even if they are, the risk is not great. Suction should continue for at least 15 minutes before removing the tourniquet.

6) If after 15 minutes you do not experience dryness and tightness in the mouth, dizziness, pain or swelling at the site of the bite, then it is non-toxic.

7) If the poison is still there, continue the procedure described above (point 5).

(based on material of «Энциклопедии безопасности» Громова В.И. и Васильева Г.А., Москва. 1998)

 

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