Hygiene and Sanitation is an essential part in ensuring you and your family’s survival in an emergency situation. Sickness and diseases will extremely lower your chances of survival if you fail to prioritize you and your family’s hygiene and sanitation on a survival situation. Hygiene and sanitation is also a major factor in ensuring your survival supplies like food and water stay clean and safe to consume. Like your water for instance, if you don’t have proper hygiene and sanitation it will greatly affect your drinking water as it will get contaminated and result to diseases like dysentery, cholera, etc.
Hygiene and sanitation are easily handled in our society today because of running water, water heaters, toilets, urinals, showers, electric razors etc; But you have to keep in mind that in a disaster or survival situation all of these basic commodities will be scarce and even not available anymore due to a power outage or even grid crash and that’s when sanitation and hygiene becomes tremendously challenging. Knowing how to administer proper hygiene and sanitation during a survival situation can greatly increase your chances of survival.
Personal hygiene often gets overlooked in a survival situation since you are more focused on food, water, clothing, and shelter. You have to keep in mind that cleanliness is also a very important factor in surviving as it will help prevent infection and diseases. The cleaner you stay in a survival situation the healthier you will be therefore increasing your chances of survival. Here are steps on how you can keep a good personal hygiene n an emergency situation:
- Keep your hands clean
Washing your hands after handling any material that may carry bacteria like carrying sticks or after going to a cat hole before handling any food or water will help prevent bacteria from getting into them. Keeping a hand sanitizer is also a very good option during emergency situations.
- Keep your hair clean
Human hair can become a lair for parasites, fleas, and bacteria which could cause infection and diseases. Keeping your hair trimmed, clean, and combed in emergency situations will help keep dangerous parasites and bacteria away.
- Keep your clothing clean
Parasites and bacteria also infect and inhabit your clothing which could be very dangerous and fatal as our clothing basically covers our body and sensitive organs. Keeping your clothing clean will also help keep unwanted parasites and bacteria from causing skin infection and disease. Clothing should be kept clean, dry, and in good condition as much as possible to retain better insulating quality.
- Keep your teeth clean
Take care of your mouth and teeth at least once each day to keep it clean and free from bacteria. If you don’t have a tooth brush you can use a chewing stick chewing on both its ends to separate the fiber and use it to brush your teeth thoroughly. Using salt on a finger tip is also effective as well as wrapping a clean strip of cloth on your fingers to rub your teeth clean with it. A severe tooth ache or mouth infection is the last thing you want to have when surviving.
- Take care of your feet
Taking care of your feet is one of the most important things you have to keep in mind when in a survival situation. Your feet may be your only means of transportation during emergencies so you need to take good care of it.
Keeping your feet dry and clean and massage it at least once a day. Keeping your toe nails cut straight is also important to prevent any injuries. Always examine your feet for red, tender, blisters or hot spots so you can treat them immediately. Always check and shake your boots to remove any stones, pebbles, sticks, etc., and always check for rough spots that could cause injury.
- Get Sufficient Rest
Getting proper rest is important to keep yourself going. Always have regular rest periods and learn to be comfortable under less than ideal conditions so you won’t have a hard time getting enough rest.
- Avoiding Illness
The dangers of contracting diseases greatly increases when you are in a survival situation, follow these simple tips for personal hygiene to maintain you and your family’s health:
- Always purify water obtained from natural sources before consumption.
- If you need to survive outdoors always establish a base away from feces and urine. It is important to dig a cat hole away from the camp and cover it immediately after using.
- Keep contaminated objects like your fingers, sticks, equipment, etc. from your mouth. Always wash your hands before handling food or drinking water.
- Always clean your mouth and teeth at least once a day.
- Always keep your body clean and wear clothing that could protect you from insect bites and stings.
- Clothing should be kept dry all the time to prevent loss of body heat. Wet clothes should be dried out immediately.
- If possible always get enough rest at least 7 to 8 hours a day.
Here is a list of basic personal hygiene supply for your emergency kit, we included links to amazon in case you want to add these items to your survival kit:
- Toilet paper
- Tooth brush
- Tooth paste
- Small nail file
- Cotton swab sticks
- Hand sanitizer
- Clean packages of hand wipes
- Wet wipes/Baby wipes
- Liquid soap
Sanitation is very important during a survival situation as it helps keep you and your group healthy and your supplies away from contaminants that will render it inconsumable. There are many important things to consider when taking care of sanitation especially when you are in a survival situation, these are some points to consider:
- Never place a toilet area near your water source
- Never assign a toilet uphill from your base or camp
- Always designate your toilet away from your food storage
- Keep your toilet at least 100 to 200 feet away from all your resources
Proper human waste disposal is very important when it comes to surviving outdoors to make sure that you and your family will not contract any diseases from germs and bacteria produced by wastes. You have to keep in mind that keeping healthy in a survival situation is one of the most important factors in ensuring that you will survive until rescue or help arrives. There is a lot of human waste disposal system that you can make when forced to survive outdoors, here are some easy examples:
- Cat Hole
One of the most common and acceptable means of human waste disposal is by digging a cat hole. This is done by digging a hole at least 4 – 12 inches deep that is wide enough so as not to fill up. You have to make your cat holes at least 200 feet away from all your sources like food and water storage to keep it from getting contaminated. After use you can cover the cat hole with sand and snow and pack down. This will keep the odor from attracting flies and other insects.
- Straddle trench
A straddle trench is a form of human waste disposal system that can be used for 1 – 3 days in a non-rocky or non frozen soil. As a general safety measure it should be made at least 200 feet away from where you store your water and food supply. This is made by digging a trench using a stick, pan, or board and should be wide enough for you to squat with one foot on either side of the trench.
- Slit trench
This latrine is one of the simplest forms of human waste disposal system. Like the description says this is simple a slit trench no more than 6 inches deep and narrow enough to straddle. This can be made by using any form of digging tool like a stick, can, or rocks. The standard distance of at least 200 yards away from your water and food source should still be observed and be sure to cover everything with loose dirt after use. This will keep away insects, flies, and diseases.