Allergies: What You Need To Know, Pt. 1

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allergies: What You Need To Know

Allergies are reactions caused by a hypersensitivity of the immune system to a substance ingested or in the environment (an “allergen”). These substances may cause little or no effect in most people, but a percentage of the population may experience significant symptoms that can affect quality of life, or even threaten life itself.

A SHORT HISTORY OF ALLERGIES

If you told a doctor a little more than a hundred years ago that you had an allergy, he/she wouldn’t recognize the word. “Allergy” was coined in 1906 by an Austrian pediatrician and immunologist named Clemens Von Pirquet. The word is derived from the Greek allos meaning “other” and ergon meaning “reaction”.

 

Von Pirquet and his associates noted that certain people who received a variety of smallpox vaccine had more severe reactions than most. Another scientist, Charles Mantoux, used this knowledge to develop a test for tuberculosis where an allergic skin reaction to a substance isolated from the microbe revealed previous exposure. A form of this test is still used today.

The worst allergic reaction, known as anaphylactic shock, was discovered by a french physiologist Charles Richet, who with his partner Dr. Paul Portier, injected the venom of a sea anemone into a number of dogs. Hoping to find some substance that would protect humans (called prophylaxis) from jellyfish stings, they instead found that a second injection killed many of the dogs. Since this was the opposite of protection, they termed it anaphylaxis.

HOW ALLERGENS CAUSE REACTIONS

Common allergens to which people are exposed include pollens, metals, insect stings, medications, and certain foods. There are also internal factors such as age, sex, race, and family history. How do these all combine to cause the physical symptoms of an allergy?

Put simply, an immune reaction against an allergen occurs when it’s encountered for the first time; let’s say it’s a bee sting. Cells in the body called “T-cells” identify the bee venom and interact with other cells called “B cells”. The B cells, in turn, produce certain antibodies called “IgE”. IgE attaches to the surface of cells called “basophils” and “mast cells”. These cells are now “sensitized” to the venom. No physical effects are usually noticed at the time by the victim beyond the sting itself.

When a second exposure to the allergen occurs, however, it’s a different story. The sensitized mast cells and basophils are activated and produce a large amount of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals. The flood of these into the system can cause possibly severe physical reactions.

SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGIES

bee

Toxin Allergies

Allergies may appear in various forms, from mild to life-threatening. These conditions include hay fever, food allergies, local skin reactions (called “atopic dermatitis”), drug/toxin reactions, and allergic asthma. Common symptoms include red eyes, itching, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, and swelling. In the worst situations, a body-wide reaction called “anaphylaxis” causes rashes, major swelling, and difficulty breathing to the point of suffocation.

Hay Fever:  Hay fever is a (usually) seasonal reaction to high pollen counts in the air from certain plants. People with hay fever won’t likely have a fever, but they will have sneezing from a runny, clogged nose, red, itchy, watery eyes and “postnasal drip”, a condition where a cough is caused when mucus runs down the throat from the back of the nose.

Different grasses, trees, and flowering plants will release pollens at different times of the year, and it is often difficult to identify what allergen is causing the symptoms.  Skin “patch”, scratch, or blood tests may determine if a particular substance is causing the sensitivity.

Atopic Dermatitis: Most people who have atopic dermatitis have had allergies before or a family member with similar problems such as hay fever or asthma. Common allergens include animal dander, dust mites, exposure to certain foods, stress, and dry, cold weather.

The condition usually starts with itchy, dry skin.. Scratching causes inflammation, swelling, and redness, and may initiate an infection in the area. Small, oozy blisters sometimes occur that crust over with time. Although mild versions cover small areas and are improved with lotions, severe versions require more intense therapy.

Rashes may recur over the same area time and again, leading to toughened, thick skin that appears darker than other areas. These areas are usually on the scalp and cheeks of infants but may be seen on the baby’s knees or elbows. Other areas may be affected with age, such as the ankles, wrists, legs, the buttocks, and the nape of the neck.

Food Allergies: Four or five percent of the population is allergic to some kind of food. In children, eggs, milk and peanuts are often responsible; in adults, shellfish, nuts from trees (for example, walnuts), milk and eggs are common triggers to a reaction. It should be noted that an allergy to milk is different that intolerance caused by a deficiency of the enzyme needed to digest it (otherwise known as “lactose intolerance”.

Drug Allergies: A drug allergy is caused after repeated exposure to a medicine. Some of the most common include Penicillins, Sulfa Drugs, non-synthetic Insulins, seizure meds, and those containing iodine.

Drug allergies are often confused with what are called “adverse reactions”. An adverse reaction is a known ill effect that can occur with the use of a medication. For example, if a drug is known to cause nausea in some patients, that is considered an adverse reaction as opposed to an allergy.

Despite this, many will report an allergy to a particular drug to their healthcare provider. Some of the reasons that people will write “allergic” on their medical interview sheet include:

  • The drug causes symptoms that makes them feel unwell.
  • A family member has a history of an allergy to the drug, and they assume that the same goes for them.
  • An incident in their childhood resembled an allergic reaction, so better safe than sorry.
  • Negative comments online or elsewhere cause reluctance to take the medicine.
  • Philosophically opposed to a particular type of drug (antibiotics, psychotropics).
  • An actual allergy.

Note that a true allergy is placed last on this list; the World Allergy Association reports that less than 10% of reactions to medications are actually allergies caused by an immune response. Most symptoms that people get after taking medicine are, instead, adverse or “side” effects. It may not always be easy to tell the difference, but a true drug allergy will show immune-mediated symptoms such as hives, itchy skin or eyes, rashes, lip and tongue swelling, and wheezing. Blood pressure may drop precipitously in some cases.

Toxin Allergies: It’s common to have local redness, discomfort, itching and swelling when a toxin, such as bee venom, is introduced into the body. Your immune system, however, may respond strongly in the form of an allergy. Common insects involved are bees, wasps, hornets, and fire ants.

When the immune system gets involved, the reactions may be more severe, with hives, redness and swelling affecting large areas of skin. Swelling may extend to the tongue, throat, lips, and elsewhere. Stomach upset, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea are common. The effects may take days to completely resolve.

DRUG TREATMENT OF ALLERGY SYMPTOMS

Allergies, when mild, are treated with medications that help relieve the specific symptoms.

Antihistamines in oral, intranasal and ophthalmic (eye drop) form are useful to deal with the sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes associated with hay fever. Nasal decongestants like oral pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and the nasal spray oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan) are useful drugs to have in the medicine cabinet. It should be noted, however, that the nasal sprays are addictive when used for more than three days. That is, if you stop using them, your nose will become stuffy again.

Others like diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may help, but are prone to causing drowsiness in higher doses. Longer term therapy with intranasal steroids like Atrovent (ipratropium) or NasalCrom (cromolyn sodium) is another option. These drugs are best for long term therapy, however, as the effects are not felt immediately.

In the worst cases, epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) is necessary as an injectable to improve symptoms that affect the entire body. A future article will discuss this type of event in detail.

NATURAL TREATMENT OF ALLERGY SYMPTOMS

neti-pot

Neti Pot

Many experience relief from allergies when they use an item known as a “Neti pot” to relieve congestion and pressure. The Neti pot essentially looks like a version of Alladin’s lamp, and allows the delivery of sterile solutions into the nasal cavity.

Neti pots work by thinning out mucus. The hairs in the nose, called “cilia” are aided in their attempts to eliminate mucus and allergens by the flushing action of the sterile saline solution delivered by the Neti Pot.

Some may have doubts about the effectiveness of the Neti Pot, but research backs up the benefits of nasal “irrigation” to relieve some allergy symptoms. Nasal irrigation via a Neti Pot may help decrease the need for drugs.

One concern related to Neti pots, however, is the importance of ensuring that you are using sterile solution when you irrigate. Non-sterile solutions, even tap water, may transmit infections directly into the body; two deaths in Louisiana were attributed to Neti pot use of contaminated water. Neti pots also must be washed after every use, as you would wash your dishes after every meal.

A natural remedy getting some serious attention lately is Butterbur. In a recent British Medical Joural study, butterbur extract (ZE 339) four times daily equaled the effects of a popular antihistamine–without causing drowsiness!

Goldenseal, Nettles, Resveratrol, Quercetin, and Vitamin C as well as saline spray may be helpful. Ragweed sufferers, however, should realize that some plants commonly used in herbal remedies, like Chamomile and Echinacea, might cross-react in hay fever sufferers to make symptoms worse.

You might be surprised to know that acupuncture has some evidence for effectiveness against certain allergies. acupuncture. Based on the idea that stimulating certain points on the body can cause effects inside, a study of 26 hay fever patients found in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine and described in WebMD appeared to improve symptoms in all without adverse effects. Another experiment eliminated allergic symptoms in half the patients studied.

Allergies can be nuisances or they can be life-threatening. In situations where we might spend a larger part of our day outdoors, as in survival, it’s important to know the signs, symptoms, and treatments when our immune systems go into overload.

Joe Alton MD

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Joe Alton, MD

Hey, Find out more about allergies and over 150 other medical topics in times of trouble with our 700 page third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way. And for your medical storage, there’s no better place to get a good medical kit than at Nurse Amy’s store!

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Allergies, pt.2, Water Issues

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water

Safe Water

The Survival Medicine Hour this week, with your hosts, Joe Alton MD, aka Dr. Bones, and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy, discusses water pollutants and part 2 of the series on Allergies. Your hosts request feedback on the show and other topics you may like to hear in future episode. They would also like to have any suggestions you might have about outdoor sport or activity first aid supplies and what you might experience as first aid incidents during those activities. Write to drbonespodcast@aol.com anytime!

 

Water contaminants are many and are reviewed in this episode. A guest post at https://www.doomandbloom.net/guest-post-10-things-you-didnt-know-were-in-your-drinking-water/ , by Jennifer Moran from https://theberkey.com/ is discussed and expanded upon in detail. Pollutants like lead, fluoride, BPA (Bisphenol A), iron and arsenic are just a few covered during this show.

 

In this part 2 series on allergies, Dr. Alton reviews a few allergies from the last show and continues with drug allergies, atopic dermatitis, food allergies, and toxin allergies. Helpful medications that relieve specific symptoms can include Afrin (beware of too much, and you will learn why), antihistamines, and oral meds.  A few natural remedies to relieve symptoms, like a Neti Pot, are reviewed. One important hint when using a Neti Pot, always make sure the water or saline is a sterile solution, or you could get sick from the contaminated solution.

 

To Listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/02/10/survival-medicine-hour-water-pollutants-allergies-pt2

 

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

 

Amy and Joe Alton

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Amy Alton, ARNP

 

Learn about allergies, water safety, and 150 more topics in off-grid settings with the 700 page Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way. You’ll be glad you added it to your survival library.

 

Hey! Like board games? Well, check out our fun survival board game SURVIVAL! at survivalboardgame.com!

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Doom and Bloom’s SURVIVAL! board game unboxed

Guest Post: 10 Things You Didn’t Know Were in Your Drinking Water

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water

What’s in your water?

 

(Dr. Bones says: From time to time, we accept submissions from promising writers in the field of preparedness. Today’s post comes from TheBerkey.com’s social media manager Jennifer Moran. In this article, Jennifer discusses some substances that you might not expect to be in your drinking water. Thanks to Jennifer for her submission.)

 

The most common substance in this world is water and therefore it is essential that we could say by default it is greatly important! We learned that only 1% of the Earth’s water is suitable for drinking, 97% of it is ocean or sea and where does the 2% go? It is unusable, it’s frozen. Now, we always wanted what is best and safe for our drinking water. As a matter of fact, Americans drink more than a billion glasses of tap water per day.

 

Your day has been sluggish and you die to drink that glass of water even from the tap just to quench you. But do you really know if whether or not it’s secure for your family? Or let me be more direct, do you even bother to know what’s on it? No matter how we can say that that water is clean by just basing it from your bare naked eyes, there are things in there that might not be good for you.

 

Here are some surprising substances that you didn’t know might be in your drinking water.

 

 1. Lead

Just like any stubborn bad guy, this colorless, odorless and tasteless metal can leach from lead pipes and plumbing fixtures will definitely go undetected.  Excessive amounts of lead place adults at higher risk for cancer, stroke, kidney disease, memory problems and high blood pressure. At even greater risk are children, whose rapidly growing bodies absorb lead more quickly and efficiently. Just because your home is less than 20 years old doesn’t necessarily mean you’re lead-free. Just ask the people of Flint, Michigan.

 

2. Fluoride

Fluoride develops naturally in water; though rarely at the optimal level to protect teeth. Many assume that consuming fluoride is only an issue that involves your dental health. But according to a 500-page scientific review, fluoride is an endocrine disruptor that can affect your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland and even your blood sugar levels. More people drink fluoridated water in the US alone than in the rest of the world combined. In Western Europe, for instance, 97% of the population drinks non-fluoridated water. Adding fluoride is definitely a forced medication.

 

3. Iron and Manganese

Iron and Manganese are non-hazardous elements but can be a nuisance to your drinking water. They are similar metals and can cause similar problems: offensive taste, appearance, and staining. When the water is aerated they are oxidized, which creates significant discoloration and turbidity. Iron is frequently found in water supplies. Manganese is often found in water that contains iron.

 

4. Perchlorate

Perchlorate is a man-made chemical primarily used in the production of rocket fuel, missiles, fireworks, flares, and explosives. It has been found in drinking water and surface waters in the United States (at least 26 states) and Canada. Although it is a strong oxidant, perchlorate is very persistent in the environment. At high concentrations perchlorate can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone.

 

5. Bisphenol A

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an important chemical building block and additive in a wide variety of plastics. It is manufactured worldwide for approximately 3.2 million metric tons/year. This can be found in some plastic water bottles and the dangerous part is that it can leach into food and drinks. According to National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, it may acquire health risks, especially to infants and children. One good thing: there are quite a number of BPA-free bottles that are available now. However, you still have to be extra careful: NPR reports that some BPA-free plastics may leach unwanted chemicals into your water when exposed to sunlight, microwaves or dishwashers.

 

6. Arsenic

Arsenic is a natural element that is tasteless and odorless; you wouldn’t be able to distinguish that it’s in your water. It is found widely in the earth’s crust and may be found in some drinking water supplies, including wells. Research shows that exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause health effects, even cancer.

 

Bacteria rods

bacterial contamination

7. Pathogens

Bacteria are a natural part of life; in fact, there are many forms and functions of bacteria we couldn’t live without. Coliform bacteria may not cause disease but can be indicators of pathogenic organisms that cause serious diseases. It can cause intestinal infections, dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid fever, cholera, and other illnesses. Luckily, these pathogens are much better controlled today than they once were. We just have to be practical on having our water tested but definitely the best strategy is to get rid of these pathogens.

 

8. Agricultural chemicals

Agriculture is heavily dependent on fertilizers and pesticides that boost crop production. The major contaminant here is nitrate, found in both fertilizer and animal waster. Nitrates and other chemicals end up in our water resources, and can cause health risks. One example is methemoglobinemia, sometimes called “Blue-Baby syndrome”, in those infants under 3 months of age that are bottle-fed.

 

9. Chlorine

Chlorine is effective as a disinfecting treatment in killing off most microorganisms in the water. As a matter of fact, it is a powerful oxidant added to the water by several municipal water systems to control these microbes.  While learning that the United States has one of the safest water supplies in the world because of this disinfecting agent, it is also appropriate to check it once in a while. It can be absorbed through physical consumption as well as through your skin while bathing and can severely dry skin and hair. It can also cause irritating effects to your eyes and nose.

 

10. Mercury

This silvery heavy metal can be found in various natural deposits. Mercury can flow into water supplies from improperly discarded devices containing it, as runoff from landfills & farm land, dumped by factories, or from natural deposits. With this being said, this extremely toxic liquid metal must be precaution in handling or disposing of it. Being exposed to high levels of mercury over time can cause kidney damage.

 

 

Water can be purified of many contaminants if treatment facilities are available, but supplies must be monitored so that contaminants can be properly identified in the first place. The safest way to ensure that these toxins do not make it into your body is to have your water tested to determine which contaminants your tap water may contain. Once you have identified the contaminants present, you can select a water filtration solution that is best for you.

 

Jennifer Moran

(When she isn’t glued to a laptop screen, Jennifer spends time playing tennis, practicing yoga, and trying very hard not to fall sleep during meditation classes. If you have questions for Jennifer, contact her at Jennifer@theberkey.com.)

 

 

13 Tips on Surviving a Protest

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closed fist protest

Anti-Free Speech?

As a Free Speech advocate, I support the people’s right to protest and make their opinions heard. Unfortunately, demonstrations in the U.S. these days are becoming more frequent and violent. From what I saw happen at UC-Berkeley, I expect them to become more extreme as times goes on.

 
I haven’t been at a protest since the Vietnam era, and that was just on the way to class. Back then, I was fit enough to hightail it out of there when the pepper gas flew. However, there is so much civil unrest in the news these days that it’s a good idea to have a riot survival strategy, whether you’re involved or just a bystander. It goes without saying that your objective should be to stay away from the where the violence is occurring.

 
Of course, if you walk smack dab into a demonstration, things can get dicey pretty fast. I’ve written a lot about situational awareness, and that mindset will serve you well. Here are some simple tips that will help you avoid injury at a protest:

 
1. Always be in a state of “Yellow Alert”. Yellow alert simply means being aware of your surroundings and the people around you. When people are behaving strangely, take note and avoid them.
2. Always mentally map out routes of escape as you walk along. Where’s the nearest side street? Is there a building or subway entrance that will get you off the street? If you don’t know the area, move away to where you know the lay of the land.

 
3. If you have to make your way through the crowd, stay on the fringes. Don’t get caught in the masses of people surging away (or towards) the violence. If you do, they are deciding your movements, not you.

 
4. Avoid confrontation with protesters. In other words, take off your “Make American Great Again” hat if it’s an anti-Trump demonstration. At Berkeley, things like this got women pepper-sprayed and men beaten.

 
5. Have a bandanna handy. This essential survival supply isn’t a gas mask, per se, but it works at riots when tear gas is sprayed. Some advocate the soaking of the cloth with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Avoid black bandannas, though; at Berkeley, organized masked “ninjas” in black caused most of the damage. You don’t want to be confused with one of these people.

 
6. Wear sneakers or other footwear that will allow you the most mobility. The only women wearing heals are reporters. Make sure you’re well-clothed so that your skin is protected. You’ll need to wash clothes thoroughly that have been exposed to tear gas, or throw them away.

 
7. Be aware of the movement of law enforcement officers, but don’t approach them. Their job is tough enough, and they won’t be able to hear you above the roar of the crowd.

 
8. Don’t run if you can help it. Unless everyone else is running, you will attract unwanted attention. Walk fast and purposefully around a corner, to higher ground, or other safe spot.

 
9. Be inconspicuous. This may be difficult if you’re 6 foot 7 inches tall, but otherwise, do you best to be “the gray man”.

 
10. If you’re with friends, stay together. If you can’t, agree on a meeting place beforehand in case you get separated moving through the crowd.

 
11. Avoid being caught against walls, fences, blockades, or other solid objects. People can get crushed by masses of protesters.

 
12. Carry some water, milk, or diluted liquid antacid (like Maalox) in a container if you know you’re heading into a protest area. If sprayed with tear gas, move quickly into an area of fresh air and pour the liquid on your face (especially your eyes). Drink it if sprayed in the mouth. Milk or liquid antacid are thought by some to work better than water, but there’s no hard data one way or another. The effects of the tear gas will resolve over a relatively short time in most cases.

 
13. If you’re involved in a protest, carry a basic medical kit that will help to treat injuries and stop bleeding.

 
It’s likely you’ll never get caught in civil unrest, but having a solid plan of action in these troubled times just makes common sense. We must be prepared for man-made disasters just as we should be prepared for hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

 

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones

Survival Medicine Hour: Protest Survival, Capsizing, Allergies, Pt.1

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closed fist protest

Surviving a Protest

The Survival Medicine Hour with your hosts Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy discuss Protest Safety, How to survive a capsized boat or cold water immersion, and part one of a series on allergies. Our website https://www.doomandbloom.net/ is a source for these and other topics.

 

Getting caught in the middle of the crowd in the frenzy of protesting could be dangerous, especially if you are wearing anything that identifies you as their “enemy., Knowing how to extricate yourself and be the “gray man” can help you stay safe. Don’t approach lines of police officers in riot gear, they are focused on getting the crowd under control and could mistake you for a rioter. Try to stay with friends and escape as quickly as possible. Many more tips!

H.E.L.P.

Strategies for capsized boats or other water immersion

 

If you find yourself in the water due to a capsized boat or other water incident. the first step is to try and stay calm. Always wear a life jacket if possible while boating, which enables you to stay warmer since you don’t have to kick or try to swim to keep your head above the water. If any debris is nearby, try to elevate some of your body out of the water. These and more mportant steps to take are presented in the show today.

 

In an introduction to allergies, an immune reaction against an allergen occurs when it is encountered the first time, and may cause little to no reaction at all. The second exposure to this allergen is when the allergic cascade of symptoms and reactions are seen. Allergic reactions may appear in various forms. Part one of this allergie series is discussed on today’s show.

 

All this and more in the Survival Medicine Hour! To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/02/03/survival-medicine-hour-protest-safety-capsize-allergies-pt1

 

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

 

Amy and Joe Alton

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Amy and Joe Alton

Survival Medicine Hour: Expiration Dates, Face Masks, More

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N95-Surgical-Mask

N95 mask

This episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, with your hosts, Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy, discusses the significance, or sometimes, the lack of significance of expiration dates when it comes to medicines in pills and tablets. Also, face masks as a medical supply, all you need to know about this important piece of medical protection. Also, some tips on medical storage of drugs.

Antibiotics

expiration dates

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/01/27/survival-medicine-hour-expiration-dates-masks-and-med-storage

 

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

Joe and Amy Alton

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joe and amy alton

Guardline GS-5000 Motion Detection Security System / APN Product Review

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Imagine a line of pickets that can pick up the approach of anything heading your way. That’s exactly what you have with the Guardline GL-5000 Motion Detecting Alarm System. This is a security system that is well worth it.

This product review was a walk in the park… actually a walk around the yard, testing the effective range of this rugged & versatile motion detector & programmable alarm system. The radio transponder motion detecting sensors easily covered the furthest reaches of my property, sending notice when movement was detected.

https://www.guardlinesecurity.com/apn
BUY NOW & SAVE 10% with coupon “APN”

Guardline,  a major name in home security systems, has answered the call for a motion detector system with greater range & greater expandability, & has done so in a practical, affordable way.

Operating in the UHF 900 Mhz. radio band, Guardline’s sensors lie in wait to detect movement. Each censor able to be set up with different sensitivity, detected rate of movement, as well as scheduled time of operation. You can configure each one to match it’s location & need of coverage. With up to quarter mile range to the receiver, a sensor can alert you of movement, several minutes before anything could come close.

Made of high impact ABS Plastic in flat OD Green color, each sealed, battery powered sensor, blends into an outdoor setting & operates undetected day & night. The sensor comes with mounting screws for walls & fence posts, but I found it handy to use tie-straps for temporary mounting. The sensors weigh not much more than the 4 AA batteries it holds, so deploying these sensors tactically is a not a problem at all.

But here’s where the GL-5000 stands apart. The central receiver is programmable, with 4 monitoring zones, each able to monitor 4 separate sensors. That means you can deploy up to 16 sensors, & the receiver can keep track of each one.  You can assign each sensor it’s own unique alert tone, so just by the sound you hear, you can know in an instant exactly where movement has been detected.

I noted several “choke-points” where anyone coming onto my property would have to pass. It was easy to install a sensor at each spot & give full coverage of the area. The furthest sensor was deep in the woods150 yards away. It was picked up by the desktop receiver.  I even went all out and walked way out off my property, to the end of the road over a block away, it still was received.  The Guardline GL-5000 is ideal for long range motion detection capability. And with batteries supplying power to the sensors, the system makes for great temporary deployed perimeter security.

My one hitch in the review was all by my doing. The sensor’s case is held together by four small brass screws, and I of course promptly dropped one as soon as I went to put batteries in the unit. I quickly found the dropped screw, but word to the wise, be careful with opening the sensors.

The number of batteries you invest in may be a burden if you have as many sensors the GL-5000 can handle…(16 units x 4 AA batteries each = 64 batteries), but rechargeable batteries are available which can minimize the burden. And if you’re like me, a solar powered charging system can easily be put together which can keep things topped off indefinitely. The upside is how the sensors can be programmed to “sleep” for set periods of the day or night, cutting down on battery use. The GL-5000 doesn’t come with connections to a computer or internet, however that’s another thing a whiz-kid tinkerer could figure out.

That all said, if you’re looking for a reliable, expandable & affordable way to guard for intruders Guardline’s GL-5000 system is more than capable. For Home Security I give it a big Thumb’s Up!

UPDATE: We don’t often offer product specials, but Guardline is offering 10%OFF on purchasing their products through this review. Use Coupon code “APN”. 
Offer expires Feb. 28th. 2017.

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Ordering Here  Supports further APN Reviews!

The post Guardline GS-5000 Motion Detection Security System / APN Product Review appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Video: Surviving a Building Fire

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wildfire21

Joe Alton, MD’s latest video discusses some tragic building fires, especially in public venues. He examines what happens in a fire, how fire behaves, and what you can do to increase your chances of surviving the conflagration.

 

To watch, click below:

 

 

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Find out more about house fires, wildfires, burns, and much more in Joe and Amy Alton’s Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, available at Amazon.

Car Survival in Winter

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carsinsnow

It’s predicted to be another harsh winter and, for most in the U.S., this means trouble if someone gets stuck out on the road during a blizzard or other extreme conditions. Hypothermia (the effects on the body from exposure to cold) may occur on the wilderness trail, but also right in the driver’s seat of the family car. It’s important to have a plan in case you are stranded in your vehicle.

 

Your Car

 

Winter conditions don’t just affect people, they affect cars as well. Cold affects rubber and metal; it even decreases the battery’s efficiency. Tires become stiff and flat for the first few hundred yards. Your oil and other lubricants become thicker at cold temperatures. This makes the engine work harder.

 

Therefore, vehicles that will be doing duty in extreme cold should be “winterized”. This involves switching to a lighter viscosity oil, changing to snow tires, and choosing the right (anti-freeze) ratio of coolant to water. Gas tanks should never be less than half full.

 

Your Life 

 

You’re not a bear, so you can’t hibernate through the cold weather; you’ll have to live in it, so take measures to avoid becoming a victim of it. Many deaths from exposure are avoidable if simple precautions are taken.

 

The first question you should ask before you get in the car in cold weather is: What’s the forecast? Is it possible that you’re driving straight into trouble? Checking the weather beforehand is a lot better than finding out about it on the road.

 

The second question should be: “Is this trip necessary?” If the answer is “no”, you should stay home. For most people that work, however, the answer is “yes”. If you have no choice but to hit the road during a winter storm, drive as if your life depends on it (because it does). Brush ice and snow off windshields, side mirrors, or anywhere your view might be blocked. Don’t speed, tailgate, or weave in and out of traffic. Make turns slowly and deliberately; avoid quick stops and starts.

 

Notify someone of your travel plans before you head out, especially if you’re in rural areas. Take your cell phone with you but save it for emergencies. Your focus has to be on the road, not on texts from your friends.

 

Stranded!

 

If you live in an area that routinely has very cold winters, you may not be able to avoid being stranded in your car one day. Your level of preparedness will improve your chances of staying healthy and getting back home. So what should your plan of action be?

 

  1. Stay calm and don’t leave the car. It’s warmer there than outside and you have protection from the wind. Having adequate shelter is one of the keys to success, whether it’s in the wilderness or on a snow-covered highway.
  2. Ventilation is preferable to asphyxiation. Crack a window on the side away from the wind for some fresh air. People talk about water and food being necessary for survival but, first, you’ll need air to breathe. Wet snow can block up your exhaust system, which causes carbon monoxide to enter the passenger compartment. Colorless and odorless, it’s a deadly gas that kills in enclosed spaces without ventilation. Clearing the exhaust pipe of snow and running the engine only ten minutes or so an hour will help prevent monoxide poisoning.
  3. Group Hug. If you’re in a group, huddle together as best you can to create a warm pocket in the car.
  4. Keep Moving. Rub your hands, put them in your armpits, or otherwise keep moving to make your muscles produce heat.
  5. Don’t overexert yourself. If your car is stuck in the snow, you’ll want to dig yourself out. A lot of sweat, however, will cause clothing to become wet. Wet clothing loses its value as insulation and leads to hypothermia.
  6. Let others know you’re there. If you have flares, use them. Flashing emergency lights on your vehicle will drain battery power, so use them only if you think someone might see them.

The Winter Car Kit 

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If you’re going to travel in very cold conditions, there are a certain number of items that you should keep in your vehicle. This is what an effective winter survival car kit contains:

 

  • Wool Blankets. Wool can stay warm even when wet.
  • Spare sets of dry clothes, including socks, hats, and mittens.
  • Hard warmers or other instant heat packs (activated, usually, by shaking, they’ll last for hours)
  • Matches, lighters and/or firestarters in case you need to manufacture heat.
  • Candles, flashlights (keep batteries in backwards until you need them).
  • Small multi-tool with blade, screwdrivers, pliers, etc.
  • Larger combination tool like a foldable shovel (acts as a shovel but also an axe, saw, etc.)
  • Sand or rock salt in plastic container (to give traction where needed.)
  • Tow chain or rope.
  • Flares.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Water, Food (energy bars, MREs, dehydrated soups, candies).
  • Baby wipes for hygiene purposes.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Medications as needed.
  • Tarp and duct tape (brightly colored ones will be more visible and aid rescue.)
  • Metal cup, thermos, heat source (to melt snow, make soup, etc.)
  • Noisemaker (whistle)
  • Cell phone and charger

The items above will give you a head start in keeping safe and sound even if stranded. With a plan of action, a few supplies, and a little luck, you’ll survive even in the worst blizzard.

 

Joe Alton MD

AuthorJoe

Dang, It’s Cold! Treating and Preventing Hypothermia

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hypothermia (and bad judgment)

This winter has already seen deadly cold snaps where people have found themselves at the mercy of the elements. Whether it’s on a wilderness hike or stranded in a car on a snow-covered highway, the physical effects of exposure to cold (also called “hypothermia”) can be life-threatening.

 

Hypothermia is a condition in which body core temperature drops below the temperature necessary for normal body function and metabolism. Normally, the body core is between 97.5-99.5 degrees Fahrenheit (36.0-37.5 degrees Celsius). Cold-related illness occurs once the core temperature dips below 95 degrees (35 degrees Celsius).

 

When it is exposed to cold, the body kicks into action to produce heat. Muscles shiver to produce heat, and this will be the first symptom you’re likely to see. As hypothermia worsens, more symptoms will become apparent if the patient is not warmed.

 

Aside from shivering, the most noticeable symptoms of hypothermia will be related to mental status. The person may appear confused, uncoordinated, and lethargic. As the condition worsens, speech may become slurred; the patient will appear apathetic, uninterested in helping themselves, and may lose consciousness. These effects occur due to the effect of cooling temperatures on the brain: The colder the body core gets, the slower the brain works. Brain function is supposed to cease at about 68 degrees Fahrenheit, although there have been exceptional cases where people (usually children) survived even lower temperatures.

 

Prevention of Hypothermia

 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To prevent hypothermia, you must anticipate the climate that you will be traveling through; include windy and wet weather into your calculations. Condition yourself physically to be fit for the challenge. Travel with a partner if at all possible, and have more than enough food and water available for the entire trip.

 

It may be useful to remember the simple acronym C.O.L.D.  This stands for:  Cover, Overexertion, Layering, and Dry.

 

Cover. Your head has a significant surface area, so prevent heat loss by wearing a hat. Instead of using gloves to cover your hands, use mittens. Mittens are more helpful than gloves because they keep your fingers in contact with one another, conserving heat.

 

Overexertion. Avoid activities that cause you to sweat a lot. Cold weather causes you to lose body heat quickly; wet, sweaty clothing accelerates the process. Rest when necessary; use those rest periods to self-assess for cold-related changes. Pay careful attention to the status of the elderly and the very young. Diabetics are also at high risk.

 

Layering. Loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers trap pockets of warm air and do the best job of insulating you against the cold. Use tightly woven, water-repellent material for wind protection. Wool or silk inner layers hold body heat better than cotton does. Some synthetic materials, like Gore-Tex, work well also. Especially cover the head, neck, hands and feet.

 

Dry. Keep as dry as you can. Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible. It’s very easy for snow to get into gloves and boots, so pay particular attention to your hands and feet.

st. bernard

Pet the Dog, Skip the Booze

One cold-weather issue that most people don’t take into account is the use of alcohol. Alcohol may give you a “warm” feeling, but it actually causes your blood vessels to expand; this results in more rapid heat loss from the surface of your body.

 

Alcohol and recreational drugs also cause impaired judgment. Those under the influence might choose clothing that might not protect them in cold weather.

 

Treating  Hypothermia

 

If you encounter a person who is unconscious, confused, or lethargic in cold weather, assume they are hypothermic until proven otherwise. Immediate action must be taken to reverse the ill effects of hypothermia. Important measures to take are:

 

Get the person out of the cold. Move them into a warm, dry area as soon as possible. If you’re unable to move the person out of the cold, be sure to place a barrier between them, the wind, and the cold ground.

 

Monitor breathing. A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious. Verify that they are breathing and check for a pulse. Begin CPR if necessary.

 

Take off wet clothing. If the person is wearing wet clothing, remove gently. Cover the victim with layers of dry blankets, including the head, but leave the face clear.

 

Share body heat. To warm the person’s body, remove your clothing and lie next to the person, making skin-to-skin contact. Then cover both of your bodies with blankets. Some people may cringe at this controversial notion, but it’s important to remember that you are trying to save a life. Gentle massage or rubbing may be helpful. Avoid being too vigorous.

 

Give warm oral fluids if awake and alert. If, and only if, the affected person is alert and able to swallow, provide a warm, nonalcoholic, non-caffeinated beverage to help warm the body. Coffee’s out, but how about some warm apple cider?

 

Use warm, dry compresses. Use a first-aid warm compress (a fluid-filled bag that warms up when squeezed), or a makeshift compress of warm, not hot, water in a plastic bottle. Apply to the neck, armpit, and groin. Due to major blood vessels that run close to the skin in these areas, heat will more efficiently travel to the body core.

 

Avoid applying direct heat. Don’t use hot water, a heating pad or a heating lamp directly on the victim. The extreme heat can damage the skin, cause strain on the heart, or even lead to cardiac arrest.

 

Joe Alton, MDAuthorJoe

Find out more about cold-related injuries in our Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook, now at 700 pages! Also, fill those holes in your medical supplies at Nurse Amy’s store at store.doomandbloom.net. You’ll be glad you did.

Survival Medicine Hour: Hypothermia, Pt. 2, Avalanches, Blizzard Survival

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In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton: Bees are having a hard time these days and new attention is being given to their plight. The Fish and Wildlife Service have added the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee to the endangered species list, which join seven species of the Yellow-Faced bee that were added in September.

 

Hypothermia (part 2) is discussed regarding treatments including: getting the person out of the cold or sheilding them from the weather as much as possible, monitoring their breathing, begining CPR if needed, warming them up with your body heat or warm dry compresses and more. Keep a Winter Car Survival Kit and supplies handy to help when disaster or accidents happen.

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Avalanches are dangerous, but only a small percentage of victims die from hypothermia, most perish due to traumatic injury or suffocation before they freeze to death. Snow slides are part and parcel of the winter wilderness experience and it pays to know what to do if you’re caught in one. Blizzards occur every year in the United States, and cause fatalities among the unprepared. In these storms, 70% of deaths occur due to traffic accidents and 25% from being caught outside during the blizzard. Learn safety tips to prevent these deaths and keep you and your family safe and healthy during the winter.

 

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/01/13/survival-medicine-hour-hypothermia-pt2-avalanches-blizzards

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

The Altons

Hey, are you prepared to deal with medical issues in the uncertain future? Find out more about 150 topics as they relate to survival in our new Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way.

Video: Norovirus, the Stomach Flu

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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

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Survival Medicine Hour: Hypothermia, Nightclub Terror

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hypothermiaoldmanincoldwater

It’s January, and a cold blast from the North is hitting parts of the Deep South. Hypothermia is a big issue for those not prepared for cold weather, and a number of people die every year from being unready to deal with Nature’s challenges. Find out about hypothermia, how the body loses heat, and some strategies for prevention this winter.

 

Also, the Turkish nightclub shooting almost exactly duplicates the blueprint established by last year’s Orlando Nightclub shootings. Along with vehicular terror, Dr. Bones makes the argument that this strategy is going to be repeated again and again, and tells you what you have to do to survive such events.

 

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/01/06/survival-medicine-hour-hypothermia-nightclub-terror-shootings

 

Follow us on twitter @preppershow

Follow our Youtube Channel at DrBones NurseAmy

Follow us at Facebook at DoomandBloom or join our Survival Medicine group at Survival Medicine DrBones NurseAmy

 

All the best for a happy and healthy 2017!

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Video: Vehicular Terror

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vehicular-terrorism

In this companion video to a recent article, Joe Alton, MD discusses the wave of terror events using a car or truck to run down innocent citizens. From Nice, France to Berlin, Germany to Ohio State University, terrorists are figuring out that it’s a lot easier to own, rent, or steal a truck or other vehicle than to build a bomb. Find out more about this new blueprint for terror and  how you can use situational awareness to your advantage to stay safe.

To watch, just click below:

Wishing you the best of health in 2017,

Joe Alton, MD

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Survival Medicine Hour: Vehicular Terror, Hangovers, RP Ruggiero of Brushfire Plague

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The Survival Medicine Hour, with Joe Alton,MD aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP aka Nurse Amy, wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year on this last day of 2016. With holiday parties all around us, some will find themselves with a celebration full of alcohol and perhaps a hangover to remember the night before. Before you attend that party, you should listen to this podcast for tips to both prevent and cure that aweful hangover.

Amy Alton, ARNP, interviews the author of the Brushfire Plague Trilogy series after he has recently completed the third book. Mr. R.P. Ruggerio lives in Colorado with his wife and two sons, and spends as much time outdoors as possible. He strives to live by Robert Heilein’s credo ” Specialization is for insects.” The Brushfire Plague trilogy are novels grounded in neighboorhood defense duringa devastating plague. Brushfire Plague, according to R.P., “also has useful lessons about the value of being prepared for possible disruptions to our normal way of life woven into the fabric of the story.  One unique aspect I focus on is the interpersonal dynamics one will be forced to deal with in any crisis situation.  This adds a lot to the drama and storyline and enhances the realism of the novel.”

Vehicular terror is the new blueprint for those wishing to cause mass casualties. Simple to obtain compared to guns and bombs, we can expect more events like the Berlin Christmas Market truck attack. Find out what you need to know to stay safe in these troubled times.

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/12/30/survival-medicine-hangovers-rp-ruggiero-vehicular-terror

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Joe and Amy Alton

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See more information about RP Ruggiero’s books at http://brushfireplague.com/? and at Amazon http://amzn.to/2ilH0e7?.

Don’t forget to follow us on our store, facebook, and twitter:

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Surviving A Hangover

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In normal times or times of trouble, New Year’s Eve is a time where many break out the Smoky Mountain Moonshine and end up regretting it the next morning. For you teetotalers, a hangover is a group of symptoms that occur in many people after a night of drinking. Hangovers vary in appearance and severity, but one thing is sure: You’d rather not have one.

 

A study in college students found that and 29% reported (not to their parents, though) losing school time for hangover recovery. Close to 10% of American workers report having gone to work with a hangover; Lost work days run in the millions.

 

What Causes Hangovers?

 

Despite thousands of years of people having hangovers from drinking too much alcohol, the process which causes the condition isn’t very well understood.  Dehydration, sleep disturbances, lack of food intake, low blood sugar, the presence of certain by-products of alcohol in the body and other factors are likely involved.

 

Substances known as “congeners” found in alcoholic beverages may play a role; one of these, methanol, is metabolized to toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and formic acid. Other congeners, like acetaldehyde, are much more toxic than the alcohol itself, acting like an “anti-antioxidant”.

 

Symptoms of Hangovers

 

Each person’s hangover is a little different, but you can expect to see some of the following symptoms:

 

  • Headache due to blood vessel expansion (called “vasodilation”)
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Tremors (possibly due to low blood sugar, or “hypoglycemia”)
  • Dizziness
  • Malaise (general sensation of feeling ill)
  • Irritability, depression, and/or difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach discomfort (alcohol increases stomach acid)
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid heartbeat

Symptoms begin when the alcohol level has dropped down to zero, usually the morning after a bender. They can last several hours, or in the worst cases, a couple of days.

 

Treating a Hangover

headachebarbie

 

Doctors actually don’t spend a lot of time researching hangover remedies, simply because they consider hangovers as effective deterrents to frequent alcohol abuse in many people. Although there is no certain cure for hangovers (other than time), there are a number of treatments; some of these have basis in scientific fact and some, well, not so much.

 

Consider these options as you try to pick yourself off the floor:

 

Drink some fluids.   You’re dehydrated, and some water, Gatorade, or juice (without alcohol, please) will help you recover faster. Skip acidic juices like orange juice; they won’t help your upset stomach.

 

Go back to bed. The more sleep you can get, the more you’ll sleep through some of the worst part of a hangover

 

Take a headache medicine. Ibuprofen can help your headache, but it can irritate your stomach. Tylenol might be a better choice, but is associated with liver disease if you’re a heavy drinker.

 

Eat something. You might be nauseous, but a little chicken broth and some crackers will help settle your stomach and give your blood sugar a boost. Some prefer dry toast with a little peanut butter. Pepto-Bismol (Bismuth Subsalicylate) isn’t a bad idea to deal with that stomach upset as well.

 

Home Remedies for Hangovers

 

The above measures are thought to be of likely medical benefit for hangovers, but there are a lot of home remedies that people swear by. Below are just a few.

 

Ice:  An icepack to your throbbing noggin might just be the thing to help that headache. A cold, moist washcloth will work just as well.

 

Bananas. Bananas are a good source of potassium, something you might be low on after a night of drinking.

 

Ginger:  Ginger root is a time-honored natural remedy for nausea and vomiting, and many people feel seasick when they have a hangover. Ginger Ale is the easiest way to ingest some, but a ginger tea may be even better.

 

Honey and Lemon: Ingredients of a hot toddy (hold the alcohol), mixing some honey and lemon will boost your blood sugar.

 

Vitamin B: A 1973 study found that Vitamin B6, in very large doses, can improve a hangover. Later studies, however, found no such benefit and possible risks to the liver and pancreas. Vitamin B-complex, a combination of B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), folic acid, B6 and B12 has also been proposed as a cure. It isn’t, but a dose of a vitamin supplement probably won’t hurt you.

 

Vitamin C: A popular ingredient and antioxidant in commercial “hangover supplements”, there’s little scientific data backing up any significant effect on a hangover. Like Vitamin B, however, there’s no reason to think it would hurt to take some Vitamin C.

 

Coffee: People like to think that some coffee will help their hangover, and it may do something for your headache. But caffeine is dehydrating, something that’s isn’t helpful when you’re already low on fluids.

 

Tomato Juice: While acidic and not so helpful for upset stomach, a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary is thought by some to metabolize alcohol from the body more quickly.

 

Exercise: If you can’t even move after a night of drinking, how can you exercise? Some feel, however, that sweating out the toxins will help a hangover. If you do decide to exert yourself, hydrate well beforehand and keep it to low-impact activities or you might be worse off than before. How about trying a walk around the block first?

 

Oxygen: Those with access to O2 canisters tout their benefits with regards to hangovers, but little evidence exists to support it.

 

The Prairie Oyster: V8 juice with Worcestershire and Tabasco, a little salt, a little pepper and a raw egg stirred together makes a Prairie Oyster, long thought to be a cure for a hangover. Little hard data confirms this concoction works, however, and eating uncooked eggs carries a risk for certain infections. Cooked eggs, however, contain taurine and cysteine, two substances that might help detoxify you. A number of other esoteric elixirs combining several incongruent ingredients also exist, but none have been scientifically shown to work. They will likely help raise your blood glucose, but you’re probably better off with a sports drink to get sugar, electrolytes, and hydration.

 

Hair of the Dog: Hair of the Dog is just another name for drinking more alcohol. It works because a hangover is essentially a form of alcohol withdrawal. Getting your drink on again, however, is the worst idea of all in the long run.

 

PREVENTION

 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is the honest-to-God’s truth when it comes to hangovers. Make sure to:

 

Eat before you drink: Drinking on an empty stomach equals big trouble. Beer has calories, but it’s not dinner. Having a full stomach before drinking may help you keep your blood alcohol level down.

 

One alcoholic drink, one non-alcoholic: Matching one Old-Fashioned with one glass of water will help keep your alcohol intake down and decrease your chances of a hangover in the morning.

 

Pick the right poison: If you’re not picky about your poison, try to stay away from dark liquors like, say, bourbon. These have more congeners and are more likely to cause hangovers than clear liquors like vodka. Clear liquors are less associated with severe hangovers.

 

Be Bubble-Free: Alcohol in carbonated drinks, like Champagne, may be absorbed more quickly and lead to worse hangovers.

 

Head it off at the pass: Take two aspirin with a full glass of water before going to bed. Fatty acids that reduce inflammation in aspirin can avoid a bad hangover.

 

Abstain: Do I really have to say why? If you really don’t want a hangover, don’t drink. Be the designated driver.

 

I’ll bet you have a tried and true method to deal with hangovers. If so, let us know on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/doomandbloom/ or our Facebook Survival Medicine Group page.

 

Joe Alton, MD

joealtonlibrary4

 

Surviving a hangover may not be true survival medicine, but you’ll find over 150 medical issues for disasters and epidemics in our 700 page Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for when Medical Help is Not on the Way.

Using Epinephrine in Vials

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epipen

The EpiPen

 

We’re in the midst of an epidemic of allergies in the U.S., and severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis could be life threatening. Epinephrine is used For the emergency treatment of allergic reactions to stinging or biting insects, foods, drugs, and other allergens, as well as exercise-induced anaphylaxis; yes, you can be allergic to exercise, but don’t use that as an excuse to be a couch potato!

 

Epinephrine is most commonly used these days in an autoinjector that’s fast and easy to use. In the United States, one brand of autoinjector, the EpiPen, manufactured by a subsidiary of Pfizer pharmaceuticals, and marketed by Mylan corporation, is considered the gold standard. Annual sales of all epinephrine autoinjectors were about $200M; EpiPen had around 90% of the market; in 2015 the market size grew to $1.5B and epipen still has the lion’s share. Well, in a move that some might describe as profiteering, Mylan raised the U.S. price from around $100 for a package of two EpiPens in 2007 to around $600 in 2016, although it’s still less expensive in the UK and Canada. The devices, by the way, deliver about $1 worth of drug.

 

In a public relations move, Mylan made savings cards worth up to $300 available to some patients to purchase EpiPens, Unfortunately, these can only be used by a small number of people who need the drug, and doesn’t seem to include people on Medicaid. The high prices paid by insurers, however, haven’t changed and they pass the cost onto consumers in the form of higher and higher health insurance premiums every year.

 

(update: Mylan recently released a half-price generic version of the Epi-pen in response to the widespread resistance to their price increase.)

 

So what’s your best option if the Epipen is now outside of your financial reach? It might be using vials or ampules of epinephrine, small syringes, and some antiseptic wipes. The 1:1000 epinephrine ampules are 1 ml and contains enough for a one-time use of up to 2 doses. The same concentration vials are usually 30 ml and made for multiple uses. Here’s how to use epinephrine that’s packaged this way :

 

epinephrine-vial-epipen-substitute

1:1000 epinephrine in vials (from WebMD)

1:1000 epinephrine solution contain 1mg of drug per milliliter or cc of solution. For a person weighing 30 kg, 66 pounds, or greater, give 0.3 to 0.5 mg (0.3 to 0.5 mL) into the anterolateral thigh about the level of the bottom of your Jeans pocket. Repeat the dose every 5 to 10 minutes, alternating left and right thighs until improvement is noted. Remember that epinephrine will cause a fast heartbeat, nervousness and, perhaps, a number of other side effects. Of course, in normal times, get the victim to modern medical care as soon as possible, especially if more than 2 doses were needed.

 
For children weighing less than 66 pounds, the formula for anaphylaxis is 0.01 mg/kg, so a small child weighing 10 kg, or 44 pounds, would receive 0.2 mg, that’s .2 ml if you use 1:1000 epinephrine solution. The maximum pediatric dose is up to 0.3 mg, that’s 0.3 ml of epinephrine (1:1000).

 
This might seem complicated, and indeed, it does take longer to deliver the product than with an autoinjector like the Epipen unless you keep some small syringes prefilled with the medication. In a 2010 article in the ASIAN PACIFIC JOURNAL OF ALLERGY AND IMMUNOLOGY, manually prefilled syringes were recommended as a way to keep ready to use epinephrine available at all times, and it appears that the medication remains potent and uncontaminated by bacteria or fungus for 3 months. After that, it changes color and all bets are off. This also assumes that the syringes are stored at room temperature, as high temperatures will affect potency considerably over time.

 

(This article can be viewed in video form HERE)

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Dr. Joe Alton

 

Learn more about allergic reactions, anaphylactic shock and 150 other topics related to survival in good or bad times by  getting a copy of the 700 page Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for when Medical Help is Not on the Way, now available at Amazon.

Surviving Vehicular Terrorism

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vehicular-terrorism

CNN reports that a man in Berlin used a truck to plow through a group of people at a Christmas market, killing 9 and injuring 50 more. The tractor trailer appeared to deliberately ram through several stalls at what is estimated to be 40 miles per hour; German authorities are treating the incident, at present, as a terror event.

The attack appears to parallel the cargo truck killing of 86 people and the wounding of 434 others in Nice, France during a fireworks display on a national holiday. On a smaller scale, a Somali student at Ohio State University recently ran down a number of people before leaving his car and stabbing several others with a large knife. A pattern seems to be emerging where a vehicle is used to cause casualties in public spaces.

Ordinarily, terror attacks are associated with guns, but these items are difficult to come by in most countries. Bombs, another preferred terrorist weapon, require expertise to assemble safely. Owning or renting a vehicle, however, is much more common and requires little skill to operate. Trucks and cars can cause mass casualties if wielded as a weapon; obtaining one elicits no suspicion.

Therefore, would-be terrorists now have a new blueprint for causing mayhem among an unsuspecting public. There are few who pay much attention to traffic unless they’re in a vehicle themselves or crossing the street. The speed at which a vehicle can accelerate and turn into a crowd leaves little time for reaction. Hence, the “success” rate of this type of terror event may surpass even a gunman’s ability to cause deaths and injuries.

The increasing number of terror events around the world underlines the increasing need for situational awareness. Situational awareness is the mindset whereby threats are mentally noted and avoided or abolished. Originally a tool for the military in combat, it is now a strategy for the average citizen in these uncertain times.

The situationally aware person is always at a state of “Yellow Alert” when in crowded public venues. By that, I mean a state of relaxed but vigilant observation of what is happening around him or her. When an action or behavior occurs that doesn’t match the surroundings and situation, it’s an anomaly.

When a vehicle moves erratically or leaves the normal pattern of traffic, it’s an anomaly that requires rapid action. Mentally noting routes of escape whenever you’re in a crowd will give you the best chance of getting out of the way. Just as knowing the location of exits in a mall or theatre is good policy, a heightened awareness is now important at any outdoor event or popular public area near roadways.

For vehicular terrorists, the target will be crowds of people near the street. Their objective is mass casualties, and those pedestrians nearest the curb will bear the brunt of the attack. Consider walking on the fringe of a crowd away from the road to give yourself the most options. In the center, the masses, not your own good judgment, will dictate your movement. Take a walk along Times Square and you’ll see what I mean.

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Retractable Bollards

Municipalities can protect their citizens by constructing barriers known as “bollards” which would stop vehicles from entering pedestrian areas. These can be seen outside many government buildings and airport terminals. Expanding their use to areas that attract crowds would be an important consideration for the future.

I’ll admit that the likelihood you’ll be in the path of a terrorist using a vehicle, or any other weapon, is very small. Panic isn’t the answer, but these are troubled times; the more situationally aware you are, the safer you’ll be.

Joe Alton, MD

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For more information on surviving terror events, see my other articles:

https://www.doomandbloom.net/situational-awareness-could-save-your-life/

https://www.doomandbloom.net/how-a-fighter-pilots-strategy-could-save-your-life-the-ooda-loop/

Oakland Warehouse Fire: Surviving in a Crowd

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wildfire

The fire in an Oakland warehouse that was a refuge for artists and a venue for dance parties has now claimed 36 lives with several persons still missing. In the past, I’ve written about safety in wildfires and also in homes over the years; this time, I’ll explore the issue relating to fires in public venues like concert halls.

Concerts and theatres have long been areas at risk for fire. In 1903, Chicago’s Iroquois theatre was the site of an inferno which caused 600 deaths. In 1942, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston claimed 492 lives. In 2003, 100 perished in the Station nightclub in Warwick, R.I. during a concert by the rock band Great White.

Most public venues have important fire protection strategies such as sprinkler systems, fire exits, and fire extinguishers. Indeed, fire codes have evolved to make most of these places quite safe.

The phenomenon of “flash concerts”, however, places crowds of people in locations without these safeguards. This puts the onus on concert-goers to become more situationally aware, something few patrons of these events even think about.

What is situational awareness? Situation awareness involves understanding what’s going on in your immediate vicinity that might be hazardous to your health. I don’t mean second-hand smoke here; I’m talking about knowing what dangers may exist that you can avoid or abolish with your actions. Especially important for soldiers in a combat zone, it’s now become just as important for the average citizen in any large crowd.

The situationally aware person is in a constant state of what I call “Yellow Alert”, a relaxed awareness of their surroundings. At Yellow Alert, a concert-goer has a much better chance to identify threats than someone with their nose buried in their smart phone. Although many might enjoy the use of recreational drugs, like marijuana or ecstasy, it’s much safer to have your wits about you at these events. Mentally marking nearby exits, fire extinguishers, and alarms when you first arrive will allow you to have a plan of action if the worst happens.

A good spot at a concert is front and center, but you might be safer at the fringe of the crowd. In the center, your choice of escape route is governed by the crowd rather than good judgment.

Who’s at fault? Although Derick Almena, the manager of the Oakland warehouse, was understandably distraught during an interview with the TODAY show, he must bear responsibility for the conflagration, as must the owner, Chor N. Ng (whose daughter claims, says the LA Times, that he didn’t know people lived in the building). Here are some reasons why:

·        The 10,000 foot warehouse, also known as the “Ghost Ship”, had no sprinkler system nor fire alarms. No word on the number of fire extinguishers, if any.

·        Piles of discarded furniture dotted the interior.

·        Staircases were partially supported by wooden pallets.

·        Construction and electrical work was performed on an impromptu basis, often without permits or proper inspections.

·        A number of recreational vehicles, presumably with gas in the tanks, were in the warehouse.

Oakland city officials, however, are also culpable. The LA Times reports that, since 2014, several complaints were lodged for building and fire code violations without apparent action by the city after investigation. The Fire Marshall blames severe understaffing for the shortcomings, the responsibility for which must also be borne by Oakland’s city government. Zac Unger, an official with the firefighter’s union, was quoted as saying “Had a fire inspector walked into that building and seen the conditions in there, they would have shut the place down.”

Unfortunately, the responsibility for your safety may ultimately lie with the average citizen. Incorporate situational awareness into your mindset when in any public venue, and you’ll stand the best chance to avoid and escape becoming a casualty of a fire or any other calamity.

For more information on becoming situationally aware and how to deal with building fires, read my articles “How a Fighter Pilot’s Strategy Could Save Your Life: The OODA Loop” and “Surviving a House Fire”.

Joe Alton, MD

Survival Medicine Hour: Gatlinburg Fires, Stress, More

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On this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, your hosts, Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy discuss the devastating wildfires that have damaged or destroyed more than 400 structures and taken the lives of at least 13 innocent people, with more than 80 injured seeking help at local hospitals. The severity of the entire disaster is still unknown right now, and we will give you an update on the status of our own house in Gatlinburg. We live in South Florida so it has been a maddening few days to find out the results of the fires that spread up Chalet Village and Ski Mountain areas. Please donate to Red Cross to help fund those who need it so desperately and have lost their primary residence. There are so many without so much. Our prayers are with those who need it right now.
Christmas is almost upon us and the pressure to shop is causing some stress in shoppers. Dr. Alton discusses ways to decrease your stress levels and still have a fun-filled time during the holiday season (one tip: don’t be afraid to ask what they want!). Nurse Amy shares what she wishes for Christmas and what we all really want inside (hint: love, family and kindness). Relax and enjoy your Christmas with friends and family, we are all lucky to be on this beautiful earth together.
Listen in by clicking below:
Please follow us on social media:
Twitter: @preppershow
Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,
Joe and Amy Alton
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The Altons

Wildfire Preparedness and Our Gatlinburg Home

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2015 Birdhouse Inn Mountain Paradise View!

The view from my home as I’d like to remember it

It’s been a very busy year for firefighters, with heat waves, drought, and human malice or carelessness causing large areas to burn from Canada to California. You may have heard me say that you probably won’t  be affected by a disaster today, tomorrow, or next week. Over a lifetime, however, the chances aren’t quite as small. Add in your children’s lifetimes, and their children’s, and the odds are greater still. I’ve personally been through hurricanes, tornadoes, civil unrest, and the Mariel Boatlift unscathed other than for some missing roof tiles and a conversion to positive for tuberculosis (thanks, Fidel). We were even stranded in Europe due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland.

And now wildfire. A particularly intense one recently struck a place I know and love: Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Home to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I’ve had a vacation home there for 20 years and spend Spring and Fall there. I love hiking in the backcountry, and if I cannot say that I’ve walked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, I can say I’ve walked its entire width.

With multiple fires spreading through the popular resort town, the mountain that my house is situated on lit up like a match.  In the dry, windy conditions, hundreds of homes were burnt to the ground. As of this writing, I have not yet heard of the fate of the home in which I’ve accumulated 20 years of memories. The likelihood is that it no longer exists. Much more importantly, homes of many permanent residents have been destroyed, leaving them homeless; the businesses that employed those people were incinerated.

Putting my feelings aside for a moment, let’s talk about what you can do in the face of an irresistible force like a wildfire. How can you protect your property (and yourself) from being devastated by fire? Two main principles for property defense are 1) vegetation management and 2) creating a “defensible space”. The main strategy for personal defense is “Get Out Of Dodge”.

An important factor in wildfire preparedness is what we call “vegetation management”. With vegetation management, the key is to direct fires away from your house. There are several ways to accomplish this, all of which require vigilance and regular maintenance. 

You’ll want to clean up dead wood and leaf piles lying within 30 feet of your building structure. Pay special attention to clearing off the roof and gutters. Although you may have spent time and money putting lush landscaping around your home, you may have to choose between attractive, yet flammable plants and fire protection.

You’ll want to thin out those thick canopied trees near your house, making sure that no two canopies touch each other. Any trees within 50 feet on flatland, or 200 feet if downhill from your retreat need to be thinned, so that you’re pruning branches off below 10-12 feet high, and separating them by 10-20 feet. No tree should overhang the roof. Also, eliminate all shrubs at the base of the trunks.

Lawns and gardens should be well-hydrated; collect lawn cuttings and other debris that could be used as fuel by the fire. If water is limited, keep dry lawns cut back as much as possible (or remove them).

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From a wildfire perspective, a defensible space is an area around a structure where wood and vegetation are treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of flames towards a structure. Having a defensible space will also provide room to work for those fighting the fire.

The amount of defensible space you’ll need depends on whether you’re on flat land or on a steep slope. Flatland fires spread more slowly than a fire on a slope (hot air and flames rise). A fire on a steep slope with wind blowing uphill spreads fast and produces “spot fires”. These are small fires that ignite vegetation ahead of the main burn, due to small bits of burning debris in the air.

Woodpiles and other flammables should be located at least 20-30 feet away from structures. Gardening tools should be kept in sheds, and those sheds should be at a distance from the home.  Concrete walkways and perimeter walls may serve to impede the progress of the fire.

Attic and other vents should be covered with screening to prevent small embers from entering the structure. Additional strategies for the home can be found at firewise.org.

Of course, once you have created a defensible space, the natural inclination is to want to, well, defend it. Unfortunately, you have to remember that you’ll be in the middle of a lot of heat and smoke.

The safest recommendation, therefore, would be to get out of Dodge if there’s a safe way to leave. It’s a personal decision but realize that your family’s lives may depend on it. If you’re leaving, have a bag already packed with food, water, extra clothes, batteries, flashlights, and more. Don’t forget to bring your cell phone, any important papers you might need, and some cash.

As an added precaution, make sure you shut off any air conditioning system that draws air into the house from outside. Turn off all your appliances, close all your windows and lock all your doors. Like any other emergency, you should have some form of communication system established with your loved ones in case you’re not together.

Medical kits should contain masks, eye and hand protection, burn ointment (aloe vera is a natural alternative) and non-stick dressings. Specialized burn dressings are available that incorporate both. Gauze rolls and medical tape can be used for additional coverage. Round out your kit with scissors, cold packs, and some eyewash (smoke is a major irritant to the eyes).

If your routes of escape are blocked, make sure you’re dressed in long pants, sleeves, and heavy boots. A wool blanket is very helpful as an additional outside layer because wool is relatively fire-resistant. Some people think it’s a good idea to wet the blanket first: Don’t. Wet materials transfer heat much faster than dry materials and will cause more severe burns.

If you’re inside a building, stay on the side farthest from the fire and with the least number of windows (windows transfer heat to the inside). Stay there unless you have to leave due to smoke or the building catching fire. If that’s the case and you have to leave, wrap yourself in the blanket, leaving only your eyes uncovered.

If you’re having trouble breathing because of the smoke, stay low, and crawl out of the building. There’s less smoke and heat the lower you go. Keep your face down towards the floor. This will help protect your airway, which is very important. You can recover from burns on your skin, but not from major burns in your lungs.

As of this writing, I’m still waiting for public access to my part of the mountain in Gatlinburg to be reinstated. If my home survived, it could have been due to the principles I’ve followed above, but it could also be just the wind direction or some timely rain. I’d like to believe it’s the former, but, heck, I’ll take the latter.

Joe Alton, MD

Please take a moment to include firefighters, medical personnel, and the citizens of Gatlinburg in your prayers. Also, a donation to the American Red Cross can be sent to First Tennessee Bank to aid fire relief efforts. The Johnson City Press reports that the First Tennessee Foundation will match donations up to $50,000. Send a check for any amount payable to the American Red Cross to:

First Tennessee Bank              

P.O. Box 8037

Gray, TN 37615

attn: Ms. Teresa Fry

Survival Medicine Hour: Respiratory Infections, pt. 3, Foot Care, More

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colds

Respiratory Infections

The Survival Medicine Hour, November 25, 2016, with Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones, and Amy Alton, ARNP aka Nurse Amy explore various respiratory infections and their symptoms. We classify respiratory infections as upper and lower. Upper respiratory infections invlove the troat, nasal passages, sinuses and larynx. Lower respiratory infections invlove the trachea (wind-pipe), bronchi and lungs.

Discover the common treatments and medications commonly used to treat these infections, and some special tips to help prevent them. What do you do with your toothbrush after you recover from a respiratory infection? Are you still using anti-bacterial soap to wash your hands? Find out what you should be doing to stay healthy and why.

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Pick the right shoes!

Christmas holidays are the time for shopping and lots of walking. Wear the wrong shoes and you may be in a world of hurt. Nurse Amy shares some good advice on what kind of shoes to wear on long walks and how to pick the right shoes for your feet.

To Listen in, Click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/11/25/survival-medicine-respiratory-infections-pt3-foot-care-happy-thanksgiving

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton, MD

 

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Doom and Bloom’s SURVIVAL! board game

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game setup

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game miniatures (an added bonus!)

Video: Storing Medications

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medicines

Storing Meds

In good times or bad times, having a strategy for the proper storage of medicines will help preserve their potency for when they’re needed. Here’s a video by Joe Alton, MD about the factors to consider when putting away those needed medications for later use. Companion video to a recent article.

To watch, click below:

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

 

 

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You’ll need more than just medicine to get you through a disaster, so check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical supplies at her store at https://store.doomandbloom.net/    You’ll be glad you did!

Sleep Deprivation

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sleep deprivation

In our roles as preparedness experts for disasters and epidemics, we’re often asked to come on various media outlets to give our opinion, mostly on medical issues. Occasionally, we get the interview request that seems to be a medical topic but has obvious political overtones. Just yesterday, a radio station asked me to comment, as a doctor, on whether Donald Trump’s 4-hour a night sleep habit impacts his ability to make rational and sound decisions.

As for my opinion on this particular question, I’ll refer you to americansurvivalradio.com, but suffice it to say that he’s actually in pretty good company with regards to sleep habits.  Five hours was reported as a good night’s sleep for Bill Clinton while president. Winston Churchill liked naps but slept little at night. Martha Stewart is just one of many business leaders that get less than the recommended 7-8 hours per night. There are, in fact, quite a few highly successful folks who seem to do just fine with little shut-eye.

Sleep deprivation is a pretty serious issue: Some researchers believe that it can carry a mortality risk approaching that of cigarettes or heart disease. Indeed, sleep deprivation has been used as a torture method in interrogations. The CDC estimates that up to 50-70 million Americans suffer from some kind of sleep disorder. In the aftermath of a major disaster, you can imagine that issues with sleep deprivation will only increase.

How does sleep deprivation decrease your chances of succeeding in times of trouble? Not getting enough sleep can significantly impair your brain’s function. The parts of the brain involved in alertness and attention (the thalamus) and the area that controls many higher-level thought processes (the prefrontal cortex) are especially vulnerable.  If the brain doesn’t get enough rest, you may become incapable of putting events into the proper perspective and taking appropriate action, a pretty big issue whether you’re president of the United States or the survivor of a major disaster.

Scientific studies bear this out. Indeed, The British Medical Journal equates the effects of 17-21 hours without sleep as the equivalent, in terms of affecting behavior, of having a blood alcohol level close to the legal limit of intoxication. A number of articles that evaluated the performance of medical residents show that those getting less than 4 hours of sleep made more medical errors that residents who slept 7-8 hours a night.

What about the elderly? Don’t older people naturally sleep less hours and less deeply? Studies show that that the elderly do get less sleep, but it’s not necessarily because they need less. Sleep could be affected for all sorts of reasons: sleep apnea, arthritis pain, heart issues, etc. Those in their later years also might develop something called “advanced sleep-phase syndrome”. These folks’ bodies want to go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier but their minds (and HBO, I expect) keep them from getting to sleep at a reasonable hour. Result: Sleep Deprivation.

effects-of-sleep-deprivation

In addition to what’s happening in your brain, the failure to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night causes a whole set of symptoms, none of which are particularly good for a survivalist. Here are just some:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Bloodshot, puffy eyes
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle aches
  • Hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms
  • Ill effects on control of diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Blackouts lasting up to 30 seconds (also called “microsleeps”)

There are a number of people that seem to function just fine with less than the average number of sleep hours. No one is quite sure why this is so, but it appears to involve about 5% of the population and may be related to genetics. For the rest, it rapidly becomes clear that they need more sleep.

There are things that you can do to get a few more hours of shut-eye each night. The best start is to consider a concept we’ll call “sleep hygiene”.  Sleep hygiene involves adjusting your behavior to maximize the amount of restful sleep you get.  Consider:

  • Sticking to a standard bedtime and wakeup time
  • Making your nighttime environment as comfortable as possible
  • Avoiding Nicotine, Caffeine, and Alcohol before going to bed.
  • Staying awake from heavy foods for at least 2 hours before going to sleep
  • Exercising regularly, but not right before going to bed
  • Eliminating as much light as possible in the room at bedtime
  • Keeping your mind clear of stressful issues at bedtime

After a disaster, many of the above strategies are difficult to implement. Of course, there are drugs like Ambien and Halcion that you can use, but a better alternative to start with might be some form of natural sleep aid.  Some of the common alternative remedies for sleeplessness include the following teas:

  • Chamomile
  • Kava Root
  • Lavender
  • Valerian Root
  • Catnip

Good nutrition is important for general health, but some foods are also thought to be helpful in promoting a good night’s sleep.  They contain sleep-inducing or muscle-relaxing substances like melatonin, magnesium, or tryptophan. Some examples:

  • Oatmeal – melatonin
  • Milk – tryptophan
  • Almonds – tryptophan and magnesium
  • Bananas – melatonin and magnesium
  • Whole wheat Bread – helps release tryptophan

Yoga, massage, meditation, sound machines, and even acupuncture might also be effective ways of dealing with sleep deprivation.

Staying healthy in normal times or in the aftermath of disaster involves, not only maintaining good physical hygiene, but maintaining good sleep hygiene as well. To be at 100% efficiency, get some rest!

Joe Alton, MD

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Joe Alton, MD

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

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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.

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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

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Dr. Alton

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

 

 

Storing Medications

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medicines

Storing Medications

Being prepared for disasters means storing food, but it also means putting together a stockpile of medical supplies. While bandages and instruments may keep acceptably in a variety of environments, medications are another story.

How medicines are stored can affect their potency over time. To maintain the effectiveness of the drugs, there are several factors that deserve your attention:

Heat: Most medications are meant to be stored at room temperature. Insulin and some antibiotic elixirs are an exception, and should be stored in the refrigerator. A good rule of thumb is that, unless the bottle contains labeling that says otherwise, it’s unnecessary (and in many cases, harmful) to freeze or otherwise diverge from the advice given by the manufacturer.

Excessive heat is another factor in losing drug potency. Given the choice, somewhat cooler is probably better than hotter. It’s thought that drug effectiveness fades twice as quickly if stored at 90 degrees Fahrenheit than if stored at 50 degrees.

Moisture: Most folks store medications in the bathroom medicine cabinet, but you might be surprised to know that the moisture from showers and baths can degrade the drug significantly. Instead, consider a high shelf in a closet or a dedicated storage box.

Light: Much like excessive exposure to the sun could damage skin, light sometimes could have an ill effect on certain drugs. These meds are commonly stored in brownish-colored bottles. Keep all medicines in their original containers. It might be a good idea, however, to remove the cotton ball commonly placed with the drug as it could pull moisture into the container.

Many times, it might be hard to tell if a drug has been affected negatively, but some others are pretty obvious. Aspirin pills, for example, can develop a vinegar-like smell (even before the expiration date). Besides smell, a change in color or consistency may signal that a medication has degraded. If pills or capsules are harder or softer than normal or stick together, be wary.

Some people get their meds through the mail. If so, choose overnight shipping whenever possible to avoid prolonged travel time. ABC news reported recently that a 1995 FDA study found that a standard black mailbox can reach 136 degrees in the summer heat. Excessive time in the hot sun or extreme cold for a long period of time causes drug deterioration. A better alternative may be to send them to where you can take possession personally and immediately. For many, this might be their workplace as opposed to their home.

One of the questions I’m often asked is whether drugs will benefit from vacuum sealing. Although you’ll find opinions everywhere, there doesn’t seem to be any hard data on the issue. I would expect that more drugs would be vacuum packed by the manufacturer if it was that important to maintain potency. Having said that, pharmaceutical companies want you to discard older meds so they might not be motivated to do so.

Vacuum packing would affect moisture but wouldn’t affect important preservation aspects like temperature or light. As meds do best in their original containers, it seems that, with the possible exception of powder packets, it wouldn’t be an essential storage method.

So, consider storing all meds in cool, dark, dry conditions. It’s especially important to be sure that all medications are kept out of the reach of children. Childproof lids are meant to help you achieve this goal, but consider a storage box with a lock as well.

The wise family will keep a good medical kit and a supply of over-the-counter and needed prescription medicines stored safely in their home. In a disaster, attention to proper storage methods might just save a life.

Joe Alton, MD

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Dr. Alton

Besides medicine, you’ll need a variety of medical supplies to deal with medical issues in times of trouble. Check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits at store.doomandbloom.net.

Video: Fish Antibiotic Update

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2015 Birdhouse Inn Mountain Paradise View!

Mount LeConte at sunrise, Great Smokies

In this video, Joe Alton, MD addresses the concerns of those in the preparedness community who store veterinary equivalents of human antibiotics for use in post-apocalyptic scenarios. The FDA’s upcoming Veterinary Feed Directive has cast the availability of these items in doubt for 2017. As the first physician to write, years ago, about the utility of these products to save lives in long-term survival, Dr. Alton has evaluated the FDA’s action and knows their goals. He discusses how this affects, if at all, the future of fish/bird antibiotics’ availability for your survival medicine cabinet. Companion video to a recent article on the same topic.

This video has as its backdrop Mt. LeConte, highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

To watch, click below:

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Joe Alton MD/Amy Alton ARNP

Find out more about antibiotics, infectious disease, and many other medical issues in disaster settings by getting a copy of our 700 page (!) Third Edition of “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for when Medical Help is Not on the Way, now available on this website and also at Amazon.

 

Medical Supplies for the Homestead

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image by pixabay.com

If you’re a homesteader, you’ll want to be ready for any eventuality. In a remote location or austere environment, the importance of medical self-reliance can’t be overemphasized. Injuries and illness can happen anytime due to a storm, wildfire, earthquake, or other disaster.

Medical strategies abound for these mostly short term scenarios that are both reasonable and effective.  An entire medical education system exists to deal with limited wilderness or disaster situations. This system is served by a growing emergency supply industry and, in some cases, supported by federal taxes.

When you happen upon a victim in normal times, your goal is to:

  • Evaluate the injured or ill patient.
  • Stabilize their condition.
  • Transport them to the nearest modern medical facility.

This series of steps couldn’t make more sense; you’re not a physician, after all.  Somewhere, there are facilities that have a lot more technology than you have.  Your priority is to get the patient out of immediate danger and then ship them off to a higher medical resource.

It seems reasonable for the average citizen to expect the rescue helicopter to be on the way. But what if it isn’t? Some homesteads are far from the nearest hospital. When modern medical help isn’t at hand, quick action on your part may be necessary to save a life.

You never know when you might be the medical “end of the line” in the uncertain future. To be effective in that role, you need supplies.

Prepper Medical Supply Kit

Family Medical Kit

The availability of medical supplies may just save a life in troubled times, but without an idea of what medical items should be stockpiled, your effectiveness as an emergency caregiver may be compromised. Not having the right equipment at hand is like trying to eat a steak with a wrench and a screwdriver instead of a knife and fork. Purchasing these items all at once would be hard on the wallet, so the best strategy Is to slowly stockpile the medical supplies you need.

This article is meant to be a guide to which supplies would help you become an effective caregiver as opposed to being an in-depth discussion of how to use each one. To help you become a well-equipped homestead caregiver, we’ll list common medical issues and what items you’ll need to deal with them.

PERSONAL PROTECTION 

N95-Surgical-Mask

N95 mask

To begin with, however, let’s talk about personal protection.  No, I’m not talking about condoms, although they can be important additions to your storage. I’m not talking about firearms, either, although military medics are now usually armed.  I’m referring to protecting yourself and others from injuries and infectious disease.

Don’t ignore the power of prevention. In any remote environment, you will be performing daily activities that carry risk of injury.  Chopping wood for fuel would be one example. Eye and hand protection in the form of goggles and work gloves could prevent various injuries. Here are some other items that would be protective:

Gloves: I recommend nitrile gloves due to the increasing number of latex allergies reported recently. I would use size 8 or “large”, as gloves that are too small tend to break.  Gloves come in both sterile and non-sterile varieties.  Get lots of the non-sterile for everyday work, but don’t fail to have some sterile pairs as well.

Face Masks: These can be simple ear-loop versions or could be more advanced in the form of N95 and N100 “respirators”. These are masks that block out 95 or 100% of airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns.

Coveralls, Boots, and Headgear:  In mosquito-infested areas, there are special coveralls and headgear made from netting that are lifesavers. In epidemics of infectious disease, however, hazardous material suits that cover the body, head and feet are more pertinent for the person in charge of the sick room.

General items: Some items are of good general use for medical issues.  One of my favorites is the “EMT shears” or “bandage scissors”.  This is a special scissors meant to allow you to cut through clothing so that you can accurately assess the level of injury that you’re dealing with.

Another general item that would be highly useful would be a headlamp.  Injuries can occur at night as well as during the day. Using a headlamp frees up both hands to better handle emergencies.

A good supply of antiseptics will be important to keep your people healthy. Antiseptics are germ-killing substances that are applied to living tissue, usually skin, to reduce the possibility of infection. Antiseptics are different from antibiotics, which are meant to destroy bacteria within the body, and disinfectants, which destroy germs found on non-living objects, like kitchen or survival sick room surfaces.

I consider household bleach to be the simplest disinfectant for cleaning sick room work surfaces, but it’s too strong to apply to living tissue. Instead, consider Betadine (Povidone-Iodine solution), Chlorhexidine (Hibiclens), Alcohol , Benzelkonium Chloride (BZK), or Hydrogen Peroxide.  These can be found in small bottles, gallon jugs, and in wipes impregnated with the antiseptic.

Some of the most important medical supplies you’ll accumulate will be those used to deal with injuries. Let’s outline what you’ll need in your role as a homestead medic:

MINOR INJURIES

In an austere environment, it might be difficult to get through the day without some minor injury, such as a burn while cooking, blister while hiking, or a splinter from hauling wood. The average person has, over the course of their lives, dealt with more than one of these. Helpful items to have include:

  • Soap and water and antiseptics: To clean out minor wounds. Antibacterial soap is not necessary, however. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) determined that it doesn’t give additional protection against infection.
  • Adhesive Bandages: various sizes and shapes to protect a scratch or abrasion from getting worse.
  • Moleskin: Have a supply of these to deal with common blisters on areas that receive friction.
  • Tweezers: With a magnifying glass, these will be useful to remove splinters or other small foreign objects.
  • Styptic Pencil: Although most minor bleeding stops with direct pressure, a styptic pencil can be used for razor cuts and is a helpful addition to your kit. For a natural alternative, Cayenne pepper powder is reported to have similar effects on minor bleeding.
  • Eye wash, cups, and patches: For minor eye irritation and injuries.
  • Gauze packing: for nosebleeds.  Dental cotton rolls and tampons are alternatives.
  • Burn Gel or Aloe Vera: To apply to small burns.

ORTHOPEDIC INJURIES

samsplints

The popular SAM Splint

Few of us, even couch potatoes, have avoided the occasional sprain or strain.  In situations where we are exerting ourselves, these will be more common, not to mention the possibility of fractures. You should have available:

Cold Packs:  These are available commercially or can be made with ice.  Cold packs help reduce the swelling often seen in sprains and strains, as well as provide some relief from pain.

Elastic Wraps: Elastic “Ace” wraps help stabilize an injured joint and decrease the chance of re-injury. Use compression in tandem with cold to decrease pain and swelling.  Don’t forget to elevate the injured limb above the level of the heart. Elastic wraps can also be used to cover bandaged wounds and to secure splints in place.

Slings: Commercial triangular bandages or improvised bandannas both are well suited to make a sling, these are useful to stabilize an arm or shoulder injury. The commercial versions usually come with safety pins.

Splints: Commercial “SAM” splints are flexible and can be cut or shaped to immobilize a sprain or fracture.  These vary in size to fit anything from a finger bone to a thigh bone. You can improvise with sticks and strips of cloth or even a folded-over pillow and duct tape.

Anti-inflammatory medications:  Ibuprofen is an over the counter medication to reduce swelling and pain in orthopedic injuries, and can be accumulated in bulk.  Salicin from the green underbark of willow trees is helpful for pain and, incidentally, was the base substance for the first aspirins ever made. Natural remedies such as Arnica salves are useful to decrease bruising, swelling, and pain (use on intact skin only).  Various anti-inflammatory medications also come in patches that can be applied to the back or other strained areas.

Heat Packs:  These won’t reduce swelling much, but can be used during recovery from an injury to help relax and loosen stiff tissues. They also stimulate blood flow to injured areas.

HEMORRHAGIC WOUNDS

expose-wound-to-see-the-full-extent-of-the-injury

EMT shears or bandage scissors can help expose a bleeding wound

The injury that non-professionals fear most is the bleeding wound.  With the right supplies, however, even heavy bleeding can be staunched successfully.  In addition to a blunt-edged scissors to expose the injury, the well-prepared medic will have:

Gauze: Bulk non-sterile gauze (some of our kits carry bricks of 200 at a time) is valuable as a medical storage item to apply pressure to bleeding areas.  Even one hemorrhagic wound could require you to use all the dressings that you had accumulated over years of stockpiling,  so get plenty.

Dressings come in squares of varying sizes and shapes. Roller bandages wrap around the area, and non-stick pads of various sizes (not technically “gauze”) are good for burns and other injuries. Carry a variety to increase the versatility of use.

Although I recommend storing tampons, it is more for its traditional use than to treat gunshot injuries, which vary in size (especially exit wounds). A tampon would not always be the right size for the cavity created by the projectile; they are best used for nose bleeds combined with compression.  Maxi-Pads, however, are excellent items for your medical storage.

Specialized Pressure Dressings:  It’s difficult to keep pressure on a wound with your hands without becoming tired, so special dressings like the Emergency Bandage™ (aka the “Israeli Battle Dressing”) allow you to wrap wounds that have the tendency to bleed.  These are an absorbent pad attached to an elastic bandage that comes with a “pressure applicator”. Used correctly, each turn of the wrap increases the pressure on the wound, which can help control bleeding.

Tourniquets:  In circumstances where bleeding can’t be stopped with pressure alone, a tourniquet may do the job. Tourniquets can be improvised with a bandanna and a stick or they can be high-tech commercial items such as the CAT or SOFT-T tourniquet.  Some tourniquets, like the SWAT, can serve double duty as a tourniquet, back-up tourniquet, or pressure dressing.

Blood-Clotting Powders/Dressings:  Also known as “hemostatic agents”, these are effective and easy to use. Available as a powder or powder-impregnated dressings, Celox™  (the most popular brand) is made from Chitosan, a component of crustacean shells. Celox™ will even stop bleeding in patients on blood thinners.  Although it is made from shrimp shells, the company states that can be used on people allergic to seafood.  Hemostatic agents are useful but expensive items. Remember, however, that they might save a life.

OPEN WOUNDS

stabwound

Dealing with open wounds in a remote setting requires good judgment as well as supplies. Most of these wounds should be kept open, but there are various supplies to help you close a wound as well as supplies that allow you to care for an open wound until it closes on its own by a process called “granulation”. In a remote homestead or survival setting, you never know when or if help will be on its way. You’ll need to be ready to care for that wound from beginning to end.

Antiseptics and sterile gloves:  As mentioned earlier in this article.

Sterile Gauze: Although non-sterile gauze is often used to stop hemorrhage, sterile dressings are best to use in open wounds as they heal. With commercial sterile saline or water solutions (or even boiled water), you’ll provide the type of environment that newly forming cells need to fill in a wound.  Dry sterile dressings to cover the moist dressing in the open wound will help keep the area clean. Some call this technique “wet to dry”.

Certain dressings, such as “Telfa™”, are non-stick and especially useful for burns or other injuries where removal might be painful. Some burn dressings like “Xeroform™” are dipped with petrolatum to protect healing areas where the skin was damaged or burned off. Alternatively, petroleum jelly could be added to improvise a similar item. Honey has also been used for this purpose, but make sure to get the raw, unprocessed version.

Wound Closure:  Closing a wound is risky (most wounds acquired outdoors are contaminated) but there are circumstances where it may be appropriate. Always start with the least invasive method such as Steri-Strips or even duct tape fashioned as butterfly closures. Sutures and staples can form a strong closure, but they also add more punctures to the skin that could become infected. Super glue is a safe method unless you happen to be allergic to the chemical (Cyanoacrylate). It is used in some underdeveloped countries without incident.

Additional Supplies:  Dry sterile dressings to cover the moist dressing in the open wound will help keep the area clean. Medical tapes to hold everything in place are helpful and come in cloth, self-adhesive, and paper (least allergenic).  Tincture of Benzoin is an adhesive liquid that comes in ampules that will help secure the tape. Triple antibiotic ointment and oral antibiotics are likely to be needed to prevent and treat infected wounds.  Consider having a thermometer to determine whether a fever is present.

I’ll bet you can think of other useful items that you’d want to keep in that homestead medical cabinet. We haven’t discussed, for example, the medications and natural remedies you should have on hand. We’ve addressed these before on this website, though, and will update in a future article.

HOW MUCH TO HAVE?

I commonly see books that give you numerical amounts of medical items to have if you’re the caregiver in an austere environment or in a long-term survival scenario.  My opinion is simple:  You can never have too many of any medical supply.  They are expended more quickly than you think. If you’re in a remote location or other austere setting, have as much as possible in your storage.

A parting thought: You can have all the beans in the world and all the bullets in the world, but it won’t amount to a hill of beans and you’ll just shoot yourself in the foot, if you don’t have the bandages.

Joe Alton, MD

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Whether you’re a homesteader or a city dweller, you need medical supplies to deal with injuries and illness in the uncertain future. Check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and individual items at store.doomandbloom.net. Also, keep a copy of our brand new Third Edition of “the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way” in your survival library.

 

Portions of this article were first published in Backwoods Home magazine.

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.

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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“.

Survival Medicine Hour: Ron Melchiore on 36 Years of Living Off the Grid

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Survival Medicine Hour

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Nurse Amy Alton interviews Ron Melchiore, who with his wife Joanna, has lived for 36 years off the grid in Maine and, now, Northern Saskatchewan. Amy finds out all about what Ron’s life as a self-reliant “pioneer” has been like, and how he’s put it all in his book “Off Grid and Free: My Path to the Wilderness“. Ron has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and has ridden a bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Ron talks about power issues, experience with local animals, wildfires, and other challenges he and his wife have faced in their long-term adventure in the woods. Ron currently lives at a homestead only reachable by float plane, with trips to get supplies twice a year.

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/10/28/survival-medicine-hour-interview-with-ron-melchiore-author-off-grid-and-free

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Amy Alton ARNP

Parasitic Worms

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parasiticwormEM

parasitic worm

It’s important to realize that there are infections not commonly seen today in developed countries that 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 major 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 para- sites, none give us the creeps more than having worms.

Parasites like ticks, fleas, mites, and lice live on our skin or just beneath; these are called ectoparasites. Worms, also known as helminths, are endoparasites. They live deep in our intestines or other core organs, often gaining sustenance by sharing our partly-digested food. They are also egg-laying machines, with some depositing tens of thousands a day into their host.

Many different worms are known to infest the human body: nematodes, trematodes, flatworms, and flukes, are just a few. The diseases they cause are a major health issue in underdeveloped countries due to difficulties with sanitation. Even in developed nations, any disaster that impairs access to safe food and water could cause cases of parasitic worms to skyrocket.

Worm infestation is usually caused by ingesting soil that contains their eggs. While this may seem an unlikely happenstance to you, areas where people defecate openly and fail to wash their hands leads to contaminated soil. Some of this soil ends up on people’s hands, and then goes to their mouth when they touch their face.

Parasitic worms range in size from microscopic to very long, depending on the species. The most common infection we’ll see in the U.S. is the tiny Pinworm, which causes anal itching in 40 million Americans. However, almost a quarter of the world’s population has some type of worm infestation. Children are especially vulnerable and may experience stunted growth and developmental problems as a consequence.

Worm eggs or larvae enter the body through the mouth, nose, anus, or breaks in the skin. Amazingly, many helminths actually require human stomach acid to dissolve their egg shells to allow them to hatch. Once hatched, the acid-immune larvae travel from the stomach and attach themselves to the walls of the intestinal tract. Some species infest the liver and lungs as well.

SYMPTOMS OF WORM INFESTATIONS

Colonization by worms may be asymptomatic or, as in the case of pin- worms, just involve some itching in the anal area. With some species, however, a large concentration of organisms can cause serious problems.

Each type of worms cause different symptoms, but you should suspect their presence in otherwise-unexplained cases of:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal swelling or gas
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Constant urge to have a bowel movement.
  • Unexplained skin rashes or sores.
  • Anal itching
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Chronic muscle and joint aches.
  • Malnutrition

The above represents a broad array of symptoms, and makes me wonder if the number of cases of worm infestation is underestimated, even in countries with modern infrastructures.

CONSEQUENCES OF WORM INFESTATIONS

In rare cases, the population of internal parasites is so high that it causes an obstruction of the bowels. Worm species that invade the liver or lungs can cause respiratory distress or a weakened metabolism. All of these complications may result in the death of the patient.

Your body knows when it has been invaded and sets up an immune response against the worm. Success is limited, however, and all the energy put into defense may weaken the ability to fight“secondary” infections that may occur. The more issues the body has to deal with, the less effective it is in fighting them.

Some worms actually compete with your body for the food that you take in. A species known as Ascaris, for example, will attach to the wall of your intestine and eat partially digested food that comes its way. This competition prevents you from absorbing nutrients effectively, and malnutrition results.

TYPES OF WORMS

There are numerous types of helminthic infections based on the species involved. Infections are often named for the species with the suffix “-asis” (for example, ascariasis), as opposed to other infections/inflammations, which often end with the body part affected and the suffix “-itis” (for example, tonsillitis).

Although there many worms that infect humans, some of the more common types are

 

Pinworms

pinworm-cycle

Pinworm life cycle

Pinworms are a type of nematode called a roundworm. Reaching only 1/3 inch in length, they lay eggs around the host’s anus, usually at night. This leads to an itching sensation which can become severe. Pinworms are the most common parasitic worm infection in the United States

A cycle then develops where contaminated fingers from scratching come in contact with the mouth. This transports the eggs inside the body where they hatch.

You can test for pinworms simply by placing adhesive tape on the anal region of the patient. Inspect the tape for worms (eggs may also be seen with a low-power microscope) after a few hours or the next morning.

 

Hookworms

1982 Dr. ?? This enlargement shows hookworms, Ancylostoma caninum attached to the intestinal mucosa. Barely visible larvae penetrate the skin (often through bare feet), are carried to the lungs, go through the respiratory tract to the mouth, are swallowed, and eventually reach the small intestine. This journey takes about a week.

hookworms

Hookworms are another roundworm and one of the most common helminth infections worldwide. The parasite feeds on blood from vessels in the intestinal walls. Hookworm infestation is sometimes asymptomatic, but can cause anemia as well as abdominal symptoms.

Occasionally, a larval (juvenile) hookworm that uses a non-human host may penetrate the skin of a human. Although it can’t go into the organs, it can cause a skin disease called “Larva Migrans”, once known as “creeping eruption”.

With Larva Migrans, you can see serpentine vein-like lesions with itching in the skin. As the larva move, areas where they previously were may become crusty and very itchy.

 

Ascaris

parasiticworm

ascaris super-infestation

The largest intestinal roundworm, reaching 14 inches, is known as Ascaris. It is thought that there are 2 billion people that carry this worm, mostly in poorly developed countries.

Ascaris eggs, when ingested, become a larvae that enters the blood- stream through the small intestine. It reaches the lung, where it leaves the circulation and is eventually coughed up, swallowed, and goes back to the intestine, where it matures. Once mature, the female worm can produce up to 200,000 eggs a day.

Ascaris effects may include bloody phlegm, fever, cough, and abdominal symptoms. If the concentration of worms is high enough, they may begin to leave the body through the anus, nose, or mouth.

 

Tapeworms

tapeworm

tapeworm with 12 inch ruler at bottom for comparison

Tapeworm is a type of infection caused by a flatworm that lives mostly in Asia and Africa. The worm is, indeed, flat. Tapeworm eggs can form
walled-off areas called “cysts” in body tissues and organs. If larvae are ingested, however, they will mature into adult tapeworms in the intestines. The adults are segmented and reach prodigious lengths up to 55 (!) feet long.

Symptoms are typical for other helminth infections but symptoms related to the infested organ may also be seen.

TREATMENT OF WORM INFESTATIONS

Medications that can kill parasitic worms are called “vermiculicides” or “vermicides“. All are prescription drugs, although persons with travel plans to underdeveloped countries shouldn’t have trouble getting these from their physician.

Albendazole (brand name Albenza for roundworms) 400 mg once or twice.

Mebendazole (only available in generic form; most specific for pinworm infestation) 100 mg twice a day for 3 days or 500 mg

Pyrantel pamoate (common ingredient in heartworm meds for dogs) 11 mg/kg once, some species once daily up to 3 days.

Praziquantel (brand name Biltricide for tapeworms, various dosages depending on worm species)

Dosing may vary with some of these medications dependent on the type of worm. A second course of therapy is administered if the patient is not cured in 2-4 weeks.

Naturally anti-helminthic plants also exist. Garlic, ingested fresh and raw, is thought to be an effective way to eliminate worms. Wormwood, Clove, Papaya, Pineapple, Cinnamon, Turmeric, and Plumeria have all been reported to be helpful. Interestingly, some believe that tobacco may help eliminate worms.

Careful attention to hygiene, wearing shoes when outside, and, among medical providers, strict glove use will decrease the likelihood of passing worms or their eggs from person to person. Hand washing, especially before preparing food, is considered especially important in preventing  community-wide outbreaks.

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Dr. Alton aka Dr. Bones

 

Video: Hurricane Tips (With Winds in the Background)

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Hurricane Safety Tips

In this companion video to a recent article, Joe Alton, MD goes into his own backyard while Hurricane Matthew’s winds start coming in, and describes 28 different safety tips regarding food, water, shelter, evacuation, and much more for any major storm. One of Dr. Alton’s most comprehensive videos on storm preparedness so far.

To watch, click below:

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Survival Medicine Hour: Dan O’Hara of Gateway Prepper Expos, More

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cincy-expo

Maybe you haven’t had the opportunity to go to one Dan and Kit O’Hara’s Gateway Prepper Expos, in which case, you’ve missed out on an opportunity to meet a lot of awesome, like-minded folks who are preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best. In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy welcomes good friend Dan O’Hara to the show and gets a real insight on what these shows are all about, and the thinking behind putting these events out to the  public. Plus, Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones, gives you an update on the latest news reports on the East coast after Matthew, and much more!

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Nurse Amy

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/10/08/survival-medicine-hour-dan-ohara-interview-cincy-expo

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Joe and Amy Alton

Emergency Skills Needed in a Crisis

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Emergency workers are truly a different breed. Bravery, leadership, critical thinking, a calm demeanor in crisis, compassion, and empathy are all in a day’s work. Here are a few more emergency skills that can be used at any time.

Firefighters
Firefighters handle a wide range of emergencies. When they’re not containing fires and assisting victims, they respond to car accidents, natural disasters, bomb threats, terrorist attacks, and incidents involving hazardous materials. They make water rescues as well as assist in evacuations. Most are trained to perform lifesaving procedures before paramedics arrive. Firefighters need the physical strength to work with heavy machinery. Like all emergency responders, urgent-duty driving skills are a must. Firefighters do a lot more than put out fires and rescue kittens from trees. If you’re considering this career, make sure you can handle the heat.

Paramedics
Paramedics work within impossible time constraints to sustain life until a patient reaches the hospital. They are jacks-of-all-trade when it comes to knowledge of the human body. Paramedics are extensively trained in cardiac support, triage, burn treatment, airway management, bleeding control, obstetrics, and many more emergency procedures. Keeping the wounded immobile during transport, especially when spinal injuries are involved, is an important part of the job. They aid victims of accidental poisoning and prevent drug overdoses from becoming fatal. They must also be proficient in their knowledge of medications and how they are administered. These dedicated caregivers are adept at making life-and-death decisions.

Police Officers
Police work is not for the faint of heart, and keeping a cool head might be the hardest part of the job. Officers of the law must identify and defuse potentially volatile situations. They must be good at conflict resolution and have the ability to quickly decide if someone is aggressive or merely uncooperative. They are skilled with firearms but trained to use minimal force. Integrity and restraint are attributes that often go unnoticed. Most are trained in more than just the academy. Some even get degrees like a masters in safety online or paramedic training as well. These added credentials give them a boost in their career and make their jobs a little easier.

Other Unsung Heroes
Aside from lawmen, paramedics and firefighters, many others work behind the scenes to keep the public safe. 9-1-1 operators sometimes have only seconds to make critical judgments. It’s up to them to calm those in distress and inspire confidence. Degrees and careers in occupational safety are on the rise. Occupational specialists identify hazards in the workplace such as toxic materials and dangerous equipment. There are many more unsung heroes like forest rangers, public utility electricians, and mine rescue workers.

A lot can go wrong in this world – hats off to the champions who put their own lives on the line every day.

 

The post Emergency Skills Needed in a Crisis appeared first on American Preppers Network.

28 Sensible Tips To Get Through A Hurricane

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storm surge

Hurricane Matthew is slowly churning it way towards the U.S. with sustained winds of 140 mph or more, and the potential for major damage and loss of life exists for many coastal areas.

Hurricanes can certainly be dangerous, but they don’t have to be life-threatening for those who prepare.  Unlike tornadoes, which can pop up suddenly, hurricanes are first identified when they are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.  We can watch their development and have a good idea of how bad the situation might be and how much time we have to get ready.

Even before it’s clear that your area is in danger of being hit by the storm, you should have considered factors like food, water, power, and shelter. By having a plan of action beforehand, you’ll decrease the risk to your family significantly.

Here are a few (actually, 28!) tips to help those preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best:

HITTING THE ROAD

1.Make a G.O.O.D. (Get Out Of Dodge) decision: Rugged individualists may want to ride out the storm, but some coastal residents would be best served by hitting the road. When the authorities say it’s time to evacuate, you should be ready to go. Don’t forget to turn off the power, gas, and water before you leave.

2.Head inland: Hurricanes gain their strength by warm ocean waters, and lose strength quickly as they get further into the interior. If you’re escaping the storm, the further inland you go, the safer you’ll be. If there isn’t time, most coastal municipalities will have designated a sturdy building as a hurricane shelter.

3.Have a “GO” bag: Always have a set of supplies ready to take with you on short notice. Non-perishable food, bottled water, extra clothing, flashlights and batteries, a NOAA weather radio, medicines, and a first aid kit are just a few of the items that will ensure your survival. Although you’ll see recommendations to have a 72 hour supply, this figure is arbitrary, and a week’s worth would be even better.

4.Have a cell phone charger: Communication is key. Many cell phone chargers can be plugged into the car where the cigarette lighter used to be.

5.Have cash on hand: Power for credit card verification could be down after a hurricane; if you don’t keep some cash on hand, you’ll have a power shortage: Purchasing power.

Let’s say you haven’t received an evacuation order, and you’re going to ride out the storm in place. Here are some considerations you want to take into account:

FOOD

6.Keep it Cold: Have the refrigerator and freezer down to their coldest settings so that food will take longer to spoil.

7.Collect Ice: Collect ice in plastic bags and place them throughout to prolong freshness. If there are open spots, fill Tupperware containers or plastic soda bottles/milk jugs with water, freeze them, and place them in the spaces. The fuller the fridge is, the longer the items in it will stay cool.

8.Wrap It in Foil: Wrap food items in aluminum foil, eliminating air pockets, and cram the foil packs together as closely as possible.

9.Cook ‘Em and Freeze ‘Em: Cook meats before the hurricane gets close and freeze them. As cooking requires fuel, have some full propane tanks or charcoal briquettes in your supplies for when the power goes out.

10.Eat the Perishables Now: Eat the perishables first, canned foods later.

11.Keep It Closed: Don’t leave the refrigerator door open while deciding what food to take out. Visualize where a particular item is and then open the door. Close it as quickly as possible.

WATER

12.Water, Water everywhere: Have a stockpile of 5 gallon bottles of water or a plentiful supply of smaller bottles.

13.Fill the Tub: Fill all bathtubs with water. You might think this is overkill, but every member of your family needs 1 gallon of water per day. It goes fast.

14.Drink the Melted Ice: As refrigerated ice in containers melts, don’t waste it. Use it as an additional source of drinking water.

15.Hot Water Heaters Hold….Water!: Hot water heaters have gallons and gallons of drinkable water; don’t hesitate to raid them if you get low. First, turn off the electricity or gas. Attach a hose to the drain valve and release the vacuum in the tank by opening a hot water faucet. There might be some sediment at the bottom that should be drained out first.

16.Sterilize it: Have some household bleach available to sterilize questionable water (like from the water heater). 12-16 drops per gallon should do the job. Wait 30 minutes before drinking.

17.Have a water filter: handheld filters like the Lifestraw or Sawyer Mini, or larger ones like the Berkey can be useful to deal with cloudy water.

SHELTER

18.Put Up The Shutters:  If you have hurricane shutters, put them up at least 24 hours before hurricane landfall. It’s no fun to have to stand on a ladder in gale force winds and pouring rain to install them. Been there, done that.

19.Move Furniture/Plants Inside: Move the patio furniture and potted plants indoors. If you can’t for some reason, chain them together against an outer wall downwind from the direction of the storm.

20.Prune Trees: Prune all trees near your home so that wind can easily flow through the crowns. Otherwise, expect some to be downed by the storm. Branches, fruit (in South Florida, coconuts!), and other debris can act as missiles in high winds.

21.Pick a “Safe Room”: Choose a room in the interior of the home, preferably one without unshuttered windows.

22.Place candles in pans: Candles can be knocked over by winds and cause fires. If you must use them, stick them in a pan with shiny sides that would be deep enough to cover the flame.

23.Have Tarps at the Ready: Large tarps can be used to cover windows and, after the storm, to cover any areas of the roof that might have been damaged.

OTHER IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS

24.The Kids: Have board games, toys, and books to keep the children’s minds off scary winds. If you’re evacuating, let kids bring their favorite stuffed animals, blanket, or pillow to keep them calm.

25.Your Other Kids: Don’t forget to take into account the needs of your pets. Have food, water, and their favorite toy available, whether you leave or stay at home.

26.Your Other, Other Kid: Make sure your car is in good working order and filled with gas. Having some spare gas cans will be useful in case of a shortage at the pumps, and can be used to run generators (although never inside).

27.Your documents: Place important papers like birth certificates, passports, insurance documents, and others in waterproof containers. Scan them and send them in an email to yourself.

28.Keep your radio on: A NOAA weather radio, battery-powered or hand-cranked, will be an important source of information on the progress of the storm, and for community updates.

Being prepared for a hurricane can make sure that the storm will be just a bump in the road, and not the end of the road for you and your family. Have a plan of action, get some supplies, and you’ll join the ranks of the few, the proud, the prepared!

Joe Alton, MD

 

joealtonlibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

 

Find out more about hurricane preparedness and many other natural disasters in the new Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide For When Help is Not on the Way, available on this website or at amazon.com.

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Would You Survive A Hurricane?

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hurricane satellite image pixabay

The “eye” of a hurricane

After more than a decade without a major hurricane, South Florida faces the possibility of a glancing blow from powerful Hurricane Matthew. Are you ready, Floridians and East Coasters? Matthew was downgraded to a very strong category 4 storm recently but is thought to still pack winds of 150 mph.

It doesn’t take very long for people to forget the devastation that previous hurricanes have caused in the United States. Hurricanes are one of the few disasters that advanced weather forecasting can predict well ahead of its arrival. The National Weather Service puts out regular advisories for upcoming storms. Despite this, few are prepared to handle the dangers to life and property that can occur.

Hurricane Matthew is a high level storm with winds of up to 150 mph. Hurricanes are graded into 5 categories by the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The scale uses maximum sustained winds as a measure:
Category 1: 74-95 mph winds

Category 2:  96-110 mph winds

Category 3:  111-130 mph winds

Category 4:  131-155 mph winds

Category 5:  >155 mph winds

Although hurricane season starts in June, most major storms in the Atlantic seem to hit in August, September, and October. Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey shore in late October. Category five hurricanes Katrina and Andrew (2005, 1992) hit in late August.

hurricanepalms2

Coconuts? You mean missiles…

Are You Ready?

Hurricanes can be dangerous, but they don’t have to be life-threatening for those who prepare.  Unlike tornadoes, which can pop up suddenly, hurricanes are first identified when they are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.  We can watch their development and have a good idea of how bad it might get and how much time we have to get ready.

An effective plan of action takes into account factors like shelter, clean water, food, power, and other important issues.  By planning before a hurricane threatens your area, you’ll avoid the mad rush for supplies that leaves supermarket shelves empty.

Perhaps your most important decision might be:  Should you get out of Dodge? You can actually outrun one of these storms if you get enough of a head start. At present, for example, Hurricane Matthew is plodding along at about 7 mph.  If you live on the coast or in an area that floods often, there will be rising tide waters (known as the “storm surge”) that might cause impressive flooding. Indeed, flooding is the leading cause of deaths due to hurricanes.

The National Weather Service keeps a close eye on hurricanes and issues two types of warnings:

Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within a specified area.

Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within a specified area.

In many cases, the authorities will issue an order to evacuate areas that will be hardest hit. If such an order is broadcast, you should leave. If you live near the coast in pre-fabricated housing, such as a trailer, it’s wisest to hit the road before the storm makes landfall. Alternatively, many municipalities will designate a hurricane-resistant public building nearby as an official shelter.

If you do choose to leave town, plan to go as far inland as possible.   Hurricanes get their strength from the warm water temperatures over the tropical ocean; they lose strength quickly as they travel over land.  It might be a wise move to make reservations at a hotel early if you don’t have a place to go; there will be little room at the inn for the latecomers.

A good idea is to always have a set of supplies ready to go for any emergency. This kit is called a “Bug-Out”, “Go”, or “GOOD” (Get Out Of Dodge) bag. Although most survivalists recommend packing for 72 hours off the grid in case of a disaster, that number is arbitrary; be prepared to at least have a week’s supply of food and drinking water, as well as extra clothing and medical supplies.

storm surge

storm surge

Riding Out The Storm

If you decide to weather the storm at home, have an idea of what your home’s weak spots are.  What amount of sustained wind your structure can withstand?  Most homes are built to withstand 90 mph winds, but when South Florida was devastated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, new homes in South Florida were mandated to be able to withstand 125 mph winds. If the coming storm has sustained winds over that level, you may not be able to depend on the structural integrity of older homes.

Where is the best place in the home to serve as a “safe room”?  It should be in the part of the home most downwind of the direction from which the hurricane is hitting you. Be certain to plan for any special needs that family members (and pets) may have.  You may wind up taking care of more people that you expect, so have more water and non-perishable food than you think you’ll need (1 gallon/day per person minimum). Filling bathtubs with fresh water would give you a reasonable supply.

Outdoors

Unsecured objects can become missiles in a hurricane. Outdoors, move all patio furniture and potted plants either inside the house or up against the outside wall, preferably secured with chains. Put up hurricane shutters if you have them.

One special issue for South Floridians is coconuts:  They turn into cannonballs in a hurricane.  Cut them off the tree before the winds come.  Interestingly, the palm trees themselves, as they don’t have a dense crown, seem to weather most high winds without a problem.  Trees with dense crowns, however, should be pruned to allow wind through and all dead branches removed.

Roof shingles are often casualties of the storm, so have some waterproof tarps available. Roofers are going to be pretty busy after a major storm and might not get to you right away.  In South Florida after Wilma (2005), there were still tarps on roofs more than a year later.

Indoors

Indoor planning is important as well.  Communications may be out in a major storm, so have a NOAA weather radio and lots of fresh batteries. Turn refrigerators and freezers down to their coldest settings, so that food won’t spoil right away if the power fails.  Coolers filled with ice or dry ice will extend the life of some of your more perishable items. Don’t forget a hand-operated can opener.

Fill up gas and propane tanks early in every hurricane season. Make sure that you know how to shut off the electricity, gas and water, if necessary, and perhaps consider getting a generator and some extra gas cans. Never use gas grills or generators indoors, though, as the fumes may be life-threatening.

There’s another kind of power you should be concerned about. In the aftermath of a storm, credit card verification may be down; without cash, you may have no purchasing power at all.

What About The Kids?

If you’ve hunkered down in your home during the storm, make sure that you’ve got books, board games, and light sources for when the power goes down. Kids (and most adults) go stir crazy when stuck inside, especially if they don’t have TVs or computers in service.

Take time to discuss the coming storm in advance with the whole family; this will give everyone an idea of what to expect, and keep fear down to a minimum.  Give the kids some responsibility, as well.  Give them the opportunity to pack their own bag or select games to play.  This will keep their minds busy and their nerves calm.

Be Smart

It’s amazing how thrill-seekers will go out in the middle of a storm; people seem to be enthralled with hurricanes, and will go out in dangerous winds to take selfies or do other foolish things. This is a recipe for a bad outcome, and some avoidable deaths will occur as a result. Several were killed during Hurricane Sandy because of their zeal to go out during the worst part of the storm. Take hurricanes seriously; there’s danger from flooding, flying debris, falling trees, and much more.

After the Storm

Some items will be useful in the cleanup after the storm.  You’ll need work gloves, plastic garbage bags, duct tape, insect repellent, and even tweezers to deal with the splinters that inevitably are part and parcel of moving a lot of debris.  A chain saw might be needed as well.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, cell phone service may be down due to the huge volume of calls. Texts may be possible, however, even if voice calls aren’t.

By planning early to get your home and family prepared for a hurricane, you’ll have the best chance of .

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

 

always have some medical supplies available for your GO bag to deal with injuries caused by violent storms, and what better place to find kits and supplies than by checking out Nurse Amy’s often-imitated but never-equaled entire line specifically meant for disaster and homestead settings. Find them at store.doomandbloom.net!

50 Congressmen Ask DEA To Hold Off On Kratom Ban

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kratom

Mitragyna speciosa (Kratom)

In a rare bipartisan effort, 50 members of Congress have asked the DEA to hold off on the upcoming ban on the active ingredients in the plant Kratom (Mitragyna speciose). Kratom, a member of the coffee family, is used by many Americans as a substitute for opiates.  A plethora of testimonials exist online by former users of Heroin and other drugs that the plant has “saved their life”. 130,000 people signed a recent White House petition to protest the DEA’s actions.

 
Politicians aren’t the only officials that suggest that the DEA’s decision might have been arrived hastily. Academicians at Sloan Kettering and Columbia suggest that the plant may have properties that could be harnessed into useful non-opioid painkillers.

 
On August 30th, the DEA banned, for a period of two years, the two active ingredients mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, categorizing them as Schedule I drugs, the same category as Heroin and LSD. The ban is effective September 30th, 2016. Schedule I drugs are thought to have no medical use and present a major risk of addiction. This action means that even possession of the plant may be considered illegal and subject to prosecution.

 
The DEA considers Kratom to be an imminent public hazard, but some members of Congress disagree. In a recent letter to all representatives, Congressmen Mark Pocan (D- Wisconin) and Matt Salmon (R- Arizona) wrote “It (Kratom) binds to some of the same receptors as opioids, providing some pain relief and a calming effect, but not the same high. And the chemical doesn’t cause the same, sometimes deadly side effects as opioids, such as respiratory depression.”

 
This statement from the DEA: “… Kratom is abused for its ability to produce opioid-like effects and is often marketed as a legal alternative to controlled substances. Law enforcement nationwide has seized more kratom in the first half of 2016 than any previous year and easily accounts for millions of dosages intended for the recreational market, according to DEA findings. In addition, kratom has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. These three factors constitute a schedule I controlled substance according to the Controlled Substances Act passed by Congress in 1970.”

 
DEA statistics show more than 600 poison control calls relating to Kratom in the five year period from 2010 to 2015. Fifteen deaths have been attributed to Kratom use, although closer inspection reveals that fourteen of those deaths were also associated with other drugs. In contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 8,257 heroin-related deaths in 2013 alone.

 
Having said that, some countries where Kratom grows naturally have imposed a ban on export and, sometimes, use. This includes nations like Thailand and Malaysia.

 
Kratom is, indeed, a drug and should be regulated, but abruptly naming it a Schedule I substance similar to Heroin will discourage research into its properties and potential for use in cases of drug addiction, depression, PTSD, and chronic pain.

 
Once Kratom is off the market, will users return to opiates like Heroin? If they do, how many deaths will occur as a result? More than one, I would guess. Kratom may have addictive potential, but so do cigarettes and alcohol, which are responsible for many more deaths.

 
Should Kratom be regulated? Absolutely. As things stand now, there is no accepted dosage amount of Kratom and commercially-available products are widely variable in the amount of mitragynine and 7-hydroxy-mitragynine in them. Find and standardize an appropriate amount for safe use. This is a better option than taking it off the market altogether.

 
It’s a stretch to argue that Kratom is as bad as Heroin; the last thing we want is users to switch to substances that are more clearly associated with death.

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Dr. Joe Alton

Joe Alton MD is a medical preparedness writer for disasters and epidemics, and looks for ways to use both conventional and alternative methods to deal with scenarios where help may not be on the way. Check out his brand new 700 page Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook for over 150 medical issues that you might encounter in disaster situations.

7 Sensible Ways To Get Your Kids Dirty (and Healthy)

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mud-play

image by publicdomainpictures.net

I have, on many occasions, written about the importance of good hygiene and sanitation on the chances of a family or survival group succeeding, even when everything else fails. That’s all well and good, but what can be done before a disaster to impart a resistance to infection in the next generation?

In modern times we have, as a matter of “good parenting”, made every effort to keep our children with their noses wiped and their hands clean. Indeed, these are the basics of respiratory hygiene to prevent things like colds and flus. However, are our kids too clean? In our never-ending battle to keep them shiny and bright, have we, instead, made them more prone to the very microbes from which we want to protect then?

Many scientists and physicians think so. In 1989, researcher Dr. David Strachan suggested the hypothesis that the failure of children to be exposed to infectious bugs and parasites may be responsible for the epidemic of allergies and allergic conditions like asthma. This was called the “Hygiene Hypothesis” and the lack of exposure to microbes was, later, more broadly applied to other diseases ranging from hay fever to diabetes to multiple sclerosis.

The theory is based on the thought that avoidance of common germs suppresses the development of a normal immune system. In addition to microbe-avoiding practices like staying inside and not getting dirty, just the fact that modern families are smaller than those 100 years ago results in less passing-around of common infections. This, in turn, leads to the failure to develop immunity against them or the

tolerance that would prevent allergic reactions.

Later studies suggest that some of the skin, gut, and respiratory germs we try so hard to avoid are actually “old friends” that have been with us since ancient times, and lack of exposure to them doesn’t allow our immune systems to develop nor function appropriately. Researchers like Dr. Graham Rook compared the immature immune system to a computer; it has many programs, but needs “data” in the form of diverse germ exposures to allow the “program” to identify those that are harmful. The fetus receives some of this data even as it passes through the vaginal canal during birth.

pixabay-old-farm

old farm via pixabay images

When most of us lived on farms or in less-than-pristine cities, we were exposed to plenty of germs from a young age due to time spent outside with animals or with lots of other people. Now, unless they’re playing Pokemon Go, the majority of kids aren’t motivated to go outside or, certainly, get dirty. In the final analysis, never getting dirty as a child may be hazardous to your future health.

Having said all this, most parents will have trouble throwing their kids in the nearest pig sty or making mud pies with Rover’s, um, poo. There are still disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites out there that you’d like to avoid. Is there a middle ground?

Here are some things you might consider:

Avoid antibiotics: The medical profession may have been remiss in over-prescribing antibiotics, but there are antibiotics in food as well. Indeed, 70-80% of antibiotics are given to livestock, not to treat infection, but to make they grow faster and get them to market sooner. Stick with antibiotic-free eggs, milk, and meats.

Avoid anti-bacterial soaps: Triclosan, the active antibiotic ingredient in many brands, has recently been banned by the FDA due to the risk of antibiotic resistance and the lack of evidence of any medical benefit. Use regular soap and water for washing.

Tailor Handwashing Strategies to the Situation:  If you’re in a city where open sewers run through the streets and people are tossing buckets of excrement out the window, have your kids wash their hands conscientiously. In clean environments where there isn’t a raging epidemic, however, don’t freak out over dirty hands.

Don’t Bathe Every Day: Not only should your kids be exposed to dirt to develop their immune system, but bathing too often might do more harm than good. Daily showers removes protective skin oils and causes drying and irritation. You’re also washing away the good bacteria that lives on your skin.

dog-and-kid-pixabay

image by pixabay.com

Get Your Kid a Pet: Not every kid has the good fortune of living on a farm, but they’ll benefit from a furry pet. Dogs seem to give more resistance to colds and allergic skin conditions like eczema than cats, but early cat exposure might give more protection against asthma. Why not have both?

Be Sensible About Animal Droppings:  Yes, I know that you can’t avoid trace amounts of animal excrement in your kids’ environment, but don’t let them play in the cat litter and you should remove pet and wild animal excrement from play areas.

Get your kids outside when they’re young: In these days where we have legitimate concerns about children’s safety, you might be reluctant to let your kids go outside by themselves. Here’s an idea: Go out with them, to parks, wilderness areas, and other places where both adults and kids can reap real benefits.

The more you encourage outdoor activities early, the more they become part of the next generation’s culture; let the kids get a little dirty, and you might give them a healthier future.

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kit and individual items at store.doomandbloom.net!

Survival Medicine Hour: Larry Keilberg of SelfDefenseFund, Diabetes, More

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gunshot wound kit

Legal Self Defense (pictured: Amy’s Gunshot Kit)

Survival Medicine Hour, September 23, 2016, with Joe and Amy Alton. We discuss the prevalent market on Ebay for fake C.A.T tourniquets, and a couple things to look out for. The increasing epidemic of diabetes, and what the world might look like if we make changes and if we don’t. The World Health Organization announced a 4-fold increase in the number of diabetic diagnoses in the past 35 years.

If you plan to defend you or your family from harm, through self defense, using ANY item, whether gun, knife, a lamp or even hands, this interview with Larry Keilberg may provide your best protection from going to jail. When force is used, deadly or otherwise, the police and court systems are not always quick to render you innocent. Long trials and expensive defense teams can ruin your life. The SelfDefenseFund.com offers a very reasonable policy to cover you and family members in the case of self defense. From expert testimony, top lawyers and a team of defense planning, you will be defended by the best. Larry Keilberg is a founding member of The National Association for Legal Gun Defense, and is an excellent source of information. Don’t miss this interview.

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/09/23/survival-medicine-hour-larry-keilberg-of-selfdefensefund-diabetes-more

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits and supplies at AltonFirstAid.com!

Kratom, Natural Pain Reliever, Lost to FDA Actions

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kratom

Mitragyna speciose (Kratom)

One of the questions we’re often asked is what to do about chronic pain and drug addiction if some disaster occurs that knocks you off the grid, maybe for good. Certainly, pharmaceuticals would cease to be manufactured and whatever pain med you use or opiate drug you may be addicted to will become, very likely, unavailable, leaving you or members of your group high and dry. In these circumstances, you have to look toward natural sources of compounds that could help; things that you might even be able to grow in your survival garden.

Some states approve the possession and sale of marijuana  for medical and recreational use, but there is little true opioid effect to it, and recent studies show that it has a slight effect against pain, but mostly has a sedative effect that makes the pain more bearable. the Canadian Medical Association journal tested marijuana on a number of people who had chronic pain, and compared it to people who took a placebo, essentially a sugar pill. Those on the placebo rated their pain as a 6.1 out of 10 and the marijuana group rated their pain as 5.4.  A small difference, but a difference nonetheless, so it’s an option.

Another plant that has promise for chronic pain is called Kratom. Kratom is a herb that has been in widespread use in Southeast Asia for centuries; it is chewed for to increase stamina, induce gentle euphoria and relaxation, and relieve pain. Many testimonials exist as to its success helping people kick their addictions to opioid painkillers. On the other side of the coin, Kratom appears to have addictive potential itself, and several hundred cases of poisoning have been recorded, although many of the most severe cases seem to have mixed it with other recreational drugs. Use and/or export of Kratom has been outlawed in some countries where it grows naturally.

The chemical compounds in Kratom, (scientific name Mitragyna speciosa) are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine . These substances act on opioid receptors in the brain, just like heroin and morphine do. Kratom, however, is not an opiate. It’s actually a member of the coffee family. In any case, Kratom has been used by many people who swear by its effect on pain or used it to replace heroin and other street drugs.

Now, in a recent decision, the FDA has (abruptly) chosen to classify the active compounds in Kratom as Schedule I substances. Schedule 1 drugs include heroin and LSD, things determined to have no acceptable medical use and/or high addictive properties. Kratom now joins their ranks. The Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it would, for a period of two years, effectively ban Kratom,. By prohibiting the possession and use of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, the DEA can make it illegal to even have the plant on your property.

This action probably stems from a report by the CDC that Kratom “intoxication” caused 600 calls to poison control centers over the last five years. This despite the claim from proponents of the plant that the number of “poisonings” are small compared to the number of people damaged by many other, even legal, substances. I found little scientific evidence of any lethal effects from using Kratom.

In any case, the FDA has taken up an anti-Kratom stance after several states banned the plant.

In the end, the Department of Health and Human Services is involved in studies on Kratom and its final determination will decide if the plant is banned forever.  

What does this mean? Well, that outlawing Kratom may turn its users to things like heroin. Results might be an increase in opiate overdose deaths, something already at epidemic proportions throughout various parts of the country. Secondly, it takes away an natural alternative for the homesteader or off-grid medic to deal with addiction issues or with significant chronic pain in austere settings.

It seems to me that there has been a rush to judgement when it comes to Kratom. Hopefully, the DEA will see the light as to the realistic uses and potential risks of the plant, and allow at least limited access to what might be a very valuable survival medical tool. Don’t hold your breath, though; it’s not likely that, once a substance is controlled by the government, that you’ll be able to get or grow it in the future (marijuana being the rare exception).

You still have until the end of September 2016 to get some plants or supplements. The plants are going out of stock quickly, but there are still supplements available at various online sites. Check out the American Kratom Association for more information. I’m not telling you to break the law, just to do your own research and reach your own conclusions.

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoeFind out more about natural alternatives for pain and other medical issues in the brand new Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way.

 

Video: The OODA Loop of Situational Awareness

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crowd

Are you safe here?

In this companion video to a previous article, Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones, discusses a fighter pilot strategy that might save your life in a terror event. Originally meant for aerial dogfights, the OODA loop was developed by Colonel John Boyd and has been used in everything from business to active shooter scenarios. Incorporating the OODA loop into your mindset will help instill the culture of readiness that is so important in the New Normal of the uncertain future.

To watch, click below:

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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The Altons

Zika: 10 Things to Worry/Relax About

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asian-tiger-mosquito1

Aedes Albopictus Mosquito

Zika virus has been in the news since the beginning of the year, and there’s a lot of information out there; some of it is reassuring and some, well, not so much. Here’s some things you should know that will make you worry/not worry about this infectious disease that’s been reported worldwide. 

1.

Worrisome: Reported cases of Zika in the U.S. and its territories will soon hit 20,000. The number of Zika cases IN THE U.S. and its territories reported to CDC’s Arbonet (ARthropod-BOrne virus) national registry has risen to almost 19,000. With some researchers suggesting infection in one quarter of the population of Puerto Rico before the end of 2016, 20,000 cases might be a gross underestimation.

Reassuring: While the Zika epidemic rages in Puerto Rico, the continental U.S has reported a total of 2,964 cases of mostly travel-related Zika virus illness (out of a population of 320 million).  South Florida is the only area in the continental U.S. where local mosquitoes are confirmed by authorities to have spread the disease (about 50 cases).

The number of U.S. Zika cases are updated weekly by the CDC at http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html.

 

2.

Worrisome: The actual number of Zika cases is probably close to 5 times the number of reported cases. Zika virus causes relatively mild symptoms like rashes, fevers, joint pains, and reddened eyes, and even then in only 20% of cases. 80% have no symptoms whatsoever, which means that the actual number of cases is probably 5 times greater. This doesn’t count people who wouldn’t go to the doctor for a mild fever or a rash, so it might be even more.

Reassuring: Even if case totals are, in fact, much higher than reported, the virus leaves the bloodstream after a week or so in most people. It can, however, last for months in seminal fluid or, perhaps, the eyes. Once you have recovered from the acute infection, you receive immunity from the antibodies produced by your immune system. Future pregnancies won’t be affected.

,

3.

Worrisome: Zika is a bona fide pandemic. A pandemic is a widespread occurrence of a disease not normally seen in a place that spreads across different regions. Zika has now been identified in close to 70 countries and has been referred to as a pandemic by the National Institute of Health since at least January 2016.

Reassuring: Despite concerns raised by many health officials, athletes and tourists returning from the Olympic Games don’t seem to have sparked significant new outbreaks in their home countries.

microcephaly-reuse-wiki

microcephalic infant

 

4.

Worrisome: Newborns with Zika infections can have multiple abnormalities, not just microcephaly. Microcephaly is a condition where a small brain leads to poor head growth. Beside this, however, other evidence of brain damage, deformed joints, and vision or hearing impairment may occur.

Reassuring: The percentage of abnormal newborns in Zika-infected mothers isn’t as high as you think. Statistics for the rate of birth abnormalities in newborns have ranged from 1% to 13% in Brazil and 1% in the previous outbreak in Polynesia in 2013-4, according to a CDC report released last May. There are no numbers that say a Zika-infected mother’s chances are very high of having a baby with microcephaly or other defects.

 

5.

Worrisome: We can’t say for sure that Zika-infected babies born looking normal will be unaffected by the virus. Zika is shown in lab studies to kill brain and other nerve cells. What if the number of cells damaged is not enough to make the baby appear abnormal at birth but enough to cause delays in milestones like walking or talking? What if these infants end up having learning disabilities once they’re old enough to go to school? We won’t know for years.

Reassuring: Although our research into the effects of Zika virus is in its infancy, no hard evidence exists that a baby from an infected mother will have later developmental deficits.

 

6.

Worrisome: Zika virus may be passed through from human to human through seminal fluid, vaginal secretions, blood, and now, tears. Researchers are finding more and more ways that Zika might be transmissible from human to human. A study from Washington University in St. Louis reports that tears of mice carried parts of the Zika virus.

Reassuring:  The vast majority of Zika infections are still transmitted by mosquitoes. Sensible actions like the use of mosquito repellents, the wearing of long sleeves/pants, and drainage of nearby standing water are still the best way to prevent an infection.

 immunity

7.

Worrisome: There is more than one strain of Zika, and there may have been mutations. Zika, like many viruses, exists in different subtypes (at least two) that could mutate from time to time. This fact might explain why a virus originally identified in 1947 only started causing community-wide outbreaks in 2007, and no reported cases of abnormal babies before 2013. A mutation that increased the severity of effect on humans (at least, newborn ones) may have occurred.

Reassuring: It’s possible that Zika just had never been exposed to such large populations without natural immunity. Researchers haven’t yet reported if the strain spreading rapidly in Singapore is the same one as that in Brazil.

 

8.

Worrisome: There may already be more than one locally-transmitted outbreak in the U.S. Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor’s College of Medicine, suspects that there may be more areas of local Zika transmission than just the one in Miami. The Guardian reports that he said, “…I think there’s not just Zika transmission going on in Miami, it’s going on all up and down the Gulf Coast and in Arizona, it’s just that nobody’s looking.” The CDC, although it stops short of predicting an epidemic of Zika, believes clusters of cases may still appear in warm-weather states.

Reassuring: Future local outbreaks are likely to be minor in the U.S.  A number of states, like Louisiana and other Gulf and East coast states, are recovering from floods dues to storms and Hurricane Hermine. Cases of Zika virus, however, don’t seem to be arising out of standing water there that would be excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Cities, like Houston, with low-income areas that harbor abandoned buildings and trash, also provide possible sites for the next generation of mosquitoes; Zika virus doesn’t seem to have taken hold there either.

dead bees

dead bees

 

9.

Worrisome: Aerial Spraying with chemical pesticides like Naled may affect honeybees and even humans. Use of pesticides that are neurotoxic might have ill effects on important pollinators like bees, or even human beings. It might be safer to use methods that kill mosquito larvae instead.

Reassuring: Aerial spraying is an effective way to eliminate large populations of adult mosquitoes quickly and rarely affects humans. Naled is a shorter acting pesticide than some others, and when used correctly (before sunrise or after sunset), is unlikely to cause major damage to pollinators, which mostly forage during daylight hours. The recent bee die-off after spraying in Dorchester County, S.C., was due to spraying which occurred at 8 a.m.

singapore-pixabay

Singapore’s next for Zika (image: pixabay)

                                                                                                                                                                                

10.

Worrisome: A new local Zika outbreak is spreading throughout Singapore in Asia. The location is important because Singapore is an important financial hub for the region. Travel-related cases already have been reported in Malaysia and the Philippines from returning travelers. Given the widespread commercial travel to Singapore, where 300 cases have been reported in 10 days, the entirety of Asia may be affected in the near future.

Reassuring: Here in the U.S., the coming fall and winter seasons will decrease mosquito populations significantly throughout most of the country. USA Today reported in July that Brazil was recording fewer cases of Zika as the Southern Hemisphere entered its “winter”.

 

So, it’s your choice: You can decide either to go look for your worry beads or, instead, cover your eyes with your hat and order another pinacolada. Just don’t forget the mosquito repellent.

 

Joe Alton, MD

 

 

 

10 Essentials for Wilderness Survival

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Your experience outdoors can always be fun depending on how prepared you are in the wilderness. Some people might complain of experiencing the worst hiking trip while it is their fault for not having the essentials for such a trip. Below you will get to learn about the essentials needed for wilderness survival.

 

  1. Water bottle and water purifier

It is not always that you might end up with clean water in the wilderness. So, you have to be prepared to keep yourself hydrated while outdoors. Carry a water bottle full of water and additional collapsible reservoir of water. You still need to have a water filter or purifier that will help purify the water for drinking once your reservoir is empty.

 

  1. Navigation tools

In the wilderness, you might not get the best cell reception to use your Google maps, this means we have to go old school. You will need a map and compass as your navigation tools in the wilderness. You can always toss in a GPS and wrist altimeter as additional navigation tools to help with moving around. Make sure that you can read the map and compass or else they would be useless out there in the wilderness. If it is a hunting trip, make sure that you actually get to use an updated map with any additional features you need to know. GPS navigation could still be useful to help get back to the starting point with the logged GPS coordinates.

 

  1. First aid kit

It is no brainer that accidents sometimes happen while in the wilderness without even really hoping for them. The worst would be when you have no first aid kit to help with the preventing bleeding or easing the pain. If you are going to carry the first aid kit, just make sure that the medicine is still viable and the bandages too still work. Some of the things to include in the first aid kit are adhesive bandages, gauze pads, disinfecting ointment, pain medication, gloves, adhesive tapes among many other important supplies.

 

  1. Illumination tools

It will get dark some point in the wilderness, so you always have to be prepared. This calls for having illumination tools to light up your way. The common source of light would be a headlamp, flashlights and packable lanterns. The headlamp is liked by many as it allows for hands free operation and also have a longer battery life. The headlamps, often come with the strobe mode, which is important in emergency situations. The flashlights on the other hand have gained popularity too. Many people would comfortably buy a flashlight knowing it will have powerful beams important for the wilderness maneuvers.

 

  1. Additional clothes

Other than your hunting gear or clothes, you still need to have a supply of clean clothes. This is for those who are looking to spend more time in the wilderness. The additional clothes can include jackets and hats that should help to keep you warm during the cold weather at night. Keep in mind only to carry the necessary clothes for the trip, carrying too many clothes might make your bag too heavy for the trip. 

 

  1. Food

Food is crucial for any survival in the wilderness. You would want to make sure that you have enough food to last you for a few days if you are going to stay for longer in the wilderness. This is great to keep you going before you can start relying on the food you get after hunting. Just make sure that the food does not need a lot of preparation since you will be still in the wilderness. Freeze-dried meals would be ideal in such situations.

 

  1. Knives and Repair multi tool

It is not always that something will end up breaking, but having a repair multi-tool sometimes should be great to repair the component to its working status. You are likely to find the repair multi tool to have components such as blades, screwdrivers, can openers, scissors, wrenches among many others. You simply need to compare between various models of multi tools to find the best for your activities in the wilderness. Never forget the duct tape as you might be surprised just how useful it can get whenever you are outdoors. The knives also fall into this category and can never be left behind. The right knives will always be important to get you surviving in the wilderness.

 

  1. Fire

The night can get chilly sometimes in the wilderness. You will need to have a fire to keep you warm at all times. This means you need to have several matches with you. Make sure that the matches are waterproof and should also be stored in a similar waterproof container. This means that should be able to handle the wet or damp conditions of the wilderness. You can still use a mechanical lighter in the wilderness, but just have the matches as your backup fire starting method. In some cases, the campers can use a Firestarter. This is simply a device that helps the camper to jump start the fire while in the wilderness.

 

  1. Sun protection

If you are going to stay in the wilderness for a long time, chances are that you would be exposed to the harmful sunrays. You will need protection such from UV rays, which might cause conditions such as skin cancer. You can use the sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays. Using the right sunglasses model, you can block 100 percent of the UV rays. Another way for sun protection would be using sunscreen. Choose sunscreen with at least an SPF rating of 15 for better protection.

 

  1. Shelter building material and tools

Of course, you would need to have a shelter over your head at some point. This will mean you need all the necessary shelter building tools for the trip. If you are unsure of what to choose for the building materials, visit a camping shop and ask for help from the vendor. You will get to learn more about what to expect in such a shop.

 

Author Bio: Roy Ayers, Hunter and Survivalist

 

Thanks for stopping by to learn more about hunting and surviving in the wilderness. I am a dedicated and a full time survival author, editor and blog writer on hunting. Over the years, I have managed to work on various article and blog series that all talk about hunting and surviving the wilderness. I manage to do this because of personal experience outdoors. This has always helped me to having an easy time crafting the articles for my audience over the years. Keep on reading my articles and blogs to get the useful tips and guides important for outdoor survival and hunting. Come back more often to my website to update yourself on the best new hunting and survival tips.

 

The post 10 Essentials for Wilderness Survival appeared first on American Preppers Network.

The Coming Bee-Pocalypse?

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dead bees

dead bees

You may or may not be an environmentalist, but a part of nature that everyone should support is the honeybee. It’s thought that every third bite of food that you take is there because of pollination by bees. Honey, when raw and unprocessed, is a versatile product that may even be used as a wound covering for burns and other injuries.

In the last decade, bee colonies are reported to be experiencing die-offs that have taken out a significant percentage of all the colonies in certain areas.  I found this alarming, but a review of recent articles, however, revealed this idea to be a matter of debate. Opinions on the state of the bee nation seem to go along with the political bent of the author; if you’re liberal, the “bee-pocalypse” has arrived; if you’re conservative, bees are thriving and it’s all a bunch of “junk science”. Which do you “bee-lieve”?

As a conservative environmentalist (am I the only one?), it’s all pretty confusing. I tend to think that bees, like a lot of critters in today’s densely populated world, are in trouble, and there are multiple factors to blame. Some of these factors are, indeed, due to human actions.

These actions could be very isolated, like the truck that overturned in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, taking out most of the 430 beehives that were being transported to farming areas without enough pollinators (a question: Why is this a thriving business if there are plenty of bees?).

Human actions may be more coordinated, however, than  a truck overturning. Our growing concerns about the Zika, West Nile, and other mosquito-borne viruses have led to the institution of mosquito control programs in many towns and cities in the U.S. One effective means of eliminating adult mosquitoes is aerial spraying with an organophosphate pesticide called Naled. Unfortunately, the use of Naled has caused collateral damage to many beneficial insects; the honeybee is one of them.

A recent series of aerial sprayings in Dorchester County, South Carolina, has killed millions of bees. Although relatively short acting, Naled is lethal to bees and daytime spraying has decimated the local population of these important pollinators. The chemical is not meant to be used between sunrise and sunset, when bees are out foraging. It seems the Dorchester County officials didn’t read the directions.

The inappropriate timing of the pesticide spraying has “nuked” the colonies of many Dorchester County beekeepers. Dead worker bees were found in large clumps at hive entrances; one beekeeper lost 46 hives.

Although the county claims to have given advisories of the spraying via email, many local beekeepers claim they didn’t receive the notice. Mosquito control is normally conducted by trucks in the county, and the aerial sprayings came as a (very bad) surprise. With warning, the beekeepers could have shielded the hives.

All this is happening at a time when another pesticide used to control pests is (apparently, another controversial statement) devastating bee populations in other areas.

Here’s a story that was reported some time ago: Customers at an Oregon Target store arrived to see tens of thousands of dead and dying bumblebees in the parking lot.

An investigation the day before revealed that a pest-control company had sprayed insecticide on surrounding trees due to an aphid infestation. Of course, bees don’t read warning signs and 300 colonies were destroyed. That’s a lot of lost pollinators.

The pesticide used is known as a neonicotinoid, popularly called a “neonic”. It was developed by Bayer a decade ago and differs from other pesticides, like organophosphates, in that they clear from the air a lot slower.

Many crops are treated with neonics. The chemical works like this: once sprayed on the plant, it is absorbed by the plant’s vascular system. This makes it poisonous to bugs that eat the leaves, nectar, or pollen. Sometimes the soil is treated as well, with the same absorption effect that makes it deadly to pests. Unfortunately, it’s kills good insects, as well.

When a Bayer neonic doesn’t kill a bee, it can damage its immune system and even affect its ability to navigate. It becomes lost and can’t find the hive. This phenomenon is sometimes known as “Colony Collapse Disorder” and it appears as if the bees have magically disappeared. Although not proven to be the cause in all cases, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to implicate the pesticide as a factor.

Now, a new study indicates that neonics harm drone bees’ sperm, killing close to 40 per cent and causing a condition called “queen failure”. A queen failure is when queen bees fail to have live offspring. A queen failure is a hive failure.

Of course, there are a lot of other reasons that a hive can fail. Parasites, disease, and many other factors may come into play besides chemical pesticides. But given the stress that our nation’s bee population is already under, what will be the straw that breaks the (bee’s) camel’s back?

To be banned, a chemical has to be proven dangerous in the U.S. Although Bayer is a German company, you might be interested to know that, at present, you can’t use neonics in Germany. Too dangerous. In the U.S., however, neonics are widely used and the bees pay the price.

Some areas in the U.S. are taking action. Eugene, Oregon has forbidden the use of this pesticide and the state of Maryland has followed with a ban to begin in 2018. Environmentalists urge action by the federal government to ban neonicotinoids and mandate wiser use of organophosphates like Naled (following the directions would be a good start).  Meanwhile, others are complaining, even in Europe, of pests invading crops and want freer use of neonic and other pesticides.

Our bees are an important natural resource, not just for beekeepers, but for farmers and for all Americans. If you’re a consumer, you should be invested in this fight regardless of your political stripes. I’d like to Save the Whales, but it’s just as or more important to save the bees.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

The brand new Third Edition of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” is now available at Amazon.com! It’s the essential guide for disasters and epidemics when help isn’t on the way.

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Hurricanes, Zika Update, Bee Deaths

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zika virus

Zika Virus

In this episode of the Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP, a Florida landfall occurs for a hurricane for the first time in more than a decade. Were you ready? What should you do to prepare for the next one? Plus, Dr. Bones discusses new tragedies for the native bee population in the U.S. What will be the straw that break’s the bee’s, I mean, camel’s back? With every third bite of food you put in your mouth coming as a result of some bee pollinating a plant, you should be invested in this topic!

storm surge

A hurricane’s storm surge

Plus, we haven’t talked about Zika for a while, but that’s not because there hasn’t been a lot of news about it. Nurse Amy and Dr. Bones follow the globetrotting pandemic to a new outbreak in Singapore, talk about outbreaks that might not be reported due to lack of testing, and the effects that could occur on zika-infected newborns that are born looking perfectly normal.

bee1

More bad news for bees

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

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/09/04/survival-medicine-hour-more-bad-news-for-bees-hurricanes-and-a-zika-update

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

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

The Altons

Are You Ready For A Hurricane?

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hurricane satellite image pixabay

image by pixabay.com

As Hurricane Hermine makes landfall in the Florida panhandle, I realized that I haven’t written an article on hurricane preparedness since Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey coast in 2012. Florida, usually considered the most hurricane-prone state, has been extraordinarily lucky until now, with Hurricane Wilma in 2005 (the same year as Katrina) hit South Florida.

It doesn’t take very long for people to forget the devastation that previous hurricanes have caused in the United States. Hurricanes are one of the few disasters that advanced weather forecasting can predict well ahead of its arrival. The National Weather Service puts out regular advisories for upcoming storms. Despite this, few are prepared to handle the dangers to life and property that can occur.

Hurricane Hermine is, as hurricanes go, a lower level storm known as a “Category 1” with winds of 74-95 mph. Hurricanes are graded into 5 categories by the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The scale uses maximum sustained winds as a measure; stronger storms are categorized as follows:
Category 2:  96-110 mph winds

Category 3:  111-130 mph winds

Category 4:  131-155 mph winds

Category 5:  >155 mph winds

 

Hurricane season starts in June, but most major storms seem to hit in August, September, and October. Sandy hit the U.S. in late October. Category five hurricanes Katrina and Andrew (1992) hit in late August.

Are You Ready for a Hurricane?

Certainly, hurricanes can be severe, but they don’t have to be life-threatening for those who prepare.  Unlike tornadoes, which can pop up suddenly, hurricanes are first identified when they are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.  We can watch their development and have a good idea of how bad it might get and how much time we have to get ready.  An effective plan of action takes into account factors like shelter, clean water, food, power, and other important issues.  By planning before a hurricane threatens your area, you’ll avoid the mad rush for supplies that leaves supermarket shelves empty.

storm surge

the “storm surge” is responsible for many hurricane-related deaths

You can outrun one of these storms if you get enough of a head start. That’s actually one of your most important decisions:  Should you get out of Dodge?  If you live on the coast or in an area that floods often, there will be rising tide waters (known as the “storm surge”) that might reason enough to leave. The storm surge, combined with heavy rains, can cause impressive flooding, and is the leading cause of deaths due to hurricanes.

The National Weather Service keeps a close eye on hurricanes and issues two types of warnings:

Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within a specified area.

Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within a specified area.

In many cases, the authorities will issue an order to evacuate areas that will be hardest hit. If such an order is broadcast, you should leave. If you live in pre-fabricated housing, such as a trailer, or near the coast, it’s wisest to hit the road before the storm makes landfall. Alternatively, many municipalities will designate a hurricane-resistant public building in your own community as an official shelter.

If you do choose to leave town, plan to go as far inland as possible.   Hurricanes get their strength from the warm water temperatures over the tropical ocean; they lose strength quickly as they travel over land.  It might be a wise move to make reservations at a hotel early; there will be little room at the inn for the latecomers.

A good idea is to always have a “GO” bag ready for any emergency. Although most people pack for 72 hours off the grid in case of a disaster, that number is relatively arbitrary; be prepared to at least have a week’s supply of food and drinking water, as well as extra clothing and medical supplies.

You should have an idea of what your home’s weak spots are.  Do you know what amount of sustained wind your structure can withstand?  Most homes are built to withstand 90 mph winds, but when South Florida was devastated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, new homes in South Florida were mandated to be able to withstand 125 mph winds. If the coming storm has sustained winds over that level, you may not be able to depend on the structural integrity of your home.

Riding Out The Storm

If you decide to weather the storm at home, designate a safe room somewhere in the interior of the house.  It should be in a part of the home most downwind from the direction the hurricane is hitting you. Be certain to plan for any special needs that family members (and pets) may have.  You may wind up taking care of more people that you expect, so have more water and non-perishable food than you think you’ll need (1 gallon/day per person minimum). Filling bathtubs with fresh water would give you a reasonable supply.

Outdoors

Unsecured objects can become missiles in a hurricane. Outdoors, move all patio furniture and potted plants either inside the house or up against the outside wall, preferably secured with chains. Put up hurricane shutters if you have them.

One special issue for South Floridians is coconuts:  They turn into cannonballs in a hurricane.  Cut them off the tree before the winds come.  Interestingly, the palm trees themselves, as they don’t have a dense crown, seem to weather most high winds without a problem.  Trees with dense crowns, however, should be pruned to allow wind through and all dead branches removed.

Roof shingles are often casualties of the storm, so have some waterproof tarps available. Roofers are going to be pretty busy after a major storm and might not get to you right away.  In South Florida after Wilma (2005), there were still tarps on roofs more than a year later.

Indoors

Indoor planning is important as well.  Communications may be out in a major storm, so have a NOAA weather radio and lots of fresh batteries. Turn refrigerators and freezers down to their coldest settings, so that food won’t spoil right away if the power fails.  Coolers filled with ice or dry ice will extend the life of some of your more perishable items. Don’t forget a hand-operated can opener.

Fill up gas and propane tanks early in every hurricane season. Make sure that you know how to shut off the electricity, gas and water, if necessary, and perhaps consider getting a generator and some extra gas cans. Never use gas grills or generators indoors, though, as the fumes may be life-threatening.

There’s another kind of power you should be concerned about. In the aftermath of a storm, credit card verification may be down; without cash, you may have no purchasing power at all.

What About The Kids?

If you’ve hunkered down in your home during the storm, make sure that you’ve got books, board games, and light sources for when the power goes down. Kids (and most adults) go stir crazy when stuck inside, especially if they don’t have TVs or computers in service.

Take time to discuss the coming storm in advance with the whole family; this will give everyone an idea of what to expect, and keep fear down to a minimum.  Give the kids some responsibility, as well.  Give them the opportunity to pack their own bag or select games to play.  This will keep their minds busy and their nerves calm.

People are enthralled with hurricanes, and will go out in dangerous winds to take selfies or do other foolish things. This is a recipe for a bad outcome, and some avoidable deaths will occur as a result.

Some items will be useful in the cleanup after the storm.  You’ll need work gloves, plastic garbage bags, duct tape, insect repellent, and even tweezers to deal with the splinters that inevitably are part and parcel of moving a lot of debris.  A chain saw might be needed as well.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, cell phone service may be down due to the huge volume of calls. Texts may be possible, however, even if voice calls aren’t.

By planning early to get your home and family prepared for a hurricane, you’ll get through the storm in the best shape possible.

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Dr. Alton

Video: Wildfire Safety Tips

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wildfire

Wildfire Safety

The West coast has been in the grip of several wildfires that have caused millions in damage. In a companion video to a recent article, Joe Alton, MD discusses strategies that might save your home (and your life) in a wildfire.

To watch, click below:

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

Joe Alton, MD

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Get medical preparedness tips for any disaster by checking out Joe and Amy Alton’s brand new third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Help is Not on the Way.

How a Fighter Pilot’s Strategy Could Save Your Life: The OODA Loop

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fighter plane jet

image by pixabay.com

It’s pretty clear in these uncertain times that there’s a New Normal out there. There will always be the possibility of a terror event or shooting whenever crowds of people gather. Almost daily, a terrorist or madman causes death and destruction somewhere. If you learn to be situationally aware, you won’t be a soft target for these savages.

ooda loop graphic

the OODA loop

 

The basics of situational awareness are described in what is called the OODA Loop. It was first devised by Air Force fighter pilot Colonel John Boyd. Originally meant to help in an aerial dogfight, it’s useful in all sorts of settings. The four steps of the OODA Loop are: Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. It’s a loop because you go back to the observe step after you act, to determine if the situation has resolved or if further action is needed.

 

Observe: Yellow Alert

yellow alert image

Stay at Yellow Alert when in crowds

You’ve heard of red alert, but let’s go to yellow alert as our stance in most cases. Yellow alert is best described as “relaxed awareness.” you have your head up and scanning the surroundings with all your senses. Most people associate situational awareness with what they can see, but you also learn a lot from the sounds (or lack thereof) and even smells in the environment.

 

It’s important to stay relaxed. Staying relaxed ensures that you remain focused on the important aspects of the environment, but not to the exclusion of new factors that might arise.

 

Put yourself in a position for optimal observation. You need to be able to take in as much of your surroundings as possible. When you enter any environment, place yourself so that you can see as much of the area in question. If it’s a restaurant, have a view of the exits (maybe a table by a wall). You might not be able to choose which table to sit at, but you can pick a chair which gives you the best view of what’s going on.

 observe view ooda

Orient: Baselines and Anomalies

 

Being observant, however, isn’t enough. You have to know what you’re looking for and then put that information into context. The Orient step establishes baselines and anomalies for a particular environment and the human behaviors that match it or don’t.

 

Whatever setting you’re in, establish a baseline. A baseline is what’s “normal” in a given situation, and it’s different for different instances. For example, the baseline at Starbucks is people reading books working on their computer, or talking with friends. The baseline at a rock concert would be loud music and people jumping up and down and shouting. If someone is jumping up and down and shouting at Starbucks, that’s what we call an anomaly.

 

Anomalies are things that should happen in a situation but don’t or things that do happen but shouldn’t, and are what we need to focus on. Questions you might ask yourself in a crowd: What’s the general mood? How should people be behaving? Who is doing something that’s different from the norm?

 

For example, is someone acting in an aggressive manner? Most people are in submissive mode normally. We all want to get along, after all. If someone is at a burger joint, screaming at the guy behind the counter “I said no cheese, you idiot!”, that’s someone to keep an eye on.

 

Is someone acting too interested in something that ordinarily wouldn’t catch their attention? If you see a guy staring at the garbage can in your workplace, that’s an anomaly. If they’re too uninterested, though, that’s also something that’s not normal. Say there’s a ticking suitcase in the middle of the mall, and only one person isn’t paying attention to it, that’s an anomaly.

batman and robin

Gee Whiz, Batman! That guy looks like an anomaly!

Perhaps the most significant anomaly is someone that’s acting uncomfortable in a place where everyone is relaxed. People appear uncomfortable in many ways. One of them is constantly checking their “six”; that is, always looking nervously behind them. If someone is constantly looking over their shoulder, that’s an anomaly and deserves your attention. That’s not to say that everyone who’s uncomfortable is a threat. They might be late for work, for example, or just had an argument with a significant other. Still, you might want to keep an eye on them.

 

On the other hand, someone who’s comfortable when others are in a panic, such as videos of the Boston Marathon bombers showed, could be someone who expected the disaster to occur.

 

You might take a look at what people are doing with their hands. Law enforcement often wants to see the hands of someone they’re suspicious of. People who are constantly patting a pocket or reaching inside a jacket, especially if a jacket isn’t warranted for the weather, could be concealing a weapon or worse.

 

Decide and Act

 

Once you decided that there’s an anomaly that might represent a threat, have a plan of action to counter it. If a guy with a gun shows up at your workplace, the best course of action might be to hoof it out of there. If he’s right next to you and escape is unlikely, however, your best choice might be to act to incapacitate him.

 

To recap: Observe the situation. Orient to establish baselines and look for anomalies. Decide on an action. Act.

 

All this attention to detail may seem paranoid to you, but it’s time to realize that these are dangerous times. Incorporate a constant state of Yellow alert by putting away those smartphones and incorporate the OODA loop whenever you’re in a crowd. Do this and you’ll be situationally aware enough to gain extra time that could mean the difference between life and death.

Joe Alton, MD

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Joe Alton, MD

Survival Medicine Hour: Earthquakes, Epi-Pens, More

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epipen

The Epi-Pen

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP discuss some general thoughts on the nature of survival medicine that you might not have taken into account in making your preparedness plans. Also, Epi-Pens, indispensable products for anaphylactic shock, go beyond the financial wherewithal of most Americans. What’s going on, and is this something that we can accept? If so, kids are going to die from allergies of bee stings and other allergens. Also, the earthquake in Italy kills 300 and injures hundreds more. Could you survive an earthquake? What should be your plan of action in case of tremors?

earthquakedamage

earthquake safety

All this and more in the latest Survival Medicine Hour! To listen in, click here:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/08/27/survival-medicine-hour-earthquakes-epi-pens-more

 

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

 

Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP

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Could You Survive An Earthquake?

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earthquake

earthquake preparedness

A 6.2 magnitude earthquake has struck central Italy, killing at least 250 and injuring hundreds more throughout the region.  More than 200 aftershocks have been recorded by seismologists since the major quake hit August 23, 2016 at 3:36 a.m. local time.

The area, part of the Apennine mountain range that forms the central “spine” of Italy, is no stranger to seismic activity, with deadly quakes most recently in 2009 and 2012. This time, the tremors occurred only 65 miles Northeast of Rome.

The United States, especially (but not exclusively) the West Coast, is also susceptible to natural disasters like earthquakes. The West Coast and some areas of the Midwest are located over what we call “fault lines”.  A fault is a fracture in a volume of base rock. Movement of the earth releases energy, which then causes major surface disruptions. This movement is sometimes called a “seismic wave”.

The strength of an earthquake has been historically measured using the Richter scale.  This measurement (from 0-10 or, theoretically, more) identifies the magnitude of tremors at a certain location.  Quakes less than 2.0 on the Richter scale are common occurrences unlikely to be noticed by the average person. Each increase of 1.0 magnitude, however, increases the strength by a factor of 10. The highest-intensity earthquake ever recorded was The Great Chilean Earthquake of 1960 (9.5 on the Richter scale).

Although most people are aware of the Richter Scale, a newer measurement, the Moment Magnitude scale, is thought to be more accurate for higher intensity quakes. The Moment Magnitude scale calculates each point of magnitude as releasing more than 30 times the energy of the previous one.

If the fault lines shift offshore, a “tsunami” or tidal wave may be generated.  In Fukushima, the earthquake (8.9 magnitude) spawned a large tsunami which caused major damage, loss of life, and meltdowns in local nuclear reactors. Tsunami warning were issued for both the Japanese and Ecuadorian earthquakes reported this week. 

AN EARTHQUAKE SURVIVAL PLAN

A major earthquake is especially dangerous due to its unpredictability. Although researchers are working to find ways to determine when a quake will hit, there is usually little warning. This fact makes having a plan before an earthquake hits a major factor in your chances of survival.

This plan of action has to be shared with each family member, even the children. Unless the earthquake happens in the dead of night, it’s unlikely you will all be in the house together. You might be at work and the kids at school, so making everyone aware of what to do will give you the best chance of gathering your family and surviving the earthquake together.

To be prepared, you’ll need, at the very least, the following supplies:

  • Food and water
  • Power sources
  • Alternative shelters
  • Medical supplies
  • Clothing appropriate to the weather
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Means of communication
  • Money (don’t count on credit or debit cards if the power’s down)
  • An adjustable wrench to turn off gas or water
  • Copies of important documents, including insurance policies

In areas at risk for earthquakes, the school system and municipal authorities usually have formulated a disaster plan. They may even have designated a quake-proof shelter. If possible, this may be the best place to go. Make certain to inquire about your town’s precautions in case of a seismic event.

Besides the general supplies listed above, it would be wise to put together a separate “get-home” bag to keep at work or in the car.  Some food, liquids, and a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes are useful items to have in this kit.

Home Earthquake Safety

In the home, it’s important to know where your gas, electric, and water main shutoffs are.  Make sure that everyone of age knows how to turn them off if there is a leak or electrical short.  Know where the nearest medical facility is, but be aware that you may be on your own; medical responders are going to be overwhelmed and may not get to you quickly.

Look around your house for fixtures like chandeliers and bookcases that might not be stable enough to withstand an earthquake. Placing heavier objects on bottom shelves will make cabinets more stable.

Flat screen TVs, especially large ones, could easily topple.  Be sure to check out kitchen and pantry shelves, and the stability of anything hanging over the headboard of your bed.

When The Earthquake Hits

earthquake drop cover hold on

What should you do when the tremors start?  If you’re indoors, get under a table, desk, or something else solid and hold on. This strategy is called “Drop, Cover, Hold”. Dropping to your knees will prevent a fall from causing injuries. Cover may protect you from falling objects. Hold on tight. If cover isn’t available, stand against the corner of an inside wall.

While the building is shaking, don’t try to run out, especially if you’re on an upper floor; you could easily fall down stairs or get hit by falling debris.  Don’t try to use elevators. You should stay clear of windows, shelves, and kitchen areas.

It’s often taught that you should stand in the doorway because of the frame’s sturdiness. It turns out, however, that in modern homes, doorways aren’t much more solid than any other part of the structure. Even if sturdy, you could still get hit by falling objects.

Once the initial tremors are over, go outside.  Once there, stay as far out in the open as possible, away from power lines, chimneys, and anything else that could fall on top of you.

You could, possibly, be in your automobile when the earthquake hits.  Get out of traffic as quickly as possible; other drivers are likely to be less level-headed than you are. Don’t stop your car under bridges, trees, overpasses, power lines, or light posts. They’re likely to topple in a major quake. Stay in your vehicle while the tremors are active.

After The Earthquake

Even after the tremors stop, there are still dangers. One issue to be concerned about is gas leaks; make sure you don’t use your camp stoves, lighters, or even matches until you’re certain all is clear.  Even a match could ignite a spark that could lead to an explosion.  If you turned the gas off, you might consider letting the utility company turn it back on.

Buildings that have structural damage may be unstable or have loose concrete which could rain down on the unsuspecting. Falling stone from damaged buildings killed rescuers in the Oklahoma City bombing and the World Trade Towers collapse.

Don’t count on telephone service after a natural disaster.  Telephone companies only have enough lines to deal with 20% of total call volume at any one time.  It’s likely all lines will be occupied.  Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to apply to texts; you’ll have a better to chance to communicate by texting than by voice due to the wavelength used.

That cell phone will come in handy if you’re trapped under rubble after an earthquake. Even if voice calls won’t work, texts might. Text to loved ones, social media, anyone that can let people know you’re trapped. If you live in quake country, you might consider a whistle on your keychain. It’ll last longer than your voice will as a signal for help. Don’t give up; people can live several days without water, and much longer without food. With any luck, rescuers will find you.

Joe Alton, MD

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Natural Pain Relief, Super Lice, Floods

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car driving in flood

Flood Safety

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour, Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, tell you about the recent deadly floods in Louisiana and offer some tips on how to keep your family safe during and in the aftermath of the disaster. Also, Dr.Alton tells you about some mutant lice that seem to have replaced normal head lice in most parts of the country. The downside: They’re resistant to most over-the-counter lice shampoos and lotions. What to do? You’ll find out here.

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Nit (Lice Egg)

Also, Nurse Amy continues her series on alternative pain relief, with a number of natural substances you might not know have analgesic action!

 

All this and more on Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy’s Survival Medicine Hour!

To Listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/08/18/survival-medicine-hour-flood-safety-natural-pain-relief-super-lice

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

Could You Protect Your Home/Family in a Wildfire?

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wildfire21

Wildfire

 

It’s been a very busy year for firefighters, with heat waves, drought, and human carelessness causing large areas to burn from Canada to California.

 

A particularly intense wildfire is raging 60 miles from Los Angeles, spreading from 6 to 30,000 acres in 24 hours. 82,000 residents have been evacuated and a number of buildings have been destroyed. At the present time, the fire is considered out of control. It’s just one of several in a state that usually has its worst months for wildfires in October.

 

Many people are concerned about disasters that threaten their way of life, and wildfires should be high on the list in many areas. But how can you protect your property (and yourself) from being devastated by fire? Two main principles are 1) vegetation management and 2) creating a “defensible space”.

 

VEGETATION MANAGEMENT

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Blue Cut Fire reaches 80 feet high

An important factor in wildfire preparedness is what we call “vegetation management”. With vegetation management, the key is to direct fires away from your house. There are several ways to accomplish this, all of which require vigilance and regular maintenance.

 

You’ll want to clean up dead wood and leaf piles lying within 30 feet of your building structure. Pay special attention to clearing off the roof and gutters. Although you may have spent time and money putting lush landscaping around your home, you may have to choose between attractive, yet flammable plants and fire protection.

 

You’ll want to thin out those thick canopied trees near your house, making sure that no two canopies touch each other. Any trees within 50 feet on flatland, or 200 feet if downhill from your retreat need to be thinned, so that you’re pruning branches off below 10-12 feet high, and separating them by 10-20 feet. No tree should overhang the roof. Also, eliminate all shrubs at the base of the trunks.

 

Lawns and gardens should be well-hydrated; collect lawn cuttings and other debris that could be used as fuel by the fire. If water is limited, keep dry lawns cut back as much as possible (or remove them).

 

DEFENSIBLE SPACES

 

From a wildfire perspective, a defensible space is an area around a structure where wood and vegetation are treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of flames towards a structure. Having a defensible space will also provide room to work for those fighting the fire.

 

The amount of defensible space you’ll need depends on whether you’re on flat land or on a steep slope. Flatland fires spread more slowly than a fire on a slope (hot air and flames rise). A fire on a steep slope with wind blowing uphill spreads fast and produces “spot fires”. These are small fires that ignite vegetation ahead of the main burn, due to small bits of burning debris in the air.

 

Woodpiles and other flammables should be located at least 20-30 feet away from structures. Gardening tools should be kept in sheds, and those sheds should be at a distance from the home.  Concrete walkways and perimeter walls may serve to impede the progress of the fire.

 

Attic and other vents should be covered with screen mesh to prevent small embers from entering the structure. Additional strategies for the home can be found at firewise.org.

 

ESCAPING A WILDFIRE

 

Of course, once you have created a defensible space, the natural inclination is to want to, well, defend it. Unfortunately, you have to remember that you’ll be in the middle of a lot of heat and smoke. Therefore, you’re probably not going to be able to function effectively unless you’re an Olympic athlete. It stands to reason that most of us will not be up to the task.

 

The safest recommendation, therefore, would be to get out of Dodge if there’s a safe way to leave. It’s a personal decision but realize that your family’s lives may depend on it. If you’re leaving, have a bag already packed with food, water, extra clothes, batteries, flashlights, and more. Don’t forget to bring your cell phone, any important papers you might need, and some cash.

 

As an added precaution, make sure you shut off any air conditioning system that draws air into the house from outside. Turn off all your appliances, close all your windows and lock all your doors. Like any other emergency, you should have some form of communication system established with your loved ones in case you’re not together.

 

Medical kits should contain masks, eye and hand protection, burn ointment (aloe vera is a natural alternative) and non-stick dressings. Specialized burn dressings are available that incorporate both. Gauze rolls and medical tape can be used for additional coverage. Round out your kit with scissors, cold packs, and some eyewash (smoke is a major irritant to the eyes).

 

TRAPPED IN A WILDFIRE

smoke

smoke inhalation

If your routes of escape are blocked, make sure you’re dressed in long pants, sleeves, and heavy boots. A wool blanket is very helpful as an additional outside layer because wool is relatively fire-resistant.

 

If you’re inside a building, stay on the side farthest from the fire and with the least number of windows (windows transfer heat to the inside). Stay there unless you have to leave due to smoke or the building catching fire.

 

If that’s the case and you have to leave, wrap yourself in the blanket, leaving only your eyes uncovered. Some people think it’s a good idea to wet the blanket first, but don’t; wet materials transfer heat much faster than dry materials and will cause more severe burns.

 

If you’re having trouble breathing because of the smoke, stay low, and crawl out of the building. There’s less smoke and heat the lower you go. Keep your face down towards the floor. This will help protect your airway, which is very important. You can recover from burns on your skin, but not from major burns in your lungs.

 

Wildfires and other catastrophes, whether natural or man-made, can threaten your life and the lives of your loved ones. Planning before the event will give you the best shot at surviving in the best shape possible.

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Joe Alton, MD

Find out more about wildfire, flood, and other natural disaster preparedness topics in the brand new 700 page “Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way“.

13 Safety Tips For Floods

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Mid Atlantic Coast Prepares For Hurricane Sandy

Storms often bring flooding

The recent Louisiana floods which claimed 11 lives and damaged 40,000 homes show how easily low-lying areas can be devastated by bad weather. Floods can occur even in normally dry areas and are so common that they represent 75% of presidential disaster proclamations. They are often seen in conjunction with other disasters like hurricanes and other storms.

 

You’d have to live on a mountaintop to avoid a flood but, even then, you’re still at risk for mudslides as a result of heavy rains. In view of this, we recently added flood and mudslide preparedness as chapters to the new Third Edition of “The Survival Medicine Handbook”. Clearly, floods are a disaster that can happen, and you should know how to keep your family safe.

 

TYPES OF FLOODING

 

A flood is defined as an overflow of water that submerges land which is normally dry. In the United States, there are various causes for flooding, including:

 
Flash Floods: Flash floods usually develop shortly after a nearby heavy rain. I say nearby because it doesn’t have to be raining at your location for rising water to endanger you. These floods create a rapid rise of water, especially in low-lying areas like floodplains. Causes of flash flooding include heavy rain, ice jams, and levee or dam failures. This is especially common in the western United States where normally dry areas next to steep terrain might fill with rushing water.

River Flooding: River flooding can be caused by heavy rainfall, dam failures, rapid snowmelt and ice jams. Normally flow can become turbulent rapidly as in a flash flood. In other cases, water levels may rise slowly but steadily. Either way, the result threatens structures and populations along its course.

Storm Surges: Tropical (or even non-tropical) storm systems can bring heavy winds, but most damage occurs as a result of flooding due to the storm surge. Storm surge is the rise in water generated by the storm above normal tide levels. When the storm approaches the coast, high winds cause large waves that can inundate structures, damage foundations, and cause significant loss of life.

Burn Scars: The Western U.S. has had significant wildfire activity, most recently in California. After a fire, the bare ground can become so hardened that water can’t be absorbed into the ground. This is known as a “burn scar”. Burn scars are less able to absorb moisture, leading heavy rains to accumulate water wherever gravity takes it.

Ice Jams: Northern areas of the continental U.S. and Alaska may have flooding as a result of ice jams. When moving ice and debris are blocked by an obstruction, water is held back. This causes flooding upstream. When the obstruction is finally breached, flash flooding occurs downstream. Many ice jams occur at bends in a river.

Snowmelt: Snowmelt flooding is common in mountainous Northern U.S. states. Snow is, until temperatures rise above freezing, just stored water. When it gets warmer, the snowmelt acts as if it were rain and flooding can occur.

Barrier Failures: When a dam or levee breaks, it can be due to excessive rainfall, erosion, landslides, earthquakes, and many other natural causes. Some dams fail as a result of man-made issues, such as negligence, improper maintenance, and even sabotage. As a result, water level can overflow the barrier or water can seep through the ground.

 

 

FLOOD PREPAREDNESS



Most people have heard of hurricane or tornado watches and warnings, but the U.S. weather services also tries to warn the populace of flooding. A “flash flood watch” means that flash flooding is possible in the near future; a “flash flood warning” means that flooding is imminent in the area.

 
If you live in a low-lying area, especially near a dam or river, then you should heed warnings when they are given and be prepared to evacuate quickly. Rising flood waters could easily trap you in your home and you don’t want to have to perch on your roof waiting for help.

 

FLOOD SAFETY TIPS

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Flood water may not recede quickly

 

To make it safely through a flood, consider the following recommendations:

 
Hit The Road Early
Make the decision to leave for higher ground before flooding occurs and roads are blocked. Having a NOAA weather radio will keep you up to date on the latest advisories. When the authorities tell you to leave, don’t hesitate to get out of Dodge.
Be Careful Walking Through Flowing Water
Drowning is the most common cause of death during a flood, especially a flash flood. Rapidly moving water can knock you off your feet even if less than a foot deep. Most vehicles can be carried away by water just two foot deep.
Don’t Drive Through a Flooded Area
In a flood, many people drown in their cars as they stall out in moving water. Road and bridges could easily be washed out if you waited too long to leave the area. Plan before a flood occurs to see if there is a “high road” to safety.

Beware Of Downed Power Lines
Watch for downed power lines; electrical current is easily conducted through water. You don’t have to touch the downed line to be electrocuted, only step in the water nearby. There are numerous instances of electrocutions occurring as a result of rescuers jumping into the water to try to save victims of a shock.
Don’t Drink The Water
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink: Flood water is not clean water. It is contaminated by debris and water treatment plants may even have been compromised by the disaster. Have a reliable way to purify water and a good supply of clean water stored away. 12-16 drops of household bleach will sterilize a gallon of water (a teaspoon for 5 gallons), but a filter might also be needed to eliminate debris. Wait 30 minutes after sterilization to drink.
Have Supplies Handy
Flood waters may not recede quickly. Besides water as mentioned above, have non-perishable food, bottled water, heat and light sources, batteries, tools, extra clothing, a medical kit, a cell phone, and a NOAA weather radio among your supplies.
Turn Off The Power

If you have reason to believe that water will get into your home, turn off the electricity. If you don’t and the water reaches the level of the electric outlets, you could easily get electrocuted. Some warning signs might be sparks or strange sounds like crackling, popping, or buzzing.

Beware of Intruders
Critters that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Snakes, raccoons, insects, and other refugees may decide your residence is now their territory. Human intruders may also be interested to see what valuables you left behind.
Watch Your Step
After a flood, watch where you step when you enter your home; there will, likely, be debris everywhere. The floors may also be covered in mud, causing a slip-and-fall hazard.
Check for Gas Leaks
Don’t use candles, lanterns, stoves, or lighters unless you are sure that the gas has been turned off and the area is well-ventilated.
Avoid Exhaust Fumes
Only use generators, camping stoves, or charcoal grills outside. Their fumes can be deadly.
Clean Out Saturated Items Completely

If cans of food got wet in the flood, their surfaces may be covered with mud or otherwise contaminated. Thoroughly wash food containers, utensils, and personal items before using.

 

Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have completely dried. You might have to take some apart to clean debris out of them.

 

Use Waterproof Containers for Important Stuff

Waterproof containers can protect food, personal items, documents, and more.  If your area is at risk for flooding, have the important stuff protected by storing them correctly.

 
Floods are just one of the many natural disasters that can endanger your family and turn your home into a ruin. With planning and some supplies, however, you’ll be able to keep your loved ones safe and healthy.

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Dr. Alton

Flood and mudslide survival are just some of the new chapters in the 700 page new Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide For When Help Is Not On The Way. Get a copy for your survival library!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Joe Alton, MD

Complete Water Analysis Test Kit / APN Product Review

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It’s not often when worry is put to rest, especially when it comes from playing in water.

A prime reason I chose my home was because it had a Water Well, a key item in maintaining independence from outside resource. Without need of a municipal water supply, I can live on my property without worry of  water suddenly not being available. I only then needed to worry about it being drinkable.

Test Assured’s Complete Water Analysis Test Kit

That’s why I took on the task of doing a review of Test Assured’s Complete Water Analysis Test Kit with enthusiasm.  I knew I had good tasting well water at my taps, but all the same, I wanted to know chemically how well my well water really was. (Say that 5 times fast.) Most importantly, I wanted to put to rest worries that there could be something in it that could potentially make me sick.

If you can follow directions how to mix cake batter, you can do all of the tests without messy eggs, butter, milk & stuff. It’s simply fill a vial, dip in a test strip & compare colors from a chart. If I can do it, you can too.

The Complete Water Analysis Test Kit  is 10 tests in one.  Ten of the most common contaminants you need to be concerned about if you intend to use water to drink, cook or bathe.

Alkalinity: Water with low alkalinity can be corrosive and irritate eyes. Water with high alkalinity has a soda-like taste, dries out skin and causes scaling on fixtures and plumbing.

Hardness: The amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals. When using hard water, more soap or detergent is needed to get things clean, be it your hands, hair, or your laundry.

pH: An index of the amount of hydrogen ions (H-) in the water. When water has a pH that is too low, it can lead to corrosion and pitting of pipes in plumbing and distribution systems.

Chlorine: A highly efficient disinfectant added to public water supplies to kill disease-causing pathogens. But too much of a good thing is not necessarily good. Too much can burn & kill.

Copper: Reddish metal that occurs naturally in rock, soil, water, sediment, and air. New copper pipes leech copper into water which can be harmful for babies. Older pipes not so much, because of the natural patina that develops on the metal surface.

Iron: Water high in iron may taste metallic, be discolored and appear brownish, Iron leaves red or orange rust stains in the sink, toilet, bathtub or shower.

Nitrates & Nitrites: Naturally occurring chemicals made of nitrogen and oxygen. The primary health hazard occurs when nitrate is transformed to nitrite in the digestive system. The nitrite oxidizes the iron in red blood cells to form methemoglobin, which lacks the oxygen-carrying ability of hemoglobin. Too much nitrate & nitrites in drinking water can cause serious health problems for young infants.

Lead: If you don’t already know how dangerous consuming lead is, go back to eating your paint chips. Lead poisoning is a real concern with older homes with leaded plumbing.

Pesticides: Commonly caused by ground water contamination. Just where do you think the bug spray your neighbor uses winds up?

Bacteria: The most worrisome fear,  pathogens in your water that can make you REALLY sick. This test requires 48 hours for results.

The testing was easy to do. The kit is packaged well & clear in it’s instructions. It makes me wonder if this is EXACTLY what is used by “Professional Water Testers” who charge $$$ for the convenience.

Is it worth it?

The results largely confirmed what I already knew… I have safe, clean well water.

Test results showed that my water is clear of Chlorine, Iron, Nitrates, Nitrites, Copper, Pesticides or Lead. Further, (and most importantly), my water is Bacteria Free.

The test kit did show that Alkalinity is right in the target range for drinking water at 80 to 120 ppm. (parts per million). Hardness, in the moderate to hard side, with approximately 100 to 200 ppm. And the pH right in the ideal range of 6.5 to 8, (7 being neutral).

The bottom line… A water softener could be a smart purchase, otherwise I should fill a tall glass & toast myself for having good water coming from my well.

I highly recommend getting the kit. Get several, since each kit is single use. It’s pretty smart to test your drinking water whenever large weather events occur, which can effect your regional water supply. Or if you travel, and want to be sure the water that’s available is safe.

I suppose I could get an independent lab do the same tests for comparative results. But unless folks buy a kit or two from this AMAZON LINK, I don’t see me shelling out the $$$ for that. However, just by testing regularly once a year, I can determine what may have changed. The kit makes doing that very affordable. (Way cheaper than hiring it done)

Add the Complete Water Analysis Test Kit  to your Prepper Needs List.  If you seek to know just the Lead content, Test Assured offers a separate test kit for that as well.
For more information about this product & other products by Test Assured, visit their website.

 

The post Complete Water Analysis Test Kit / APN Product Review appeared first on American Preppers Network.

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.

asian-tiger-mosquito

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

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton

 

 

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

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bee-sting

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.

snakebite ankle with bruising

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.

heat dome reuse

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

JoeAmyPortrait2013

The Altons

 

Zika Virus: What We Don’t Know (A Lot)

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zika virus

NIH electron microscope: Zika Virus

Despite the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention downplaying any effect on the coming Summer Olympics in Brazil, Zika virus continues to mystify many researchers. The viral disease, mild or asymptomatic in most cases, can attack brain and other nerve cells in fetuses, leading to major failures in growth and development, such as microcephaly.

Certainly, the major concern with Zika virus is its effect on the unborn fetus. But now, new cases are leading some to question what we really know about the virus. Rare, at least at present, they suggest that more people may be at risk than originally thought.

The CDC reports that in New York City a woman who contracted Zika during a trip to the epidemic zone has infected her male partner through sexual intercourse. Previously, Zika was seen as a purely male-to-female or male-to-male transmission. Now it’s possible that vaginal fluids might have the same ability as semen to spread the virus. If a female can transmit it to a male (or another female?), it widens the population at risk significantly.

For example, a woman travels to Brazil, gets Zika and transmits it, through vaginal secretions, to her partner when she arrives home. Her partner has sex with others and transmits it through, say, seminal fluid.

It’s thought that Zika virus exists in seminal fluid for 2 months or more, but what if it lasts longer? Ebola virus lasts 6 months or more there. Is six months long enough to avoid sex or use protection?

In Utah, an elderly man dies of complications due to Zika virus. Was there some other medical issue that made it a fatal event? The CDC reported that he had 100,000 times more “viral load” than normal. Did he get a particularly bad strain? How many strains are there?

Now, Fox News reports that a family caregiver is found to have been infected. How did it happen? Exposure to blood? Airborne droplets? Contact with urine or feces? No one really knows.

Does this now mean that we have to treat the virus as contagious by casual contact between humans, as opposed to requiring an infected mosquito bite or intimate relations? Should we, then, revamp our contagion protocols for medical professionals?

All this may seem to be major overkill to you. Zika doesn’t even cause symptoms in 80% of cases, and most infected babies are still born without microcephaly. The fact that it’s a “silent” infection in many, however, might be most concerning.

pregnancycassat

A pregnant woman with an asymptomatic Zika infection won’t know her fetus is affected until ultrasounds tests reveal poor growth of the fetal head or other signs of damage. An asymptomatic male or female won’t know bodily fluids are contaminated.

Another question: Are there long-term effects of Zika virus on the development of otherwise normal-appearing babies? We won’t know until milestones, like walking and talking, are delayed or fail to be reached. That might take years to determine.

Zika is not Ebola. People aren’t dropping dead in the streets, so a calm, reasoned approach to this virus is important. We have much to learn about Zika virus. Funds are needed to study it; we can’t allow politics to “infect” the Zika debate. Politicians should let the researchers do their job to make sure that this mysterious disease doesn’t become a medical crisis in the U.S., now or in the future.

Due to lack of funding, it may be too late to avoid the complications of Zika Virus in the U.S. this summer. If we’re smart, though, we’ll facilitate the research needed to truly understand it and its short- and long-term effects.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

Find out all you need to know about the Zika virus in Joe Alton’s book “The Zika Virus Handbook”, available at Amazon.

Under The Heat Dome

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heat dome reuse

heat dome

This summer is turning out to be a real scorcher, with the formation of a “heat dome” bringing some of the hottest weather so far this year to large swaths of U.S. territory this week.

Many consider a heat wave to be just a time to put an extra ice cube in the lemonade, but it’s a deadly natural disaster. More people die in heat waves in the U.S. than just about any recent weather event short of hurricane Katrina. A recent heat wave in the Southwest and West caused temperatures to reach 124 degrees Fahrenheit in Palms Springs, California and 115 degrees in Tucson, Arizona. The highest temperature on Earth ever recorded was 134 degrees in Death Valley, California in 1913.

Heat waves causing large numbers of deaths have been common in recent years.  In 2015, thousands died in a major heat wave in India and Pakistan. Tens of thousands died in a European heat wave in 2003.

This week’s “heat dome” is caused by hot air unable to escape due to high pressure systems over much of the central part of the country.  These systems act like a lid on a pot, causing temperatures to soar. Storms may form at the edges, possibly leading to tornadoes in some areas.

noaa heat index chart

NOAA Heat Index Chart

Making matters worse, the heat index will make it feel even hotter. The heat index is calculated from the temperature combined with the humidity, much like wind chill is a combination of air temperature and wind speed. High humidity limits the ability of the body to sweat, one of the important ways humans get rid of excess heat. It is expected that, due to the heat index, residents will feel as if the temperature is 10 to 20 degrees higher than what the actual air temperature is.

Prepper-Corn-Garden-Container

Yes, Corn can sweat!

Where is this humidity coming from? It could be coming from, of all things, cornfields. The huge amount of land dedicated to growing corn in the Midwest increases air humidity. This is because corn “sweats” much like a human does in hot weather. This humidity will have the effect of increasing the heat index.

Rural areas won’t be the only areas affected. Urban areas will also feel the heat. Paved roads and concrete buildings absorb more heat and cool down slower at night. This causes nighttime temperatures to stay high.

You might think that the most danger will be in areas like South Florida, which has a subtropical climate year-round. But citizens of Miami are accustomed to heat, and less heat-related deaths occur there than would in parts of the country that normally have milder weather. Residents of Minnesota, for example, have less experience with extreme heat and some buildings may not have air conditioners. This puts them at more risk for hyperthermia (heat-related emergencies). Older individuals that might have limited ability to seek help are especially at risk.

Below is advice on heat-related illness from our recent article:

The ill effects due to overheating are called “heat exhaustion” if mild to moderate; if severe, these effects are referred to as “heat stroke”. Heat exhaustion usually does not result in permanent damage, but heat stroke does; indeed, it can permanently disable or even kill its victim.  It is a medical emergency that must be diagnosed and treated promptly.

Simply having muscle cramps or a fainting spell does not necessarily signify a major heat-related medical event. You will see “heat cramps” often in children that have been running around on a hot day.  Getting them out of the sun, massaging the affected muscles, and providing hydration will usually resolve the problem.

In addition to muscle cramps and/or fainting, heat exhaustion is characterized by:

  • Confusion
  • Rapid pulse
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Temperature elevation up to 105 degrees F

If no action is taken to cool the victim, heat stroke may ensue. Heat stroke, in addition to all the possible signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, will manifest as loss of consciousness, seizures or even bleeding (seen in the urine or vomit).  Breathing becomes rapid and shallow.

heat stroke vs heat exhaustion

heat exhaustion (L) Heat Stroke (R)

If not dealt with quickly, shock and organ malfunction may ensue, possibly leading to death. In heat stroke, the skin is hot to the touch, but dry; sweating might be absent.  The body makes efforts to cool itself down until it hits a temperature of about 105 degrees. At that point, thermoregulation breaks down and the body’s ability to use sweating as a natural temperature regulator fails. In heat stroke, the body core can rise to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

In some circumstances, the patient’s skin may actually seem cool.  It is important to realize that it is the body core temperature that is elevated. A person in shock may feel “cold and clammy” to the touch.  You could be misled by this finding, but taking a reading with a thermometer will reveal the patient’s true status.

heat stroke graphic

When overheated patients are no longer able to cool themselves, it is up to their rescuers to do the job. If hyperthermia is suspected, the victim should immediately:

  • Be removed from the heat source (for example, out of the sun).
  • Have their clothing removed.
  • Be drenched with cool water (or ice, if available)
  • Have their legs elevated above the level of their heart (the shock position)
  • Be fanned or otherwise ventilated to help with heat evaporation
  • Have moist cold compresses placed in the neck, armpit and groin areas

Why the neck, armpit and groin? Major blood vessels pass close to the skin in these areas, and cold packs will more efficiently cool the body core.

heat-stroke

Oral rehydration is useful to replace fluids lost, but only if the patient is awake and alert. If your patient has altered mental status, he or she might “swallow” the fluid into their airways; this causes damage to the lungs and puts you in worse shape than when you started.

Heat stroke is preventable in many cases. The Arizona state department of health recommends the following:

  • Drink at least 2 liters (about a half-gallon) of water per day if you are mostly indoors and 1 to 2 additional liters for every hour of outdoor time. Drink before you feel thirsty, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and use a sun hat or an umbrella to deflect the sun’s rays.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of large ones.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Take regular breaks if you must exert yourself on warm days.

In a heat wave, it’s important to check on the elderly, the very young, and the infirm regularly and often. These people have more difficulty seeking help, and you might just save a life if you’re vigilant. Know the warning signs and how to help those with hyperthermia.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

 

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Animal Bites, Bears, Economic Forecaster Gerald Celente

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animalbite1

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP (aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy), we discuss animal bites, how to avoid them and what to do if someone gets bitten. Plus, what to do if you encounter a bear on that hike in the woods, or even rummaging through your trash. Special guest Gerald Celente, famous for forecasting economic events and trends, joins the Altons to share some troubling news about the world’s economy and how the U.S. might be in for some tough times ahead.

gerald celente

Gerald Celente

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/07/17/survival-medicine-hour-animal-bites-bears-gerald-celente-on-economic-collapse

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

Joe and Amy Alton

AmyandJoePodcast400x200

The Altons

Can’t bear to be without medical supplies in times of trouble? Check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net, #1 Top Supplier at survivaltop50.c0m!

lazybear

Situational Awareness Could Save Your Life

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On France’s equivalent of Independence Day, a large truck plowed through a large crowd in the southern city of Nice and engaged in a gunfight with police. Bystanders noted that the truck appeared to accelerate into the festive throng, killing dozens and injuring many more.

It seems that you can’t read the news without a report of a terror event somewhere, and it’s clear that there will be more to come. Although we don’t know the exact circumstances at this early stage, I believe that this is just part and parcel of what I’ve called the New Normal in recent articles.

I’ve mentioned the concept of “situational awareness” as a way to decrease your chances of becoming a victim in future terror attacks. In these days of Pokemon Go and other smartphone distractions, you’re seeing more and more people not paying attention to their surroundings. In the past, this might get you a bump on the head for walking into a lamp post. In today’s world, however, it could cost you your life.

Situation awareness involves understanding what’s going on in your immediate vicinity that might be hazardous to your health. I don’t mean second-hand smoke here; I’m talking about knowing what dangers may exist that you can avoid or abolish with your actions. Especially important for soldiers in a combat zone, it’s now become just as important for the average citizen in any large crowd.

In an area at risk (anyplace where multitudes of people gather), simple things might save your life. Things like not having your hoodie up, which can be like blinders on a horse. Things like making a mental note of the nearest exit at the mall. Things like looking around for people who are nervous or, perhaps, dressed too warm for the weather. The situationally aware person will have the best chance to plan an escape when an attack occurs.

In Nice, France, the terrorists waited for the crowd to be distracted by fireworks. Spectators who had their eyes glued to the sky wouldn’t have time to react, and this greatly increased the casualty count. The situationally aware person would always be looking around for possible threats, and these days in France, the threats are everywhere.

In such a crowd, it would pay to be at the fringes and not in the middle. Having a wall to your back would eliminate a danger that might come at you from behind. Indoors, for example, in a movie theatre, you want a view of the exits as well as the screen. If someone is behaving strangely, move away from them. If someone is screaming at the employee at the local burger joint (I said NO CHEESE!), maybe you should leave and order a pizza instead.

It’s difficult to instill a culture of situational awareness in a population, but it can be done if you start early. When you’re out with the kids, tell them to pay attention to what’s going on where you are. Once the family has left the area, ask them how many people were there, what they were wearing, or other details. Ask them what they would have done if there was an attack. Do this often enough, and they may begin to pay less attention to their smartphones and more to their surroundings.

All this attention to detail may seem paranoid to you, but it’s time to realize that these are dangerous times.  Incorporate situational awareness into a calm, observant mindset and you’ll gain those extra seconds that could have meant the difference between life and death for so many in Nice.

Joe Alton, MD

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Video: Heat Wave Safety

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heat stroke 1

Man, it’s hot! In this video on Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP‘s YouTube channel, Dr. Bones discusses a natural disaster: Heat Waves. You might not consider the heat to be a natural disaster, but it can be deadly to a community as it was when a major one hit Europe in 2003, causing tens of thousands of deaths. Find out how to identify, treat, and prevent heat-related complications like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and you might just save a life this summer!

To watch, click below:

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

Fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and individual items at store.doomandbloom.net.

Active Shooters: When Violence Is The Answer

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active shooter

As a physician, my focus is how to heal wounds rather than how to cause wounds. A terrorist, however, has quite different goals. Normally, they have a short window of opportunity, and their focus is to cause as many casualties as possible during their brief (hopefully) remaining time on Earth.

I’ve been asked quite a bit lately about what to do in active shooter situations. My standard answer has been the same as that given by the Department of Homeland Security: Run, Hide, Fight, in that order.

Just as Stop, Drop, and Roll may save the life of someone on fire, Run, Hide, Fight may save the life of someone under fire. This is the order of the actions that I have been recommending in recent articles regarding active shooter situations.

This sequence of actions is based upon the expected lifespan of the attack, and the attacker, in an active shooter event. Most active shooter events are over in a few minutes. Following the Run, then Hide, then Fight paradigm is often effective in these short-term events.

When potential victims put distance between themselves and the shooter by running, they make themselves a more difficult target than someone laying on the ground two feet in front of the gunman. When targets remove themselves from the line of sight of a shooter by hiding in a different room, preferably with a barrier against the door, the gunman may, knowing his time is short, search for easier victims. Fighting back is recommended as a last resort; it’s a superior strategy to closing your eyes and taking a bullet to the head.

Which takes us to the Orlando shooting. This horrific event took a full three hours before the threat was neutralized. This amount of time gave the gunman ample time to seek out people that were hiding, often in bathroom stalls, and make casualties out of those that would have survived if the event had been terminated more quickly.

I’m not a member of a SWAT team, just an old sawbones, so I can’t comment on the time it took for SWAT team members to abolish the threat. I assume it had to do with concern about hostages and the safety of the team, all perfectly reasonable concerns.

I have seen accounts of brave individuals helping people out of the building, which certainly saved lives, but I have yet to see any 9/11 Flight 93 “let’s roll” moments which indicated that some of the bar’s patrons tried to stop the killing by dropping the attacker.

This disturbs me, as it is thought that the gunman fired off 200 rounds, something that would have required reloading magazines into the rifle multiple times. This was a rifle that the gunman had little experience with, so there must have been a number of opportunities to intervene in the killing and end the event. This, apparently, never happened and the casualties were a record for a lone gunman attack.

The “success” of this terrorist may serve as a blueprint for future attacks. If there’s an exit to run through, it’s still the best option, in my opinion. Always be situationally aware and mentally mark where those exits are anytime you’re in a crowd. But if a gunman has three hours to find you, is hiding the next best thing? If someone was given three hours to find you in your house or your place of work, what do you think of their chances? Probably pretty good.

This leads me to think that, in the Orlando shooting, fighting back would have cut down significantly on the casualties. Why did some of the 300 young and able people in the bar not take that option? It’s not as if the objective of the gunman wasn’t clear.

It all comes down to the natural paralysis that occurs when something happens foreign to the average person’s thought process. We are all victims of normalcy bias: that is, we believe the events of the day will follow a certain pattern, because they always have. When this pattern is broken by an atrocity, the human brain processes it slowly; denial and hesitation makes for a soft target. Certainly, becoming violent is not part of the mindset of the average person in most scenarios.

Yet, there are circumstances when violence is the answer. Statistics published in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin indicate a significant minority of attacks which ended before law enforcement arrived were aborted by a single citizen without a firearm. In fewer instances, a firearm-carrying citizen terminated the event and, in other cases, the shooter terminated himself or law enforcement arrived to do him (and us) the favor.

I’m not saying that it’s a great idea for 300 people in a bar to be carrying loaded weapons, but an unarmed citizen can still make a difference. The patrons of the Orlando nightclub where the shootings occur were, indeed, armed. There were bar glasses, bottles, and 300 cell phones that could have been used as projectiles to hurl at the gunman, while a number charged the attacker from different directions to drop him to the ground and grab his weapon.

This guy wasn’t James Bond. He would have been disconcerted by multiple attackers and objects thrown his way. He would have ducked and flinched, and would have had to make decisions as to who to shoot. I’m not saying someone might not have been killed attacking the gunman, but the fatalities would have been held to a minimum and the event would have ended with far less loss of life.

A faulty strategy doomed to failure? Well, three unarmed men were able to stop a shooter on a train in Paris a while ago without any fatalities. It may be extreme, but sometimes violence is necessary to prevent worse violence.

I recently saw a video of lions taking down a water buffalo. A few other water buffalo charged the lions, flipping one high into the air and ending the attack. When a herd takes action, the prey has a good chance of surviving.

It’s time for us to decide that we are not going to be soft targets for these mass murderers. It’ll take a major change in mindset to do it, but it might just save some lives in the end. Your life. The lives of friends and loved ones. Prepare physically and mentally to both avoid and confront these situations with commitment, and we might see a little more reluctance on the part of those who wish harm to decent people.

Joe Alton, MD

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Survival Medicine Hour: Sprains/Strains, Heat Wave Safety, Brazil’s Zika Woes

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sprained-ankle

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy (Joe Alton, MD, and Amy Alton, ARNP), we discuss how a heat waves is a major natural disaster which commonly causes deaths, sometimes on a large scale, and how you can stay safe and avoid, identify, and treat heat stroke and other heat-related illness. Also, how to deal with orthopedic injuries like sprains and strains, plus some natural remedies from Nurse Amy that might be helpful to speed healing. We also discuss Brazil’s many woes, of which Zika virus is just one. Brazil is suffering from economic and political turmoil, and you can expect issues with security that may cause some injuries and deaths on top of the risk of infection. All this and more in this week’s Survival Medicine Hour!

heat stroke 1

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/07/01/survival-medicine-hour-sprainsstrains-heat-waves-brazils-zika-woes

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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Don’t forget to check out our brand new 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook, now available at amazon.com!

Big or Small? Your Prepper Abode

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Big or Small? Your Prepper Abode

The prepper community is diverse, with each individual and family bringing a particular skill set to their preparations. Some are better hunters and foragers, while others are master seed savers with a seed library carefully stored alongside other survival tools. Similarly, some preppers have strategized around protecting a large land area and others for surviving in an urban jungle in their own adobe.

It should come as no surprise, then, that with such varied skills and plans, there is no single ideal prepper home. Rather, choosing the right place to live is largely tied to putting those skills to work. That’s why it’s important to keep your talents in mind when deciding between a large and small home.

The Large Home Advantage

Many preppers prefer to live in large homes, or at least on large properties. That’s because it’s easier to stockpile food in a larger home, and with more land you can plant a large vegetable garden and even raise small livestock to keep your family fed. Those with a strong handle on at-home engineering can also develop small alternative power systems using wind or water on large land plots, which is generally not possible when you live in a smaller home or in a city.

Another advantage to having a larger homestead is that you’re more likely to be close to other natural resources. Buying a home near vineyards and orchards, for example, can ensure that you have a backup food supply when disaster strikes – you’ll be able to forage, and wild animals are more likely to flock to the area for food.

The Middle Ground

Suburban areas may be among the hardest for prep, as they have a relatively high population density without the same level of infrastructure as a major city. This can be threatening for preppers because if your neighbors know you have valuable supplies on your property, a suburban home is among the hardest to protect. Living in the suburbs can leave you feeling vulnerable.

There is great wisdom, however, to the prepper motto, “Bloom where you’re planted.” Knowing how to survive where you live and honing your skills to the scale and nature of your life is a smart approach to the prepper lifestyle. Rather than committing your energy to planning an elaborate bug out or considering a radical move to the country, why not master the skills you need to survive here and now?

You never know when disaster will strike, so you and your family are vulnerable if you continue to regard the suburbs as just a stop over on the way to a real prepper homestead, small or large, rural or urban.

Tiny Home Tactics

Prepping in a trendy tiny home is a lot like prepping in a small urban apartment. That’s why tiny home dwellers or those considering scaling down can take their cues from experienced urban preppers, making the most of minimal space. But unlike apartment dwellers, many tiny homes are also portable. If things are going badly where you are, picking up and leaving for a more suitable environment is often an option.

The other key to prepping in a tiny home is making use of spaces others might easily waste. Have you built your drawers extra deep and stockpiled rations on top of the cabinets, as well as in them? Filling those small gaps can mean the difference between having enough food and going hungry.

Small crevices are also great for storing solar blankets, tarps, and even for securing valuables where only you’d think to find them. It’s also relatively easy to protect a tiny home, even if you have little defensive skills, compared to a suburban home or large property with many points of approach.

Ultimately, there is no perfect place to prep – but prepping is about making the most of a bad situation. That’s why it’s important to always consider how to protect yourself and your possessions where you are now, rather than focusing on where you want to go next.

Planning for the dream homestead is all well and good, but only if you’re equipped to survive the road there.

The post Big or Small? Your Prepper Abode appeared first on American Preppers Network.

Alpha Bravo Creations: Tactical Hand Signals & Phonetic Alphabet Flash Cards

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I’m to review Flashcards teaching Army Hand signals & the Phonetic Alphabet?

When I received this assignment, I was skeptical. Certainly, communications modes are a specialty I’m familiar with, but I’m no Platoon Leader, and my days of playing Army Man is a bit behind me. Besides, this is a review of kids flashcards, my last dealing with was in learning math in grade school.

But I was surprised when I examined the deck of cards of the Phonetic Alphabet, I immediately got the concept & it’s potential. Then, when I tried out the deck of Army Hand signals & American Sign Language, it struck me that these flashcards are invaluable for not just kids, but for adults too.

Communication in it’s purest sense is simply transferring information from one place to another by any means necessary, either verbally, or non-verbally. So while from the standpoint of preparedness, the ability to convey information clearly & accurately is paramount, the ability to also do so silently can be vital.
So here’s where these flashcards come in handy, (pardon the pun).
Use of hand signals offers clear communication totally unspoken, as any misbehaving youngster frozen in mid-frolic by Mom & Dad pointing at them can attest. Message CLEARLY conveyed.

Each flashcard offers a term or statement with an illustration of it’s accompanying hand gesture. There’s also directions on how to do the gesture.  By learning to recognize the gestures and connect it to the word or statement, standard terms & gestures can be strung together to make whole sentences or concepts. By repetition of using these cards anyone can become proficient in using hand signals.
Like I said… very handy.
It didn’t take long at all for this old dog to learn some new tricks, not long at all.
Hand gestures are useful…(bet you thought I’d say HANDY again), if ever I’d be in a situation where I NEED to communicate without speaking a word. Serious stuff, like  HURRY! THIS WAY to the RALLY POINT.

While Alpha Bravo’s Hand Signals for Kids helps kids add realism to their playacting, what you can learn from them can be a vital aid for anyone in a disaster to emergency.

 
http://www.alphabravocreations.com/military-phonetic-alphabet-flashcards/

Next came the deck of flashcards teaching the Phonetic Alphabet.

If you’ve ever seen a Cop show on TV or a Hollywood Blockbuster War Movie, someone is always talking over a mic saying stuff like”Foxtrot Uniform Bravo Alpha Romeo“…or some sort of drivel. It’s not heatstroke that’s got the actor talking gibberish, it’s the PHONETIC ALPHABET, used to verbalize individual letters using spoken words. Tango is the letter “T”, India the letter “I”, Charlie the letter “C”, and so on.

Using phonetics is handy when noise conditions make it hard to discern single letters. Sounds like “Eee” & “Tee” &”Cee” can often be misheard in a noisy location. So by attributing a word starting with the letter, it’s easier to understand, because you’re more likely to hear parts of a word and mentally fill in the blanks.
With the Phonetic Alphabet Flashcards,  Alpha Delta Creations has presented each letter with a picture symbol depiction of the word, as well as it’s corresponding Morse Code symbol.


HUH! What? Morse Code? Hams do Morse code! Heck, even Rambo tapped out Morse code to send a message in one of his movies! Morse Code is HANDY!

While not a requirement any longer to know Morse Code, it’s still a widely popular mode of communication in Ham Radio, the dots & dashes able to be heard & deciphered, when signal conditions are so poor that vocal speech is “in the mud” & unrecognizable.

I know very well the phonetic alphabet, but I never acquired Morse Code. So now, armed with a set of flash cards depicting them, I’ll bet picking up the code could be just as easy as picking up these cards.

Dare say it… it’ll be CHILD’S PLAY.

My review started out skeptical, but I quickly came around. I seriously suggest getting your kids these flashcards & using them yourself. Who says kids get to do all the fun? In fact, make learning how to do Tactical Hand Signaling AND the Phonetic Alphabet & Morse Code a family fun project. One that may pay SERIOUS dividends later.
(I almost forgot… did anybody catch the reference of “Foxtrot, Uniform, Bravo, Alpha, Romeo”? Learn the Phonetic Alphabet & watch Saving Private Ryan till you do. )
LEARN MORE or ORDER a set of flashcards, visit Alpha Bravo Creations Website. www.alphabravocreations.com

The post Alpha Bravo Creations: Tactical Hand Signals & Phonetic Alphabet Flash Cards appeared first on American Preppers Network.

It’s A Cruel, Cruel Summer: Heat Waves

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house on fire burning

Well, Summer is here and the West is experiencing record high temperatures in a series of heat waves that may continue until Fall. Even worse, the scorching temperatures are igniting scores of wildfires that are threatening communities throughout the region.

Officials predicted a high-risk situation as the heat surpassed 100 degrees across much of Southern California; desert cities throughout Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico hit temperatures reaching the 120s. These temperatures place the more than 3,000 firefighters in the area in extreme danger for heat-related complications.

The power grid is being tested by the millions of air conditioning units set on “max cool”, and we can expect to see some major issues if the electricity goes out and people have to fight the heat with hand fans.

You might not consider a heat wave a natural disaster, but it most certainly is. Heat waves can cause mass casualties, as they did in Europe when 70,000 died of exposure (not in the Middle Ages, but in 2003). India, Pakistan, and other underdeveloped tropical countries experience thousands of heat-related deaths yearly. A pre-monsoon heat wave in April killed hundreds in the region. There are already several recorded deaths in the American West.

So how exactly does heat kill a person? Your body core regulates its temperature for optimal organ function. When core body temperature rises excessively (known as “hyperthermia”), damage occurs that leak toxins, cause cell death, and major inflammation. These deaths can occur very quickly without intervention, even in those who are physically fit. Even in modern times, hyperthermia carries a 10% death rate, mostly in the elderly and infirm.

The ill effects due to overheating are called “heat exhaustion” if mild to moderate; if severe, these effects are referred to as “heat stroke”. Heat exhaustion usually does not result in permanent damage, but heat stroke does; indeed, it can permanently disable or even kill its victim.  It is a medical emergency that must be diagnosed and treated promptly.

The risk of heat stroke correlates strongly to the “heat index”, a measurement of the effects of air temperature combined with high humidity.  Above 60% relative humidity, loss of heat by perspiration is impaired, increasing the chances of heat-related illness.  Exposure to full sun increases the reported heat index by as much as 10-15 degrees F.

Simply having muscle cramps or a fainting spell does not necessarily signify a major heat-related medical event. You will see “heat cramps” often in children that have been running around on a hot day.  Getting them out of the sun, massaging the affected muscles, and providing hydration will usually resolve the problem.

heat stroke vs heat exhaustion

In addition to muscle cramps and/or fainting, heat exhaustion is characterized by:

  • Confusion
  • Rapid pulse
  • Flushing
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Temperature elevation up to 105 degrees F

If no action is taken to cool the victim, heat stroke may ensue. Heat stroke, in addition to all the possible signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, will manifest as loss of consciousness, seizures or even bleeding (seen in the urine or vomit).  Breathing becomes rapid and shallow.

If not dealt with quickly, shock and organ malfunction may ensue, possibly leading to death. In heat stroke, the skin is likely to be hot to the touch, but dry; sweating might be absent.  The body makes efforts to cool itself down until it hits a temperature of 105-6 degrees or so. At that point, thermoregulation breaks down and the body’s ability to use sweating as a natural temperature regulator fails. In heat stroke, the body core can rise to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

You’ll notice that the skin becomes red, not because it is burned, but because the blood vessels are dilating in an effort to dissipate some of the heat.

In some circumstances, the patient’s skin may actually seem cool.  It is important to realize that it is the body core temperature that is elevated. A person in shock may feel “cold and clammy” to the touch.  You could be misled by this finding, but simply taking a reading with a thermometer will reveal the patient’s true status.

heat-stroke

When overheated patients are no longer able to cool themselves, it is up to their rescuers to do the job. If hyperthermia is suspected, the victim should immediately:

  • Be removed from the heat source (for example, out of the sun).
  • Have their clothing removed.
  • Be drenched with cool water (or ice, if available)
  • Have their legs elevated above the level of their heart (the shock position)
  • Be fanned or otherwise ventilated to help with heat evaporation
  • Have moist cold compresses placed in the neck, armpit and groin areas

Why the neck, armpit and groin? Major blood vessels pass close to the skin in these areas, and cold packs will more efficiently cool the body core.

heat stroke graphic

Treating heat stroke: Only give fluids in someone that is awake and alert

Oral rehydration is useful to replace fluids lost, but only if the patient is awake and alert. If your patient has altered mental status, he or she might “swallow” the fluid into their airways; this causes damage to the lungs and puts you in worse shape than when you started.

Heat stroke is preventable in many cases. The Arizona state department of health recommends the following:

  • Drink at least 2 liters (about a half-gallon) of water per day if you are mostly indoors and 1 to 2 additional liters for every hour of outdoor time. Drink before you feel thirsty, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and use a sun hat or an umbrella to deflect the sun’s rays.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of large ones.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Take regular breaks if you must exert yourself on warm days.

In a heat wave, it’s important to check on the elderly, the very young, and the infirm regularly and often. These people have more difficulty seeking help, and you might just save a life if you’re vigilant. Know the warning signs and how to help those with hyperthermia.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

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

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charleylongdistancepic

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.

alligator above water

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

joe and amy radio

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

American Survival Radio, June 18th

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nightclub

PULSE Orlando nightclub

American Survival Radio is Joe and Amy Alton’s second and latest podcast, focused on current events, health, and politics. It is separate and distinct from The Survival Medicine Hour, which continues as before focused mostly on health issues as they pertain to preparedness and survival.  If you’re interested in Survival, your own and that of your country, we bet you’ll like both!

In this episode of American Survival Radio, the Altons explore the Orlando shootings and come to a disturbing conclusion: that there are millions of soft targets for a gunman and that a repeat of this event can and will occur again and again in the uncertain future. Indeed, Omar Mateen’s attack on the Orlando PULSE nightclub will become the blueprint for future attacks: crowded venue, no armed patrons, lots of noise, and late enough for most club goers to have had a drink or two (not the best recipe for situational awareness).

Also, President Obama is close to his goal of handing control of the internet from U.S. hands to that of a global organization. The Alton explore whether this is really a good idea, or will authoritarian regimes take advantage and make the internet a less free place? Will Congress block the move?

All this and more on American Survival Radio #13.

Wishing you the best in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

American-Survival-Radio250

Joe and Amy Alton

 

 

Zika Update: More Cases In U.S., More Woes In Brazil

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asian-tiger-mosquito

aedes albopictus

The U.S. now has three newborns with Zika-related birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Puerto Rico now has 1,700 confirmed cases of Zika, almost 200 of which are in pregnant women. The warm-weather U.S. territory is in the midst of an epidemic of the mosquito-borne illness. The numbers don’t take into account that 80 per cent of infections are without symptoms, a fact that suggests that the actual number of cases is at least five times higher. Evaluations of blood banks in the island has found that more than one per cent of all units donated carry evidence of the Zika virus.

Although 750 cases has been identified in the continental U.S. and Hawaii, all appear related to travel in the epidemic zone. More than 200 pregnant women are being monitored for signs of fetal damage. The CDC has yet to find a case that they are confident was locally transmitted. They consider the risks of a U.S. epidemic to be very low.

shutterstock_372565018

Microcephaly

The CDC is counting a range of abnormalities in its study on the effect of the virus. Chief among them is microcephaly, where the baby’s skull fails to grow normally, probably as a result of defects in brain development. Also seen are calcium deposits, excess fluid in the brain, and abnormal eye development.  It is thought that 1-15 per cent of Zika-infected newborns will come out with some type of problem.

In an effort to increase preparedness levels, the CDC has assembled teams of experts that it will send to various high-risk states, especially when the first expected local cases are found. Also, the teams plan to assist efforts to control mosquito populations in the affected areas. Lab tests for Zika virus, previously available only through state labs, are now available in various commercial labs, such as Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp.

shutterstock_369343772

Aedes Aegypti life cycle

The Zika virus, along with the often-more serious Dengue fever virus, is spread by Aedes mosquitoes. Both Aedes Aegypti and its cousin, the Asian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes Albopictus, are thought to be able to spread the virus. These mosquitoes have now been identified in 44 states, up from 12 in previous surveys. The same mosquitoes are known to transmit Yellow Fever and the West Nile virus.

In the meantime, the World Health Organization has closed ranks with the International Olympic Committee in saying that it considers Zika a low risk for causing problems in the upcoming Summer Games. Previously, it had sounded alarms regarding Rio de Janeiro, the host city. Rio has the second highest number of Zika cases in Brazil. The Games start August 5th.

More than 250 medical professional of all stripes, including myself, have signed a petition recommending cancellation or transfer of the Summer Olympics to another venue. At present, this forms a minority opinion, although many countries are warning against travel to the Zika epidemic zone, especially for women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy and their partners. Canadian professor Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa was invited to sit in on WHO’s Zika hearings, but the invitation was then rescinded when he refused to sign a confidentiality agreement.

shutterstock_373195603

Brazil: Zika epicenter

As if Brazil wasn’t having enough problems with Zika virus, the acting governor of Rio de Janeiro state has declared a state of “financial disaster“.  Governor Francisco Dornelles announced the measure to allow Rio to adopt extraordinary measures to pay mounting costs related to the Summer Olympics. Brazil is in the midst of a major economic recession.

Dornelles’ spokesman said that the decision was made because of lower-than-expected revenues from taxes and oil royalties. He said: “The financial crisis has brought several difficulties in essential public services and it could cause the total collapse of public security, health care, education, urban mobility and environmental management,”.

Rio’s situation is so bad that two of its hospitals were taken over by the government to pay medical personnel. Some police stations are so strapped for funds that they have asked for donations of basic items like toilet paper. Public workers and retirees have suffered months-long delays in receiving their money. Major Olympic projects, like the metro line being built to carry tourists to venues, are well behind schedule.

So, ask yourself this question: Is it worth it to have half a million tourists from 180 countries travel to the epicenter of a major epidemic for a sports event?

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

Hey, find out everything you need to know about Zika Virus with Dr. Alton’s new book: The Zika Virus Handbook.

High Resolution Front Cover_6093961

Orlando Shootings: More To Come, What To Do

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active shooter

Active Shooters: What to Do

In the sad aftermath of the Orlando shootings that killed or injured more than 100 people, it has become clear to me that we’re in for a rough ride for the foreseeable future.

You might think that the “success” achieved by Omar Mateen in executing his terror event was a fluke. The sheer number of casualties was the most ever on American soil. The complexities of Mr. Mateen’s relationship with the community, having apparently visited the PULSE nightclub on multiple occasions, must make this a rare circumstance, right? Wrong.

nightclub

Pulse Nightclub, Wikipedia

The shooter’s assessment of his target as being a “soft” one was deadly accurate. A crowded venue, maybe all in one large room with limited exits, some allegedly padlocked. At 2 o’clock in the morning, many club goers must have had some drinks, and weren’t exactly in a condition to be situationally aware. Likely, no one was armed. It was a massacre and, worse, a blueprint for massacres to come.

Those who support Mr. Mateen’s philosophy will look at this event and marvel at how much damage a single gunman can do. This can only encourage others of like mind to do the same. How many nightclubs are there, gay or straight, that’ll be crowded on a Saturday night in the average city? How many club goers will be ready for the next gunman? How many establishments will act to boost security in the face of this horrible tragedy? I’ve answered these questions myself, and I am saddened.

The Islamic State giving credit to this terrorist will seem like a badge of honor to those who wish us harm. They see cowardly acts as courageous. They see mayhem as morality. They know that most Americans have gone soft, and that’s a hard truth.

We now know that mass shootings can occur anywhere, anytime. They can occur in churches, schools, nightclubs, and at holiday parties. They can occur at 2 in the morning and they can occur in the middle of the day. What would be your response if confronted?

The natural response for most people is to do nothing. You’ve heard me talk about “normalcy bias” before. That’s the tendency for people to believe everything follows a pattern and that the day will proceed normally because it always has. When a terrorist event breaks that pattern, however,  the unprepared brain takes time to process the new situation. People will think that the sound of gunfire is fireworks, or anything less threatening than an assassin out to kill them.

A person without a plan of action typically follows the herd. If fifty people around you drop to the floor, your natural tendency is to do the same. Cowering in fear under a table in plain view of the shooter isn’t a recipe for a good outcome. But having a plan will give you a better chance of getting out of there in one piece.

During an active shooter event, what you do in the first few seconds may determine whether you live or die. Give yourself a head start by always knowing what’s happening around you. We call this situational awareness. Know where exits are. Know where the gunshots are coming from. Know who appears nervous or suspicious in your immediate area.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But in this era of people immersed in their smartphones, few are situationally aware and become easy targets for the active shooter.

Run, Hide, Fight

run hide fight

If you find yourself in the middle of a terrorist event, you should remember these three words: Run, Hide, Fight. Just as “Stop, Drop, and Roll” can save the life of someone on fire, Run, Hide, Fight might save the life of someone under fire. This is the order of the actions that you should be taking in an active shooter scenario.

Run

Most people will hide as their first course of action. You, however, should run away from the direction of gunfire immediately, leaving through those exits you’ve been mentally marking. This will make it less likely you and the shooter will cross paths. Forget about collecting your stuff, it will only slow you down and, let’s face it, it’s just stuff.

A kind of paralysis may occur when you first realize what’s happening. This is normal, but running away from the shooter increases your distance from them, and makes it difficult for them to hit a moving target.

A good citizen would yell for others to follow and prevent others from entering the kill zone. Don’t try to move or otherwise help the wounded, however. You have to get out of there; becoming the next casualty does no one any good. Even the police will leave the injured for after the shooter has been neutralized.

(One very important note: If you see law enforcement, don’t run up and hug them. Get your hands in the air, fingers spread, where officers can see them. They need to know you’re not the threat. Follow any instructions given and leave in the directions the officer came from.)

Once you’re in a safe area, call 911 if rescuers have not yet arrived.

Hide

hide

If there’s only one exit and the shooter is standing in front of it, running might not be an option. Your next choice is hiding.

You have to get out of the shooter’s line of sight, but hiding under a table in the same room as the shooter is a very bad idea. Get into another room, preferably one with a door you can lock. If there is no lock, put together a barrier with desks and chairs. Turn off the lights, silence your cell phone, and stay quiet behind an additional barrier like a table or in a closet. If you can quietly alert authorities, do so.

By accomplishing the above, you’ve just made yourself a harder target to acquire for the shooter, and he wants to do his damage as fast as possible. He’ll likely pass you by to find easier targets.

Fight

fight

What if you can’t run, and there is no reasonable hiding place? You just might have to fight your way out of there. This strategy isn’t always doomed to failure. You still might be able to drop an attacker even if unarmed. Three unarmed men were able to do it to a shooter on a train in Paris. It’s a last resort, but it can work; it did there.

If you don’t fight, the shooter will have a clear shot to your head and death is likely. If you fight, you’ll be harder to hit with a fatal shot. Any type of aggression against the gunman would disrupt their “flow” and possibly put you at an advantage. If you can, approach him from the side or rear, and go for his weapon.

If you have help, all should attack at the same time from different directions while hurling objects that he has to dodge. At the PULSE nightclub, there were probably drinking glasses and bottles handy, not to mention hundreds of cell phones.  The gunman is probably not James Bond: he’ll duck or flinch and not be able to handle multiple threats at once. Imagine a half-dozen people charging you while throwing stuff at your head. Makes for a pretty nervous terrorist, I’d say.

If you’ve disrupted the shooter or, better, gotten the weapon out of his hands, inflict damage on him until he is out of the fight. Tough, I’ll admit, but these are tough times; commit to your actions.

Luckily, few people will find themselves in the midst of a terrorist attack like the one in Orlando, but you can bet more are coming. Having a plan for active shooter situations is galling to some, but it’s part of life in the New Normal. Those who are prepared will have a better chance to survive terror events and many other disasters in the uncertain future.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

Find out more about what you can in active shooter situations in our brand new Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook.

Survival Medicine Hour: Urban Survival, Slowly Healing Wounds

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shutterstock_281220074

In this episode of the Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP discuss what it takes to be an effective medic in an urban survival setting. From dealing with contaminated water to controlling a bleeding wound, there are special considerations that must be taken into account when surviving in place in the town or city. Find out what items you should have and how to approach the bleeding wound. Plus, Dr. Alton answers a question from “rancher”, a member of Jack Spirko’s Survival Podcast audience, about how to deal with thinning skin as you age and spend time in the outdoors. Conventional and natural remedies are discussed to help wounds in fragile skin heal faster.

Also, the new 2016 Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook has hit Amazon, and it’s 670 pages of plain English advice on what to do in a disaster when the hospital is far away or just plain no longer exists. Get a copy today for your survival library.

To listen in to the podcast, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/06/12/survival-medicine-hour-urban-survival-slowly-healing-wounds

 

Wishing you all the best in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

 

 

 

Announcing The NEW Third Edition Survival Medicine Handbook

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The Survival medicine handbook Third Edition 2016

The Survival Medicine Handbook 2016 Third Edition

Well, we’ve returned from an awesome week in the great state of Oregon and got to look at the final proof of the Third Edition, which arrived while we were away. It looks good on review, so we hit the publish button and it’s now available at Amazon.

 

For those who don’t know us, the third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook is not your standard first aid book: Unlike other medical books (even some outdoor and “survival” medicine books), it assumes that a disaster, natural or man-made, has removed all access to hospitals or doctors for the foreseeable future; you, the average person, are now the highest medical resource left to your family.  It’s also for the family that lives or is traveling in rural areas where the ambulance is more than a few minutes away, or where there isn’t cell phone service.

 

To let you know what’s in the book, most of the topics are below. Every chapter has been revised to some extent. We’ve greatly increased the content on hemorrhagic wounds, adding chapters on active shooters, tourniquets, gunshot and knife wounds, discussions of ballistic trauma and body armor, and even the medic under fire. Food/water contamination, pandemic diseases, rodent issues, and disease-causing microbes also added as individual discussions. The section on respiratory infections is completely reworked as is the section on physical exams. Additional natural disaster preparedness topics include blizzards, avalanches, survival when lost at sea, mudslides, and more. Nurse Amy has added a lot of material to the medical supplies section, plus how to sterilize supplies, choosing a medic bag, and more. Soft tissue wound care and patient transport have been expanded. As always, we discuss alternative remedies wherever they may be helpful.
Here are just some of the over 150 topics (175 illustrations) covered in our 670 page book:

PRINCIPLES OF MEDICAL PREPAREDNESS-HISTORY OF PREPAREDNESS-USING ALL THE TOOLS IN THE WOODSHED-SPIRITUALITY AND SURVIVAL-MODERN MEDICINE VS. SURVIVAL MEDICINE-THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY-HOW TO BECOME AN EFFECTIVE MEDIC-LIKELY MEDICAL ISSUES YOU’LL FACE-MEDICAL SKILLS YOU’LL WANT TO LEARN-MEDICAL BAGS, KITS, AND SUPPLIES-HOW TO STERILIZE MEDICAL SUPPLIES-NATURAL REMEDIES, LIKE OILS, TEAS, TINCTURES, AND SALVES-THE MEDICAL HISTORY AND PHYSICAL EXAM-THE MASS CASUALTY INCIDENT-THE ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENT-PATIENT TRANSPORT-HYGIENE-RELATED MEDICAL ISSUES-LICE, TICKS, AND WORMS-DENTAL ISSUES AND PROCEDURES-RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS-GUIDE TO PROTECTIVE MASKS-FOOD AND WATER-BORNE ILLNESS-WATER STERILIZATION-DIARRHEAL DISEASE AND DEHYDRATION-DEALING WITH SEWAGE ISSUES-RODENTS AS DISEASE VECTORS-FOOD POISONING-PATHOGENS (DISEASE-CAUSING ORGANISMS)-HOW INFECTIONS SPREAD-APPENDICITIS AND OTHER ABDOMINAL INFECTIONS AND CONDITIONS-HEPATITIS-URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS-INFECTIONS CAUSED BY YEAST-CELLULITIS-ABSCESSES-TETANUS-MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES-PANDEMICS-THE SURVIVAL SICK ROOM -HYPERTHERMIA (HEAT STROKE)-HYPOTHERMIA-FROSTBITE/IMMERSION (TRENCH) FOOT-COLD WATER SAFETY-FALLING THROUGH THE ICE-AVALANCHE PREPAREDNESS-ALTITUDE SICKNESS-WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS-SMOKE INHALATION-TORNADO PREPAREDNESS-HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS-EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS-FLOOD PREPAREDNESS-MARITIME SURVIVAL-NEAR-DROWNING-VOLCANO PREPAREDNESS-ALLERGIC REACTIONS-ASTHMA-ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK-POISON IVY, OAK, AND SUMAC-RADIATION SICKNESS-BIOLOGICAL WARFARE-INJURIES TO SOFT TISSUES- MINOR WOUNDS-HEMORRHAGIC WOUNDS-PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF BLOOD LOSS-HEMORRHAGE CONTROL-TOURNIQUETS-COMMERCIAL BLOOD-CLOTTING AGENTS-KNIFE AND BULLET WOUNDS-BODY ARMOR-THE MEDIC UNDER FIRE-SOFT TISSUE CHRONIC WOUND CARE-HOW TO SUTURE SKIN-HOW TO STAPLE SKIN-LOCAL NERVE BLOCKS-BLISTERS, SPLINTERS, AND FISHHOOKS-NAIL BED INJURIES-BURN INJURIES-ANIMAL BITES-SNAKE BITES-INSECT BITES AND STINGS-HEAD INJURIES-SPRAINS AND STRAINS-DISLOCATIONS-FRACTURES-PNEUMOTHORAX-AMPUTATION-THYROID DISEASE-DIABETES-HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE-HEART DISEASE-ULCER AND ACID REFLUX DISEASE-SEIZURE DISORDERS-JOINT DISEASE-KIDNEY AND GALL BLADDER STONES-SKIN RASHES-VARICOSE VEINS-HEMORRHOIDS-AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION-TRACHEOTOMY-CPR IN THE UNCONSCIOUS PATIENT-HEADACHE-EYE TRAUMA AND INFECTIONS-NASAL TRAUMA-EAR INFECTIONS-PREGNANCY AND DELIVERY-ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION-SLEEP DEPRIVATION-OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS-PAIN RELIEF-ANTIBIOTICS (and how to use them)- EXPIRATION DATES

 

We hope you’ll consider the Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook for your library.

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP

 

Zika News and Video

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The first birth in the continental U.S. with Zika-related birth abnormalities occurred in a hospital in Hackensack, NJ. The baby reportedly has microcephaly, a condition where the head fails to grow normally, inhibiting normal brain growth.

While mentally challenged, most of these babies are otherwise healthy. Many will require lifelong care, which has been estimated by President Obama to cost 10 million dollars over the life of the child.

The mother had traveled to the U.S. from Honduras to seek better medical care. As of yet, local cases of Zika have not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. However, consider this scenario: the mother of the baby has Zika virus, is bitten by a mosquito, and the mosquito transmits the virus to American citizens during her stay.

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Luckily, Zika virus is thought to only stay in the blood for a week or so. This limits the window in which a mosquito can pass the virus from  one human to the next. It does appear, however, to spend much more time in other bodily fluids such as semen. Sexual transmission is believed to be the most likely way for a human to pass it to another human.

The CDC reported May 20th that at least 279 pregnant women in the United States and U.S. territories like Puerto Rico have documented evidence of Zika virus. This is a spike from last week’s report. Many hundreds more Americans citizens, non-pregnant, have been found to have had the infection. As only 20% of patients develop symptoms, actual numbers are probably several times higher.

Still, these are cases in which the victim has traveled from the epidemic zone in South America or had sexual activity with someone who has. No epidemic is expected in the United States, although small clusters of locally-transmitted cases in warm-weather states like Florida and Texas may occur, as well as in major populations centers like New York City during the summer.

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Here’s my recent video on the book I’ve written on Zika virus, The Zika Virus Handbook, pretty much all you need to know explained in plain English. No-nonsense, non-panic, it’s the only book, as far as I can tell, written by a doctor who delivered his share of babies during his career and who writes about medical preparedness.

To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best in good times or bad,

 

Joe Alton, MDblaze tv 2

Survival Medicine Hour: Depression, Superbugs, Clint Jivoin of Naked and Afraid

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Bacteria rods

superbugs

A new superbug has scientists concerned after a Pennsylvania woman develops a urinary tract infection that is resistant to Colistin, an antibiotic of last resort. More and more, antibiotic resistance is becoming a challenge for doctors everywhere, where does that leave you if you were off the grid? Plus, depression is a big problem in good times or bad, and what can you do if you want to avoid drugs to treat it? Dr. Alton, part of Jack Spirko’s Survival Podcast Expert Council, answers questions from a listener with the problem. Also, Dr. Alton joins the call to cancel the Olympics with 150 other practitioners who thinks it’s a dumb idea to send half a million tourists to the epicenter of an epidemic zone.

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Clint Jivoin of Naked and Afraid

As a special added treat, our good friend Clint Jivoin of Naked and Afraid joins us at a recent event to talk about his experiences on the show and his plans for the future. All this and more on the Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton…

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/05/29/survival-medicine-hour-depression-superbugs-clint-jivoin-of-naked-and-afraid

Here’s 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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Hey, check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits for survival settings at store.doomandbloom.net. You’ll be glad you did…

Cancel or Move The Olympics

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olympics

image by pixabay.com

A letter signed by 150 doctors and scientists has called for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to be moved or delayed due to the Zika virus. Rio is in the heart of the current epidemic.

Calling inaction “irresponsible” and “unethical”, the letter suggests that the Zika virus in Brazil is acting differently than it has in other areas, something I suggested may relate to a mutation in a recent article.

So make it 151 doctors and scientists. In my opinion, sending a half million tourists, not to mention athletes, to the  epicenter of a raging epidemic is, to say least, a bad idea. They’ll come from 170 different countries, get bitten by mosquitoes in Brazil, and head back home to have local mosquitoes spread the poorly-understood virus throughout the world.

Several hundred cases in U.S. citizens returning from the epidemic zone have been identified so far. Since 80 per cent of victims don’t experience symptoms, that means thousands of Americans have likely been infected.

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There are 160 pregnant U.S. women among the group that has been diagnosed with the virus. Zika is known to be related to thousands of cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that prevents normal head growth. Brain development suffers as a result.

The fact that many Zika victims have no symptoms means that other women won’t know they had the virus until a sonogram identifies abnormal growth in their fetus. Zika is also associated with higher rates of Guillain-Barre and other nervous system disorders, some of which can be life-threatening.

The Olympics have been canceled five times in the last century, but this was due to world wars, not due to public health issues. As such, the International Olympic Committee, and worse, the World Health Organization, still claim that the Olympics will be safe and “enjoyable”.

Brazil, despite mobilizing most of its military to deal with mosquito control, has hardly been able to get a handle on the epidemic and is behind on putting together some of the infrastructure for the Games, including a metro line that takes visitors to the venues.

Despite this, the government is adamant about continuing, stating that calling off the Olympics would mean stopping half-finished buildings, canceling contracts, and refunding ticket fees. Brazil is thought to have sunk about 20 billion dollars into the Games so far.

asian-tiger-mosquito

In the meantime, the CDC is expecting clusters of Zika cases to be locally transmitted in the U.S. this summer, while stopping short of predicting an epidemic. Director of the National Institute of Health Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the CDC is “stealing from itself” to fund Zika efforts here, taking money from funds meant to combat influenza and other infectious diseases that hit America. Congress and the Obama administration have disagreed on the amount of money that should go to Zika research and mosquito control, delaying what might be vital funding.

Delaying the Olympics is not the answer. It’s being held during the “winter” in Southern Hemisphere Brazil, when mosquitoes might be less active. Delaying it just puts in warmer seasons when mosquitoes will be out in force.

So cancel or move the Olympics. I’ll bet there’s a lot of countries that are under-utilizing the expensive venues they built for previous Olympics. Make the event truly global by having it in a number of countries instead of having it be one big commercial of a particular one. To have a massive sporting event in the middle of an epidemic zone is just plain unethical, if not downright crazy.

 

Joe Alton, MD

Find out all you need to know about Zika virus with Dr.  Alton’s latest book “The Zika Virus Handbook“, available on Amazon.

The Zika Virus Handbook, by Joseph Alton, MD

The Zika Virus Handbook, by Joseph Alton, MD

 

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 Medical Hour: TSP’s Jack Spirko

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Jack Spirko TSP

Dr.Bones and Jack Spirko

 

The Survival Medicine Hour’s Dr. Bones (Joe Alton, MD) welcomes old friend Jack Spirko of the wildly popular Survival Podcast in a crossover interview of each which will appear on the other’s podcast. That is, dr. Alton will appear on The Survival Podcast and Jack will appear on the Survival Medicine Hour.

 

Topics include Zika Virus, raising livestock (jack’s raising ducks, a whole lot of ducks), and a number if other topics.

to listen in, click the below:

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/05/16/survival-medicine-hour-jack-spirko-of-the-survival-podcast

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

Joe Alton, MD

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American Survival Radio #6

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Would NATO defend if provoked?

 

American Survival Radio is Joe and Amy Alton’s second and latest podcast, focused on current events, health, and politics. It is separate and distinct from The Survival Medicine Hour. If you’re interested in Survival, you’ll like both!

On American Survival Radio #6, Joe and Amy Alton explore what would happen if Russia uses its ingenious brand of hybrid warfare on a Baltic state like Estonia. Estonia’s a member of NATO, but would the North Atlantic Treaty Organization come to the defense of a member state? The answer isn’t that clear. Also, a new prediction system for tornadoes may give a little more warning and save some lives…if it works. How can you survive if you find yourself in the crosshairs of a twister? Plus, why don’t people with admirable characters run for President or other high office anymore, leaving us with candidates like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?  All this and more on American Survival Radio!

To listen in, Click below:

podcast.gcnlive.com/podcast/americanSurvivalRadio/pcast.php

 

Joe and Amy Alton

American Survival Radio

Preparing For Wildfires

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wildfire

Wildfire

After experiencing a hellish wildfire season last summer and fall in the U.S., a huge conflagration in the Canadian province of Alberta has us thinking again of wildfire preparedness. The wildfire in our northern neighbor’s territory has burned 400,000 acres so far and destroyed or damaged 1600 buildings. Two have died in a car crash while attempting to escape the flames, which has caused the evacuation of 100,000 people. The grid is damaged, the water undrinkable, and even local firefighters are seeing their homes burn to the ground.

In a news conference today, authorities state that, although the spread has slowed, the fire might continue to burn for months and threatens the neighboring province of Saskatchewan. The region affected is the heart of Canada’s oil industry, with the third-largest reserves in the world. A quarter of the country’s oil production has been suspended, leaving questions about the effect the natural disaster will have on Canada’s economy.

Many people are concerned about disasters that threaten their way of life, and wildfires should be high on the list in many areas. But how can you protect your property from being devastated by fire? Two main principles are 1) vegetation management and 2) creating a “defensible space”.

 

VEGETATION MANAGEMENT

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vegetation management is key to fire protection

 

An important factor in protecting your home is what we call “vegetation management”. With vegetation management, the key is to direct fires away from your house. There are several ways to accomplish this, all of which require vigilance and regular maintenance.

 

You’ll want to clean up dead wood and leaf piles lying on the ground close to your buildings and off the roofs and gutters. Although you may have spent time and money putting lush landscaping around your home, you may have to remove some of the vegetation close to the structure. Some people place thorny bushes by windows to deter home invaders, but these would have to go if your concern is fire protection.

 

You’ll want to thin out those thick canopied trees near your house, making sure that no two canopies touch each other. Any trees within 50 feet on flatland, or 200 feet if downhill from your retreat needs to be thinned, so that you’re pruning branches off below 10-12 feet high, and separating them by 10-20 feet. No tree should overhang the roof. Also, eliminate all shrubs at the base of the trunks.

 

Lawns and gardens should be well-hydrated; collect lawn cuttings and other debris that could be used as fuel by the fire. If water is limited, keep dry lawns cut back as much as possible (or remove them).

 

DEFENSIBLE SPACES

 

From a wildfire perspective, a defensible space is an area around a structure where wood and vegetation are treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of flames towards a structure. Having a defensible space will also provide room to work for those fighting the fire.

 

If you’re building a home in an area where wildfires are common, consider the materials that your retreat is made of. How much fire resistance does your structure have? A wood frame home with wooden shingles will go up like a match in a wildfire. You should try to build as much flame resistance into your forest retreat as possible.

 

The amount of defensible space you’ll need depends on whether you’re on flat land or on a steep slope. Flatland fires spread more slowly than a fire on a slope (hot air and flames rise). A fire on a steep slope with wind blowing uphill spreads fast and produces “spot fires”. These are small fires that ignite vegetation ahead of the main burn, due to small bits of burning debris in the air.

 

Woodpiles and other flammables should be located at least 20-30 feet away from structures. Gardening tools should be kept in sheds, and those sheds should be at a distance from the home.  Concrete walkways and perimeter walls may serve to impede the progress of the fire.

 

Attic and other vents should be covered with screen mesh to prevent small embers from entering the structure. Additional strategies can be found at firewise.org.

 

ESCAPING A WILDFIRE

 

Of course, once you have created a defensible space, the natural inclination is to want to, well, defend it. Unfortunately, you have to remember that you’ll be in the middle of a lot of heat and smoke. Therefore, you’re probably not going to be able to function effectively unless you’re an Olympic athlete. It stands to reason that most of us will not be up to the task.

 

The safest recommendation, therefore, would be to get out of Dodge if there’s a safe way out. It’s a personal decision but your family’s lives depend on it, so be realistic. If you’re leaving, have that bug-out bag already in the car, as well as any important papers you might need to keep and some cash.

 

Before leaving, make sure you shut off any air conditioning system that draws air into the house from outside. Turn off all your appliances, close all your windows and lock all your doors. Like any other emergency, you should have some form of communication established with your loved ones so that you can contact each other. Make sure your medical kit contains some eyewash; smoke is a major irritant to the eyes.

 

TRAPPED IN A WILDFIRE

 

If your routes of escape are blocked, make sure you’re dressed in long pants, sleeves, and heavy boots. A wool blanket is very helpful as an additional outside layer because wool is relatively fire-resistant. If you don’t have wool blankets, this is a good time to add some to your storage, or keep some in your car.

 

If you’re in a building, stay on the side of the building farthest from the fire with the least number of windows (windows transfer heat to the inside). Stay there unless you have to leave due to smoke or the building catching fire. If that’s the case and you have to leave, wrap yourself in that blanket, leaving only your eyes uncovered. Some people think it’s a good idea to wet the blanket first. Don’t! Wet materials transfer heat much faster than dry materials and will cause more severe burns.

 

If you’re having trouble breathing because of the smoke, stay low, and crawl out of the building if you have to. There’s less smoke and heat the lower you go.Keep your face down towards the floor. This will help protect your airway, which is very important. You can recover from burns on your skin, but not from major burns in your lungs. For some more information about smoke inhalation, click this link to a short article: http://www.doomandbloom.net/smoke-inhalation/

 

BUILDING A FIRE-RESISTANT HOME

 

If you’re building a home in an area where wildfires are common, consider the materials that your retreat is made of. How much fire resistance does your structure have? A wood frame home with wooden shingles will go up like a match in a wildfire. You should try to build as much flame resistance into your forest retreat as possible.

 

You might consider building with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). These are polystrene blocks made to fit together. Filled with concrete, ICFs create solid insulation that locks out sound, weather, and gives some fire resistance. Mostly used in commercial buildings and schools, constructing a home with ICFs cost a little more, but is superior to wood.

 

Flame-resistant roofing and siding is important, also. Asphalt shingles are used in most roofs, but there’s a fiberglass variety that offers better fire resistance. Decking can also be fire-resistant if constructed with Class A composite materials made from PVC and wood fiber. Windows using heat-reflective glass reduce the  heat that  enters your home in a wildfire. The heat-reflective coating acts to reduce up to 90 percent of the heat. Metal or fiber cement siding is superior to wood or vinyl products. As you might imagine, all these fire-proofing strategies come at an increased cost.

 

Wildfires and other catastrophes, whether natural or man-made, can threaten your life and the lives of your loved ones. Planning before the event will give you the best shot at getting through them in the best shape possible.

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Learn more about wildfire safety plus how to deal with many other events that threaten your survival with The Survival Medicine Handbook, with 300 5-star reviews on Amazon!

Food Contamination

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We’ve talked a lot about sterilizing water to make it safe for drinking, but a few things in the news lately got me thinking about food safety, another responsibility for the survival medic. Let’s start with some news of the weird:

Two supermarkets in Great Britain were closed by police after a man allegedly sprayed foul-smelling “urine” on the produce. The motive for this act is unknown, but if it’s a terror event, he certainly gets credit for creativity. In any case, authorities claim little if any risk to public safety (unless you shop at those markets, I guess).

While the above is a rare case of food contamination, outbreaks of bacteria found on food seem  to be becoming more frequent. Besides highly publicized problems at restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Market, a number of food companies have announced recalls of a wide variety of products. CRF frozen foods, who products are carried at Safeway, Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, and prepper favorite COSTCO, is recalling a total of 358 different items sold under 42 brands(!).

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These items were found to contain a bacteria known as Listeria, and at least seven people were hospitalized with 2 deaths. Organic and non-organic versions of carrots, broccoli, squash, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are among the many and varied products involved. All affected items have sell by dates between 4/26/16 and 4/26/18.  The US FDA website has a list of every brand.

So what’s listeria? Listeria monocytogenes is a member of a family of bacteria named after a founding father of modern sterile surgery, Joseph Lister; his name is also on various types of surgical instruments. It causes a relatively rare bacterial disease called listeriosis, a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria. The disease especially affects pregnant women, newborns and toddlers, adults with weakened immune systems, and the elderly. In these folks, the death rate from sepsis and a nervous system infection, meningitis, is about 20%.

A person with listeriosis usually has fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, and other intestinal symptoms. Listeria starts in the GI tract, but frequently invades different organ systems, often varying from patient to patient.

Pregnant women infected with Listeria can expect a higher incidence of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, and neonatal (newborn) infections. Others, such as the very young and the very old, may experience confusion, stiff necks, loss of coordination and balance, and seizures.

Although there are some differences in opinion, the antibiotic Ampicillin is generally thought to be a drug of choice. Other penicillins are considered acceptable by many. If allergic to Penicillins, other antibiotics like Sulfa drugs may be an option, although no specific alternative is officially recommended.

So how do you prevent infections with Listeria, and really, any bacteria that causes food poisoning? The below recommendations come from the Food and Drug Administration:

  • Rinse raw produce, such as fruits and vegetables, thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if the produce will be peeled, it should still be washed first. If you touch the peel, and then the peeled fruit or vegetable, it can get contaminated with bacteria.
  • Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.
  • Dry the produce with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Separate uncooked meats and poultry from vegetables, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.

It’s important to consider food storage and preparation surfaces. The FDA recommends:

  • Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
  • Listeria monocytogenes can grow in foods in the refrigerator. Use an appliance thermometer, such as a refrigerator thermometer, to check the temperature inside your refrigerator. The refrigerator should be 40°F or lower and the freezer 0°F or lower.
  • Clean up all spills in your refrigerator right away–especially juices from hot dog and lunch meat packages, raw meat, and raw poultry.
  • Clean the inside walls and shelves of your refrigerator with hot water and liquid soap, then rinse.

Without thoroughly cooking meats, you put yourself at risk for infection. You should be sure that food is cooked evenly. It is thought that Ebola may have started in West Africa from partially-cooked bat meat. Each type of meat has its own recommended temperature to eliminate pathogens (disease-causing organisms). To see these, click the link below:

http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html

You might wonder how long meats are safe to eat even if stored in the refrigerator? The USDA has firm opinions on this:

  • Use precooked or ready-to-eat food as soon as you can. Do not store the product in the refrigerator beyond the use-by date; follow USDA refrigerator storage time guidelines:
    • Hot Dogs – store opened package no longer than 1 week and unopened package no longer than 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
    • Luncheon and Deli Meat – store factory-sealed, unopened package no longer than 2 weeks. Store opened packages and meat sliced at a local deli no longer than 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • Divide leftovers into shallow containers to promote rapid, even cooling. Cover with airtight lids or enclose in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Use leftovers within 3 to 4 days.

In a survival scenario, it may be difficult to avoid bacterial contamination unless you closely monitor food preparation. In normal times, it’s easier, but only if you pay attention to good practice of food hygiene.

 

Joe Alton, MD

Survival Fishing

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Survival Fishing: How To Catch Fish When You’re Desperate

Written by: Adam Torkildson, 

reelinfishFishing is a terrific sport and pastime. It’s a great excuse to get out of the house for a weekend and relax on a summer afternoon. Many a fisherman has found the sport to be incredibly rewarding and even life changing. It’s also an excellent source of food when you’re facing an emergency situation. Knowing how to catch fish when you’re in a crisis could save your life one day.

Before we look at this survival tactic, it’s vital to acknowledge that some forms of survival fishing are illegal under normal circumstances due to preservation laws. These practices should not be pursued as a hobby. In a life or death situation, however, the authorities are more likely to overlook your methods and accept that you had to break the rules in order to stay alive.

Don’t get caught in a crisis unprepared if you can possibly help it. But when you need food and have no other way to get it, here are six survival fishing methods that could come in very handy.

 

Pack Your Supplies

  • The best way to catch fish in an emergency is to have your necessary fishing supplies already on hand. That includes an assortment of hooks, swivels, lines, and weights in your emergency preparedness kit. You should take these with you wherever you go. That way, if you find yourself stranded, you’ll have the supplies you need to catch fish with ease.

 

Create a Multi-Line Trap

  • To increase your odds of catching fish without a pole, try attaching multiple fishing lines with baited hooks to an array of low-lying branches over a body of water. Once you have multiple fishing traps set, you’re more likely to catch at least one fish in a day, which should be enough to sustain you for at least 24 hours. Again, please remember that this is illegal in many states, but if it saves your life, it’s worth a try.

 

Scout Out Fishing Locations

  • No matter what method you’re using to catch fish, you’re not likely to snag a meal if you’re fishing in the wrong places. Fish tend to prefer the cover of grass, weeds, lily pads, logs, and other hiding places along the water’s edge. You’ll have better luck if you set your sights on these areas rather than the middle of a stream or lake.

 

Drift Nets

  • Please note that this method of fishing is also currently illegal. If you use drift nets under any circumstance other than a true emergency, the punishment can be a heavy fine and even jail time. You can catch multiple fish at a time with this method, however, which could sustain you long enough for rescuers to find you.

 

Know Which Natural Bait Is Effective

Most people don’t carry worms in their emergency survival kit, but you can find natural bait just about wherever you are. Below are some of the best natural bait to look for when you have to catch fish.

  • Minnows
  • Leaches
  • Small fish
  • Crickets
  • Maggots
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crawdads
  • Worms
  • Beetles

 

Your ability to find natural bait will depend on your location and terrain. For example, grasshoppers are more likely to be found in dry, tall grasses, and worms are commonly located in wet, muddy places.

Remember that your bait must be alive if it’s going to attract fish, so take care when you’re trying to catch the little critters.

 

Balloon Fishing

  • Along with your hooks, lines, and sinkers, you might carry a package of balloons in your emergency pack. They can be inflated slightly to use as floats for your multiple fishing lines if there are no overhanging branches for you to use. When a fish bites the bait, it won’t be able to pull the balloon underwater. As long as you attach the balloon with a second line to a secure place on shore, the fish won’t be able to swim away, and you’ll now be alerted that a fish has been caught when the balloon begins bobbing on the surface of the water.

 

Each of these fishing methods is of course unorthodox for a normal fishing trip, but when you’re desperate to eat, you’ll be grateful that you came prepared.

 

The post Survival Fishing appeared first on American Preppers Network.

More Notice For Tornado Events?

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Disasters happen, and a tornado is one of the classic ones that can cause damage and death. Will a new computer-driven warning system give citizens more time to get out of the way of the path of destruction?

 

A tornado’s a violently rotating column of air in contact with both the surface of the earth and the thunderstorm (sometimes called a “supercell”) that spawned it. Although they’re difficult to see close up, from a distance, tornadoes usually appear in the form of a visible dark funnel with all sorts of flying debris in and around it.

 

A tornado (also called a “twister”) may have winds of up to 300 miles per hour, and can travel quite a ways, miles and miles, before petering out.  They may be accompanied by hail and will emit a roaring sound that will remind you of a passing train. When I say a passing train, I mean a roaring locomotive passing by 3 inches before your nose. We have personally experienced this at our own home, and we can tell you that it is terrifying even though it only caused minor damage.

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Tornado Alley

 

Tornadoes can come anytime, but most often right about now in the part of the country known as Tornado Alley. That’s a group of tornado-prone areas located between the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains that experiences more tornadoes than anywhere else in the world. It is not an official weather term; it was primarily a phrase popularized by the media.

 

Now, the first multi-state tornado outbreak of the spring season is being forecast, with weather experts at the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma sounding the alarm by issuing a “moderate risk” outlook. Sounds pretty boring, but a moderate risk designation is the fourth-highest on the organization’s five-point scale. About 4 million people live within the risk area, which encompasses Oklahoma City as well as Wichita, Kansas.

 

Not uncommonly, the tornadoes that are spawned in this situation will cause a lot of damage, as well as possible injuries and deaths. Making them more predictable is the Storm Prediction Center’s mission. Although it uses computer models to issue the latest warnings with more notice than ever before, it’s not certain if they’ll actually help.

 

It’s possible that, with 15 minutes’ notice, that the only action might be heading to a (hopefully) underground shelter. With an hour, though, would people hide in a shelter or get in the car and hit the road?  If they do, is it safer or will they be caught in the path of the twister? Now, we might be able to give some days’ notice, but will it make a difference?

 

It’s possible that giving people several days’ notice of a potentially stormy day won’t significantly alter their behavior, unlike those who receive similar hurricane warnings. It’s not certain why that is, but I think that these tornado warnings are for an event that doesn’t yet exist, while a hurricane warning is for a storm that’s there: you can see it on the radar heading in your direction and it carries a sense of urgency.

 

But ignoring tornado warnings isn’t a good idea. Every year, hundreds of people are killed by tornadoes, but many injuries and deaths could have been avoided with some planning.

 

Injuries from tornadoes usually come as a result of trauma from the flying debris that is carried along with it.  Strong winds can carry large objects and fling them around in a manner that is hard to believe. Indeed, there’s a report that, in 1931, an 83 ton train was lifted and thrown 80 feet from the tracks.

 

Tornadoes are categorized as level 0-5 by the Enhanced Fujita Scale, which is based on wind speeds and the amount of damage caused:

 

  • F0 Light: Winds 40-72 miles per hour; smaller trees uprooted or branches broken, mild structural damage
  • F1 Moderate: winds 73–112 miles per hour; Broken windows, small tree trunks broken, overturned mobile homes, destruction of carports or toolsheds, roof tiles missing
  • F2 Considerable: winds 113–157 miles per hour; Mobile homes destroyed, major structural damage to frame homes due to flying debris, some large trees snapped in half or uprooted
  • F3 Severe: winds 158–206 miles per hour; Roofs torn from homes, small frame homes destroyed, most trees snapped and uprooted
  • F4 Devastating: winds 207–260 miles per hour; Strong-structure buildings damaged or destroyed or lifted from foundations, cars lifted and blown away, even large debris airborne
  • F5 Incredible: winds 261–318 miles per hour; Larger buildings lifted from foundations, trees snapped, uprooted and debarked, objects weighing more than a ton become airborne missiles

 

Although some places may have sirens or other methods to warn you of an approaching twister, it’s important to have a weather radio and plan for your family to weather the storm.  Having a plan before a tornado touches down is the most likely way you’ll survive the event. Children should be taught where to find the medical kits and how to use a fire extinguisher.  If appropriate, teach everyone how to safely turn off the gas and electricity.

 

If you’re in the path of a tornado, take shelter immediately unless you live in a mobile home. These are especially vulnerable to damage from the winds.  If there is time, get to the nearest building that has a tornado shelter, preferably underground.

 

If you live in Tornado Alley, consider putting together your own underground shelter. Unlike bunkers and other structures built for long-term use, a tornado shelter only has to provide safety for a short period of time.  As such, it doesn’t have to be very large; 8-10 square feet per person is perfectly acceptable.  Despite this, be sure to consider ventilation and the comfort or special needs of those using the shelter.

 

If you don’t have a shelter, find the safest place in the house where family members can gather. Basements, bathrooms, closets or inside rooms without windows are the best options. Windows can easily shatter from impact due to flying debris.

 

For added protection, get under a heavy object such as a sturdy table.  Covering your body with a sleeping bag or mattress will provide an additional shield.  Discuss this plan of action with every member of your family often, so that they will know this process by heart.

 

If you’re in a car and can drive to a shelter, do so. Although you may be hesitant to leave your vehicle, remember that they can be easily tossed around by high winds; you may be safer if there is a culvert or other area lower than the roadway. It is not safe to hide under a bridge or overpass, however, as the winds can easily reach you.

 

In town, leaving the car to enter a sturdy building may be appropriate. If there is no other shelter, however, staying in your car will protect you from some of the flying debris.  Keep your seat beat on, put your head down below the level of the windows, and cover yourself if at all possible.

 

If you’re out hiking when the tornado hits, get away from heavily wooded areas.  Torn branches and other debris become missiles, so an open field or ditch may be safer. Lying down flat in a ditch or other low spot in the ground will give you some protection.  Make sure to cover your head if at all possible, even if it’s just with your hands.

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Get those medical supplies to weather the storm at store.doomandbloom.net, and follow us on Twitter @preppershow and on YouTube at drbones nurseamy.

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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