Video: Parasitic Worms, Pt. 1

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Video: Parasitic Worms, Pt. 1

VIDEO: PARASITIC WORMS, PART 1

It’s important to realize that infections not commonly seen today may become major issues if a disaster throws you off the grid. Knowing which disease-causing organisms exist in your area, even if they are not common problems today, will be important to keep your loved ones healthy.

The word “parasite” comes from the Greek word Parastos, meaning “someone that eats at someone else’s table”. When we think of parasites, none give us the creeps more than the thought of having worms.

In this video, Joe Alton MD discusses some of the basics of parasitic worm infections, including what to expect in terms of symptoms, and much more. Part 1 of a 2 part series.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of  health in good times or bad,

Joe Alton MD

Fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kit and medical supplies at store.doomandbloom.net. Our products are all eligible to be covered under health and flexible savings accounts.

Get your family medically prepared.  You’ll be glad you did!

Survival Medicine Hour: Backcountry Safety, Doxycycline, Lyme Disease

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Survival Medicine Hour: Backcountry Safety, Doxycycline, Lyme Disease

SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR PODCAST

School’s out and a great way to teach your family survival basics is by taking them camping. The skills needed for successful camping are akin to those required for the activities of daily survival. Once learned, these lessons last a lifetime. There’s no greater gift that you can give young people than the ability to be self-reliant.

Camping trips create bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.  A poorly planned campout, however, can become memorable in a way you don’t want, especially if someone gets injured. Luckily, a few preparations and an evaluation of your party’s limitations will help you enjoy a terrific outing with the people you care about, and maybe impart some skills that would serve them well in dark times.

Plus, identifying a common summer infection, Lyme disease, that can have long-term effects. Treatment, prevention, and more, plus a discussion of a popular broad-spectrum antibiotic that treats Lyme and many other diseases, Doxycycline. Learn indications, side effects, dosing, and much more.

Plus, a discussion of an exaggerated form of a common pregnancy complaint: nausea and vomiting. When it’s excessive, it’s called hyperemesis and can cause dehydration, weight loss, and in austere settings, can become life-threatening.

All this and much more on the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/06/08/survival-medicine-hour-backcountry-safety-doxycycline-lyme

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

Learn more about all of the above and 150 other medical topics with a copy of the award-winning Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook, available at Amazon or at https://store.doomandbloom.net!

Sulfonamides (Sulfa Drugs) in Survival

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Sulfonamides (Sulfa Drugs) in Survival

SULFONAMIDES IN SURVIVAL SETTINGS 

The availability of antibiotics to the family medic in survival and other austere settings may prevent the unnecessary deaths of loved ones due to infection. When help is not on the way, the average citizen will find these drugs to be important tools in the medical woodshed.

You might think that Penicillin family drugs were the first to be used by the general public, but another popular family of antibiotics called sulfonamides, or sulfa drugs, were actually on the market even earlier. Indeed, it has been called “the first miracle drug”. Sulfonamides deserve credit for saving tens of thousands of lives during World War Two. It was so widely used that many soldiers’ first aid kits came with the drug in pill or powder form. Medics were told to pour it into any open wound.

Sulfonamides were first identified to have antibacterial action by a German scientist named Gerhard Domagk, who evaluated certain dyes for possible medical uses. He found a red dye produced by Bayer (yes, that Bayer) that apparently eliminated bacterial infections in mice. This became “Prontosil”, credited as the first broad-spectrum antibiotic. Interestingly, it didn’t show a lot of antibacterial action in test tubes; Prontosil’s effect was much more noticeable on a live subject.

Another interesting tidbit about Sulfa drugs is that the active ingredient had been used by the dye industry for decades, so no patent could be obtained. Bayer had to share the ingredient with anyone who wanted to use it, eliminating the potential for big profits. This led to many different variations, some of which were “snake oil” that contained toxic ingredients. One such elixir killed a hundred people in 1937, leading to the enactment of the first serious oversight of pharmaceuticals, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938.

HOW SULFA DRUGS BATTLE INFECTION

Sulfonamides act to inhibit an enzyme involved in folate synthesis, an important aspect of bacterial DNA production. This family of drugs is bacteriostatic; that is, they don’t directly kill the bacteria, but inhibit growth and multiplication. If bacteria are unable to multiply, they can’t sustain the population needed to damage the body.

A commonly used sulfonamide is the combination drug sulfamethoxazole 400 or 800mg and trimethoprim 80 or 160 mg, known by the brand names Bactrim or Septra in the U.S. In Great Britain, it is called Co-Trimoxazole (Cotrim). A veterinary equivalent is known as Fish-Sulfa or Bird-Sulfa.

ASIDE: Different antibiotics (or other drugs) may be combined into one product. Usually, this is done because the two work together to have a stronger effect against an infection or other condition than they would if used alone. This is called “synergism”.

INDICATIONS

Broad-spectrum Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim is effective in the treatment of many infections, including:

· Some upper and lower respiratory infections (chronic bronchitis and pneumonia)
· Kidney and bladder infections
· Ear infections in children
· Cholera
· Intestinal infections caused by E. coli and Shigella bacteria (a cause of dysentery)
· Skin and wound infections, including MRSA
· Traveler’s diarrhea
· Acne

Of course, as an antibiotic, no sulfonamide has any effect on viruses or viral illnesses.

DOSING

The usual dosage in adults is sulfamethoxazole 800-mg/Trimethoprim 160mg twice a day for most of the above conditions for 10 days (5 days for traveler’s diarrhea).

The recommended dose for pediatric patients with urinary tract infections or acute otitis media (ear infection) is 40 mg/ kg sulfamethoxazole and 8mg/kg trimethoprim per 24 hours, given in two divided doses every 12 hours, for 10 days. 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds. This medication should not be used in infants 2 months old or younger.

In rat studies, the use of this drug was seen to cause birth defects; therefore, it is not used during pregnancy.
Another sulfa drug, Sulfadiazine, is combined with Silver to make Silvadene, a cream useful for aiding the healing process in skin wounds and burns. Cover completely twice a day.

Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim and other Sulfonamides are well known to cause allergic reactions in some individuals. These reactions to sulfa drugs are almost as common as Penicillin allergies, and usually manifest as rashes, hives, and/or nausea and vomiting. Worse reactions, however, can cause blood disorders as well as severe skin, liver, and pancreatic damage. Those with conditions relating to these organs should avoid the drug.

Although an allergy to Sulfa drugs may be common, it is not the same allergy as to Penicillin. Those allergic to Penicillin can take Sulfa drugs, although it’s possible to be allergic to both.

Sulfonamides and other antibiotics aren’t candy, and they must be used wisely and only when absolutely necessary. In normal times, seek out qualified medical professionals before you consider their use.

Joe Alton MD

Learn more about Sulfa Drugs and other survival antibiotics in the Book Excellence Award winner in Medicine, The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for when Medical Help is Not on the Way, available on Amazon or this website.

What Are Pathogens?

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What Are Pathogens?

PATHOGENS (DISEASE-CAUSING ORGANISMS)

An infection is defined as the invasion of the body by microscopic organisms. A pathogen is any agent that can cause a disease, but the term is usually used to describe a microbe. Microscopic germs cause injury to tissues in a number of ways, often by producing toxic substances that damage the cells.

Before we give every micro-organism a bad name, it’s important to know that they are not all pathogenic. In fact, some are beneficial or even necessary for human life, such as many intestinal bacteria.

Pathogens are often carried by “vectors”, from the Latin word vectus, “one who carries”. These are humans, animals, or microbes that carry and transmit a pathogen to others. A vector does not have to be ill to carry a disease: A mosquito, for example, carries the organism that causes malaria in humans but doesn’t experience the disease.

Another example of a disease vector was a domestic servant known as “Typhoid Mary”. She carried Typhoid fever to many people at homes where she worked without feeling sick herself. The elimination of a vector from the environment (terminating Mary’s employment, for example) usually ends the outbreak of disease.

BACTERIA

There are a number of different pathogens that cause infectious disease. Perhaps the one we hear most about is bacteria.  By the way, the word bacteria is the plural form. A single one is called a bacterium.

Bacteria were among the first life forms on Earth and are present everywhere from the soil to the bottom of the ocean to the inside of your body. They may even exist on Mars. If you took the entire population of bacteria on the planet, they would probably have a mass about equal to the entire plant and animal population combined. 

Bacteria have a number of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods to spirals. When bacteria reach a certain size, they reproduce by splitting in two, a process called binary fission.

Many bacteria are good guys. Some, however, are pathogens and cause infectious diseases, including cholera, syphilis, anthrax, leprosy, and bubonic plague. The most common fatal bacterial diseases affect the lungs, with tuberculosis alone killing about 2 million people a year, mostly in underdeveloped countries.

There are many different types of bacteria. Most bacteria don’t need to enter the host’s cells to reproduce, they do just fine in, for example, your blood. A subgroup of bacteria called Rickettsia, however, does depend on entry, growth, and reproduction within a host cell.

Rickettsiae are the cause of typhus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a number of other infectious diseases. Rickettsia do not, however, cause rickets, a deformity of long bones in young children which is a result of vitamin D deficiency.

Although many bacteria have become resistant, they can usually be killed with antibiotics. Different bacteria are sensitive to different antibiotics.

VIRUSES 

Viruses are microscopic pathogens that, unlike most bacteria, can reproduce only inside the living cells of other organisms. Viral particles without a host are known as “virions”, and only act as a living organism when they enter a host cell. Indeed, they stretch the definition of life itself. Viruses can infect all types of hosts, from animals and plants all the way down to bacteria.

Examples of common human diseases caused by viruses include the common cold, influenza, chickenpox, rabies, hepatitis, herpes, Ebola, and Zika.

Viruses can be spread by:

•            Mosquitoes and other vectors

•            Airborne droplets in coughs or sneezes

•            Contact with blood or other bodily fluids

•            Ingestion of contaminated food or water

A normal immune system can often kill the infecting virus. However, some viruses evade these immune responses and result in chronic infections, such as HIV or Hepatitis C. There are antiviral drugs, but it’s important to know that antibiotics have no effect.

PROTOZOA

Protozoa are one-celled microbes, a step up on the scale as they exhibit animal-like behavior, such as the ability to move. Many have a tail-like appendage called a flagella that they whip around for locomotion. They are restricted to moist or aquatic environments. Therefore, transmission is mostly by drinking contaminated water, although some are transmitted by animal vectors.

Protozoa cause infectious diseases in humans such as malaria, giardia, some dysenteries, sleeping sickness, and amoebiasis. A common vaginal infection is caused by a protozoan called trichomonas.

Protozoa are usually susceptible to treatment with certain antibiotics, such as metronidazole (also known as Fish-Zole in its veterinary equivalent).

FUNGI

A fungus (plural form: fungi) is a microorganism family that consists of such yeasts and molds. Fungal infections most commonly affect skin and mucous membranes like the oral cavity and vagina, but can invade other areas. Fungus affecting the toes is known as tinea pedis, or “athlete’s foot”. “Ringworm” is another type of fungal infection. Severe internal fungal infections can occur in individuals with weakened immune systems. Anti-fungal medications exist in topical or oral form, like miconazole or clotrimazole.

These are just some of the hazards that you’ll face if you take responsibility for the medical well-being of others in times of trouble. Learn about them, get some training and skills, and you’ll keep it together, even if everything else falls apart.

Joe Alton MD

Survival Medicine Hour: School Safety Solutions, Fungal Infections, More

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Survival Medicine Hour: School Safety Solutions, Fungal Infections, More

SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR PODCAST #390

SCHOOL SAFETY SOLUTIONS

Recently, Joe Alton MD wrote about school safety solutions in the wake of mass killings perpetrated by the disgruntled and deranged. Some of these strategies aren’t expensive, and those that are should make you ask: How much is it worth to save the lives of our young people by aborting these murderers? Find out what simple changes would lead to a much safer environment for our young people in these uncertain times.

ATHLETE’S FOOT

 

Plus, Joe and Amy Alton tackle a questions from a listener in Germany that asks about how to deal with fungal infections in situations where modern pharmaceuticals aren’t available. All this and more on the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy!

To listen, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/06/01/survival-medicine-hour-school-safety-solutions-fungal-infections-more

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

Follow them on twitter @preppershow, Facebook at Doom and Bloom(tm) and YouTube at DrBones NurseAmy Channel, and check out their medical kits, books, and other supplies at store.doomandbloom.net!

Some Alton medical kits

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Stroke, Ebola 2018, Med Storage, More

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Survival Medicine Hour: Stroke, Ebola 2018, Med Storage, More

SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR PODCAST

Ebola outbreak in Congo

Ebola outbreak in Congo

In 2014, Joe Alton MD began reporting on an outbreak of a little-known disease called Ebola in West Africa. At the time, there were less than 100 cases, but eventually became a major epidemic with 28000 cases and 11000 deaths. Now Ebola has broken out in urban areas in Congo, where it was first identified. With cities of 1 and 11 million in the area, could it become a major epidemic? Find out the latest in developments in Ebola research since the West Africa epidemic in 2014, and is the new vaccine panning out to be protective?

Also, Joe and Amy Alton, ARNP discuss a major challenge in austere settings: stroke, aka cerebro-vascular accident (CVA). Find out how to quickly identify a stroke in progress and what to do to increase the chances of full recovery for the victim.

Plus, a listener asks about the reliability of the medications he has in his vehicle’s medical kit, which spends a lot of time in the hot Texas summer sun. What are the effects on medications and what should be done?

All this and more in the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/05/25/survival-medicine-hour-stroke-ebola-2018-med-storage

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

Follow us on twitter @preppershow

Follow us on Facebook at Doom and Bloom(tm)

Folllow us on YouTube at DrBones NurseAmy Channel

E. Coli Contamination

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E. Coli Contamination

E. COLI CONTAMINATION

Romaine Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that food poisoning from romaine lettuce harboring the bacteria E. Coli spread recently to 29 states and sent at least 150 people to the hospital. The areas involved include all parts of the country from Florida to North Dakota to California, and new cases are making it the worst E. Coli outbreak nationally since 5 people died and 200 were hospitalized in 2006.

Although E. Coli is a common inhabitant of the intestinal tract, some strains, especially O157:H7,  produce a toxin known as “Shiga” that causes bloody diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, dehydration, and other symptoms. Victims range from 1 to 88 years old, and a number are experiencing kidney failure, which has killed one person so far. Several E. Coli varieties are common causes of urinary tract infections.

E. Coli

E. Coli

Sources of Shiga-toxin producing E. Coli may include:

·       Contaminated water (even swimming in it may cause infection)

·       Undercooked ground beef

·       Unpasteurized milk or juice

·       Cheese made from raw milk

·       Raw fruits, vegetables, and sprouts

·       Contact with animals and their enclosures

·       Feces of those infected

After the organism enters the system, it usually takes several days for symptoms to appear. Unlike many infections, E. Coli tends not to cause high fevers, but the abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting can be severe. Dehydration can cause decreased urine production, dark urine, weakness, and fatigue.

Rehydration is the main treatment

Rehydration is the main treatment

Re-hydration support during the illness will help support the victim for the 6-8 days it takes most to get over the infection. Antibiotics are rarely indicated, as it usually goes away by itself; it is even thought that taking anti-diarrheal medicines may slow the recovery process by preventing the elimination of the organism through bowel movements. Dairy products or items with high fat content or fiber can make your symptoms worse.

If it occurs, kidney damage will begin to become apparent after the first week.

Simply avoiding bagged lettuce at the grocery store is not enough, as many of those made ill ate the lettuce in salads served in restaurants. It is not yet known where in the chain from farm to consumer that the contamination with the bacteria took place. A farm in Yuma, Arizona may be involved.

Prevention involves avoiding poorly prepared food and water.  Use different cutting boards for raw fruits and vegetables than you would for raw meat.  

The most important factor in preventing E. Coli outbreaks is strict diligence applied to washing hands before cooking, after caring for animals and their environments, and diapering infants or otherwise disposing of human waste. 

Eating salads is a healthy option for most, but always be sure to make yours with freshly-washed hands and vegetables.

Joe Alton MD

Dr. Alton

Dr. Alton

Find out more about E. Coli contamination and 150 other medical issues when the ambulance may not be just around the corner! Check out a copy of the award-winning Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the way, available at Amazon or at doomandbloom.net. Also, be sure to find a medical kit that will help keep your people healthy in good times or bad: Check out store.doomandbloom.net

The Third Edition

The Third Edition

Survival Medicine Hour: Causes of Abdominal Pain Off The Grid

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SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR PODCAST

After a disaster or at a remote homestead, we all know that the medic for the family may not have ready access to modern medical technology. That means many conditions that are commonly identified with ultrasounds or CAT scans may be more challenging to diagnose. One of these challenges is abdominal pain. There are various medical issues that cause it, and Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP discuss several common diseases that must be identified and treated, such as appendicitis, gall bladder stones, stomach viruses, and more. These issues have some telltale signs that clue you in on what’s going on.

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/05/03/survival-medicine-hour-appendicitis-stomach-flus-gall-bladder-disease-more

Don’t forget to follow Dr.Bones and Nurse Amy on Twitter @preppershow, Facebook at Doom and Bloom, and YouTube at DrBones NurseAmy Channel!

Inflamed Appendix

Inflamed Appendix

Here’s wishing you the best of health in good times and bad…

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy

Joe and Amy

Find out more about abdominal pain and 150 more medical issues in survival settings with the award-winning Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide For When Medical Help is Not on the Way! And fill those holes in your medical supplies with kits and individual items from Nurse Amy’s store at store.doomandbloom.net

Malaria: Important Things To Know

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MALARIA

World's most dangerous creature?

World’s most dangerous creature?

The world is full of dangerous critters, and we’re lucky not to run into the grand majority of them during our daily lives. Animals that present a threat to humans usually live in habitats that are in the wilderness or the deep ocean, where population densities of people are low and encounters infrequent.

You might consider the Great White Shark to be the most dangerous animal in the world, but you’d be wrong. It’s not the black mamba snake of Africa, nor the cone snail of tropical waters; Indeed, in terms of the sheer number of human deaths, a creature much smaller is involved: The lowly mosquito, which puts Jaws and all the classic creatures from our nightmares to shame.

Mosquitoes, especially those in the Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex families, are responsible for more deaths than any other animal (humans excluded). According to the World Health Organization, mosquito bites are the cause of one million deaths every year. But a mosquito bite is a direct way of getting a disease indirectly; the mosquito itself isn’t the cause, it’s a “vector”, a way-station for a microbe on its way to its eventual host. These organisms are rarely, if ever, fatal to the mosquito they live in, but can be to their eventual host: Warm-blooded animals that the mosquito bites, like humans.

MALARIA

Life Cycle of Malaria

Life Cycle of Malaria

The majority of deaths from infectious diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are caused by a disease known as malaria. It was originally thought that the disease came from foul marsh air, thus came to be known as  “mal aria” or “bad air”.

The World Health Organization believes that 300-500 million cases of malaria occur every year, with 1 million deaths. 1700 cases are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) annually in the United States, mostly by those traveling outside the country.

Malaria is caused by one of four species of microbe called “plasmodium“, of which p. falciparum seems to be the worst. Plasmodium lives in the gut of mosquitoes. When female mosquitos (only females bite humans) of the anopheles species inject these micro-organisms into a human body, they colonize organs such as the liver. Once there, they travel through your circulation to damage blood cells and other organs.

modern range of malaria organisms

modern range of malaria organisms

Looking at the map of the current range of anopheles mosquitoes, you would think the United States is immune to issues relating to malaria. This is primarily due to the common availability of air conditioning systems, drained swamp areas, and improved health care in modern times. Malaria was thought, however, to be a significant problem, especially in the South, in the 18th and 19th centuries; even today, a remote homestead or a community off the grid due to a major disaster might still be vulnerable to an outbreak.

It should be noted that, besides anopheles, other species of mosquitoes carry micro-organisms that invade and cause damage to organs. One instance that created a sensation recently was the aedes mosquito that transmitted Zika virus to the brains of fetuses in Brazil in a 2015-16 epidemic.

SYMPTOMS OF MALARIA

Plasmodium organism under the microscope

Plasmodium organism under the microscope

Symptoms of Malaria appear flu-like and present as periodic chills, fever, and sweats.  The classic appearance includes:

High fever (often reaching up to 104° F or more)
Chills
Shaking
Extreme sweating
Fatigue
Discomfort (known as “malaise”), joint, and body aches
Headache
Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Some develop jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes due to liver damage.

Although most people begin to experience symptoms 10 days to 4 weeks after infected, it is possible to be without symptoms for up to 1 year after you are infected. Bouts of severe symptoms every two or three days is common.

Some types of malaria can lead to repeat bouts of sickness. The parasites can go dormant in the liver for a period of time after infection. When they become active again, the person gets sick again, known as a “recurrence”.

Over time, the patient becomes anemic as blood cells are lost to the infection. With time, periods between episodes become shorter and permanent organ damage may occur.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

Malaria can be treated and controlled

Malaria can be treated and controlled

Diagnosis of malaria cannot be confirmed without a microscope, but anyone experiencing relapsing fevers with severe chills and sweating should be considered candidates for treatment.  The medications used for Malaria include Chloroquine, Quinine, and Quinidine; other, later-generation drugs, are also available.

Sometimes, an antibiotic such as Doxycycline or Clindamycin is used in combination with the above. Physicians are usually sympathetic towards prescribing these medications to those who are contemplating trips to places where mosquitos are rampant, such as tropical climates. These drugs are also available as veterinary equivalents in avian or aquatic form.

MOSQUITO CONTROL

Of course, the fewer mosquitos near your retreat, the less likely you will fall victim to one of these diseases. You can decrease the population of mosquitos in your area and improve the likelihood of preventing illness by:

  • Looking for areas of standing water that could serve as mosquito breeding grounds. Drain all water that you do not depend on for survival.
  • Monitoring the screens on your retreat windows and doors and repairing any holes or defects.
  • Being careful to avoid outside activities at dusk or dawn. This is the time that most mosquitos are most active.
  • Wear long pants and shirts whenever you venture outside.
  • Have a good stockpile of insect repellants. If you are going to use sunscreen, apply it first and then apply the insect repellant.

Some insect repellants are meant to be applied to clothing only, such as Permethrin. DEET, however, is acceptable for exposed skin; those areas not covered with clothing.  DEET is acceptable for pregnant and breastfeeding women when used correctly (and, preferably, at 35% or less concentrations).

Many are reluctant to use chemical repellants, and there are EPA-accepted natural remedies. Plants that contain Citronella may be rubbed on your skin to discourage bites.  Lemon balm has been recommended in the past, but, despite having a fragrance similar to citronella, does not have the same bug-repelling properties.

When you use an essential oil to repel insects, re-apply frequently and feel free to combine oils as needed. Besides Citronella oil, you may consider:

  • Lemon Eucalyptus oil
  • Cinnamon oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Geranium oil
  • Clove oil
  • Rosemary oil

A large amount of damage can occur to humans as a result of small insects. Knowing how to recognize major insect-borne diseases, along with a program of systematic control of bug populations can decrease the number of people that have to deal with signficiant illnesses.

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Lear more about malaria and many other infectious diseases in austere settings by checking out the award-winning Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way. Also, consider becoming more medically prepared with supplies and kits from Nurse Amy’s entire line at store.doomandbloom.net.

Video: Getting Rid of Rodents

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VIDEO: Getting Rid of Rodents in Good Times or Bad

not a very welcome guest

not a very welcome guest

Every year, a percentage of our food supply is contaminated by the dropping and urine of rats and mice. It’s bad enough in normal times, but it can be a disaster off the grid. Rodents also carry diseases that can affect the health of your group members at a time when modern medicine may not be available. Therefore, it makes sense to eliminate your unwanted guests!

In this video, which follows up on a previous video on rodent-proofing a home, Joe Alton MD tells you what to do if you already have an issue with rat and mice infestation. Various ways to tell that you’ve got visitors and methods to get rid of them are discussed in some detail.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy Alton

Learn a lot about over 150 medical issues in the 700 page Book Excellence Award winner in Medicine, The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way.

And don’t forget to fill those holes in your medical supplies with kits and items from Nurse Amy’s entire line at store.doomandbloom.net.

Survival Medicine Hour: Nosebleeds, Pregnancy Complications, Flu Recurrence, More

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SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR PODCAST

 

Cauterization with silver nitrate sticks

Cauterization with silver nitrate sticks

You might not think it’s possible, but there are enough different flu viruses circulating this season that you could actually get the flu again before Spring! H3N2 is the most common form around this year, but late season flus like Influenza B could bring you down again before things warm up. Joe and Amy talk about their recovery from a nasty case of the flu and give you some important advice.

Plus, how to deal with nosebleeds with limited supplies. Nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis can occur in young or old, and for a dozen different reasons. Learn all you need to know about this common, but scary, medical problem.

pregnancy complications off the grid

pregnancy complications off the grid

Also, survival settings require your people to be at 100% efficiency, but what happens when people get pregnant? Back pain, nausea and vomiting, and much more can intervene to take out a productive member of your crew. Dr. Alton tells you about some of the issues that might complicate what is usually a normal and natural process.

All this and more in the latest Survival Medicine Hour Podcast with Amy Alton, ARNP and Joe Alton MD!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/02/09/survival-medicine-hour-nosebleeds-flu-recurrences-pregnancy-complications

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

To learn more about survival medicine, get a copy of the award-winning Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook!

Third Edition

Third Edition

Video: Adding Natural Remedies to First Aid Kits

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natural remedies

natural remedies

If you’re putting together a solid first aid kit, you have to decide if that kit is going to have to perform in long-term survival settings. You can put together a decent kit or even consider one of our specially-designed kits, but what if a disaster turns out to be a long-term event that knocks you off the grid for months, maybe longer?

It’s pretty clear you’ll eventually run out of standard medicines and other supplies quickly, especially if you’re taking care of an extended family. That’s why it’s not only important to have more materials than you think you’d need for the group, but also have some natural remedies like essential oils, herbal teas, and maybe even a medicinal garden.

Here’s a video that discusses the topic in detail. It’s something you might want to consider if you believe some long-term disaster could one day affect your area.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe Alton MD

Dr, Alton

Dr, Alton

Read more about natural remedies, plus 150 other medical topics, in the award-winning Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way. Plus fill those holes in your medical storage with kits and individual items from Nurse Amy’s store at store.doomandbloom.net.

Survival Medicine Hour: The Flu Hits The Hosts, Antibiotic Use, More

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Antibiotics not helpful against the flu

Antibiotics not helpful against the flu

Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, come down with the flu after their successful appearance at the SHOT show in Nevada, just one of 47 states reporting widespread outbreaks of influenza. Find out how hard it is to escape becoming a victim, even if you walk around with hand sanitizer in your pocket all day! Nurse Amy gives her advice for speeding recovery and Dr. Bones talks about the anti-viral drug Tamiflu and how it works to shorten the duration and severity of the illness.

It's good to have antibiotics, even fish versions, in your medical storage, but how to use them wisely in survival?

It’s good to have antibiotics, even fish versions, in your medical storage, but how to use them wisely in survival?

Also, Dr. Alton was the first physician to write about the use of fish and bird antibiotics as a survival tool, but this stuff isn’t candy, and has to be used wisely if at all. Having a supply, however, may avoid the preventable deaths from infected cuts and other minor ailments that could become big trouble in hard times. Some general advice regarding appropriate usage is given, and a useful antibiotic called  metronidazole (Flagyl, Fish-Zole) is spotlighted.

All this and more in the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/02/02/survival-medicine-hour-the-flu-hits-the-hosts-wise-antibiotic-use-more

Follow us on Twitter @preppershow, FB at Doom and Bloom(tm), and YouTube at DrBones NurseAmy Channel!

Joe and Amy Alton

Amy and Joe Alton

Amy and Joe Alton

Learn more about respiratory infections, anti-viral drugs, and antibiotics in the award-winning Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook, The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way.

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Sleep Deprivation, Flagyl in Survival, Eye Injuries, Face Masks, More

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Survival Medicine Hour #372

sleep deprivation

sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is part and parcel of any post-apocalyptic setting, and you’d better know how to recognize it and deal with the issue in times of trouble. We discuss diagnosis, treatment, and use of natural remedies to help your anxious and depressed people stay work-efficient.

Eye Injuries

Eye Injuries

Plus, eye injury questions from a Survival Podcast listener, and a discussion of how to recognize and treat pneumonia off the grid, and a discussion of the basics of the use of face masks in the survival sick room.

Also, a discussion of the popular antibiotic Metronidazole, also known as Flagyl, and its possible uses as the fish antibiotic Fish-Zole in long-term survival settings.

All this and more in the latest survival medicine hour with Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2018/01/19/survival-medicine-hour

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

Fill those holes in your medical supplies with kits and individual items from Nurse Amy’s store at store.doomandbloom.net! #1 Top Supplier at SurvivalTop50.com!

Just some of our kits

Just some of our kits

Diseases Caused By Food And Water Contamination

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Even healthy-looking fruit can contain contaminants

Even healthy-looking fruit can contain contaminants

The primary necessity for survival is the availability of air. Once you have air to breathe, water, food, and shelter become the next requirements for your continued existence on the planet; that is, clean water and properly prepared food.

Even in normal times, there are many instances where an outbreak of infectious disease occurs due to water of poor quality. Ingesting food that was incompletely cooked caused the deaths of medieval kings in medieval times and may even have sparked the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

Epidemics caused by organisms that cause severe diarrhea and dehydration have been a part of the human experience since before recorded history. If severe enough, dehydration can cause hypovolemic shock, organ failure, and death. Indeed, during the Civil War, more deaths were attributed to dehydration from infectious diseases than from bullets or shrapnel.

More soldiers died from infectious disease than from bullets or shrapnel in the Civil War

More soldiers died from infectious disease than from bullets or shrapnel in the Civil War

Off the grid, water used for drinking or cooking can be contaminated by anything from floods to a dead opossum upstream from your camp. This can have dire implications for those living where there is no access to large amounts of IV hydration.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the preparation of food and the disinfection of drinking water should be under supervision. In survival, this responsibility should fall to the community medic; it is the medic that will (after the patient, of course) be most impacted by failure to maintain good sanitation.

Many diseases have disastrous intestinal consequences leading to dehydration. They include:

Cholera: Caused by the marine and freshwater bacterium Vibrio cholera, Cholera has been the cause of many deaths in both the distant and recent past. It may, once again, be an issue in the uncertain future.

Cholera toxins produce a rapid onset of diarrhea and vomiting within a few hours to 2 days of infection. Victims often complain of leg cramps. The body water loss with untreated cholera is associated with a sixty per cent death rate. Aggressive efforts to rehydrate the patient, however, drops the death rate to only one per cent. Antibiotic therapy with doxycycline or tetracycline seems to shorten the duration of illness.

This is the bowel movement of someone with Cholera

This is the bowel movement of someone with Cholera

Typhus: A complex of diseases caused by bacteria in the Rickettsia family, Typhus is transmitted by fleas and ticks to humans in unsanitary surroundings, and is mentioned here due to its frequent confusion with “Typh-oid” fever, a disease caused by contaminated, undercooked food.

Although it rarely causes severe diarrhea, Typhus can cause significant dehydration due to high fevers and other flu-like symptoms. Five to nine days after infection, a rash begins on the torso and spreads to the extremities, sparing the face, palm, and soles. Doxycycline is the drug of choice for this disease.

Typhoid: Infection with the bacteria Salmonella typhi is called “Typh-oid fever”, because it is often confused with Typhus. Contamination with Salmonella in food occurs more often than with any other bacteria in the United States.

In Typhoid fever, there is a gradual onset of high fevers over the course of several days. Abdominal pain, intestinal hemorrhage, weakness, headaches, constipation, and bloody diarrhea may occur. A number of people develop a spotty, rose-colored rash. Ciprofloxacin is the antibiotic of choice but most victims improve with rehydration therapy.

Dysentery: An intestinal inflammation in the large intestine that presents with fever, abdominal pain, and severe bloody or watery mucus diarrhea. Symptoms usually begin one to three days after exposure. Dysentery, a major cause of death among Civil War soldiers, is a classic example of a disease that can be prevented with strict hand hygiene after bowel movements.

Shigella

Shigella dysenteriae

The most common form of dysentery in North America and Europe is caused by the bacteria Shigella and is called “bacillary dysentery”.  It is spread through contaminated food and water, and crowded unsanitary conditions. Ciprofloxacin and Sulfa drugs, in conjunction with oral rehydration, are effective therapies.

Another type is caused by an organism you may have read about in science class: the amoeba, a protozoan known as Entamoeba histolytica. Amoebic dysentery is more commonly seen in warmer climates. Metronidazole is the antibiotic of choice.

Traveler’s Diarrhea: An inflammation of the small intestine most commonly caused by the Bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli). Most strains of this bacteria are normal inhabitants of the human intestinal tract, but one (E. coli O157:H7) produces a toxin (the “Shiga” toxin) that can cause severe “food poisoning”. The Shiga toxin has even been classified as a bioterror agent.

In this illness, sudden onset of watery diarrhea, often with blood, develops within one to three days of exposure accompanied by fever, gas, and abdominal cramping. Rapid rehydration and treatment with antibiotics such as Azithromycin and Ciprofloxacin is helpful. The CDC no longer recommends taking antibiotics in advance of a journey, but does suggest that Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate (Bismuth Subsalicylate), two tablets four times a day, may decrease the likelihood of Traveler’s Diarrhea.

Campylobacter: The second most common cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. after Salmonella, this bacteria resides in the intestinal tract of chickens and causes sickness when meat is undercooked or improperly processed. It’s thought that a significant percentage of retail poultry products contain colonies of one variety, Campylobacter Jejuni. It is characterized as bloody diarrhea, fever, nausea, and cramping which begins two to five days after exposure. Although controversial, Erythromycin may decrease the duration of illness if taken early.

Trichinosis: Trichinosis is caused by the parasitic roundworm Trichinella in undercooked meat, mostly from domesticated pigs. Trichinosis causes diarrhea and other intestinal symptoms, usually starting one to two days after exposure. Fever, headache, itchiness, muscle pains, and swelling around the eyes occur up to 2 weeks later. Recovery is usually slow, even with treatment with the anti-helminthic (anti-worm) drugs Mebendazole and Albendazole (Albenza).

Giardia Lamblia

Giardia Lamblia

Giardiasis: The most common disease-causing parasite in the world is the protozoa Giardia lamblia. It has even been found in backcountry waters in many national parks in the U.S. Symptoms may present as early as one day after exposure, although it more commonly presents in one to two weeks. Patients complain of watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, violent (often called “projectile”) vomiting, and gas. Metronidazole is the drug of choice in conjunction with oral rehydration.

There are many other pathogens that can cause life-threatening dehydration if untreated. Although we have mentioned common antibiotic treatments where applicable, most of the above will resolve on their own over time with strict attention to oral (or intravenous) rehydration. Many antibiotics (Cipro is an example) are associated with adverse effects that can be worse than the illness they’re designed to treat, so use judiciously.

It should be noted that some of these illnesses may be mimicked by viruses that are completely unaffected by antibiotics, such as Norovirus. Norovirus has been implicated in many of the outbreaks you read about on cruise ships.

Air, food, water, and shelter is necessary for survival. Bad air, food, water, and shelter leads to the next requirement, and that is medical supplies. Have a good medical kit and know how to use all its components. If you can accomplish this goal, you’ll be an effective medic if things go South.

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Find out more about infectious disease and 150 other survival medical topics in the award-winning “Survival Medicine Handbook“, now in its 700-page Third Edition. Plus, fill those holes in your medical supplies with kits and individual items from Nurse Amy’s store at store.doomandbloom.net.

Survival Medicine Hour: Cellulitis, Spirituality of and Realities for the Medic, More

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SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR #369

spirituality and survival

spirituality and survival

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP discuss the role of spirituality in survival, and the role hope plays in keeping people resilient in the face of adversity. Also, some hard realities the medic must confront in long-term survival scenarios and the role natural plant products will play in keeping people healthy when the medications run out.

Cellulitis: An epidemic off the grid?

Cellulitis: An epidemic off the grid?

Plus, a discussion of one of the most common issues that will attend injuries in survival settings: cellulitis, or soft tissue infections. People performing activities of daily survival get injured and those injuries can get infected. How do you recognize these infections, and what can you use to treat them?

All this and more in the Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/12/22/survival-medicine-hour-spirituality-and-survival-cellulitis-medic-realities

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad (and a Merry Christmas)!

Have a Corgi Christmas!

Have a Corgi Christmas!

Follow us on Twitter @preppershow; on Facebook @Doom and Bloom(tm);on Youtube’s DrBones NurseAmy channel!

Don’t forget the award-winning Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, as well as the kits and supplies at Nurse Amy’s store at store.doomandbloom.net.

 

Video: Influenza 2017

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Influenza On and Off The Grid Video

respiratory tract and virus

respiratory tract and virus

In this video, Joe Alton MD discuss everything you need to know about influenza on and off the grid. Millions will visit their doctor for treatment, and some mostly elderly, very young, or infirm sufferers may not survive the illness.

Dr. Alton tells you how to identify, treat, and prevent outbreaks of influenza in good times or bad, important knowledge to have to keep your family or survival group healthy this flu season. Companion video to a recent article.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

A good medical kit is a big factor in surviving a disaster, and you can find some of the best at Nurse Amy’s site at store.doomandbloom.net. Use coupon code THANKS15 for 15% off your items. Offer ends Monday night, Nov. 27, 2017, so act now.

Survival Medicine Hour: Plague, Hepatitis, Pain Issues

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SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR #361

Plague Doctor

Plague Doctor

An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 124 people and infected 1200. Although not an uncommon occurrence in the rural areas, this epidemic has hit the larger cities in the island nation, and is the deadlier version called “pneumonic plague“. Pneumonic plague can be cured if found very early but if not, invariably results in death. Dr. Alton tells you all about bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic plague and what the off-grid medic could do to prevent this terrible infectious disease from running rampant.

ascites

hepatitis damage

Also, inflammation of the liver, called “hepatitis“, is caused by various viruses which are harder to cure than a bacteria like what causes the plague. There are several types of hepatitis, and it’s important to know what to do to avoid becoming a victim of it. Symptoms, diagnosis, and prevention are discussed by our hosts Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP.

Plus, we start a series on pain issues, discussing different types of pain and also the government’s categorization of drugs into “schedules” from 1-5.

All this and more in the latest episode of The Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton!

To Listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/10/27/survival-medicine-hour-plague-hepatitis-pain-issues

Follow us on Twitter @preppershow/Facebook: Doom and Bloom/YouTube: DrBones NurseAmy Channel

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

Fill those holes in your medical supplies with kits and individual items from Nurse Amy’s entire line at store.doomandbloom.net!

We’re pleased to announce that the Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook has been named the 2017 winner of the Book Excellence Award in Medicine!

7 Serious Infections from Contaminated Food and Water

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7 Serious Infections from Contaminated Food and Water

Just Hanging Out (and I mean just hanging out)

Just Hanging Out (and I mean just hanging out)

 

Recently, I watched a few episodes of “Naked and Afraid“, a series that puts two individuals in extreme environments with few supplies and, for some reason, no clothes. In this program, many of the participants come down with various infections; some of which cause bowel disturbances. Life then becomes, well, even more miserable than walking around for three weeks naked in the jungle.

Epidemics characterized by diarrhea and dehydration have been a part of the human experience since before recorded history. Cholera is an example of one particularly dangerous infection that was epidemic in the past. It and other bacterial diseases, many of which are now rare, may once again become a problem in the uncertain future.

Off the grid, water quality is questionable and may lead to misfortune if not properly purified. Using bad water to cook food in a remote setting can also lead to major problems that manifest as diarrhea, and later, dehydration. When dehydration is not treated, deaths may occur.

typical bacteria

typical bacteria

Many diseases with diarrhea as the main symptom are caused by poor sanitation. These including the following:

Cholera: Caused by CTX, a toxin produced by the marine and freshwater bacterium Vibrio cholera. Cholera toxins produce a rapid onset of diarrhea and vomiting within a few hours to 2 days of infection. This was a major issue in Haiti after the earthquake there several years ago.

The diarrhea caused by cholera looks like water after rice has been cooked in it. In addition, victims complain of nausea, leg cramps, and other symptoms. The body water loss with cholera is so severe that it is associated with a sixty per cent death rate if untreated. Aggressive efforts to rehydrate the patient, however, drops the death rate to only one per cent. Antibiotic therapy with doxycycline or tetracycline seems to shorten the duration of illness.

typhus rash (brittanica.com)

typhus rash (brittanica.com)

Typhoid (and Typhus): Salmonella typhi is a bacterium of the Enterobacteriaceae family that is found in contaminated and undercooked food. The illness it causes is called “typh-oid fever” because it often confused with Typhus.

Typhus is a complex of diseases caused by bacteria in the Rickettsia family that is transmitted, not by contaminated food and water, but by fleas and ticks in unsanitary surroundings. Although it rarely causes severe diarrhea, Typhus can cause severe dehydration due to high fevers and other flu-like symptoms. Five to nine days after infection, a rash begins on the torso and spreads to the extremities, sparing the face, palm, and soles. Doxycycline is the drug of choice for this disease.

Typhoid rash

Typhoid rash (emergencymedicinecases.com)

Contamination with Salmonella in food (leading to typhoid fever) occurs more often than with any other bacteria in the United States, with a major outbreak in turkey meat causing more than 100 hospitalizations in 2011. In Typhoid fever, there is a gradual onset of high fevers over the course of several days. Abdominal pain, intestinal hemorrhage, weakness, headaches, and bloody diarrhea may occur. A number of people develop a spotty, rose-colored rash, hence the confusion with typhus. Ciprofloxacin  is the antibiotic of choice, but most victims improve just with rehydration therapy.

Dysentery: Caused by a number of different pathogens (disease-causing organisms), dysentery is an inflammation of the large intestine that presents with fever, abdominal pain, and severe bloody or watery diarrhea. Symptoms usually begin one to three days after exposure. Dysentery was a major cause of death among Civil War soldiers. It is a classic example of a disease that can be simply prevented with strict hand hygiene after bowel movements.

civil war hospital

civil war hospital

The most common form of dysentery in North America and Europe is caused by the bacteria Shigella and is called “bacillary dysentery”.  It is spread through contaminated food and water in crowded unsanitary conditions. Ciprofloxacin and Sulfa drugs, in conjunction with oral rehydration, are effective therapies.

Another type of dysentery is caused by an organism you may have read about in science class: the amoeba, a protozoan known as Entamoeba histolytica. Amoebic dysentery is more commonly seen in warmer climates. Metronidazole is the antibiotic of choice.

Traveler’s Diarrhea: An inflammation of the small intestine most commonly caused by the Bacterium Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli. Most strains of this bacteria are normal inhabitants of the human intestinal tract, but one (E. coli O157:H7) produces a toxin (the “Shiga” toxin) that can cause severe food poisoning. The Shiga toxin is so potentially dangerous that it has been classified as a bioterror agent.

In this illness, sudden onset of watery diarrhea, often with blood, develops within one to three days of exposure accompanied by fever, gas, and abdominal cramping. Rapid rehydration and treatment with antibiotics such as Azithromycin and Ciprofloxacin is helpful. The CDC no longer recommends taking antibiotics in advance of a journey, however, but does suggest that Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate (Bismuth Subsalicylate), two tablets four times a day, may decrease the likelihood of Traveler’s Diarrhea.

Campylobacter: The second most common cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. after Salmonella, this bacterium resides in the intestinal tract of chickens and causes sickness when meat is undercooked or improperly processed. It’s thought that a significant percentage of retail poultry products contain colonies of one particular variety, Campylobacter jejuni. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever, nausea, and cramping which begins two to five days after exposure. Although controversial, Erythromycin may decrease the duration of illness if taken early.

Trichinosis: Trichinosis is Caused by the parasitic roundworm Trichinella in undercooked meat, mostly from domesticated pigs. Trichinosis causes diarrhea and other intestinal symptoms one to two days after exposure. Fever, headache, itchiness, muscle pains, and swelling around the eyes occur as much as 2 weeks later. Recovery is usually slow, even with treatment with the anti-helminthic drugs Mebendazole and Albendazole (Albenza).

beautiful but could harbor giardia

beautiful, but could harbor giardia

Giardiasis: The most common disease-causing parasite in the world is the protozoa Giardia lamblia. It has even been found in backcountry waters in many national parks in the U.S. Symptoms may present as early as one day after exposure, although it more commonly presents in one to two weeks. Patients complain of watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, violent (often called “projectile”) vomiting, and gas. Metronidazole is the drug of choice in conjunction with oral rehydration.

There are many other pathogens that can cause diarrheal disease and dehydration if untreated. Although we have listed antibiotics in this article (many of which you can read about in this website), most of the above will resolve on their own over time with strict attention to oral (or intravenous) rehydration. Without hydration support, however, the situation may become life-threatening in some cases.

An important point is that some of these illnesses may be mimicked by viruses that are unaffected by antibiotics, such as norovirus, so employ them only when absolutely necessary. The U.S. is in the midst of an epidemic of antibiotic resistance that is partly due to overuse in humans. You might be surprised when I say “partly”; close to 80% of antibiotics in the U.S. are given, not to humans, but to food-producing livestock.

recipients of most antibiotics

recipients of most antibiotics

If you see post-apocalyptic disaster movies, you’ll see a lot of gunfights at the OK corral. Certainly, this may occur in the aftermath of a major catastrophe. The most deaths will occur, however, due to failure to assure that water is clean, food is prepared properly, and human waste is safely disposed. The medic for a survival group must understand this and enforce good sanitary practices. If he/she is successful, the group will have a better chance of staying healthy even in the worst of situations.

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

 

Find out more about infectious disease and much more with the 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way. And don’t forget to fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net.

a small first aid kit with items shown such as a tourniquet, gauze, mini compression dressings, ace, scissors and more

Motorcycle and hiking first aid kit

7 Antiseptics For Your Medical Kit

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Betadine is a Iodophor-type antiseptic

I’ve often said that, in a major disaster, we may be thrown back to a bygone era where modern medicine is not an option. Indeed, we can expect civil war-era statistics with regards to major abdominal and chest trauma outcomes, but we will still be ahead of our ancestors even if we’re thrown off the grid. That’s because of modern knowledge of antisepsic techniques.

The word antiseptic comes from the greek words anti (against) and septikos (putrid or rotten).  Antiseptics are substances with antimicrobial properties applied to living tissue to reduce the possibility of infection. Antiseptics, it should be noted, are not antibiotics. Antibiotics are meant to destroy bacteria within the body. Antiseptics are also different from disinfectants, which destroy germs found on non-living objects. All of these are important supplies for the survival medic.

Infected wound

We have a number of videos on this website that discuss antibiotics and what your options are in a survival scenario. If you haven’t been here before, use the search engine and you’ll find there are more than you think. We haven’t, however, talked a lot about antiseptics. Let’s discuss the most popular types on the market that might be candidates for your survival medical kit.

Iodophors: Iodophors like Betadine contain iodine, a substance that can also be used to purify water, but is combined with a solubilizing agent, povidone, which makes it, unlike pure iodine, relatively nonirritating and nontoxic to living tissue. Iodophors work against a broad array of microorganisms and don’t need to be heavily diluted. I will admit that I do dilute my Betadine if I use it on open wounds for regular dressing changes.  Iodophors are effective in killing microbes within just a few minutes.

Chlorhexidine

Chlorhexidine Gluconate: This substance, perhaps better known by its brand name “Hibiclens”, is helpful  against many types of germs, although it’s not very effective against fungal infections. It’s relatively long-lasting, however, compared to some other antiseptics. For this reason, Hibiclens is popular as a way to prepare areas for surgery and for healthcare providers to scrub their hands before patient encounters.

Alcohol: Ethyl Alcohol (also called ethanol) is another tried and true antiseptic product. It, along with isopropyl alcohol, kills many different types of microbes and is fact acting and inexpensive. The problem is that alcohol has a drying effect on skin, the oral cavity, and vagina. It has a tendency to inhibit the development of new cells, so use it for an initial wound cleaning but not for regular care.

Benzalkonium Chloride: BZK is a mild antiseptic and is easily tolerated by most people. One of the most popular first aid wipes or sprays, some say that it has a special effect against the rabies virus, but there’s little hard data supporting this claim.

Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is used to clean wounds and reacts with blood to form an impressive foam. This is because blood and most cells contain an enzyme called catalase. Catalase reacts with hydrogen peroxide, converting it into oxygen and water. This effect makes it popular for household first aid in common mishaps like abrasions, but not a great candidate for regular dressing changes due to its drying effect on new cells. It can be used as a mouth rinse in the oral cavity, however, making it a candidate for a survival dental kit.

PCMX (Parachlorometaxylenol or chloro-xylenol for short): Available in more brand names than you can count, this substance is effective against most germs. It’s less potent, though, than chlorhexidine and iodophors, although the antiseptic effect lasts longer. PCMX can be irritating, so don’t use it on mucous membranes like the oral cavity and vagina.

Bleach and baking soda added to just-boiled water in the right proportions can make an effective antiseptic solution

Bleach: Bleach can be found as either a sodium hypochlorite (Clorox) solution or can be improvised with calcium hypochlorite granules, also known as “Pool Shock”. Used more as a disinfectant than an antiseptic, bleach in very dilute solutions (0.5% or less) can make Dakin’s solution, a time-honored method to clean wounds. Be sure to watch our recent two-part video on this website that shows you how to make it easily and affordably.

I’m sure you know of more products that can serve as antiseptics for your survival sick room. Armed with these items, your chances of succeeding when everything else fails, at least as a medic, go up exponentially. Be sure to get the supplies and knowledge that will save lives in times of trouble.

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton MD

Find out more about stopping hemorrhage and 150 other medical topics in the survival mindset with the 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way. And don’t forget to fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net!

Video: Sulfa Drugs in Survival

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shutterstock_89589424

Add medicines to your medical kit

Without antibiotics in your medical kit, there will be deaths in survival scenarios that could have been prevented. Using certain veterinary equivalents may be an answer as to how to obtain them. This video discusses the family of antibiotics known as “Sulfonamides”: How they work, What they’re good for, How to use them wisely, and more. Remember that antibiotics aren’t candy, and should be used only when absolutely necessary. We’re in the midst of an epidemic of antibiotic resistance in this country (mostly due to their use in livestock!). Companion video to a recent article.

 

To watch the video, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyLabcoatSMALL300x300

The Altons

Hey, get supplies for your medical kit, plus a copy of the latest edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook (also available at amazon), at Nurse Amy’s store on this website!

 

(slider image for this article courtesy of pixabay.com)

Setting Up A Survival Sick Room

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medicaltent

A hospital tent

In normal times, we have the luxury of modern medical facilities that can isolate a sick patient from healthy people. In a survival scenario, however, most organized medical care will no longer exist, placing the average citizen into the position of medic for his/her family or community.  

Although we may be thrown back to the 19th century medically by a disaster, we have the benefit of knowing about infections and hygiene.  The knowledge of how contagious diseases are spread and how to sterilize supplies give us a major advantage over medical personnel of bygone eras.

Using this knowledge, it should be possible for a medically prepared person to put together a “sick room” or “hospital tent” that will minimize the chance of infectious disease running rampant through the community. The cornerstone of care is to deal effectively and humanely with the sick while keeping the healthy from becoming infected.

In the face of a looming catastrophe, you must first make the decision to either stay in place or get out of Dodge. If you’re staying in place, choose a room where the sick will be cared for. That room should be separate from common areas, like the kitchen. It must have good ventilation and light, and preferably, a door or other physical barrier to the rest of the retreat.

If the wiser choice is to leave the area, shelter is an issue that may be addressed with, for example, tents. Choose a tent as the sick room and place it on the periphery of the camp. Again, good ventilation is important to allow air circulation.

With sick rooms in a retreat or camp, it is important to designate them before a disaster occurs. For groups where a number of people are living together, procrastinating will cause someone to lose their room or tent for “the greater good”. This invariably breeds resentment at a time when everyone needs to pull together.

Sometimes, you may find that there isn’t a spare room or tent to assign as a sick room. If you only have a common area to work with, raise a makeshift barrier, such as a sheet of plastic, to separate the sick from the healthy. Even if you have a dedicated sick room, keep group members with injuries separate from those with infectious diseases such as influenza. Although wounds will sometimes become infected, they won’t likely be as contagious as epidemic illnesses.

tent joe's kids

The injured should be separate from the infected, if possible

A sick room in a retreat with air conditioning won’t qualify as decent ventilation when the power’s down. In this case, air ducts are actually more a danger than a benefit. Microbes passing through the air ducts in the sick room to other areas may present a risk for transmission of disease. Cover with duct tape. Keep windows or tent flaps open, however, except in particularly bad weather. Screening may be necessary in areas with lots of insects, or netting provided over the beds.

Furnishings should be minimal, with a work surface, an exam area, and bed spaces. In mild weather, some of these bed space can be outside, as long as shade is provided via a canopy or other means. Hard surfaces are preferable to fabric upholstery, as cloth can harbor disease-causing organisms. Even bedding might best be covered in plastic. The more areas that can be disinfected easily, the better.

It’s important to have a way to eliminate waste products of bedridden patients, even if it’s just a 5-gallon bucket and some bleach. Containers with lids should be made available to put used sick room items that need cleaning.

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Keep a basin with soap and water at the entrance to the sick room

A station should be set up near the entrance of the sick room or hospital tent for caregivers’ masks, gloves, gowns, aprons, and other personal protection items (have a good supply of these items). You’ll should also have a basin with water, soap, or other disinfectant. Thermometers should be dipped in alcohol.

Many consider medical supplies to consist of gauze, tourniquets, and battle dressings, but you must also dedicate sets of sheets, towels, pillows, and other items to be used in the sick room. Keep these items separate from the bedding, bathing, and eating materials of the healthy members of your family or group.

Having a lot of these may seem like overkill to you, but there can never be enough dedicated medical supplies. Expect to care for more people that you’ve planned for. There will always be additions that weren’t planned, and medical items will be expended much faster than you’d expect.

Cleaning supplies should also be considered medical preparedness items. You’ll want to clean the sick room thoroughly on a daily basis. Hard surfaces should be regularly cleaned with soap and water, or use other disinfectants such as a 1:10 bleach solution. Don’t forget to disinfect the doorknobs, tables, sinks, toilets, counters, and even toys.

Wash bed sheets and towels frequently; boil them if you have no other way to clean them. As these items may carry disease-causing organisms, wash your hands after use. The same goes for plates, cups, etc. Any equipment brought into the sick room should stay there.

One additional item that will be important to your sick room patients: Give them a whistle or other noisemaker that will allow them to alert you when they need help. This will decrease anxiety and give them confidence that you will know when they are in distress.

The duties of a medic involve more than how to control bleeding or splint an orthopedic injury. Medical problems involving infectious disease may take a heavy toll on your people if the sick aren’t isolated from the healthy. Knowing how to put together an effective sick room will go a long way towards helping the sick get healthy and the healthy stay that way.

 

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Joe Alton MD

Find out more about dealing with infectious disease in times of trouble in our 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, available at Amazon or on this website.

The Survival medicine handbook Third Edition 2016

The Survival Medicine Handbook 2017 Third Edition

Survival Medicine Hour: Sulfa Drugs, Uva Ursi, Quicklime, More

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sulfa Drugs

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton, MD (Dr. Bones) and Amy Alton, ARNP (Nurse Amy) examine Sulfa drug antibiotics as an option in survival settings. One of the first antibiotics, sulfa has been credited with saving the lives of tens of thousands in WWII, including Winston Churchill himself, and still has applications today in good or bad times.

Also, the herb Uva Ursi may have some use in urinary tract infections, one of the medical issues that sulfa drugs are effective for. Find out more about this herb in Nurse Amy’s segment on natural remedies.

Uva ursi

Uva Ursi

Plus, Dr. Bones discusses what disasters are most responsible for the most deaths in the U.S. over the last 40 years. The answers will definitely surprise you! Plus, some guidelines on disposal of dead bodies in post-apocalyptic times.

All this and more on the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton!

To Listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/04/07/survival-medicine-hour-sulfa-drugs-uva-ursi-quicklime-more

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

The Altons

Please follow us on Twitter @ Preppershow, and don’t forget to check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits at store.doomandbloom.net!

Survival Medicine Hour: Disaster Deaths, Antibiotics, XStat, More

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ebola1

In this episode of The Survival Medicine Hour, Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, discuss an antibiotic called Clavamox that’s used in dogs and cats as a possible survival med. Also know as Augmentin, is it exactly the same as the human drug, as  Dr. Alton found was the case years ago with certain fish and bird antibiotics? You might be surprised.

Also, the military may be getting taken for a ride with the expensive prescription product XSTAT, a syringe of hemostatic sponges used for severe hemorrhages. Sounds good, but does it work and what’s behind the recommendations for the government to add this item to military supplies? And does it have any application for survival medics?

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XSTAT hemostatic syringe

Plus, do dead bodies from natural disasters cause epidemics? Amy and Joe explore this possibility and compare it to Ebola in 2014 and other events. Lastly, a young man wants to take his 6 month old son and wife to Belize, currently under a Zika warning from the CDC. What is Dr. Bones’ opinion?

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/03/31/survival-medicine-hour-antibiotics-dead-bodies-and-disasters-more

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

Video: All About Dysentery

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Shigella boydii

Shigella bacteria

In this video, Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones of DoomandBloom.net, discusses the issue of infectious diseases as the main causes of avoidable deaths in survival scenarios. In particular, he talks about dysentery, a disease that is transmitted by bacteria in contaminated food and water. Here’s all you need to know about this killer in past and future times of trouble. Companion video to a previous article on the same topic.

To watch, just click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary3

Joe Alton, MD

Find out more about dysentery and 150 more medical issues in the latest 700 page edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: THE Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, available at store.doomandbloom.net or Amazon.com!

 

Video: Norovirus, the Stomach Flu

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hot-dog-stand

In this video, Joe Alton, MD discusses a recent experience with the stomach flu on a trip to New York. Norovirus is the most common cause of the “stomach flu”, a debilitating and dehydrating intestinal illness that affects millions every year throughout the world. Often caused by contaminated food on cruises, 800 students at a high school in Illinois were recently affected, presumably due to cafeteria issues. Learn more about the norovirus and what to do if you or a loved one comes down with it.

 

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe Alton, MD

joealtonlibrary4

The “Stomach Flu” Virus

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oysters

Oysters may harbor norovirus

We often write about disaster situations that we personally experience. We’ve been through hurricanes, tornadoes, and epidemics, just to mention a few. Recently, our home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee was threatened by the wildfires there, which killed 14 and wiped out more than 1700 buildings and over 100 on the mountain where the house is located.

 

We’ve written about a number of medical issues that we’ve experienced as well. For example, I converted to positive for Tuberculosis during my work with Cuban refugees during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. I still carry a small walled-off nodule on X-ray, even after months of multi-drug therapy.

 

On a recent trip to New York City to visit our daughter, we both experienced a medical issue so common that it surprised us that we haven’t yet written about it: acute gastroenteritis, or the “Stomach Flu”. When this infection hits you, it makes even the healthiest individual miserable. Nurse Amy required an urgent care visit, no small issue in a strange and heavily-populated city. She was just one of nearly 2 million outpatient visits caused by norovirus in the U.S. every year.

 

Norovirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans. It was originally called “Norwalk Virus”, after the area where it was first identified in the 1960s. Since then, it’s been blamed for 50% of all gastroenteritis in the U.S. Worldwide, there are more than 200 million cases of norovirus infection a year. It affects people of all ages, but it’s particularly dangerous in the elderly, the very young, and those with weakened immune systems. Winter is the most common time for outbreaks.

 

Norovirus is very contagious (just 5-20 viral particles can cause illness) and is easily transmitted through contaminated food or water, close personal contact, and by air droplets from vomit, contaminated food counters, and even toilet flushes. Infection can be passed from person to person for a time even after apparent recovery.

 

Here’s how contagious the norovirus is: In one outbreak reported in 1998, 126 people were dining at a restaurant when one person vomited onto the floor. Despite a rapid cleanup, 52 fell ill within three days. More than 90% of the people who later dined at the same table reported symptoms. More than 70% of the diners at a nearby table got sick; at a table on the other side of the restaurant, the rate was still 25%.

 

Norovirus is a hardy microbe, and is known to survive for long periods outside a human host. It can live for weeks on countertops and up to twelve days on clothes. It can survive for months in still water. Disinfectants containing chlorine, however, like bleach will quickly eliminate it, as will sufficient heat.

 

The symptoms of the stomach flu include nausea and vomiting, watery diarrhea, and (sometimes severe) abdominal pain, usually within 12 to 48 hours of exposure. Along with this, muscle aches, headache, and fever may be seen. Luckily, life-threatening illness is rare, with dehydration being the main danger in those infected with the virus.

 

Unlike some viruses, immunity to norovirus is only temporary, maybe six months, after recovery.

 

Outbreaks of norovirus infection often occur in closed spaces such as cruise ships, nursing homes, schools, camps, and prisons. Shellfish, such as oysters, and salad ingredients are the foods most often implicated in norovirus outbreaks. In our case, it might have been a kiosk advertising “the World’s Best Hot Dogs”.hot-dog-stand

As is the case with most viruses, there is no cure for norovirus infection. Antibiotics will not be effective, as they are meant to kill bacteria, not viruses. Treatment involves staying well-hydrated. Dehydration can be noted by these symptoms:

 

  • ·        Dry mouth

  • ·        Decrease in quantity or dark color of urine

  • ·        Dizziness when standing up

  • ·        Decreased elasticity of skin (it “tents” when pulled)

  • ·        No tears when crying or unusual irritability in infants

Using antidiarrheal meds like loperamide (Imodium) and anti-vomiting drugs like Ondansetron (Zofran) may also help.

 

A cure may not be available but prevention is another issue. To decrease the chance of norovirus infection:

 

·        Wash your hands frequently with soap and water (norovirus is relatively resistant to alcohol), especially after using the restroom or handling food. Be especially sure to do this for 2 weeks after becoming infected (yes, you can be contagious for that long).

·        Wash food before cooking; cook shellfish thoroughly

·        Frequently disinfect contaminated surfaces with a bleach solution (the EPA recommends 5-25 drops of bleach per gallon)

·        Keep sick individuals away from food preparation areas

·        Avoid close contact with others when you are sick, and don’t share utensils or other items

·        Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items

·        Immediately remove and wash clothes that may be contaminated with vomit or feces. Machine dry if possible.

 

It may be difficult to completely eliminate the risk of norovirus infection, but careful attention to hand and food hygiene will go a long way towards avoiding the stomach flu.

 

Joe Alton, MD

joealtonlibrary4

 Check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits and individual supplies at her store at store.doomandbloom.net.

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Respiratory Infections, Part 2, Effects of Stress, More

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medicaltent

This week on the Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton, MD aka as Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP aka Nurse Amy, November 19, 2016, discuss some tips to help “survive” the possibly stressful Christmas shopping experience. Ebay did a study that found 88% of shoppers had elevated heartbeats similar to an athlete running a marathon. What are the effects of a rapid heart rate on the body, and learn why you feel so exhausted after an anxiety attack.

The latest update on Zika theories about why some countries are experiencing a higher rate of birth defects than others. What is going on with the progress of a Zika vaccine and a breakthrough medication to limit the ill effects of the virus on unborn babies.

Respiratory infections affect millions of people each year. Knowing how to tell the difference between different types will help you, as the survival medic, determine the best treatment plan. Colds vs flus, how to tell the difference, and more…

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/11/18/survival-medicine-hour-respiratory-infections-pt2-effects-of-stress-and-morehttp://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/11/18/survival-medicine-hour-respiratory-infections-pt2-effects-of-stress-and-more

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

AmyandJoePodcast400x200

The Altons

 

Why The Disparity In Zika Affected Newborns?

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zika virus

Zika Virus under the microscope

Zika virus hasn’t been on the front page much lately, but case numbers continue to rise in many countries. The World Health Organization stated recently that Zika infection has been documented in 75 countries throughout the globe.

One of the many unusual aspects of Zika virus is that Brazil has, far and away, the most cases of babies born with birth defects. The most prominent of these is microcephaly, a condition where the brain fails to grow normally, causing a striking appearance where the head is much smaller than normal. Brazil has about 2000 cases of this abnormality, while Colombia has the second highest with only 57; the U.S. is third with 31 cases, including miscarriages. Within Brazil itself, the Northeastern part of the country has the highest number of infants affected by the debilitating effects of the virus.

The American Society of Tropical Medicine, in its annual meeting in Atlanta, discussed this disparity, which has fueled a hotbed of speculation about the disparity.

A  Brazilian health official, Pedro Fernando da Costa Vasconcelos, suggests that vaccination against  Yellow Fever, a virus in the same family as Zika, may be a factor. In Northeastern Brazil, few receive this vaccine compared to other parts of the country. It’s possible, he says, that the vaccine may give some cross-protection against Zika.

A number of other theories exist, including effects on humans by certain pesticides used in the epidemic zone and, perhaps, contaminated lots of vaccines. However, no hard data has, as yet, implicated these and other possibilities as part of the equation.

Another factor may be the growing tendency of women to terminate their pregnancies in the face of a diagnosis of Zika infection. Still another, according to Albert Ko, a Yale professor, relates to the difficulty tracking numbers of abortions for this reason and the fact that many never know they had the infection at all. Zika has no symptoms whatsoever in 80% of patients. The rest experience fever, joint aches, rashes, and eye redness.

microcephaly-reuse-wiki

Microcephalic Infant

What is obvious, however, is that there are wide variations in the percentage of Zika infections to birth defects. Puerto Rico recently reported its first case of microcephaly in a newborn, but has catalogued  more than 30,000 people infected with Zika.

Professor Ko says that a new large-scale study will follow thousands of pregnant women with Zika diagnoses. Genetics, prior viral infections, and even the mosquitoes that transmit the virus will be evaluated. It’s possible that, with this information, a more definitive picture of factor involved in Zika-related birth abnormalities will emerge.

An issue not commonly considered is what effect Zika infection may have long-term in apparently unaffected infants. Will they reach normal milestones like walking and talking at the appropriate time? Down the road, will they perform adequately in school? It will take years to find out.

Meanwhile, cases continue to accumulate, mostly travel related. A total of close to 36,000 cases have been documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. New cases are still being reported in Florida by the Department of Health, which says that 1,165 total cases (153 in pregnant women) exist in the state as of November 11, 2016. Of these, 225 were transmitted by local mosquitoes.

Some good news: A vaccine called Zika Purified Inactivated Virus, or ZPIV, seems to be showing promise in research conducted, and human trials have begun at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. In addition, Dr. Michael Diamond of the University of Washington has identified an antibody that might protect the unborn fetus against the effects of the Zika virus on nervous tissue. Research is ongoing on these and other fronts in the battle against what has become a worldwide epidemic.

Joe Alton, MD

joealtonlibrary4

Dr. Alton

 Find out more about the Zika Virus in Joe Alton, MD’s book “The Zika Virus Handbook“, available at amazon.com

 

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Giardia, Bear Safety and more

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black bear

American Black Bear

In this episode of The Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP discuss the hazards of trail blazing in Gatlinburg Tennessee, such as Bear Safety. Walking with a sturdy stick, making noise and keeping up situational awareness are all part of bear safety tips. Bears hibernate less deeply than some animals and can be found walking around even in the deep snow of winter. Always keep an eye out and learn all about bear safety.

giardia

Giardia lamblia

 

Recently, Dr. Alton talked about parasitic worms in survival scenarios, but there’s a more common parasite that infects our streams, waterways, and, unfortunately, intestines! Giardia Lambia is a common cause of severe diarrhea and is transmissible all sorts of ways. Find out more about this parasite and what fish antibiotic would be most effective to have in your medical storage.

Ways to prevent Giardia are covered in this episode and include strict and proper handwashing. Just a couple of the ways to avoid getting this parasite, as well as many others, include washing fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking, and using bottled water to brush your teeth if the water is suspect. Nurse Amy recommends demanding daycare workers use gloves when changing your infant or toddler’s diapers. Unfortunately, this is not a Federal regulation and is only a requirement in a few states, which are listed in this episode.

Even though a lot of us may severely disappointed come Tuesday evening’s election results, the earth is not going to end the next day. It may just feel that way.

Life is short, learn Nurse Amy’s secret motto for happiness. Hint: It isn’t a material thing.

All this and more on the Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Hour!

Our books and custom hand-packed medical kits can be found at: https://store.doomandbloom.net

Here is the link to listen to this week’s episode. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Blogtalkradio Channel for updates

The Future of Fish Antibiotics in Survival?

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Betta-Fish-Nurse-Amy

Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens)

As the first physician to write, years ago, about aquarium and avian antibiotics as a survival tool, I’ve long realized their utility in preventing unnecessary deaths in true survival scenarios (in normal times, seek modern and standard medical care). Lately, I’ve received a lot of mail asking about the upcoming FDA Veterinary Feed Directive. Does it mean the end of the availability of fish and bird meds for placement in disaster medical storage?

To understand what the Veterinary Feed Directive is and what it means for the preparedness community, we should first describe the problem that the Directive aims to correct: Antibiotic resistance. There is an epidemic of antibiotic resistance in this country, and it exists, not because of pet bird or fish antibiotic use, not because “preppers” might put them in a disaster medical kit, nor even primarily from the overuse by physicians. It is due to the excessive use of antibiotics on livestock. About 80% of antibiotics used in the United States are given to food-producing animals.

antibioticslivestock

The definition of a “Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) drug”, according to section 504 of the FD&C Act (21 USC 354) states that it is “[a] drug intended for use in or on animal feed. The CDC’s goal #1 of decreasing the emergence of antibiotic resistance and preventing the spread of resistant infections has three objectives (see page 33):

1       -“Implement public health programs and reporting policies that advance antibiotic resistance prevention and foster antibiotic stewardship in healthcare settings and the community. “

2       -“Eliminate the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in animals and bring other in-feed uses of antibiotics, for treatment and disease control and prevention of disease, under veterinary oversight. “

3       –“Identify and implement measures to foster stewardship of antibiotics in animals.”

As you can see, 2 of 3 of the above relate specifically to animals. Why are so many antibiotics given to livestock? It’s not, primarily, to treat infections that they may have. It’s actually because, for reasons that aren’t completely clear, it seems to speed their growth and gets them to market sooner. In other words, the profit motive. This is standard practice here in the U.S., but some countries, like Denmark, have banned the use of antibiotics on livestock unless they need them to treat disease.

The FDA and CDC are concerned about the excessive use of antibiotics in general and, in particular, on the animals that produce our food. CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden mentioned some months ago that an increased “stewardship” (in other words, control) of these meds was indicated to decrease the development of antibiotic resistance. The Veterinary Feed Directive is part of that response.

What are the drugs affected by the Veterinary Feed Directive? Here they are:

Established drug name Examples of proprietary drug name(s)
chlortetracycline Aureomycin, Aureomycyn, Chlora-Cycline, Chloronex, Chlortetracycline, Chlortetracycline Bisulfate, Chlortet-Soluble-O, CTC, Fermycin, Pennchlor
erythromycin Gallimycin
gentamicin Garacin, Gen-Gard, GentaMed, Gentocin, Gentoral
lincomycin Linco, Lincomed, Lincomix, Lincomycin, Lincomycin Hydrochloride, Lincosol, Linxmed-SP
lincomycin/spectinomycin  Lincomycin S, Lincomycin-Spectinomycin, L-S, SpecLinx
neomycin Biosol Liquid, Neo, Neomed, Neomix, Neomycin, Neomycin Liquid, Neomycin Sulfate, Neo-Sol, Neosol, Neosol-Oral, Neovet
oxytetracycline Agrimycin, Citratet, Medamycin, Oxymarine, Oxymycin, Oxy-Sol, Oxytet, Oxytetracycline, Oxytetracycline HCL, Oxy WS, Pennox, Terramycin, Terra-Vet, Tetravet-CA, Tetroxy, Tetroxy Aquatic, Tetroxy HCA
penicillin Han-Pen, Penaqua Sol-G, Penicillin G Potassium, R-Pen, Solu-Pen
spectinomycin Spectam
sulfadimethoxine Agribon, Albon, Di-Methox, SDM, Sulfabiotic, Sulfadimethoxine, Sulfadived, Sulfamed-G, Sulforal, Sulfasol
sulfamethazine SMZ-Med, Sulfa, Sulmet
sulfaquinoxaline S.Q. Solution, Sulfa-Nox, Sulfaquinoxaline Sodium, Sulfaquinoxaline Solubilized, Sul-Q-Nox, Sulquin
tetracycline Duramycin, Polyotic, Solu/Tet, Solu-Tet, Supercycline, Terra-Vet, Tet, Tetra-Bac, Tetracycline, Tetracycline Hydrochloride, Tetramed, Tetra-Sal, Tetrasol, Tet-Sol, TC Vet

“Note: apramycin, carbomycin/oxytetracycline*, chlortetracycline/sulfamethazine*, streptomycin, sulfachloropyrazine, sulfachlorpyridazine, and sulfamerazine/sulfamethazine/sulfaquinoxaline* are expected to transition to Rx status, but are not marketed at this time. If they return to the market after January 1, 2017, they will require a prescription from a veterinarian.”

If you look at the list above, you’ll see no mention of the common aquarium/avian antibiotics used in the pet industry. Fish-Mox (Amoxicillin) is not included in the list. Neither is doxycycline, metronidazole, nor others that I’ve recommended for disaster storage. Some first-generation drugs, like Penicillin and Tetracycline, are mentioned but not any of the proprietary names related to the ornamental trade. That doesn’t mean that they might not include them at some point. As the earliest antibiotics, they have been subject to significant resistance, and might not be the best choices for survival storage in any case.

At present, Thomas Labs, one of the largest distributors of fish and bird antibiotics for the pet trade, has not visibly changed any of its policies regarding sale of these products. Their labeling clearly states “Not for Human Use”, and many sites that sell their products  include this statement:

“…Thomas Labs sources it’s (sic) antibiotics from the same USP grade manufacturing as antibiotics used for humans, but we and Thomas Labs are not doctors and do not deal in human health problems, or prescription medications.  Only a doctor can correctly prescribe antibiotics for specific need in humans.  We strongly discourage anyone who wants to take Fish Antibiotics for themselves…”

It seems clear that the Veterinary Feed Directive considers livestock and not hobby fish and birds to be the highest priority targets. If they did,  the pet trade might cease to exist.

The Veterinary Feed Directive may, indeed, decrease the incidence of bacterial resistance in the U.S. So will the wise use of antibiotics by the nation’s physicians. Hopefully, one day food livestock will be raised antibiotic-free; some companies are already taking this step.

From a preparedness standpoint, I still believe that having antibiotics in your medical kit will save lives in a long-term disaster or survival setting. The ones I have written about over the years are still available, at least for the time being; those medically responsible in times of trouble will find them to be useful tools in the medical woodshed.

 

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Joe Alton, MD is a physician, author, and medical preparedness writer for disaster and long-term survival scenarios where medical help is not available for the foreseeable future. For more information on these and other topics, see the Altons’ #1 Amazon bestseller “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for when Medical Help is Not on the Way“.

New Bad Outcomes For Zika Newborns?

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arthrogryposis clubfoot

arthrogryposis (deformed joints)

As we continue to learn more about the effects of Zika on the newborn, a new series of abnormalities are making clear the implications of infection for pregnant women.

 

Zika is a member of the Flavivirus family that includes Yellow Fever, West Nile, and other mosquito-borne illness. The main concern is Zika’s predilection for attacking brain cells, causing some infected fetuses to have poor brain development and head size. The condition, known as microcephaly, can cause lifelong disabilities costing millions of dollars in care over a lifetime.

 

Now, a new study from researchers in Brazil suggests that Zika causes damage to other nerve cells as well. Seven babies born with microcephaly were studied. Six of these were found to also have a rare condition called “arthrogryposis”.

 

Usually seen in only one of 3000 births, arthrogryposis causes multiple malformed, stiff joints. The abnormalities may be caused, not by damage to the joints themselves, but by weak nerves that don’t allow passion flexion and extension during the pregnancy. The joint then becomes fixed and deformed, a condition known as a “contracture”.

 

Damage to the nerves that control vision and hearing are also thought to occur as a result of Zika infection in the womb.

 

The news comes as the 25th case of locally-transmitted Zika infection is reported in South Florida, where warm weather allows a robust population of Aedes mosquitoes, the species most associated with transmission of the disease. State health officials also announced 14 new cases of travel-related Zika, bringing the total in Florida to 382, of which 57 are pregnant women.

 

Aerial spraying of an area north of Downtown Miami is the latest effort on the part of the state of Florida to combat spread. Storm drains are also being targeted as possible hotspots for mosquito breeding activity. Although the insecticide Naled appears to be lowering the mosquito count in traps set in the neighborhood, it is also a possible danger to honeybees and other natural pollinators.

 

A separate local case was reported further north in Palm Beach County, but it’s uncertain at present whether it represents the beginning of a second outbreak.

 

In other news, a baby born in Texas has died from Zika-related complications, including microcephaly.

 

Despite the concern of health officials about the virus, a recent WaPo-ABC News poll finds that less than half of Floridians and Texans consider themselves worried about Zika. Apathy may stem from the fact that the acute illness itself is mild, with only 20 per cent reporting symptoms such as fever, joint pain, rashes, and sometimes, red eyes. Another factor may be that Zika is mostly a major issue only for pregnant women or couples that are considering pregnancy.

 

Protecting against mosquitoes is just common sense. In addition to Zika, West Nile virus, Yellow Fever, Dengue fever, and other diseases are risky. Wearing light-colored, long pants and sleeves while outside and using mosquito repellent is good policy.

 

EPA-approved products contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. When using mosquito repellent, don’t forget to:

  • Only use small amounts, but reapply if you’re sweating heavily, swimming, or outside for extended periods.
  • If you’re using sunscreen and mosquito repellent, apply the sunscreen first. Wait 20 minutes before applying mosquito repellent.
  • Avoid spraying near eyes and mouth; spray on your hands and apply. Do the same for children.
  • Avoid applying on cuts or areas of skin inflammation.
  • Wash the repellent off treated skin once you’ve gone inside; especially, wash your hands before touching food.

 

DEET, the most common ingredient, should not be used in infants 2 months old or younger.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

CDC Expands Zika Guidelines

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zika virus

CDC: Females can transmit Zika

In a recent update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now state that Zika virus is transmissible through any type of sexual activity that involves exposure to genital secretions. Previously thought to be sexually transmitted by males to their partners, a recent case in New York City showed that the infection could be passed from a female to a male.

Zika virus carries a risk of severe birth abnormalities in a fetus when infection occurs during a pregnancy. Chief among these is microcephaly, a condition where head growth is decreased as a result of damage to brain tissue. The virus is responsible for at least 1600 abnormal newborns in Brazil and 12 in the United States.

The significance of the new findings regarding sexual transmission is that the population at risk for spreading Zika has now increased considerably. In a revamp of its official recommendations, the CDC now advises against unprotected sex with any person, male or female, who has traveled to or lives in an area with Zika. This includes female-female through vaginal secretions as well as male-male through seminal fluid.

The CDC also released new data that suggests Zika may exist in a pregnant woman for longer than the week or so previously thought. Testing should be performed up to two weeks from exposure or the appearance of symptoms. The CDC stated, “”Expanding the use of the Zika-specific test could provide more women with Zika virus infection a definite diagnosis and help direct medical evaluation and care.”

The CDC also recommended testing all pregnant women in at-risk areas or with possible Zika exposure. These include Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and IgM antibody studies. Previously only available at the National Institute of Health, CDC, and certain state labs, Zika tests are now more widely available through state and commercial labs.

Acute Zika virus infection causes mild symptoms (fever, rash, joint aches, red eyes) in 20 per cent of cases, but 80 per cent show no symptoms at all. While this fact may appear comforting to some, it means that there is the possibility that an asymptomatic pregnant woman may not learn she was infected until her fetus is found to be abnormal on obstetric ultrasound. Often, serial ultrasounds over time are needed; confirmation of an abnormal head growth pattern may not occur until late in the pregnancy.

Official CDC recommendations for those planning to get pregnant in the near future are as follows: “Women who have Zika virus disease should wait at least 8 weeks after symptom onset to attempt conception, and men with Zika virus disease should wait at least 6 months after symptom onset to attempt conception.” The longer period for men reflects that ability of the virus to remain active in seminal fluid for three months or more.

Zika virus is also thought to be transmissible through blood transfusions and even menstrual blood. A case in Utah where a family caregiver contracted the infection suggests that handling bodily fluids, such as blood, urine, or feces might be a risk factor.

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Aedes mosquito

Despite this, the grand majority of infections occur due to bites from infected mosquitoes. Controlling mosquito populations by draining standing water and other methods is considered the most effective way of decreasing Zika cases in an area. Individuals should wear loose, light-colored clothing and use mosquito repellent whenever outside in at-risk areas.

Expect CDC guidelines regarding Zika virus infection to change as more is known about the Zika virus.

Joe Alton, MD

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Joe Alton

 

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Snakebite, Bee Sting, Heat Waves, Zika in the US?

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bee stinger in a sting wound

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD (Dr. Bones) and Amy Alton, ARNP (Nurse Amy) tackles a bunch of topics. First, new cases of Zika in Florida may not be related to travel outside the country. Until now, all cases were from people who returned from the epidemic zone in the Caribbean and Latin America. Puerto Rico now has 4000 cases, almost all locally transmitted, and the CDC thinks we’ll have some clusters of local cases in the continental U.S. as well.

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snakebite wound

Also, summer is here and a murderous heat wave has gripped the Nation’s East, Midwest, and Southwest, causing at least 6 deaths and cause the heat index to feel like 100 degrees or more in locations that are used to much milder weather. Heat stroke is a major risk and you need to know how to identify and treat it.

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the “heat dome”

Plus, out in the woods you’ll encounter a lot of critters. Last week, we talked about bites and attacks from warm furry ones, this weeks it’s snakes and bees/wasps. Learn all the latest about how to deal with a snakebite when modern medical help is not available, plus how to use an epi-pen to treat severe allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock.

All this and more on the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton! To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/07/25/survival-medicine-hour-snakebite-bee-stings-zika-in-the-us-heat-waves

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

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The Altons

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Expert Charley Hogwood, Cinnamon, Antibiotics, Alligators

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Charley Hogwood, Survival Group expert

In this topic-packed episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP, survival group expert and author Charley Hogwood joins us to talk about survival group dynamics as well a number of other issues that may affect your chances for survival in the uncertain future. Also, Nurse Amy talks about one of her favorite herbs, Cinnamon, and its medical uses and Dr. Alton discusses an unusual subject, driven by recent news: Alligator attacks, what to do and some common-sense prevention strategies. He also brings you up to date with the Zika epidemic ramping up in Puerto Rico, and the 3 infants born with Zika-related deformities in the United States. Finally, Dr. Alton discusses antibiotics while answering a question from a listener of the popular Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko. Dr. Alton serves as the medical expert on Jack’s Expert Council.

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image by pixabay.com

Plus, doctors say 1 in 5 trauma victims’ death are preventable. Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy discuss why and what could be done to increase your chances of surviving a mass casualty incident.

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/06/20/survival-medicine-hour-expert-charley-hogwood-cinnamon-antibiotcs-alligators

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

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Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

Survival Medicine Hour: Jack Spirko 2, Zika Triples, Dental Issues

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Jack Spirko and Joe Alton, MD

Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast returns to complete his interview with Dr. Bones on the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton. Also, an introduction to dental preparedness, plus what items you might consider for your survival dental kit.

Many of our readers and listeners are surprised to hear us talking about dental issues. Indeed, few who are otherwise medically prepared seem to devote much time to dental health. Poor dental health, however, can cause issues that affect the work efficiency of members of your group in survival settings. When your people are not at 100% effectiveness, your chances for survival decrease.

History tells us that problems with teeth take up a significant portion of the medic’s patient load. In the Vietnam War, medical personnel noted that fully half of those who reported to daily sick call came with dental complaints.  In a long-term survival situation, you certainly will find yourself as dentist as well as nurse or doctor.

Plus, cases of Zika Virus more than triple among pregnant women in the U.S. Still no locally transmitted cases, but the CDC predicts they’ll arrive in the heat of summer, when mosquitoes are out in force. All this and more in this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour.

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/05/23/survival-medicine-hour-dental-issues-zika-triples-jack-spirko

 

Wishing you the best of heath in good times OR bad,

 

 

Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP

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Check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits, from her bleeding control kit to the Stomp Supreme, at her store at

store.doomandbloom.net

Survival Medicine Hour: Zika Death, Reporters and Prepper Events, More

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Disasters happen, whether reporters believe it or not

The U.S, records its first Zika death in an elderly man from Puerto Rico, where 700 cases have been confirmed and thousands more suspected. The mainland U.S. hasn’t been immune either: 93 cases so far in Florida and 77 in New York (no subtropical climate but still a home for the Aedes mosquito). They explore how politics is infecting the Zika debate over funding, and holding up appropriations for mosquito control just as warm weather is arriving in the U.S, Their new book “The Zika Virus Handbook” is an all-you-need-to-know about Zika virus, and now available at Amazon.com. It’s the only book (far as we can tell) on the subject written by a physician.

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Zika Virus Handbook

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that prepper events, like the ones Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy are speaking at as of this writing are in “the business of fear”. If that’s the case, are car insurance salespeople also in the business of fear? How about health insurance plan and Obamacare? Our hosts discuss how insurance takes many forms, and tangible items like food and medical supplies might just be another form of it. Also, is it fear or common sense that drives a small percentage of the population to take measures to be prepared for disasters? Who are the crazy ones, “preppers” or the general population who scramble to the supermarket and empty shelves in a frenzy before a big storm? You decide.

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All this and more on the latest episode of The Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP.

 

To listen in, click below:

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/05/02/survival-medicine-hour-zika-death-reporters-and-prepper-expos-more

 

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

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Survival Medicine Hour: New Normal, Zika Handbook, More

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Joe and Amy Alton announce their latest book, “The Zika Virus Handbook“! It’s the first book on everything you need to know about the infection written by an MD. It’s concise at 138 pages, but still way more information than the other books on Amazon. You’ll find out how to identify, prevent, and treat the disease, all about the mosquito that transmits it, and every measure you can take to protect your family. You’ll also hear about what our government is doing about it, plus some alternative theories about why so many cases are occurring on this side of the Atlantic. Zika’s this year’s pandemic, and with warm weather approaching, you should know about it.

Also, are people who prepare for disasters normal? Are “normal” people who don’t prepare for disasters normal? Well, in the New Normal, they might be, but normal sure doesn’t mean “sane”. Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy discuss the difference between “normal” and “sane” and why it’s even more important, given recent events, for people to wake up and get together knowledge and supplies that might help in times of trouble.

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17-year Cicada

Also, it’s time for the 17 year cicadas to come out! Will it be a plague of biblical proportions, and do you have anything to worry about? All this and more on the Survival Medicine Hour with Doom and Bloom’s Joe Alton, MD, and Amy Alton, ARNP.

To lIsten in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/04/24/survival-medicine-hour-the-new-normal-zika-handbook-more

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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The Zika Virus Handbook

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Warm weather is on the way, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that we can expect more case of Zika virus in the United States this summer. Indeed, the Aedes mosquito which transmits the virus seems to have expanded its range to include 30 U.S. states, up from 12 in the last survey. The Aedes mosquito (Aedes is Greek for “unpleasant”) is now found as far North as New York.

 

Until now, Zika cases have all be traced to those who have traveled to the epidemic zone in South and Central America, with a number also identified in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean countries. The CDC, however, believes that there will be locally-transmitted clusters of Zika in various areas in the U.S.

 

We keep a close eye on pandemic diseases, and it looks like Zika virus is the one to watch out for this year. As such, we have researched everything that the average citizen should know about it: How to identify it, how to prevent it, and what the treatment options are.

 

As an obstetrician in a previous life, Joe Alton, MD is especially interested in a disease that can affect, sometimes disastrously, newborn babies. But it does more than that; Zika has been associated with nervous system disorders, like Guillain-Barre syndrome, that can cause, sometimes permanent, paralysis.

 

THE ZIKA VIRUS HANDBOOK

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He’s put it all down on paper in his new book The Zika Virus Handbook. Like his 2014 book on Ebola virus, the book has everything you need to know about the infection, and it’s all written in plain English.

 

“The Zika Virus Handbook” explains all you need to know about the epidemic in a calm, no-nonsense fashion. The book gives a solid plan of action that can be easily followed in a concise guide. All this from a physician that has decades of experience as an obstetrician, and whose mission is to put a medically prepared person in every family for any disaster. In fact, it’s the only book on Zika written by a physician that’s spent his life caring for pregnancies and who is well-known in the field of disaster and epidemic preparedness.

 

The book also outlines other pandemic diseases, past and present, and discusses way to control the Aedes mosquito, which transmits the disease through its bite.

 

Like many pandemic diseases, many controversial theories abound about why Zika has become a threat, and you’ll find these and commentary on their plausibility in “The Zika Virus Handbook”.

 

There’s no need to panic about Zika virus. The CDC stops short of predicting an epidemic in the U.S. But it’s affected 64 countries so far, and it only makes sense to learn about any disease that could affect your family’s health.

 

You can find the book at Amazon.com, and be sure to keep an eye on Joe Alton, MD’s website at www.doomandbloom.net for regular updates.

 

 

Amy Alton, ARNP

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