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"Hold on, I'm gonna patch you up!"
"I need to find some Health!"

Zoey's health bar at 100 health.

Health is the hit point total that governs the survivability of the Survivors in Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. All Survivors begin with a total of 100 health at the start of every campaign. Health points remaining at the end of one Chapter are carried over to the start of the next chapter. In Versus, the Survivors will always begin a chapter at full health.

Health points are progressively lost as a player receives damage or, in the case of health obtained by Pain Pills or Adrenaline, as time goes by.

When a Survivor's total health is 39 or less, the character begins limping and their walking movement speed decreases from 220 Hammer Units (4.19 m/s or 13.75 ft/s) to 150 Hammer Units (2.86 m/s or 9.38 ft/s) per second. An incapacitated player who has been revived but not healed by a First Aid Kit will decrease to zero in the space of 37 seconds after reaching 1 point of health and suffer a further walking movement speed degradation to 85 Hammer Units (1.62 m/s or 5.31 ft/s) per second.

Crouching movement speed is unaffected by any of the above health damage constraints, always at a fixed 75 Hammer Units (1.43 m/s or 4.69 ft/s) per second.

A survivor's speed will always rise up to 260 Hammer Units per second whilst under the effects of Adrenaline, regardless of their health before taking the shot.

However, the mechanics are slightly different when the Survivors are introduced to water, this can commonly be seen in the Hard Rain campaign. When a Survivor is in water that is up to their knees their speed changes from 220 Hammer Units to 115 Hammer Units per second, this is similar when a character's health is 39 or less, changing their speed of 150 Hammer units to 115 Hammer Units per second. At 1 health point with movement speed of 85 Hammer Units per second will remain unchanged.

Furthermore, when the Survivors are in water that is deemed as swimmable (usually up to their waist), their speed differenciates based on certain factors. Movement speed changes from 220 Hammer Units to 92 Hammer Units per second, and is similar when the Survivor's health is below 39 health points and their speed changes from 150 Hammer Units to 92 Hammer Units per second. When the Survivor is at 1 health point their movement speed changes from 85 Hammer Units to 68 Hammer Units per second. Movement speed whilst crouching is changed from 75 Hammer Units to 60 Hammer Units per second. Finally, whilst under the effects of Adrenaline their speed changes to 208 Hammer Units per second. The Survivor's forward velocity does, of course, change if they move their camera to an angle looking up or down, since they are in water that they can swim in.

In Versus mode, the movement speed of the Special Infected do not change, regardless of their current health. Any Special Infected being controlled by the AI in Versus mode will not display their health or other information on the HUD.


"I'm down!!"
The Survivors

Once a Survivor's health has depleted to 0, that character is incapacitated and falls to the ground with 300 temporary health (rarely, it goes above 300) and require help from a teammate, or else the Survivor will eventually bleed out and die.

Incapacitated Survivors only have access to their secondary weapon for defense. If an incapacitated player was using a melee weapon at the time of going down, it will be changed into a P220 Pistol. An incapacitated player's pistol will have degraded accuracy, rate of fire, and reloading speed (excluding the Magnum Pistol where it retains its accuracy and rate of fire). No melee shove can be performed by an incapacitated survivor.

Friendly fire mechanics whilst incapacitated differs between Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. It is left active in the former and teammates will suffer health loss from an incapacitated player's careless shooting. However, it is disabled in the later game so incapacitated players can shoot freely without regard to their teammates' health.

Incapacitated players take reduced damage from Witch attacks and Spitter goo; whilst a Tank (aside from Versus), a pouncing Hunter and the Common Infected will inflict increased damage. An incapacitated team member being pounced by a Hunter is thus a priority rescue task. However, Tanks can still pose a major threat to incapacitated players if they have access to movable props such as cars or dumpsters. If a Tank knocks such an object into an incapacitated Survivor, the attack will inflict massive damage and possibly block other survivors from helping.

Smokers, Chargers, and Jockeys cannot use their special attacks on an incapacitated Survivor; Smokers, Chargers, and Hunters won't release an incapacitated Survivor until killed, shoved (except Chargers who cannot be shoved), stumbled (by explosion), or the Survivor is dead. Meanwhile, the Hunter can also pounce on an incapacitated Survivor while a Spitter can spew acid on incapacitated Survivors, making them a huge threat.

Boomers are a serious problem as the incapacitated player may be covered in Boomer bile and surrounded by Common Infected, thus making it exceedingly difficult for teammates to make a timely rescue and resuscitation.

Incapacitation can occur when a player falls and hangs from a ledge. The reduced damage effects referred to above come into play, but hanging players cannot defend themselves in any way. Health damage from hanging from a ledge is only temporary and the player recovers to normal status on being pulled back up by a teammate (refer to the following section for advice on how this effect can be used to a player's advantage during gameplay).

Valve had planned to add an ability that allowed incapacitated players to crawl slowly (in fact, there is an unused animation regarding this). However, this was cut. Nevertheless, it's used in some modded servers.

When a Survivor is incapacitated and revived the first time, they'll be left with 30 temporary health points. This is usually a good time to take some Pills or an Adrenaline Shot to keep your health up. If a Survivor goes down again and is revived for the second time, their vision will turn black and white (more on this below).

Final Incapacitation Edit

"Don't worry, I can help you. But we need to find you some First Aid, man. If you go down like this again, that's it for you."
"Man, you look like one of those dudes in the driving school film... this may be it for you."

When a Survivor has been incapacitated twice without being healed, the affected player's vision will turn black and white/grayscale with a notable audio heartbeat; item glows will be red and more intense; and depending on the player's graphical settings, the edges of their screen will become blurred, as if they were developing tunnel vision (Ellis may say that he's hurt so bad he can't see right). This is likely caused by hypovolemia, the rapid loss of blood. Other alternatives might be extreme agitation, either due to pain, or anger and/or extreme fear and distress due to the fight or flight response, which warps the character's perception even if not their actual visual acuity.

This signals a dire health situation requiring urgent healing. Unless the player is healed with a First Aid kit, they will die once their health depletes a third time. If this were to happen, at that point, the only way to return the dead Survivor to the game is to use a Defibrillator, reach the Safe Room, or free them from a Rescue Closet (except in Realism, in which Rescue Closets are disabled).

After being revived the second time, the Survivor will be left with only temporary health, which bleeeds out gradually. This temporary health will deplete over time until the Survivor is left with only 1 unit. At this point, on any level of difficulty, a single hit from any Infected will kill that Survivor immediately.

Bots will not notice if a Survivor is black and white. If their health is below the healing point, they will heal themselves first. The only thing to do is to either kill the Bot or, if they haven't grabbed the First Aid kit yet, shoot them a few times, run to the kit, and heal yourself ASAP.

If three Survivors are incapacitated and one is still standing, it's important to protect the non-incapped player at all costs as they are the only one left who can revive others. If the only standing Survivor is an AI Bot, it will go for the closest Survivor and not the one with the least health or in great danger in some situations. Even if you feel frustrated that the Bot isn't helping you, do not try to slow it down. Letting it help another Survivor will speed up the process of saving another player, which will still increase the odds of avoiding a team wipe.

When bleeding out to extremely low health, especially having only 1 unit of health remaining, a method to increase odds of survival is to deliberately utilize the ledge hang while in black-and-white mode if a Horde is on its way. A Survivor hanging from a ledge is unlikely to be killed by the Horde, as the player will be switched to the incapacitation temporary health of 300 health units, which will take the damage. Ledge-hanging can be used even in black-and-white mode without killing the player, as long as they are not the only Survivor still alive. Due to this, after the Horde has subsided, chances are, the rescued player will be left with 1 unit of health, but this is still favorable compared to being hit and killed by the Horde.

Note that Survivor Bots will pull the hanging Survivor back up, thus exposing the remnants of their temporary health to the Horde, so it is best to do this when there are human players only and/or the Bots are all dead. With human players, notify them not to try and help you during the Horde to make this easier, though remember that you are not invulnerable, and so if your teammates fail to do a satisfactory job of protecting you while you hang, you will find yourself plummeting rather than climbing back up.

Note that your team will have one gun less to fight the Infected, which on Expert (or even Advanced), can be fatal to them. Only use the ledge hang method if the team is well coordinated on high difficulties. Doing this on Normal or Easy with a less coordinated team will be less of a problem, due to the Infected's relatively low attack damage.


"This is going to hell in a hand basket real fast!!!"
"Stay close, we're a party of two now."

Upon death, the deceased Survivor will drop all of their weapons and items and turn into a ragdoll. In Left 4 Dead 2, however, the Survivor dies lying on their back with their arms spread apart. Dying does not mean that the player has been eliminated from the game; they can simply wait one minute until transferred to the nearest available rescue closet, and then have another Survivor rescue them.

In Left 4 Dead 2, Survivors can also be revived by using a Defibrillator rather than a closet. When death occurs in Left 4 Dead 2, the Survivor will drop all items except their secondary weapon, whether it be Pistols or a melee weapon. This was most likely done so that if a player is revived through a Defibrillator, they will have something to defend themselves with as they get up and will still be able to fight in case their main weapon was taken.

In Versus and Realism mode, the Defibrillator is the only option for Survivors to return during a level, as they cannot come back to life inside rescue closets; otherwise, they will have to wait until the Survivors are defeated, finished the chapter, or have restarted the round. In one of the Mutations, Death's Door, death will occur as soon as a Survivor's health reaches zero since incapacitations are disabled. However, you can still hang on a ledge and have temporary health until you are pulled back up.

If all Survivors perish during the course of the game in Campaign, Realism, or if the player dies in Single Player, then the level they were on will reload with everyone back at the last safe room, with their health, weapons, and items restored to what they had when they first entered that particular safe room during the current game. In Versus, Realism Versus, and Scavenge, control of the Survivors and Infected is switched between the two teams. In Survival, the Survivors simply start a new game with everyone alive and at full health with First Aid Kits and Pain Pills.

However, there are several other ways to lose the game related to death:

  • Being fully overcome by the Infected, leaving the group unable to play. However, if one (or more) Survivors are incapacitated and the last is dominated by a Smoker, Hunter, Jockey, or Charger, the incapacitated Survivors can still save the other Survivor with their Pistols/Magnums and won't count as a loss, if the last Survivor is saved before incapacitation.
    • When a Jockey incapacitates a Survivor, he will leap off, allowing the Survivor to use their sidearm to help teammates (if within range). This often happens when the Jockey rides on a Survivor with low health, incapacitating the Survivor faster and not be ridden away.
    • The game is only over when every Survivor is either dead or incapacitated. There are still things that can kill the Special Infected or force them to release the Survivor in this situation, such as an explosion (an exploding Boomer, an item that is already been shot or on fire, a thrown Pipe bomb, or a grenade that is already in the air), a "friendly" attack from a Tank, or fire that is already burning on the Special Infected.
  • Hanging from a ledge counts as incapacitation. So if three Survivors are hanging from a ledge and the fourth Survivor's health reaches zero, incapacitating them, the game will end.

(Note that all 4 players can't be incapacitated by hanging from a ledge because the last Survivor will not grab the ledge and will instead simply fall to their demise)

  • Dying in Single Player mode, leaving the Survivor Bots to play alone.
  • Dying in Campaign, Realism, Versus, Realism Versus, Scavenge, and Survival with all the other Survivor human-controlled players, leaving only Survivor Bots alive.
    • However, this will not be the case if sb_all_bot_team is set to 1. If there are no human players alive, the Survivor Bots will run through the map on their own. If they find a human player in a closet, or reach a safe room, the game will continue as normal with the human player leading the Survivor Bots again. Note that Bots struggle to trigger Crescendo Events and effectively run through a Rolling Crescendo on their own.

Healing Edit

"Stop moving... I don't want to mess this up."
"Cover my ass! I'm healing!"
Main article: Healing items

Health can be restored in various ways:

  • Using a First-Aid Kit removes all temporary health, and then restores 80% of the player's current missing health as permanent health.
    • In other words, if you have$ x $ permanent health, using a first-aid kit grants you$ 0.8(100-x) $ additional health.
    • No matter how much your health is, when you heal, your health will always be either at 80 or above.
    • This can technically reduce your health total if you have enough temporary health. For example, if you have 50 permanent health and 50 temporary health, your total would be 100. If you then use a first-aid kit, then all of your temporary health is removed, and 40 of the 50 remaining points are healed, leaving you with a total of 90 permanent health, less than the original 100.
  • Using Pain pills grants 50 temporary health, which will slowly decrease to normal health as time passes.
  • Using an Adrenaline Shot grants 25 temporary health. The Adrenaline also makes you immune to melee fatigue and the horde's slowing melee attacks and allows the player to perform actions faster for a short time.
  • All forms of temporary health reduce at one point per 5 seconds.
  • When you take damage, your permanent health drains before your temporary health.
  • The Defibrillator can be used to bring a dead Survivor back to life. The Defibrillator will take the space of the first-aid kit. It is a good idea for a Survivor with the least health to carry it because:
    • They have no health pack to drop.
    • If they die, another Survivor can pick it up and use it on them.
  • The Defibrillator looks like a lightning bolt when you are carrying it. When you are revived with the Defibrillator, you will be given 50 permanent health points, similar to how you'd be given 50 permanent health points after being taken out of a rescue closet.
  • Being revived from incapacitation grants the Survivor 1 permanent health and 29 temporary health (giving a total of 30). Incapacitating a teammate in order to do this is not recommended as a form of healing, of course.
  • Being rescued from a rescue closet grants the Survivor 50 permanent health and Tier 1 Weapons. The type of weapon depends on what the Survivor was carrying when they were killed. For instance, if the Survivor had an Assault Rifle, that Survivor will get a Submachine Gun when they are rescued. This will not occur if the Survivors are overwhelmed and restart the chapter.
  • In the Mutation, Bleed Out, players only have temporary health. However, Pain Pills and Adrenaline Shot can bring them back from Black/White Mode, but however, the heartbeat sound stays. (In most modes, you need a First-aid kit.)
  • The Mutation, Healing Gnome, has a gnome that players must escort from level to level and it recovers a Survivor's health while being held by restoring 1 health point per half second. This is the only way in the entire game that a Survivor can recover health that does not involve the use of healing items and is also the only way a Survivor can regenerate health over time, whereas it cannot be done anywhere else.


Left 4 Dead

L4d stand tall STAND TALL (20G)
Survive a campaign without being incapacitated.

L4d unbreakable UNBREAKABLE (30G)
Finish a campaign without being healed by a first aid kit.

L4d field medic FIELD MEDIC (20G)
Heal 25 Survivors with a first aid kit.

L4d dead giveaway DEAD GIVEAWAY (10G)
Heal a fellow Survivor when your own health is below 10.

L4d helping hand HELPING HAND (20G)
Revive 50 incapacitated Survivors.

L4d back 2 help BACK 2 HELP (20G)
Leave a safe room to save an incapacitated teammate and bring them back safely.

L4d pharm assist PHARM-ASSIST (20G)
Give pain pills to 10 Survivors.

Left 4 Dead 2

The quick and the dead THE QUICK AND THE DEAD (30G)
Revive 10 incapacitated Survivors while under the speed-boosting effects of adrenaline.

Shock jock SHOCK JOCK (30G)
Revive 10 dead Survivors with the defibrillator.

Heart warmer HEARTWARMER (20G)
In a Versus round, leave the safe room to defibrillate a dead teammate.


  • Note that you cannot have 100 permanent health again if you have sustained any injury at any point in the game (if you have sufficient first-aid kits, the highest that can be reached is 99). Temporary health can reach 100 but will slowly diminish over time. This is due to a console variable, specifically, first_aid_heal_percent, its default value of 0.8 means that 80 percent of any amount health lost so far will be restored upon use. Due to the fact that the game cannot account for floating point numbers (numbers with fractional parts) in the context of health, 99 is the maximum attainable once damage has been taken, barring the use of mods or cheats. Setting this value to 1 allows first-aid kits to restore a Survivor to completely full health.
  • If reviving a Survivor that is chest level with you, you will do the healing animation.
  • If you heal yourself while you close the safe room door you instantly heal yourself.
  • In Left 4 Dead, upon a Survivor's death, ragdoll physics take effect. In Left 4 Dead 2, the Survivors will perform a dying animation and become a set pose when dead. This was done in order for the Defibrillator to work correctly. As such, the Defibrillator is completely useless on games with mods installed that allow Survivor ragdolls.
    • However in Left 4 Dead 2, if a Survivor hanging from a ledge has their health decay to 0, they will let go and fall. (If an external damage source dealt the last hit, they'll die instantly and do the normal death pose.) Upon death while in this state, ragdoll physics take effect like with Left 4 Dead. It is unknown if this was intentional or not, as the Survivor may fall to somewhere accessible and still become a ragdoll. 
    • As a result of quirks in the Source engine's handling of player physics, if a Survivor dies in an elevator, the body will be "levitating" should the elevator be used. If someone manages to revive the deceased Survivor, the revived Survivor may appear outside of the elevator.
  • In Single Player mode, take out a First-Aid Kit, Pain Pills, Defibrillator, or an Adrenaline Shot to prevent Survivor Bots from healing you or to cancel the healing process.
  • It is possible for the game to crash if someone tries to heal you while you are performing an action, like reviving a teammate.
  • If a Survivor is the last one alive and they fall off a ledge, they will not attempt to hang on the ledge but instead, fall straight down since there are no other Survivors to help them.
  • The player is able to return to 100% health if they and the Survivor Bots go into the deep water in the Boathouse Finale on Death Toll. This is obviously dependent on if the Survivor Bots are holding First-aid kits. If the player crouches in the deep water, the AI Survivors will attempt to heal the player since the player's health will reduce due to drowning in the water. Once the AI Survivor start healing, the player stands up while in the water and when complete, they will be on 100% health again.
  • Using cheat command "give health" will grant you 100 permanent health back without removing existing temporary health, thus making it possible to reach up to 199 health.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, it is possible to heal yourself and revive a teammate at the same time.
  • In the mutation "Healing Gnome," holding Gnome Chompski is the only way to heal, with no permanent or temporary health since no Health Packs, Pain Pills, or Adrenaline spawn in the campaign. Getting rescued from a rescue closet starts you with 50 temporary health.
  • If a Survivor that has 1 health after being incapacitated hangs near an edge and gets helped by a teammate, they will be healed back to 30 temporary health.
Healing Items
Left 4 Dead Left 4 Dead 2

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