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Outdoor First Aid

Quick And Dirty: How To Cope

Here's how to stay sanitary in the backcountry.

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You never know when some microscopic, diarrhea-causing nasty thing will slip through your sanitation defenses and into your intestinal tract. To best deal with the situation:

  • Carry antidiarrheal drugs in your first-aid kit: Pepto-Bismol for minor cases and Imodium for serious problems. Neither should be given to children without consulting a physician.
  • If you know, or even suspect, you have the runs, don’t swim, help prepare food, or stick your hand in the community gorp bag. These are all excellent ways to spread germs.
  • Bury the bowel movement in a cathole at least 100 yards from any water source.
  • Carry an emergency supply of toilet paper. Whatever your feelings about TP, you’ll be happier if you have a stash when diarrhea strikes.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them after each squat to prevent sharing the problem.