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Health is a basic character statistic, representing the overall physical well-being and integrity. One's health is displayed both as a discrete bar in the Health Panel, or as a moodle on the right side of the screen. Reaching zero health leads to immediate and permanent death.

In-game Health Panel - minor injuries on Left Forearm

The Health Panel

The characters' health is displayed in the health window, which is accessible by clicking the heart icon on the upper left side of the screen or by pressing H. Once they sustain an injury or otherwise start losing health, the heart icon wiggles to alert the player of the condition. Depending on the source of damage and severity of effects, it can also be accompanied by bleeding or pain, the sound of taking damage, and the affected body part receiving an injury of some description.

The body of the player is separated into 17 different sections:

  • Left and right foot
  • Left and right shin
  • Left and right thigh
  • Left and right hand
  • Left and right forearm
  • Left and right upper arm
  • Groin
  • Lower torso
  • Upper torso
  • Neck
  • Head

Overall Body Status

Health Panel of a uninjured player

The player's overall health is displayed qualitatively as one of the following:

Status Description
OK No damage has been incurred.
Slight damage Between 90% and 100% health.
Very Minor damage Between 80% and 90% health.
Minor damage Between 70% and 80% health.
Moderate damage Between 60% and 70% health.
Severe damage Between 50% and 60% health.
Very Severe damage Between 40% and 50% health.
Critical damage Between 20% and 40% health.
Highly Critical damage Between 10% and 20% health.
Terminal damage Between zero and 10% health.
Deceased Zero health. - "High chance of becoming rat food."


By default, the player character can recover from most injuries, provided that they don't acquire any further damage or have any condition preventing recovery - for example, an unbandaged and bleeding wound. The speed of recovery is affected by Moodles. Being well-fed will speed up the recovery while being hungry, thirsty, or catching a cold can make this process slower. The logical conclusion is reaching extreme states like a full-blown fever, or starvation - the character will then further lose health until either death or the condition is cleared.

Sleeping greatly boosts health recovery rates, but injuries otherwise "cap" health - the more numerous or severe they are, the lower health will sink back down. For example, an upper torso fracture effectively keeps the character's maximum health to around 60%, making them much more vulnerable to further injury, even if they are not in any immediate danger.


Any wound that breaks the skin can cause bleeding, and will need to be bandaged with either a medical bandage, adhesive bandage or a ripped sheet, denim strip or leather strip. An untreated open wound can become infected. Applying a clean bandage to a wound lowers the chance of said wound becoming infected; disinfecting the wound and then applying a sterilized bandage or sterilized rag onto it further lowers the chance of infection, or helps clear it in the event that it's broken out.

Over time the bandage will become dirty, which will not only negate the previous bonuses against wound infection, but will actually increase the chance of wound infection if kept on. This requires the character to remove the bandage and replace it with a clean one. The type, severity of the wound, skill level of First Aid, or if it is bleeding will dictate the speed of a clean bandage becoming dirty.

While wounds to different body parts usually don't meaningfully differ with regards to health loss (an arm scratch versus a torso scratch decrease health by roughly the same amounts, disregarding the physical penalties the arm wound imposes), neck wounds are especially dangerous. They ignore the usual damage cap, and rapidly drain health if unbandaged. An unfortunate survivor can find themselves dying within minutes of a scratch on the neck, unless immediately bandaged.

Health window displaying a bandaged arm which then turns into a dirty bandage


In-game, there are two different types of infection.

  • A wound that displays Infected in the Health panel is roughly indicative of bacterial infection. In practical terms, it's a minor penalty for survivors who haven't tended to wounds properly, whether by neglecting to bandage in time, or forgetting to replace any dirty bandages with clean ones. A wound infection slightly increases the pain it causes, but doesn't penalize health, healing rate or physical ability any further.
  • The much more insidious threat is the Knox Infection, which is not represented directly by any means in-game. Attacks from zombies that break the skin have a varying chance to inflict the character with this eventually fatal condition. In normal game settings, zombie bites are a guaranteed vector of transmission, while zombie lacerations and scratches merely have a chance of infecting the character. Symptoms usually manifest within a day of the injury, represented by overheating, sickness, constant stress irrespective of other Traits, and increasingly rapid loss of health over time. The Knox Infection's final outcome is unavoidable death and subsequent reanimation as a Zombie within an average of three days since infection.

Types of injuries

Status Symptoms Cause Treatment
Bitten Moderate health loss, bleeding, and moderate pain. Has a chance of occurring when attacked by a zombie. Zombies have a much higher chance of delivering bites from behind their target. Immediate health loss is stopped with bandages, however, there is a 100% chance the character will become infected and eventually die from zombification, unless the option is turned off in sandbox. If bites are survivable, they have a lengthy recovery period.
Bleeding Health loss, varying depending on number of bleeding wounds. Can accompany Scratched, Lacerated, Bitten, Deep Wound, Lodged Bullet, and Lodged Glass Shard. Applying bandages to the affected area. If left untreated, the player will continue to bleed and either be unable to recover health past a point, or deteriorate until bleeding to death.
Burn Severe health loss and severe pain. Standing too close to fire. Treated with a clean bandage, then bandaged again - and regularly kept clean. The recovery time is lengthy.
Deep Wound Health loss, bleeding, and moderate pain. Has a chance of occurring when smashing windows with bare hands, climbing through a broken window, walking through broken glass without shoes, falling down a level, colliding with terrain/other vehicles while driving at moderate speeds (around 40-50 mph), and getting hit with an axe. Stitching it up with a suture needle or a needle with thread (a suture needle causes less pain). Alternatively, keeping it bandaged for ~1 month will allow the wound to heal.
Exercise Fatigue Pain. Reduced Melee Damage and Attack Speed (if on arms), reduced speed and increased clumsiness (if on legs). Happens after too much exercise. Waiting it out. Having a high regularity delays the appearance.
Fracture Severe health loss; reduced speed (if a leg injury), reduced combat abilities (if an arm injury), reduced endurance (if torso injury), increased fatigue (if head injury); severe pain. Falling from any floor higher than ground level (more likely if carrying a heavy load), collisions with terrain/other vehicles while driving at 'high' speeds (60mph+, but needs testing), and the impact of a blunt weapon. Creating a splint with a ripped sheet and a straight wooden item (a tree branch, sturdy stick, or plank). Fractures in certain places, like the head and torso, cannot be splinted. Comfrey poultices can aid with fracture recovery and stacks with applied splints. Having level 4 in first aid or higher helps in recovery (+250%), as well as being well fed (+30%)
Lodged Bullet Severe health loss, bleeding, and moderate pain. Getting shot with firearms. The bullet must first be removed with either tweezers or bare hands, then treated like with a Deep Wound: (ideally) disinfected using a bottle of disinfectant or alcohol, stitched using a suture needle or needle and thread, and then bandaged.
Lodged Glass Shard Severe health loss, bleeding, and moderate pain. High chance of occurring when breaking a window without having an item equipped, climbing through a broken window, picking up broken glass with bare hands or walking over broken glass without shoes. Much like bullets, the glass shard must be removed with tweezers or bare hands, then the Deep Wound must be treated: disinfect the wound, stitch it up, and bandage it.
Scratched Minor health loss, bleeding, and minor pain. Being scratched by a zombie, smashing a window, failing to cleanly vault over fences or low obstacles while running/sprinting, picking up broken glass, colliding with terrain/other vehicles while driving, or tripping. Immediate health loss is stopped with bandages. If the scratch was caused by a zombie, there is a 7% (in build 41 and later) chance it will lead to death through zombification.
Lacerated Moderate health loss, bleeding and moderate pain. Essentially a more severe form of Scratched. Causes are mostly the same; being lacerated by a zombie, colliding with terrain/other vehicles, tripping, etc. Immediate health loss is stopped with bandages - treatment is identical to scratches. If the laceration was caused by a zombie, there is a 25% chance it will lead to death through zombification.
Wound infection Very minor Health loss (when unbandaged) and minor pain. Any wounds previously sustained have a chance to become infected, whether they are open or bandaged wounds. Infection is less likely if the wound is first disinfected and then covered with a sterilized bandage. Non-zombie type injuries that are infected are 100% survivable. Disinfecting wounds with appropriate supplies (alcohol wipes, disinfectant, etc.), bandaging the wound with a sterilized bandage or sterilized rag, administering antibiotics, and/or applying garlic poultice onto the wound.

Severity (the hours it takes to heal) of injuries

Injury Severity Severity with Slow Healer Severity with Fast Healer
Scratch* 7 - 15 15 - 25 4 - 10
Window scratch* 12 - 20 20 - 30 5 - 10
Weapon scratch* 5 - 10 10 - 20 1 - 5
Laceration* 10 - 20 20 - 30 5 - 10
Bite 50 - 80 80 - 150 30 - 50
Deep Wound (with/without glass) 15 - 20 20 - 32 11 - 15
Lodged Bullet 17 - 23 22 - 28 12 - 18
Fracture (Days to heal) ? - 60 ? - 140 ? - 40
Burn** 50 - 100 50 - 100 50 - 100

*Scratches reduce speed more than lacerations do, but tend to have less severity. As such, lacerations will still slow the character down more most of the time due to their greater severity.
**Burns do not seem to be affected by Slow/Fast Healer traits.

Duration of food illness (in-game tick)

Normal Weak Stomach Iron Gut
200 - 280 120 - 230 80 - 150

Other injuries

Some injuries in the game have additional penalties based on where or how they occurred. Such as injuries to the legs causing the character to limp -- moving slower than usual.

Status Description
Back injury When carrying an Very Heavy Load or Extremely Heavy Load, the character's movement speed will be lowered and Health will slowly drain to 75%, and stop at that point until they carry less, leaving them more vulnerable from another source of injuries. Health will not reduce from heavy loads if they are sitting down (whether on the ground, or in a vehicle). This type of injury is not otherwise distinguished in the Health panel, and has no treatment beyond dropping or transfering items to decrease encumbrance.
Fall damage Caused by falling from heights above one floor. Damage scales with distance fallen, encumbrance and any traits such as underweight. Jumping from a second-story window can cause severe damage, infected deep wounds, and possible fractures, while jumping from higher floors can result in death.
Sickness Caused by catching the Knox Infection, eating bad food, or drinking tainted water. Non-zombie sickness will initially slow down healing. If the sickness reaches the fever stage, the character will start losing health and may ultimately die. Wound infections can be treated with antibiotics, but colds and the Knox Infection cannot.
Lower limbs injury Can be caused by a crawling zombie attack, a severe car accident, falling from a building, walking on glass, climbing a window without removing the shards and from a lodged bullet. Getting damaged to the legs or feet will cause the character to limp, therefore reducing their speed and making them unable to run and sprint, making them more vulnerable from zombies, forcing them to fight instead of fleeing if they're too slow. Bandaging these wounds will slightly improve the limping speed, however, healing those parts of the body will cause a character to stop moving to heal.
Arm injuries Can be caused by zombie attacks, climbing through a window without removing the glass, severe car accident, and lodged bullets. Getting damaged in the arms will cause the character to deal severely reduced damage to zombies. This damage penalty affects both melee and guns, making the character almost useless in combat until the injury heals. Players can still use cars to run over zombies.

See also