Survival Quiz #153
(Modern Survival.org) – What should you NOT put on a sunburn?
• Aloe vera gel
• Damp towel
• Petroleum jelly
Answer: Petroleum Jelly. Here’s why…
When survival is on the line, it’s easy to become distracted by the tasks required to stay alive. Hunting down food, finding drinkable water, and creating shelter from the elements are pressing concerns, so protecting oneself from something as seemingly harmless as a sunburn can easily be forgotten.
While most people wouldn’t consider a sunburn to be a life-or-death situation, anyone who has suffered from a really bad burn will beg to differ.
Why a Sunburn is Dangerous
For starters, getting a sunburn is painful. Going about daily survival activities will become more difficult when in constant pain. With more severe sunburns, a condition called sun poisoning can occur, leading to a laundry list of nasty symptoms:
In a survival situation, where every calorie and drop of water counts, sun poisoning is a potentially lethal condition.
How to Prevent Sunburns
Out in the wild, covering up is the best way to prevent sunburn. Long sleeve shirts, long pants, sunglasses, and a hat can provide some shielding from ultraviolet rays. These items can be helpful, but special clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) provides more reliable protection.
In extremely hot climates, staying beneath a shelter during the hottest time of the day will prevent overexposure to UV rays. Even in milder areas, the sun can be deceptively damaging. While it may seem cool outside, the sun can still burn skin all the same.
In truly dire circumstances, applying mud to exposed skin will protect it from the sunlight as well. Not only will the mud protect against UV rays, but as an added bonus, it will keep biting bugs at bay (and serve as camouflage in a pinch).
What NOT to Put on a Sunburn
In the event a sunburn does occur, there are certain substances that shouldn’t be applied to it. Petroleum jelly, for example, is a common item for survival packs due to its many uses in the field. While petroleum jelly can be incredibly useful, it’s not something you want to put on a sunburn. Petroleum jelly will trap the heat from the burn and block pores, which may lead to an infection.
Lotions with benzocaine or lidocaine should also be avoided, as they can aggravate the skin.
While sunburns are dangerous, when combined with dehydration they can be deadly. To see why dehydration is so dangerous, check out our article here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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