July 30, 2013
Survival Skills: Maintain Hygiene in the Field - 1
by Tim MacWelch
Maintaining some semblance of hygiene can be a morale booster in an emergency, and it can be vital to the health of individuals and groups. There are few things as vile as camping out with a group of people and having some kind of gastro-intestinal bug tear through camp because some fool didn’t wash his or her hands. You could contract things worse than that, too, that could create skin infections and cause serious harm.
It’s a good thing that these sanitation and hygiene problems can be prevented with just a little conscientious behavior. Whether your situation is a survival situation or a family campout, you can keep cleaner and safer by following a few simple steps.
And of course, you’ll need some toilet paper!
Don’t waste valuable cloth or clothing for wiping. See what toilet paper substitutes can be found in the local environment. I like a stack of dead, dry leaves—with one green leaf in the center of the stack for structural integrity. You can also try bundles of dead grass or fibrous inner bark, or even a stack of just green leaves.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you know what poison oak, ivy, and sumac look like and avoid them! Some fuzzy leaves, like mullein, can also cause a rash.