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Starfield: Afflictions And Environmental Damage Explained

Afflictions, hazards, status effects: Here’s how to stay safe out there in the void

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A doctor looks at the player in Starfield.
Screenshot: Bethesda Game Studios / Kotaku

Space can be a rough place for soft-bodied adventurers. Ya got limbs to worry about, not to mention afflictions like hypothermia from being out in the cold too much. But Starfield isn’t the best at letting you know how these things work, forcing an adventurer such as yourself to go digging through menus or start Googling for answers (which is likely how you got here). So, let’s get into how these afflictions and environmental hazards work, how to cure ‘em, and how to avoid ‘em.

Afflictions: Injuries and Infections

Broadly speaking, Afflictions in Starfield fall into one of two categories: Injuries and Infections. The former you’ll sustain from physical trauma, while the latter comes from specific creature attacks and other unique hazards.


Prognosis and self-recovery

Every Affliction has a Prognosis, which is a series of ranks that indicate how likely you are to recover from an Affliction on your own. Prognosis is ranked in the following ways, and increases over time:

  • Poor (Lowest, no chance to recover)
  • Stable
  • Good
  • Excellent

As your Prognosis moves toward excellent, the chance you’ll recover naturally from an Affliction increases.


Using items to heal Afflictions

There are 18 Afflictions in Starfield, which can be broadly broken down into five categories. Each category has its own corresponding triangular icon, which you can see in your radar and in your Status Effects in the character menu, indicating how to treat your current ailment:

A screenshot of an Aid item in Starfield shows what afflictions it heals.
Screenshot: Bethesda Game Studios / Kotaku
  • Purple with a pill (Infections); cure with Antibiotics or Penicillin X
  • Red with a bandage (Contusions, Lacerations, Puncture Wounds); cure with Bandages or Zipper Bandages
  • Yellow with dotted lines (Brain Injuries, Concussions, Heatstrokes, Hernias, Hypothermia, Lung Damage, Poisoning, Radiation Poisoning); cure with Injector or Snake Oil
  • Orange with droplets (Burns, Frostbite); cure with Heal Gel or Heal Paste
  • Blue with a broken bone (Dislocated and Fractured Limbs, Fractured Skull, Sprain, Torn Muscle, Broken Bone); cure with Immobilizer

Using a Panacea cures all current Afflictions.

As you scroll through the aid items in your inventory, take note of the matching symbol. Using that item will heal Afflictions of the corresponding type. You can also visit a doctor in town at a Reliant Medical location to heal for varying costs.


Environmental Damage

Starfield planets feature four different types of environmental hazards, which can cause Afflictions if you’re exposed to them for too long without adequate protection. You can see the following hazards and their corresponding icons on your radar:

  • Thermal (Orange droplet)
  • Corrosive (Yellow lines)
  • Airborne (Blue half-circle)
  • Radiation (Red radiation sign)
A screenshot of a planet in Starfield shows an extreme cold warning.
Screenshot: Bethesda Game Studios / Kotaku

Checking a spacesuit in the inventory will reveal its defense rating against these environmental hazards. When taking damage from the environment, you’ll hear a beeping sound (this can be subtle, so pay attention to the sounds around you as you explore extreme environments). The beeping speeds up as you get closer to sustaining damage and gaining an Affliction.

Though there are a lot of different damage types and status effects in Starfield, understanding the icons and the larger categories is key to keeping yourself healthy and active out there in the void.


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