Back-Up Plan: Alternatives to Traditional Medicine in an Emergency


We aren’t here to discuss essential oils. Traditional medicine is important, and the scientific advancements made have saved millions of lives. However, sometimes it’s not possible to make it to a hospital or reach a first responder, and occasionally, even if you could, the issue isn’t severe enough to warrant a pack out during your activity. In any case, having a bit of knowledge about alternative methods can be helpful. Here are a few solutions you can use for common ailments, especially those that can quickly become serious if ignored.


While nausea and vomiting might not seem like an emergency, it’s easy to become dehydrated very quickly, making you weak and unable to take care of yourself. In this case, you want to ingest such things as ginger, fennel, cinnamon, cumin, and peppermint or smell a lemon. You can also use slow breathing techniques and push on pressure points in your wrist to alleviate the symptoms. Continuously stay hydrated, even if you throw it back up. Be sure you’re using a clean water source, however, or you can compound the issue. You also want to avoid certain smells and foods until your stomach is settled.


Whether it was caused by something you ate, or a virus circling throughout family and friends, diarrhea is just as serious a concern as nausea is when talking about dehydration. Thankfully, drinking water will help. Just be sure not to overdo it to avoid adding nausea and vomiting to the mix. If you have any probiotics available in powdered form, take them. If not, eat soft cheese, yogurt, pickles, or sourdough bread. They help provide your intestines with important bacteria. You should also follow the BRAT diet if possible until you’re feeling better so that you don’t exacerbate the problem. BRAT stands for B-ananas, R-ice, A-pplesauce, and T-oast.


While you want to stick with a compress for more serious bleeding issues and use butterfly-tape and possibly stitches to close a wound after you’ve cleaned it, there are a few substances you can use to staunch the flow of blood from minor injuries or to prevent a significant wound from seeping through the closures. This can be important if you’re out in the wilderness, as the smell of blood can attract predators to the area that you might not be prepared to handle. It would help if you always had a styptic pencil on hand in your pack. They are compact, easy to carry, and made from an alum and wax mix. Alum contracts the tissue around the cut, sealing it quickly. Toothpaste, cayenne pepper, salt, and ice cubes can also be effective methods. Be sure to properly wash the wound with clean water before and after you seal it shut.

Written by