Archive for survivial

Cooking and Eating Utensils, FM 21-76

Posted in Cooking, Survival with tags , , on November 23, 2007 by jamesshrugged

COOKING AND EATING UTENSILS

12-38. You can use many materials to make equipment for the cooking, eating, and storing of food. Usually all materials can serve some type of purpose when in a survival situation.

Bowls

12-39. Use wood, bone, horn, bark, or other similar material to make bowls. To make wooden bowls, use a hollowed out piece of wood that will hold your food and enough water to cook it in. Hang the wooden container over the fire and add hot rocks to the water and food. Remove the rocks as they cool and add more hot rocks until your food is cooked.

CAUTION

Do not use rocks with air pockets, such as limestone and sandstone. They may explode while heating in the fire.

12-40. You can also use this method with containers made of bark or leaves. However, these containers will burn above the waterline unless you keep them moist or keep the fire low.

12-41. A section of bamboo also works very well for cooking. Be sure you cut out a section between two sealed joints (Figure 12-11).

Figure 12-11. Containers for Boiling Food

Figure 12-11. Containers for Boiling Food

CAUTION

A sealed section of bamboo will explode if heated because of trapped air and water in the section.

FORKS, KNIVES, AND SPOONS

12-42. Carve forks, knives, and spoons from nonresinous woods so that you do not get a wood resin aftertaste or do not taint the food. Nonresinous woods include oak, birch, and other hardwood trees.

NOTE: Do not use those trees that secrete a syrup or resinlike liquid on the bark or when cut.

POTS

12-43. You can make pots from turtle shells or wood. As described with bowls, using hot rocks in a hollowed out piece of wood is very effective. Bamboo is the best wood for making cooking containers.

12-44. To use turtle shells, first thoroughly boil the upper portion of the shell. Then use it to heat food and water over a flame (Figure 12-11).

WATER BOTTLES

12-45. Make water bottles from the stomachs of larger animals. Thoroughly flush the stomach out with water, then tie off the bottom. Leave the top open, with some means of fastening it closed.

EDIBILITY OF PLANTS

Posted in Food, Survival with tags , , , on November 22, 2007 by jamesshrugged

EDIBILITY OF PLANTS

9-1. Plants are valuable sources of food because they are widely available, easily procured, and, in the proper combinations, can meet all your nutritional needs.

WARNING

The critical factor in using plants for food is to avoid accidental poisoning. Eat only those plants you can positively identify and you know are safe to eat.

9-2. Absolutely identify plants before using them as food. Poison hemlock has killed people who mistook it for its relatives, wild carrots and wild parsnips.

9-3. You may find yourself in a situation where you have had the chance to learn the plant life of the region in which you must survive. In this case you can use the Universal Edibility Test to determine which plants you can eat and which to avoid.

9-4. It is important to be able to recognize both cultivated and wild edible plants in a survival situation. Most of the information in this chapter is directed toward identifying wild plants because information relating to cultivated plants is more readily available.

9-5. Consider the following when collecting wild plants for food:

  • Plants growing near homes and occupied buildings or along roadsides may have been sprayed with pesticides. Wash these plants thoroughly. In more highly developed countries with many automobiles, avoid roadside plants, if possible, due to contamination from exhaust emissions.
  • Plants growing in contaminated water or in water containing Giardia lamblia and other parasites are contaminated themselves. Boil or disinfect them.
  • Some plants develop extremely dangerous fungal toxins. To lessen the chance of accidental poisoning, do not eat any fruit that is starting to spoil or is showing signs of mildew or fungus.
  • Plants of the same species may differ in their toxic or subtoxic compounds content because of genetic or environmental factors. One example of this is the foliage of the common chokecherry. Some chokecherry plants have high concentrations of deadly cyanide compounds but others have low concentrations or none. Horses have died from eating wilted wild cherry leaves. Avoid any weed, leaves, or seeds with an almondlike scent, a characteristic of the cyanide compounds.
  • Some people are more susceptible to gastric distress (from plants) than others. If you are sensitive in this way, avoid unknown wild plants. If you are extremely sensitive to poison ivy, avoid products from this family, including any parts from sumacs, mangoes, and cashews.
  • Some edible wild plants, such as acorns and water lily rhizomes, are bitter. These bitter substances, usually tannin compounds, make them unpalatable. Boiling them in several changes of water will usually remove these bitter properties.
  • Many valuable wild plants have high concentrations of oxalate compounds, also known as oxalic acid. Oxalates produce a sharp burning sensation in your mouth and throat and damage the kidneys. Baking, roasting, or drying usually destroys these oxalate crystals. The corm (bulb) of the jack-in-the-pulpit is known as the “Indian turnip,” but you can eat it only after removing these crystals by slow baking or by drying.

WARNING

Do not eat mushrooms in a survival situation! The only way to tell if a mushroom is edible is by positive identification. There is no room for experimentation. Symptoms caused by the most dangerous mushrooms affecting the central nervous system may not show up until several days after ingestion. By that time, it is too late to reverse their effects.

PLANT IDENTIFICATION

9-6. You identify plants, other than by memorizing particular varieties through familiarity, by using such factors as leaf shape and margin, leaf arrangements, and root structure.

9-7. The basic leaf margins (Figure 9-1) are toothed, lobed, and toothless or smooth.

Figure 9-1. Leaf Margins

Figure 9-1. Leaf Margins

9-8. These leaves may be lance-shaped, elliptical, egg-shaped, oblong, wedge-shaped, triangular, long-pointed, or top-shaped (Figure 9-2).

Figure 9-2. Leaf Shapes

Figure 9-2. Leaf Shapes

9-9. The basic types of leaf arrangements (Figure 9-3) are opposite, alternate, compound, simple, and basal rosette.

Figure 9-3. Leaf Arrangements

Figure 9-3. Leaf Arrangements

9-10. The basic types of root structures are the taproot, tuber, bulb, rhizome, clove, corm, and crown (Figure 9-4). Bulbs are familiar to us as onions and, when sliced in half, will show concentric rings. Cloves are those bulblike structures that remind us of garlic and will separate into small pieces when broken apart. This characteristic separates wild onions from wild garlic. Taproots resemble carrots and may be single-rooted or branched, but usually only one plant stalk arises from each root. Tubers are like potatoes and daylilies. You will find these structures either on strings or in clusters underneath the parent plants. Rhizomes are large creeping rootstock or underground stems. Many plants arise from the “eyes” of these roots. Corms are similar to bulbs but are solid when cut rather than possessing rings. A crown is the type of root structure found on plants such as asparagus. Crowns look much like a mophead under the soil’s surface.

Figure 9-4. Root Structures

Figure 9-4. Root Structures

9-11. Learn as much as possible about the unique characteristics of plants you intend to use for food. Some plants have both edible and poisonous parts. Many are edible only at certain times of the year. Others may have poisonous relatives that look very similar to the varieties you can eat or use for medicine.

UNIVERSAL EDIBILITY TEST

9-12. There are many plants throughout the world. Tasting or swallowing even a small portion of some can cause severe discomfort, extreme internal disorders, and even death. Therefore, if you have the slightest doubt about a plant’s edibility, apply the Universal Edibility Test (Figure 9-5) before eating any portion of it.

1.

Test only one part of a potential food plant at a time.

2.

Separate the plant into its basic components—leaves, stems, roots, buds, and flowers.

3.

Smell the food for strong or acid odors. Remember, smell alone does not indicate a plant is edible or inedible.

4.

Do not eat for 8 hours before starting the test.

5.

During the 8 hours you abstain from eating, test for contact poisoning by placing a piece of the plant part you are testing on the inside of your elbow or wrist. Usually 15 minutes is enough time to allow for a reaction.

6.

During the test period, take nothing by mouth except purified water and the plant part you are testing.

7.

Select a small portion of a single part and prepare it the way you plan to eat it.

8.

Before placing the prepared plant part in your mouth, touch a small portion (a pinch) to the outer surface of your lip to test for burning or itching.

9.

If after 3 minutes there is no reaction on your lip, place the plant part on your tongue, holding it there for 15 minutes.

10.

If there is no reaction, thoroughly chew a pinch and hold it in your mouth for 15 minutes. Do not swallow.

11.

If no burning, itching, numbing, stinging, or other irritation occurs during the 15 minutes, swallow the food.

12.

Wait 8 hours. If any ill effects occur during this period, induce vomiting and drink a lot of water.

13.

If no ill effects occur, eat 0.25 cup of the same plant part prepared the same way. Wait another 8 hours. If no ill effects occur, the plant part as prepared is safe for eating.

CAUTION

Test all parts of the plant for edibility, as some plants have both edible and inedible parts. Do not assume that a part that proved edible when cooked is also edible when raw. Test the part raw to ensure edibility before eating raw. The same part or plant may produce varying reactions in different individuals.

Figure 9-5. Universal Edibility Test

9-13. Before testing a plant for edibility, make sure there are enough plants to make the testing worth your time and effort. Each part of a plant (roots, leaves, flowers, and so on) requires more than 24 hours to test. Do not waste time testing a plant that is not relatively abundant in the area.

9-14. Remember, eating large portions of plant food on an empty stomach may cause diarrhea, nausea, or cramps. Two good examples of this are such familiar foods as green apples and wild onions. Even after testing plant food and finding it safe, eat it in moderation.

9-15. You can see from the steps and time involved in testing for edibility just how important it is to be able to identify edible plants.

9-16. To avoid potentially poisonous plants, stay away from any wild or unknown plants that have—

  • Milky or discolored sap.
  • Beans, bulbs, or seeds inside pods.
  • A bitter or soapy taste.
  • Spines, fine hairs, or thorns.
  • Foliage that resembles dill, carrot, parsnip, or parsley.
  • An almond scent in woody parts and leaves.
  • Grain heads with pink, purplish, or black spurs.
  • A three-leafed growth pattern.

9-17. Using the above criteria as eliminators when choosing plants for the Universal Edibility Test will cause you to avoid some edible plants. More important, these criteria will often help you avoid plants that are potentially toxic to eat or touch.

9-18. An entire encyclopedia of edible wild plants could be written, but space limits the number of plants presented here. Learn as much as possible about the plant life of the areas where you train regularly and where you expect to be traveling or working. Figure 9-6 list some of the most common edible and medicinal plants. Detailed descriptions and photographs of these and other common plants are in Appendix B.

Temperate Zone

  • Amaranth (Amaranths retroflex and other species)
  • Arrowroot (Sagittarius species)
  • Asparagus (Asparagus officials)
  • Beechnut (Fags species)
  • Blackberries (Rubes species)
  • Blueberries (Vaccinium species)
  • Burdock (Arctium lappa)
  • Cattail (Typha species)
  • Chestnut (Castanea species)
  • Chicory (Cichorium intybus)
  • Chufa (Cyperus esculentus)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva)
  • Nettle (Urtica species)
  • Oaks (Quercus species)
  • Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
  • Plantain (Plantago species)
  • Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
  • Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia species)
  • Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
  • Strawberries (Fragaria species)
  • Thistle (Cirsium species)
  • Water lily and lotus (Nuphar, Nelumbo, and other species)
  • Wild onion and garlic (Allium species)
  • Wild rose (Rosa species)
  • Wood sorrel (Oxalis species)

Figure 9-6. Food Plants

Tropical Zone

  • Bamboo (Bambusa and other species)
  • Bananas (Musa species)
  • Breadfruit (Artocarpus incisa)
  • Cashew nut (Anacardium occidental)
  • Coconut (Cocoa nucifera)
  • Mango (Mangifera indica)
  • Palms (various species)
  • Papaya (Carica species)
  • Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum)
  • Taro (Colocasia species)

Desert Zone

  • Acacia (Acacia farnesiana)
  • Agave (Agave species)
  • Cactus (various species)
  • Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera)
  • Desert amaranth (Amaranths palmer)

Figure 9-6. Food Plants (Continued)

SEAWEEDS

9-19. One plant you should never overlook is seaweed. It is a form of marine algae found on or near ocean shores. There are also some edible freshwater varieties. Seaweed is a valuable source of iodine, other minerals, and vitamin C. Large quantities of seaweed in an unaccustomed stomach can produce a severe laxative effect. Figure 9-7 lists various types of edible seaweed.

  • Dulse (Rhodymenia palmata)
  • Green seaweed (Ulva lactuca)
  • Irish moss (Chondrus crispus)
  • Kelp (Alaria esculenta)
  • Laver (Porphyra species)
  • Mojaban (Sargassum fulvellum)
  • Sugar wrack (Laminaria saccharina)

Figure 9-7. Types of Edible Seaweed

9-20. When gathering seaweed for food, find living plants attached to rocks or floating free. Seaweed washed onshore any length of time may be spoiled or decayed. You can dry freshly harvested seaweed for later use.

9-21. Different types of seaweed should be prepared in different ways. You can dry thin and tender varieties in the sun or over a fire until crisp. Crush and add these to soups or broths. Boil thick, leathery seaweeds for a short time to soften them. Eat them as a vegetable or with other foods. You can eat some varieties raw after testing for edibility.

PREPARATION OF PLANT FOOD

9-22. Although some plants or plant parts are edible raw, you must cook others for them to be edible or palatable. Edible means that a plant or food will provide you with necessary nutrients; palatable means that it is pleasing to eat. Many wild plants are edible but barely palatable. It is a good idea to learn to identify, prepare, and eat wild foods.

9-23. Methods used to improve the taste of plant food include soaking, boiling, cooking, or leaching. Leaching is done by crushing the food (for example, acorns), placing it in a strainer, and pouring boiling water through it or immersing it in running water.

9-24. Boil leaves, stems, and buds until tender, changing the water, if necessary, to remove any bitterness.

9-25. Boil, bake, or roast tubers and roots. Drying helps to remove caustic oxalates from some roots like those in the Arum family.

9-26. Leach acorns in water, if necessary, to remove the bitterness. Some nuts, such as chestnuts, are good raw, but taste better roasted.

9-27. You can eat many grains and seeds raw until they mature. When they are hard or dry, you may have to boil or grind them into meal or flour.

9-28. The sap from many trees, such as maples, birches, walnuts, and sycamores, contains sugar. You may boil these saps down to a syrup for sweetening. It takes about 35 liters of maple sap to make 1 liter of maple syrup!

Animals For Food, FM 21-76

Posted in Animals, Fishing, Food, Survival, Trapping with tags , , , , , on November 22, 2007 by jamesshrugged

ANIMALS FOR FOOD

8-1. Unless you have the chance to take large game, concentrate your efforts on the smaller animals. They are more abundant and easier to prepare. You need not know all the animal species that are suitable as food; relatively few are poisonous, and they make a smaller list to remember. However, it is important to learn the habits and behavioral patterns of classes of animals. For example, animals that are excellent choices for trapping, those that inhabit a particular range and occupy a den or nest, those that have somewhat fixed feeding areas, and those that have trails leading from one area to another. Larger, herding animals, such as elk or caribou, roam vast areas and are somewhat more difficult to trap. Also, you must understand the food choices of a particular species to select the proper bait.

8-2. You can, with relatively few exceptions, eat anything that crawls, swims, walks, or flies. You must first overcome your natural aversion to a particular food source. Historically, people in starvation situations have resorted to eating everything imaginable for nourishment. A person who ignores an otherwise healthy food source due to a personal bias, or because he feels it is unappetizing, is risking his own survival. Although it may prove difficult at first, you must eat what is available to maintain your health. Some classes of animals and insects may be eaten raw if necessary, but you should, if possible, thoroughly cook all food sources whenever possible to avoid illness.

INSECTS

8-3. The most abundant and easily caught life-form on earth are insects. Many insects provide 65 to 80 percent protein compared to 20 percent for beef. This fact makes insects an important, if not overly appetizing, food source. Insects to avoid include all adults that sting or bite, hairy or brightly colored insects, and caterpillars and insects that have a pungent odor. Also avoid spiders and common disease carriers such as ticks, flies, and mosquitoes.

8-4. Rotting logs lying on the ground are excellent places to look for a variety of insects including ants, termites, beetles, and grubs, which are beetle larvae. Do not overlook insect nests on or in the ground. Grassy areas, such as fields, are good areas to search because the insects are easily seen. Stones, boards, or other materials lying on the ground provide the insects with good nesting sites. Check these sites. Insect larvae are also edible. Insects that have a hard outer shell such as beetles and grasshoppers will have parasites. Cook them before eating. Remove any wings and barbed legs also. You can eat most soft-shelled insects raw. The taste varies from one species to another. Wood grubs are bland, but some species of ants store honey in their bodies, giving them a sweet taste. You can grind a collection of insects into a paste. You can mix them with edible vegetation. You can cook them to improve their taste.

WORMS

8-5. Worms (Annelidea) are an excellent protein source. Dig for them in damp humus soil and in the rootball of grass clumps, or watch for them on the ground after a rain. After capturing them, drop them into clean, potable water for about 15 minutes. The worms will naturally purge or wash themselves out, after which you can eat them raw.

CRUSTACEANS

8-6. Freshwater shrimp range in size from 0.25 centimeter (1/16 inch) up to 2.5 centimeters (1 inch). They can form rather large colonies in mats of floating algae or in mud bottoms of ponds and lakes.

8-7. Crayfish are akin to marine lobsters and crabs. You can distinguish them by their hard exoskeleton and five pairs of legs, the front pair having oversized pincers. Crayfish are active at night, but you can locate them in the daytime by looking under and around stones in streams. You can also find them by looking in the soft mud near the chimney-like breathing holes of their nests. You can catch crayfish by tying bits of offal or internal organs to a string. When the crayfish grabs the bait, pull it to shore before it has a chance to release the bait.

8-8. You can find saltwater lobsters, crabs, and shrimp from the surf’s edge out to water 10 meters (33 feet) deep. Shrimp may come to a light at night where you can scoop them up with a net. You can catch lobsters and crabs with a baited trap or a baited hook. Crabs will come to bait placed at the edge of the surf, where you can trap or net them. Lobsters and crabs are nocturnal and caught best at night.

NOTE: You must cook all freshwater crustaceans, mollusks, and fish. Fresh water tends to harbor many dangerous organisms (see Chapter 6), animal and human contaminants, and possibly agricultural and industrial pollutants.

MOLLUSKS

8-9. This class includes octopuses and freshwater and saltwater shellfish such as snails, clams, mussels, bivalves, barnacles, periwinkles, chitons, and sea urchins (Figure 8-1). You find bivalves similar to our freshwater mussel and terrestrial and aquatic snails worldwide under all water conditions.

Figure 8-1. Edible Mollusks

Figure 8-1. Edible Mollusks

8-10. River snails or freshwater periwinkles are plentiful in rivers, streams, and lakes of northern coniferous forests. These snails may be pencil point or globular in shape.

8-11. In fresh water, look for mollusks in the shallows, especially in water with a sandy or muddy bottom. Look for the narrow trails they leave in the mud or for the dark elliptical slit of their open valves.

8-12. Near the sea, look in the tidal pools and the wet sand. Rocks along beaches or extending as reefs into deeper water often bear clinging shellfish. Snails and limpets cling to rocks and seaweed from the low water mark upward. Large snails, called chitons, adhere tightly to rocks above the surf line.

8-13. Mussels usually form dense colonies in rock pools, on logs, or at the base of boulders.

CAUTION

Mussels may be poisonous in tropical zones during the summer! If a noticeable red tide has occurred within 72 hours, do not eat any fish or shellfish from that water source.

8-14. Steam, boil, or bake mollusks in the shell. They make excellent stews in combination with greens and tubers.

CAUTION

Do not eat shellfish that are not covered by water at high tide!

FISH

8-15. Fish represent a good source of protein and fat. They offer some distinct advantages to the survivor or evader. They are usually more abundant than mammal wildlife, and the ways to get them are silent. To be successful at catching fish, you must know their habits. For instance, fish tend to feed heavily before a storm. Fish are not likely to feed after a storm when the water is muddy and swollen. Light often attracts fish at night. When there is a heavy current, fish will rest in places where there is an eddy, such as near rocks. Fish will also gather where there are deep pools, under overhanging brush, and in and around submerged foliage, logs, or other objects that offer them shelter.

8-16. There are no poisonous freshwater fish. However, the catfish species has sharp, needlelike protrusions on its dorsal fins and barbels. These can inflict painful puncture wounds that quickly become infected.

8-17. Cook all freshwater fish to kill parasites. As a precaution, also cook saltwater fish caught within a reef or within the influence of a freshwater source. Any marine life obtained farther out in the sea will not contain parasites because of the saltwater environment. You can eat these raw.

8-18. Most fish encountered are edible. The organs of some species are always poisonous to man; other fish can become toxic because of elements in their diets. Ciguatera is a form of human poisoning caused by the consumption of subtropical and tropical marine fish which have accumulated naturally occurring toxins through their diet. These toxins build up in the fish’s tissues. The toxins are known to originate from several algae species that are common to ciguatera endemic regions in the lower latitudes. Cooking does not eliminate the toxins; neither does drying, smoking, or marinating. Marine fish most commonly implicated in ciguatera poisoning include the barracudas, jacks, mackerel, triggerfish, snappers, and groupers. Many other species of warm water fishes harbor ciguatera toxins. The occurrence of toxic fish is sporadic, and not all fish of a given species or from a given locality will be toxic. This explains why red snapper and grouper are a coveted fish off the shores of Florida and the East Coast. While they are a restaurant and fisherman’s favorite, and a common fish market choice, they can also be associated with 100 cases of food poisonings in May 1988, Palm Beach County, Florida. The poisonings resulted in a statewide warning against eating hogfish, grouper, red snapper, amberjack, and barracuda caught at the Dry Tortuga Bank. A major outbreak of ciguatera occurred in Puerto Rico between April and June 1981 prompting a ban on the sale of barracuda, amberjack, and blackjack. Other examples of poisonous saltwater fish are the porcupine fish, cowfish, thorn fish, oilfish, and puffer (Figure 8-2).

Figure 8-2. Fish With Poisonous Flesh

Figure 8-2. Fish With Poisonous Flesh

AMPHIBIANS

8-19. Frogs are easily found around bodies of fresh water. Frogs seldom move from the safety of the water’s edge. At the first sign of danger, they plunge into the water and bury themselves in the mud and debris. Frogs are characterized by smooth, moist skin. There are few poisonous species of frogs. Avoid any brightly colored frog or one that has a distinct “X” mark on its back as well as all tree frogs. Do not confuse toads with frogs. Toads may be recognized by their dry, “warty” or bumpy skin. They are usually found on land in drier environments. Several species of toads secrete a poisonous substance through their skin as a defense against attack. Therefore, to avoid poisoning, do not handle or eat toads.

8-20. Do not eat salamanders; only about 25 percent of all salamanders are edible, so it is not worth the risk of selecting a poisonous variety. Salamanders are found around the water. They are characterized by smooth, moist skin and have only four toes on each foot.

REPTILES

8-21. Reptiles are a good protein source and relatively easy to catch. Thorough cooking and hand washing is imperative with reptiles. All reptiles are considered to be carriers of salmonella, which exists naturally on their skin. Turtles and snakes are especially known to infect man. If you are in an undernourished state and your immune system is weak, salmonella can be deadly. Cook food thoroughly and be especially fastidious washing your hands after handling any reptile. Lizards are plentiful in most parts of the world. They may be recognized by their dry, scaly skin. They have five toes on each foot. The only poisonous ones are the Gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard. Care must be taken when handling and preparing the iguana and the monitor lizard, as they commonly harbor the salmonellal virus in their mouth and teeth. The tail meat is the best tasting and easiest to prepare.

8-22. Turtles are a very good source of meat. There are actually seven different flavors of meat in each snapping turtle. Most of the meat will come from the front and rear shoulder area, although a large turtle may have some on its neck. The box turtle (Figure 8-3) is a commonly encountered turtle that you should not eat. It feeds on poisonous mushrooms and may build up a highly toxic poison in its flesh. Cooking does not destroy this toxin. Also avoid the hawksbill turtle (Figure 8-3), found in the Atlantic Ocean, because of its poisonous thorax gland. Poisonous snakes, alligators, crocodiles, and large sea turtles present obvious hazards to the survivor.

Figure 8-3. Turtles With Poisonous Flesh

Figure 8-3. Turtles With Poisonous Flesh

BIRDS

8-23. All species of birds are edible, although the flavor will vary considerably. The only poisonous bird is the Pitohui, native only to New Guinea. You may skin fish-eating birds to improve their taste. As with any wild animal, you must understand birds’ common habits to have a realistic chance of capturing them. You can take pigeons, as well as some other species, from their roost at night by hand. During the nesting season, some species will not leave the nest even when approached. Knowing where and when the birds nest makes catching them easier (Figure 8-4). Birds tend to have regular flyways going from the roost to a feeding area, to water, and so forth. Careful observation should reveal where these flyways are and indicate good areas for catching birds in nets stretched across the flyways (Figure 8-5). Roosting sites and waterholes are some of the most promising areas for trapping or snaring.

Figure 8-4. Birds' Nesting Places

Figure 8-4. Birds’ Nesting Places

Figure 8-5. Catching Birds in a Net

Figure 8-5. Catching Birds in a Net

8-24. Nesting birds present another food source—eggs. Remove all but two or three eggs from the clutch, marking the ones that you leave. The bird will continue to lay more eggs to fill the clutch. Continue removing the fresh eggs, leaving the ones you marked.

MAMMALS

8-25. Mammals are excellent protein sources and, for Americans, the tastiest food source. There are some drawbacks to obtaining mammals. In a hostile environment, the enemy may detect any traps or snares placed on land. The amount of injury an animal can inflict is in direct proportion to its size. All mammals have teeth and nearly all will bite in self-defense. Even a squirrel can inflict a serious wound and any bite presents a serious risk of infection. Also, any mother can be extremely aggressive in defense of her young. Any animal with no route of escape will fight when cornered.

8-26. All mammals are edible; however, the polar bear and bearded seal have toxic levels of vitamin A in their livers. The platypus, native to Australia and Tasmania, is an egg-laying, semiaquatic mammal that has poisonous claws on its hind legs. Scavenging mammals, such as the opossum, may carry diseases.

HERBAL MEDICINES, FM 21-76

Posted in First Aid, Survival with tags , on November 22, 2007 by jamesshrugged

HERBAL MEDICINES

4-117. Our modern wonder drugs, laboratories, and equipment have obscured more primitive types of medicine involving determination, common sense, and a few simple treatments. However, in many areas of the world the people still depend on local “witch doctors” or healers to cure their ailments. Many of the herbs (plants) and treatments they use are as effective as the most modern medications available. In fact, many modern medications come from refined herbs.

WARNING

Use herbal medicines with extreme care, and only when you lack or have limited medical supplies. Some herbal medicines are dangerous and may cause further damage or even death. Chapter 9 explains some basic herbal medicine treatments.

Wounds FM 21-76

Posted in First Aid, Survival with tags , on November 22, 2007 by jamesshrugged

WOUNDS

4-89. An interruption of the skin’s integrity characterizes wounds. These wounds could be open wounds, skin diseases, frostbite, trench foot, or burns.

OPEN WOUNDS

4-90. Open wounds are serious in a survival situation, not only because of tissue damage and blood loss, but also because they may become infected. Bacteria on the object that made the wound, on the individual’s skin and clothing, or on other foreign material or dirt that touches the wound may cause infection.

4-91. By taking proper care of the wound you can reduce further contamination and promote healing. Clean the wound as soon as possible after it occurs by—

  • Removing or cutting clothing away from the wound.
  • Always looking for an exit wound if a sharp object, gunshot, or projectile caused a wound.
  • Thoroughly cleaning the skin around the wound.
  • Rinsing (not scrubbing) the wound with large amounts of water under pressure. You can use fresh urine if water is not available.

4-92. The “open treatment” method is the safest way to manage wounds in survival situations. Do not try to close any wound by suturing or similar procedures. Leave the wound open to allow the drainage of any pus resulting from infection. As long as the wound can drain, it generally will not become life-threatening, regardless of how unpleasant it looks or smells.

4-93. Cover the wound with a clean dressing. Place a bandage on the dressing to hold it in place. Change the dressing daily to check for infection.

4-94. If a wound is gaping, you can bring the edges together with adhesive tape cut in the form of a “butterfly” or “dumbbell” (Figure 4-7). Use this method with extreme caution in the absence of antibiotics. You must always allow for proper drainage of the wound to avoid infection.

Figure 4-7. Butterfly Closure

Figure 4-7. Butterfly Closure

4-95. In a survival situation, some degree of wound infection is almost inevitable. Pain, swelling, and redness around the wound, increased temperature, and pus in the wound or on the dressing indicate infection is present.

4-96. If the wound becomes infected, you should treat as follows:

  • Place a warm, moist compress directly on the infected wound. Change the compress when it cools, keeping a warm compress on the wound for a total of 30 minutes. Apply the compresses three or four times daily.
  • Drain the wound. Open and gently probe the infected wound with a sterile instrument.
  • Dress and bandage the wound.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • In the event of gunshot or other serious wounds, it may be better to rinse the wound out vigorously every day with the cleanest water available. If drinking water or methods to purify drinking water are limited, do not use your drinking water. Flush the wound forcefully daily until the wound is healed over. Your scar may be larger but your chances of infection are greatly reduced.
  • Continue this treatment daily until all signs of infection have disappeared.

4-97. If you do not have antibiotics and the wound has become severely infected, does not heal, and ordinary debridement is impossible, consider maggot therapy as stated below, despite its hazards:

  • Expose the wound to flies for one day and then cover it.
  • Check daily for maggots.
  • Once maggots develop, keep wound covered but check daily.
  • Remove all maggots when they have cleaned out all dead tissue and before they start on healthy tissue. Increased pain and bright red blood in the wound indicate that the maggots have reached healthy tissue.
  • Flush the wound repeatedly with sterile water or fresh urine to remove the maggots.
  • Check the wound every 4 hours for several days to ensure all maggots have been removed.
  • Bandage the wound and treat it as any other wound. It should heal normally.

SKIN DISEASES AND AILMENTS

4-98. Boils, fungal infections, and rashes rarely develop into a serious health problem. They cause discomfort and you should treat them as follows:

Boils

4-99. Apply warm compresses to bring the boil to a head. Another method that can be used to bring a boil to a head is the bottle suction method. Use an empty bottle that has been boiled in water. Place the opening of the bottle over the boil and seal the skin forming an airtight environment that will create a vacuum. This method will draw the pus to the skin surface when applied correctly. Then open the boil using a sterile knife, wire, needle, or similar item. Thoroughly clean out the pus using soap and water. Cover the boil site, checking it periodically to ensure no further infection develops.

Fungal Infections

4-100. Keep the skin clean and dry, and expose the infected area to as much sunlight as possible. Do not scratch the affected area. During the Southeast Asian conflict, soldiers used antifungal powders, lye soap, chlorine bleach, alcohol, vinegar, concentrated salt water, and iodine to treat fungal infections with varying degrees of success. As with any “unorthodox” method of treatment, use these with caution.

Rashes

4-101. To treat a skin rash effectively, first determine what is causing it. This determination may be difficult even in the best of situations. Observe the following rules to treat rashes:

  • If it is moist, keep it dry.
  • If it is dry, keep it moist.
  • Do not scratch it.

4-102. Use a compress of vinegar or tannic acid derived from tea or from boiling acorns or the bark of a hardwood tree to dry weeping rashes. Keep dry rashes moist by rubbing a small amount of rendered animal fat or grease on the affected area.

4-103. Remember, treat rashes as open wounds; clean and dress them daily. There are many substances available to survivors in the wild or in captivity for use as antiseptics to treat wounds. Follow the recommended guidance below:

  • Iodine tablets. Use 5 to 15 tablets in a liter of water to produce a good rinse for wounds during healing.
  • Garlic. Rub it on a wound or boil it to extract the oils and use the water to rinse the affected area.
  • Salt water. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons per liter of water to kill bacteria.
  • Bee honey. Use it straight or dissolved in water.
  • Sphagnum moss. Found in boggy areas worldwide, it is a natural source of iodine. Use as a dressing.
  • Sugar. Place directly on wound and remove thoroughly when it turns into a glazed and runny substance. Then reapply.
  • Syrup. In extreme circumstances, some of the same benefits of honey and sugar can be realized with any high-sugar-content item.

NOTE: Again, use noncommercially prepared materials with caution.

BURNS

4-104. The following field treatment for burns relieves the pain somewhat, seems to help speed healing, and offers some protection against infection:

  • First, stop the burning process. Put out the fire by removing clothing, dousing with water or sand, or by rolling on the ground. Cool the burning skin with ice or water. For burns caused by white phosphorous, pick out the white phosphorous with tweezers; do not douse with water.
  • Soak dressings or clean rags for 10 minutes in a boiling tannic acid solution (obtained from tea, inner bark of hardwood trees, or acorns boiled in water).
  • Cool the dressings or clean rags and apply over burns. Sugar and honey also work for burns with honey being especially effective at promoting new skin growth and stopping infections. Use both as you would in an open wound above.
  • Treat as an open wound.
  • Replace fluid loss. Fluid replacement can be achieved through oral (preferred) and intravenous routes (when resources are available). One alternate method through which rehydration can be achieved is through the rectal route. Fluids do not need to be sterile, only purified. A person can effectively absorb approximately 1 to 1.5 liters per hour by using a tube to deliver fluids into the rectal vault.
  • Maintain airway.
  • Treat for shock.
  • Consider using morphine, unless the burns are near the face.

Bites and Stings, FM 21-76

Posted in First Aid, Survival with tags , on November 22, 2007 by jamesshrugged

BITES AND STINGS

4-66. Insects and related pests are hazards in a survival situation. They not only cause irritations, but they are often carriers of diseases that cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals. In many parts of the world you will be exposed to serious, even fatal, diseases not encountered in the United States.

  • Ticks can carry and transmit diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever common in many parts of the United States. Ticks also transmit Lyme disease.
  • Mosquitoes may carry malaria, dengue, and many other diseases.
  • Flies can spread disease from contact with infectious sources. They are causes of sleeping sickness, typhoid, cholera, and dysentery.
  • Fleas can transmit plague.
  • Lice can transmit typhus and relapsing fever.

4-67. The best way to avoid the complications of insect bites and stings is to keep immunizations (including booster shots) up-to-date, avoid insect-infested areas, use netting and insect repellent, and wear all clothing properly.

4-68. If you are bitten or stung, do not scratch the bite or sting; it might become infected. Inspect your body at least once a day to ensure there are no insects attached to you. If you find ticks attached to your body, cover them with a substance (such as petroleum jelly, heavy oil, or tree sap) that will cut off their air supply. Without air, the tick releases its hold, and you can remove it. Take care to remove the whole tick. Use tweezers if you have them. Grasp the tick where the mouthparts are attached to the skin. Do not squeeze the tick’s body. Wash your hands after touching the tick. Clean the tick wound daily until healed.

TREATMENT

4-69. It is impossible to list the treatment of all the different types of bites and stings. However, you can generally treat bites and stings as follows:

  • If antibiotics are available for your use, become familiar with them before deployment and use them.
  • Predeployment immunizations can prevent most of the common diseases carried by mosquitoes and some carried by flies.
  • The common fly-borne diseases are usually treatable with penicillins or erythromycin.
  • Most tick-, flea-, louse-, and mite-borne diseases are treatable with tetracycline.
  • Most antibiotics come in 250 milligram (mg) or 500 mg tablets. If you cannot remember the exact dose rate to treat a disease, 2 tablets, 4 times a day, for 10 to 14 days will usually kill any bacteria.

BEE AND WASP STINGS

4-70. If stung by a bee, immediately remove the stinger and venom sac, if attached, by scraping with a fingernail or a knife blade. Do not squeeze or grasp the stinger or venom sac, as squeezing will force more venom into the wound. Wash the sting site thoroughly with soap and water to lessen the chance of a secondary infection.

4-71. If you know or suspect that you are allergic to insect stings, always carry an insect sting kit with you.

4-72. Relieve the itching and discomfort caused by insect bites by applying—

  • Cold compresses.
  • A cooling paste of mud and ashes.
  • Sap from dandelions.
  • Coconut meat.
  • Crushed cloves of garlic.
  • Onion.

SPIDER BITES AND SCORPION STINGS

4-73. The black widow spider is identified by a red hourglass on its abdomen. Only the female bites, and it has a neurotoxic venom. The initial pain is not severe, but severe local pain rapidly develops. The pain gradually spreads over the entire body and settles in the abdomen and legs. Abdominal cramps and progressive nausea, vomiting, and a rash may occur. Weakness, tremors, sweating, and salivation may occur. Anaphylactic reactions can occur. Symptoms may worsen for the next three days and then begin to subside for the next week. Treat for shock. Be ready to perform CPR. Clean and dress the bite area to reduce the risk of infection. An antivenin is available.

4-74. The funnelweb spider is a large brown or gray spider found in Australia. The symptoms and the treatment for its bite are as for the black widow spider.

4-75. The brown house spider or brown recluse spider is a small, light brown spider identified by a dark brown violin on its back. There is no pain, or so little pain, that usually a victim is not aware of the bite. Within a few hours a painful red area with a mottled cyanotic center appears. Necrosis does not occur in all bites, but usually in 3 to 4 days, a star-shaped, firm area of deep purple discoloration appears at the bite site. The area turns dark and mummified in a week or two. The margins separate and the scab falls off, leaving an open ulcer. Secondary infection and regional swollen lymph glands usually become visible at this stage. The outstanding characteristic of the brown recluse bite is an ulcer that does not heal but persists for weeks or months. In addition to the ulcer, there is often a systemic reaction that is serious and may lead to death. Reactions (fever, chills, joint pain, vomiting, and a generalized rash) occur chiefly in children or debilitated persons.

4-76. Tarantulas are large, hairy spiders found mainly in the tropics. Most do not inject venom, but some South American species do. They have large fangs. If bitten, pain and bleeding are certain, and infection is likely. Treat a tarantula bite as for any open wound, and try to prevent infection. If symptoms of poisoning appear, treat as for the bite of the black widow spider.

4-77. Scorpions are all poisonous to a greater or lesser degree. There are two different reactions, depending on the species:

  • Severe local reaction only, with pain and swelling around the area of the sting. Possible prickly sensation around the mouth and a thick-feeling tongue.
  • Severe systemic reaction, with little or no visible local reaction. Local pain may be present. Systemic reaction includes respiratory difficulties, thick-feeling tongue, body spasms, drooling, gastric distention, double vision, blindness, involuntary rapid movement of the eyeballs, involuntary urination and defecation, and heart failure. Death is rare, occurring mainly in children and adults with high blood pressure or illnesses.

4-78. Treat scorpion stings as you would a black widow bite.

SNAKEBITES

4-79. The chance of a snakebite in a survival situation is rather small, if you are familiar with the various types of snakes and their habitats. However, it could happen and you should know how to treat a snakebite. Deaths from snakebites are rare. More than one-half of the snakebite victims have little or no poisoning, and only about one-quarter develop serious systemic poisoning. However, the chance of a snakebite in a survival situation can affect morale, and failure to take preventive measures or failure to treat a snakebite properly can result in needless tragedy.

4-80. The primary concern in the treatment of snakebite is to limit the amount of eventual tissue destruction around the bite area.

4-81. A bite wound, regardless of the type of animal that inflicted it, can become infected from bacteria in the animal’s mouth. With nonpoisonous as well as poisonous snakebites, this local infection is responsible for a large part of the residual damage that results.

4-82. Snake venoms not only contain poisons that attack the victim’s central nervous system (neurotoxins) and blood circulation (hemotoxins), but also digestive enzymes (cytotoxins) to aid in digesting their prey. These poisons can cause a very large area of tissue death, leaving a large open wound. This condition could lead to the need for eventual amputation if not treated.

4-83. Shock and panic in a person bitten by a snake can also affect the person’s recovery. Excitement, hysteria, and panic can speed up the circulation, causing the body to absorb the toxin quickly. Signs of shock occur within the first 30 minutes after the bite.

4-84. Before you start treating a snakebite, determine whether the snake was poisonous or nonpoisonous. Bites from a nonpoisonous snake will show rows of teeth. Bites from a poisonous snake may have rows of teeth showing, but will have one or more distinctive puncture marks caused by fang penetration. Symptoms of a poisonous bite may be spontaneous bleeding from the nose and anus, blood in the urine, pain at the site of the bite, and swelling at the site of the bite within a few minutes or up to 2 hours later.

4-85. Breathing difficulty, paralysis, weakness, twitching, and numbness are also signs of neurotoxic venoms. These signs usually appear 1.5 to 2 hours after the bite.

4-86. If you determine that a poisonous snake bit an individual, take the following steps:

  • Reassure the victim and keep him still.
  • Set up for shock and force fluids or give by intravenous (IV) means.
  • Remove watches, rings, bracelets, or other constricting items.
  • Clean the bite area.
  • Maintain an airway (especially if bitten near the face or neck) and be prepared to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or CPR.
  • Use a constricting band between the wound and the heart.
  • Immobilize the site.
  • Remove the poison as soon as possible by using a mechanical suction device. Do not squeeze the site of the bite.

4-87. You should also remember four very important guidelines during the treatment of snakebites. Do not

  • Give the victim alcoholic beverages or tobacco products. Never give atropine! Give morphine or other central nervous system (CNS) depressors.
  • Make any deep cuts at the bite site. Cutting opens capillaries that in turn open a direct route into the blood stream for venom and infection.

NOTE: If medical treatment is over 1 hour away, make an incision (no longer than 6 millimeters [1/4 inch] and no deeper than 3 millimeters [1/8 inch]) over each puncture, cutting just deep enough to enlarge the fang opening, but only through the first or second layer of skin. Place a suction cup over the bite so that you have a good vacuum seal. Suction the bite site 3 to 4 times. Suction for a MINIMUM of 30 MINUTES. Use mouth suction only as a last resort and only if you do not have open sores in your mouth. Spit the envenomed blood out and rinse your mouth with water. This method will draw out 25 to 30 percent of the venom.

  • Put your hands on your face or rub your eyes, as venom may be on your hands. Venom may cause blindness.
  • Break open the large blisters that form around the bite site.

4-88. After caring for the victim as described above, take the following actions to minimize local effects:

  • If infection appears, keep the wound open and clean.
  • Use heat after 24 to 48 hours to help prevent the spread of local infection. Heat also helps to draw out an infection.
  • Keep the wound covered with a dry, sterile dressing.
  • Have the victim drink large amounts of fluids until the infection is gone.
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