Something that many people tend to neglect when it comes to survival is grooming. The reason why grooming is neglected in a survival situation is because people have other priorities that they believe require more immediate attention. It’s completely understandable if water, food, warmth/shelter, and security are your top priorities in a survival situation. Each of those things is vitally important in its own right.
But you have to keep in mind that grooming can and will significantly boost your chances of making it out alive in ANY survival situation.
Basic grooming procedures will keep away deadly bacteria and diseases that can infect your body and contaminate your water. Plain and simple, the cleaner you are in a survival situation, the higher chance you will have at making it out alive and in good health.
Basic Principles Of Grooming That Helps Avoid Deadly Infections And Diseases
Wash your hands
This is perhaps the most basic personal hygiene rule but it’s still very important. You should always wash your hands in a survival situation or disaster scenario after handling anything that possibly carries bacteria, after using the bathroom, and before you handle food and water. If you don’t have soap and a little water available to wash your hands, you can always use hand sanitizer.
Clean your clothes
Your clothing covers your entire body, including your largest organ: your skin. If your clothes become infested with parasites, your chances of developing a skin infection go up dramatically and this is something you absolutely must avoid. Obviously you most likely won’t have a working washing machine in a survival situation, but you can keep your clothes clean by keeping them dry, cleaning them with soap and water on a regular basis, and swapping out different articles of clothing each day. It’s especially important to swap your socks regularly as a defense against gangrene.
Clean your hair
If your hair goes unattended, it can easily become infested with bacteria and parasites that are one of the biggest causes of disease and infection in a survival scenario. The best defenses against this will be to trim your hair when it begins to grow long, to keep it combed (include a comb in your survival kit), and to clean it with soap or shampoo on a daily basis. Even washing your hair with just warm water each morning will help.
You’ll want to clean your teeth at least once every day in order to ensure that they remain completely free of harmful oral bacteria. If you don’t have your toothbrush or toothpaste with you, a natural alternative is a chewing stick. Separate the fiber on the stick by chewing on both ends and then use that to brush your teeth. You can also rub your teeth clean with some cloth wrapped around your fingers or even salt on your finger tip. It may not seem like much, but it can certainly go a long way to ensure that your teeth are taken care of.
Clean your feet
When you don’t have access to a motorized vehicle or a bicycle, your feet are literally the only way you can transport yourself from place to place (assuming you’re not a fan of crawling). This is why it’s absolutely imperative that your feet remain in top condition throughout your survival endeavor. Swap out your socks on a daily basis and have the old pair dry out before putting them on the next day. This will help to prevent gangrene. Make sure that your toe nails remain short, and rub your feet with your hands at the end of each day to relax them. Soak your feet in a bucket or wrap them in a bandana of hot water and use soap if you have it. Make it a habit to check your shoes for any debris that gets in there and remove them immediately.
Purifying water is exceptionally important in order to prevent serious illness. In fact, water purification is one of the biggest safety procedures when it comes to survival. Make it a habit toclean your drinking water via filtration, purification tablets, or boiling (or better yet, a combination of those) to confirm that it is absolutely safe to drink before you even think of drinking a drop of it. As another safety precaution, it is also a good idea to avoid collecting any water from questionable sources. Avoid taking water downstream of animal feces or near an area of known chemical contamination, for example.
Proper waste disposal
Probably the most popular method of human waste in a survival situation is to dig a cat hole. This is a hole that is between six inches to one foot deep and about half as wide. After using the cat hole, fill it back up with the dirt that you just removed in order to ensure that the feces are completely covered.
Always dig your cat holes a minimum of two hundred feet away from your camp, any other resources you have such as a food storage area, and especially from a water source such as a lake or river. Use toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, notebook paper, or whatever you have available; using plants as toilet paper should be a last resort and only use plants that you are familiar with. Finally, absolutely with no exceptions, always wash your hands either with soap and warm water or hand sanitizer after using the bathroom.
Personal Hygiene Items To Have In Your Survival Kit
Here is a list of personal hygiene items that you would be wise to include in your survival kit or bug out bag, in alphabetical order: