Life Expectancy in the Desert

Life Expectancy in the Desert Life expectancy depends upon the water available and your ability to protect the body from exposure to the sun to minimize perspiration. Allow a slight negative balance. Drink 1.5 liters (2½pt) for every 2 liters (3½pt) lost and then drink at the rate the body is sweating. Efficiency is then impaired little and no water is wasted. Less fluid will not result in less sweating. Sweating is a cooling mechanism, not a way of losing moisture. If drink more fluid than needed it will be excreted and used to no purpose. Without water you will last about 2½ days at 48°C (118°F) if you spend the whole time resting in the shade, though you could last as long as 12 days if the temperature stays below 21°C (70°F). If you are forced to walk to safety, the distance you cover will relate directly to water available. With none, a temperature of 48°C (118°F), walking only at night, resting all day,...
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Ten Commandments of Desert Survival

TEN COMMANDMENTS OF SURVIVAL IN THE DESERT WHEN LOST OR STRANDED 1. Hold on to a Survival Attitude – Your most valuable asset in any life threatening situation is a positive mental attitude. If you aren’t certain you can live – you will die. 2. Stay where you are – Stay Calm – If you are driving a vehicle, remain with it. Relocate only to reach safety and water. 3. Move only when Absolutely Necessary and Only at Night – If your position is unendurable, change your location during the cooler night hours. Move only when you know you can get there safely by doing the following: a. Leave a clear trail with notes and directional signs. b. On the note, give your name, date, time, direction and reason you are going. c. Proceed in a specific direction, change your line of movement only after you have left a sign or marker. d. Go slowly and carefully – beware of overexertion. 4. Conserve Your Sweat, Not Your Water –...
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Clothing in the Desert

Clothing in the Desert Clothing helps reduce fluid loss and gives protection from sunburn – as well as warmth at night and a barrier against insect bites and thorns. In the desert it should be light and loose-fitting, with air space between the garments and the body to provide insulation. Copy the flowing, layered garments of the Arab world. Trousers give more protection from insects than shorts (and guard against serious burns on the legs if forced into daytime exposure). Cover the head and feet. The flowing, layered garments worn by desert dwellers provide excellent examples of clothing appropriate for expeditions into arid climates. Light and loose-fitting clothes protect from sunburn and fluid loss, while also allowing for cooling pockets of air. HEADGEAR Any hat with a piece of cloth attached to the back will give some protection to the head and back of the neck but it is better to copy the headgear of desert peoples. You need a piece of material about 120cm...
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Food in the Desert

Food in the desert Heat usually produces a loss of appetite – so do not force yourself to eat. Protein foods increase metabolic heat and increase water loss, and liquids are needed for digestion. If water is scarce, keep eating to a minimum and then try to eat only moisture-containing foods, such as fruit and vegetables. Food spoils very quickly in the desert and any stores, once opened, should be eaten straight away or kept covered and shaded. Flies appear from nowhere and settle upon uncovered food. PLANTS Vegetation, away from oases and waterholes, is likely to be little more than scrub and grasses – even in the semi-desert – but grasses are edible and sometimes plentiful. The acacia tree in the scrub provides edible beans. Beware of the acacia’s thorns but try all its soft parts: flowers, fruit, seeds, bark and young shoots. The grasses of the Sahara and Gobi are neither nutritious nor palatable, but in the Sahara and the Asian deserts you may...
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Water in the Desert

Water in the Desert Water needs in a desert environment are paramount. Finding it is VITAL. If you have it, ration it immediately. If you are stranded during a planned desert crossing, you should have plotted your route with an awareness of possible water sources, wells and/or waterholes. Wells can be very deep and the water level may require a container lowered on a line to reach it. Small water holes in river bottoms are often seasonal. They are usually covered with a stone or brushwood. If you are away from known waterholes, try digging at the lowest point of the outside bend of a dry stream bed or at the lowest point between dunes. Do NOT dig in the heat of the day, the exertion will use up too much fluid and you may find none to replace it. You must always balance fluid loss against possible gain. Exploit cactus and roots as water sources and, in deserts where the day/night temperature range...
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Surviving Severe Heat

Surviving severe heat during the summer months Severe heat during the summer or in desert environments is miserable for adults as well as children. Playing outdoors is out of question due to the risk of heat stroke and severe sunburn. Rolling blackouts become a common occurrence because everyone is draining the power supply running air conditioners and fans. People suffer from dehydration and heat exhaustion. Follow these steps to learn how to survive a heat wave. 1 – Drink plenty of fluids to survive the heat. This includes water, juices and caffeine-free beverages. 2 – Play or work outside in the early morning and late evening when the temperatures are a cooler. 3 – Run high energy appliances at night. Running the dryer and dishwasher during the day heats up the house and puts a strain on the electrical system. With the heat outside you can hang clothes up and the sun will dry them just as fast as a dryer would. 4 – Call your...
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