Prevention and treatment of diseases in the desert, sun and heat stroke, dehydration and salt exhaustion, bites of poisonous animals.

For desert conditions, diseases associated with exposure to high temperatures are most characteristic. These are lesions caused by either overheating of the body, or dehydration, or its desalination. 

Prevention and treatment of diseases in desert conditions, sun and heat stroke, dehydration and salt exhaustion, bites of poisonous animals.


This is a lesion of the nervous system and its most important centers in the medulla oblongata, the result of intense or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight on the head. Symptoms of the disease are headache, tinnitus, a feeling of weakness, nausea. The skin of the face turns red, covered with profuse sweat. Pulse and breathing quicker. In severe cases, body temperature rises to 40 degrees, loss of consciousness, cramps are observed.

, then with a violation of cardiac activity, the patient is injected subcutaneously with 1-2 ml of a 10% caffeine solution, 1-2 ml of cordiamine; with respiratory distress 0.5-1 ml of 1% lobelin.


This is an overheating of the body caused by the accumulation of excess heat due to violation of thermoregulation during prolonged exposure to high ambient temperatures. Sometimes heat stroke in the desert develops unexpectedly, accompanied by collapse and loss of consciousness. In some cases, a headache, drowsiness, dizziness, dimming of consciousness, and nausea serve as a harbinger of it. One of the signs of heat stroke is a rapid increase in temperature to 41 degrees or more. The pulse sharply quickens. Breathing becomes frequent, shallow.

Loss of consciousness is accompanied by convulsions. The skin first turns red, hyperemic, becomes sweaty, but soon the skin becomes pale, dry. A person affected by heat stroke must be immediately transferred to the shade, freed from clothing and, having sprayed with water, quickly fanned with a shirt or piece of cloth to enhance the cooling effect of water. To improve skin circulation, the body and limbs are quickly rubbed. Medications for respiratory and circulatory disorders are the same as for sunstroke. As soon as the victim regains consciousness, they give him a plentiful drink. In order not to cause a state of relative salt deficiency, add 1-2 g of salt per liter to water.

Desert Dehydration Exhaustion.

If fluid loss during heavy perspiration is not replaced by drinking, this will lead to a gradual dehydration of the body. Symptoms of this process will depend on the degree of dehydration. Already with water loss, constituting 1-5% of body weight, there is a strong thirst, a feeling of malaise, drowsiness, irritability, sometimes nausea, and the pulse quickens. Dehydration 6 10% is accompanied by dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, tingling in the extremities appears. Speech becomes unclear, salivation stops.

With a further increase in dehydration, loss of consciousness, cramping, swallowing are observed, and vision and hearing are weakened. Urination completely stops. When signs of severe dehydration appear, the victim is placed in the shade, given a plentiful drink, with salt added to the water (1 2 g per liter), provide complete peace.

Salt exhaustion in desert conditions.

A sign of this type of heat damage caused by a large loss of salts is severe stomach cramps, vomiting, weakness, apathy, orthostatic fainting. Often, the victim has severe cramps due to increased muscle irritability caused by a decrease in the concentration of chloride in the blood plasma. All these phenomena occur against the background of slight thirst. Drinking plenty of salted water (5 g per liter) usually gives a quick positive effect.

Bites of poisonous animals in the desert.

In the deserts, various types of poisonous snakes are often found, the poison of which, when bitten, usually causes general poisoning of the human body. These include the extremely dangerous for humans Central Asian cobra (Naja naja Oxiana), efa (Echis carinata), gyurza (Vipera lebetina), common in the deserts of Central Asia. Among the inhabitants of the African deserts, the Cape Viper (Viperaarietans), the Horned Viper (Cerastes cornutus) and others should be mentioned. Snakes rarely attack humans themselves. Therefore, in order to avoid a bite, it is enough to be careful when setting up a camp, examining the burrows of rodents, crevices in the soil and rocks.

The places where snakes live can sometimes be determined by some signs: the remains of the skin (crawling out) after molting, dead birds near springs or under trees. A serious danger to humans is represented by bites of poisonous representatives of the arachnid class, which constantly or temporarily contain substances in their body that cause poisoning in humans of various degrees (Pavlovsky, 1931). These primarily include the scorpion squad. The size of scorpions usually does not exceed 5-15 cm. But, for example, in the northern forests of the Malay archipelago, giant green scorpions are found, reaching 20 25 cm (Wallace, 1956).

Outwardly, scorpions resemble a small cancer with a black or brown-brown body, with claws and a thin jointed tail with a hard curved sting at the end, into which the ducts of the poisonous glands open. Scorpion venom causes a sharp local reaction: redness, swelling, severe soreness. In some cases, general intoxication develops. 35-45 minutes after stinging, colicky pains in the tongue and gums appear, the act of swallowing is disturbed, the temperature rises, chills begin, often cramps, vomiting.

In the absence of anti-scorpion serum, which is the most effective treatment, it is recommended to prick the affected area with 2% novocaine solution or 0.1% potassium permanganate solution, apply lotions with potassium permanganate, and then warm the patient and give him a plentiful drink, hot tea, coffee. But not poisonous snakes and scorpions consider the inhabitants of the desert the most formidable danger, but a small spider of karakurt (La-throdectus tredecimgu ttatus). The venom of some species of this arthropod in terms of toxic effect exceeds 15 times the venom of the terrible rattlesnake.

Especially dangerous is the female spider, which can be recognized by the rounded, not more than 1 cm, black abdomen, covered with reddish or whitish spots. She hides in nests dug at the base of grass stalks or on the ground, attacking the careless. Two crimson spots appear at the bite site, which soon disappear. But after a dozen minutes, burning pain covers the whole body, spreading to the lower back, stomach, chest. Strong weakness develops. The patient rushes about, fearing death. Cold sweat appears on my forehead.

Often there are convulsions, vomiting, dizziness, tremendous chills. Blood pressure jumps up to 200/100 mm Hg. pillar. The activity of the heart is disturbed. The pulse slows down, becomes irregular. Often, the symptomatology of general intoxication resembles a picture of an acute abdomen. Intramuscular administration of 30 to 40 ml of anticaracourt serum gives, as a rule, an excellent therapeutic effect. In its absence, lotions of a 0.5% potassium permanganate solution are used, injection of 3-5 ml of a 0.1% solution into the bite area or its ingestion.

The victim is given a plentiful drink, and with chills and a feeling of cold, the body and limbs are warmed with warmers. In the field, it is possible as an emergency measure to take advantage of the recommendation of P.I. Marikovsky (1954) to cauterize the bite of a flaming match head. This must be done immediately, no later than two minutes after the bite. With rapid cauterization, part of the surface-injected poison is destroyed, and intoxication will be much easier.

In the desert, there are often saltpugs, or bihorchs (Solpugides), commonly known as phalanges. These are large (up to 7 cm in length) arthropods from the class of arachnids with a brown-yellow body, covered with thin long hairs. The bite of this rather scary-looking creature is very painful, but completely harmless. To avoid the attack of spiders, scorpions, it is enough to apply the most simple precautions. Do not go to bed directly on the sand, carefully inspect the bed before going to bed, and before putting on clothes and shoes in the morning, shake them well.

Based on materials from the book Man in extreme environmental conditions.
V.G. Volovich.

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