Why Are Flu Vaccines Sometimes Ineffective?

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Why Are Flu Vaccines Sometimes Ineffective?

flu vaccine

flu vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reporting that 36 states are in the midst of widespread influenza outbreaks. It appears that this flu season might be a bad one, but why? And will the usual vaccines be effective in preventing you for getting the flu this winter?

You might think that, okay, I got the vaccine, so I can’t get the flu this winter. You might be surprised to know, however, that the CDC shoots for about 40-60% vaccine effectiveness in preventing the illness, not the 100% you expected. In fact, last year’s vaccine was 42% successful (less against H3N2), on the low end of the CDC’s target, but in 2014-2015, the prevention rate from the flu vaccine was about 19%.

(Note: This is neither an anti-vaccine nor pro-vaccine article. It is simply a discussion as to why influenza vaccines seem to be less effective in preventing disease in recent years.)

Influenza vaccines produced in a particular year are derived from certain proteins found in last year’s virus. The CDC makes a determination about what virus they expect to be dominant in the coming year, and companies base their production on those predictions. If you have the material from last-year’s flu, why are vaccines sometimes so ineffective in achieving their purpose? Mainly because of two concepts we’ll discuss today: Antigenic Drift and Antigenic Shift.

Antigenic Drift: Viruses are notorious for their ability to mutate, but fortunately their mutations rarely make a major change in their genetic makeup. When the changes are so small that the current virus going around is essentially the same as the previous one, it is called antigenic drift. In this circumstance, vaccines are more effective; that is, they reach the CDC goal of 40-60% prevention rate because they are fighting essentially the same virus.

mutations caused Ebola to be transmissible from bats to humans in West Africa

mutations caused Ebola to be transmissible from bats to humans in West Africa

Antigenic Shift: Sometimes, a virus undergoes a major mutation or two viruses combine to make a significant change in the nature of a virus. For example: If the Ebola virus primarily lives in fruit bats in Africa, some mutation along the way made it able to live in human beings. Perhaps another mutation made it more easily passed along to other humans in bodily secretions. These significant changes in the genetic makeup are called antigenic shifts. With antigenic shifts, all bets are off with regards to predicting the success of a vaccine in preventing disease. To take an extreme example, if the Ebola virus mutated to make it easily transmissible via airborne droplets, we’d be in a lot of trouble.

Classifying Influenza Viruses

The dominant virus causing this year’s influenza cases in the H3N2 Type A virus. Influenza viruses are classified according to the proteins that exist on their surface. These are called Hemagglutinins (HA) and Neuraminidases (NA). There are more and more different HA and NA subtypes discovered every year. The Swine flu, for example, is H1 N1.

Why is flu vaccine less effective against influenza A(H3N2) viruses?

The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that last year’s vaccine’s ineffectiveness occurred as a result of an antigenic shift in the H3N2 virus. Indeed, the flu vaccine seems to be generally less effective against influenza A(H3N2) that other viruses. Why? This from the CDC:

“While all influenza viruses undergo frequent genetic changes, the changes that have occurred in influenza A(H3N2) viruses have more frequently resulted in differences between the virus components of the flu vaccine and circulating influenza viruses (i.e., antigenic change) compared with influenza A(H1N1) and influenza B viruses. That means that between the time when the composition of the flu vaccine is recommended and the flu vaccine is delivered, H3N2 viruses are more likely than H1N1 or influenza B viruses to have changed in ways that could impact how well the flu vaccine works.”

In other words, H3N2 tends to develop mutations more often and faster than other common influenza viruses.

The CDC goes on to say: “Growth in eggs is part of the production process for most seasonal flu vaccines. While all influenza viruses undergo changes when they are grown in eggs, changes in influenza A(H3N2) viruses tend to be more likely to result in antigenic changes compared with changes in other influenza viruses. These so-called “egg-adapted changes” are present in vaccine viruses recommended for use in vaccine production and may reduce their potential effectiveness against circulating influenza viruses.”

Therefore, the flu vaccine as currently produced is less effective in its purpose than we would like. More research is necessary to produce a vaccine that we can depend on to prevent the disease, and to make it safer for those opting to take it.

Tamiflu

Tamiflu

In the meantime, ask your physician for an anti-viral med (not an antibiotic!) that may decrease the duration and severity of the disease, such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). As these drugs are more effective in the first 48 hours of symptoms, you should have these on hand, just in case your doctor isn’t able to see you quickly. I recently received an official CDC health advisory emphasizing the increased importance this year of these medications due to the issues related to the H3N2 virus. It also stated that early treatment may decrease the risk of hospitalization.

Joe Alton MD

Dr. Alton

Dr. Alton

Find out more about influenza and 150 other medical topics in the award-winning Third Edition of “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way”

Video: Colds Vs. Flus

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VIDEO: COLDS VS FLUS

Colds vs Flus

Colds vs Flus

Colds and flus have similar symptoms, but there are ways to tell the difference. In his latest video, Joe Alton MD goes through the signs and symptoms that give clues as to which is which, and what you should do to treat and prevent respiratory infections this cold and flu season.

To watch, click below:

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

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP

Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP

Learn about respiratory infections and 150 other topics in the Alton’s 2017 Book Excellence Award winner in medicine, the Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way!

1st Place at the Book Excellence Awards!

1st Place at the Book Excellence Awards!

Survival Medicine Hour: Acid Reflux, Colds vs Flus, Medical Barter Items, More

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Survival Medicine Hour #366

Colds vs. Flus

Colds vs. Flus

Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, discuss a number of topics, including honey as a treatment for burns, how to tell colds vs. flus, medical barter items, acid reflux, using glues to close wounds, and much more!

Honey, if raw and unprocessed, has antibacterial effect and may be useful to treat burns in situations where modern medical care is not a possibility.

Honey as a treatment for burns

Honey as a treatment for burns

Do you have a cold or the flu? Here’s some tips on how to tell the difference.

Most survivalists consider ammunition to be the most important barter item, but how about items that could heal, instead of cause, wounds? Dr. Alton bets that medical supplies would be important barter items in a post-disaster economy.

Glue in place

Glue in place

Medical glues and even Super-glue, may be valuable items for closing wounds. Here’s how to use glue to close a wound (remember, that it’s more important to know when a wound should be closed and when it should remain open!).

acid reflux

acid reflux

How many people do you know that have problems with stomach acid? In a disaster, those people will still be there, and they need your help. Dr.Alton tells you everything you need to know about gastroesophageal reflux disease (G.E.R.D.).

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/11/30/survival-medicine-hour-acid-reflux-medical-barter-items-colds-vs-flus-more

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

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

Follow us on twitter @preppershow, Facebook at Doom and Bloom(tm), and YouTube at DrBones NurseAmy channel.

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

 

 

 

 

Video: Influenza 2017

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Influenza On and Off The Grid Video

respiratory tract and virus

respiratory tract and virus

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

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

To watch, click below:

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

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

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

Influenza On And Off The Grid

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Influenza On and Off The Grid

influenza

influenza

Even with modern medical technology, few can avoid the occasional respiratory infection. Viral illnesses like colds and flus are common issues even for those who are in prime physical condition. Human illness involves the respiratory tract more commonly than any other organ system. Influenza is particularly contagious as germ-laden droplets are expelled during coughs and sneezes, entering the nose, mouth, or eyes of others.

You can expect influenza viruses to hit your part of the country anywhere from late fall to early spring, and most people weather their illness just fine. Some folks, however, especially the very old, very young, and those with chronic medical conditions, may not survive. Because of this, influenza-related pneumonia has earned the title “the old man’s friend” (because it ends their suffering).

The flu may not be life-threatening in normal times, and you might (foolishly) not take measures to prevent it. Survival scenarios, though, are a different story. 100 years ago, a flu epidemic ran rampant throughout the world, killing 50-100 million people. In a survival setting, we’ll be thrown back medically at least that far back.

Without strict adherence to hand washing and respiratory hygiene, it would be very easy for your entire community to become ill, and the physical stress associated with activities of daily survival might lead a weakened respiratory system to allow secondary infections like pneumonia to cause major trouble. At the very least, influenza can affect work efficiency at a time when everyone must be at one hundred per cent. If you’ve had the flu, you know what I mean.

influenza came lead to pneumonia

influenza came lead to pneumonia

Influenzas are usually caused by Influenza type A (the most common) and Type B viruses. They are classified according to the proteins that exist on their surface. These are called Hemagglutinins (HA) and Neuraminidases (NA). There are more and more different HA and NA subtypes discovered every year. The Swine flu, for example, is H1 N1. The flu this year is thought to be H3N2.

Symptoms of influenza begin anywhere from one to four days after exposure. They  include:

  • High fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Severe fatigue
  • Severe muscle aches

Colds will resolve themselves over a week or so, but influenzas may last longer. The flu could weaken you enough that secondary bacterial infections will set in. Indeed, these secondary infections are the most probable causes of death related to flu cases. If this happens, you’ll notice that you are getting worse, not better, over time despite the usual treatments.

The old man's friend?

The old man’s friend?

These include medications like ibuprofen for muscles aches and fever, decongestants for nasal congestion, expectorants to thin out phlegm, cough suppressants (although they should be used only when there is difficulty breathing or sleeping) and others. As the flu is a viral illness, it’s important to know that antibiotics will be ineffective.

There are, however, a few anti-viral flu medications such as Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or Zanamivir (Relenza). These drugs will shorten the course of the infection if taken in the first 48 hours after symptoms appear. After the first 48 hours, there’s less medicinal effect.

Therefore, you might consider asking your doctor in normal times for a Tamiflu prescription at the beginning of every flu season, since it might be hard to get an appointment on short notice. For a caregiver with a number of flu patients to treat, taking a half dose daily for five days may decrease your chances of catching it.

The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for everyone over 6 months of age, but it’s important to know that the effectiveness of the vaccine may be less in years when the current virus is different from the previous years. Therefore, it’s important to take measures to prevent the flu and to isolate those who are infected from those that are healthy.

face masks may help decrease contagion

face masks may help decrease contagion

Other actions you can take to decrease the chance of getting or spreading the flu are:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your upper arm, not your hand.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects, like doorknobs, that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • Establish an effective “survival sick room” that will decrease the chances of spread throughout the entire family or group
  • Use face masks when sick or around others who are.
  • Wait 24 hours after the last episode of fever before exposing yourself to others.

The flu may be a bump on the road in your survival journey, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the road.

We’ll talk about natural remedies in the near future.

Joe Alton MD

Joe Alton, MD

Learn more about respiratory infections and 150 other medical issues in the 2017 Book Excellence Award winner in medicine “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way”. And fill those holes in your medical supplies with kits and individual items from Nurse Amy’s store at store.doomandbloom.net

Survival Medicine Hour: Active Shooters, Respiratory Infections, More

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Survival Medicine Hour: Active Shooters, Respiratory InfectionsCurbing the active shooter

Curbing the active shooterThe shooting at a Texas church came fast upon the Las Vegas shooting and the shooting at a church in Tennessee. it seems like you can’t get away from headlines about some deranged, disgruntled, or politically motivated person out to do harm to innocent people. Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP discuss some common sense tips for average citizens and some advice for our society to prevent becoming soft targets.

Also, Dr. Alton goes through various respiratory infections so that you can identify, treat, and prevent infections. Different infections require different treatments, from the common cold to strep throat to influenza to pneumonia. Plus, how infectious diseases spread from person to person to cause an epidemic.

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/2017/11/09/survival-medicine-hour-influenza-active-shooters-infection-spread

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

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy Alton

Joe and Amy Alton

Learn more about respiratory infections and many more medical topics in our Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Hour: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way.

 

 

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Plague, Hepatitis, Pain Issues

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SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR #361

Plague Doctor

Plague Doctor

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

ascites

hepatitis damage

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

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

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

To Listen in, click below:

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

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

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

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

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

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

Survival Medicine Hour: Mudlslides, OTC Drugs, More

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SURVIVAL MEDICINE HOUR PODCAST #360

A loaded first aid kit with medical supplies for trauma,burns, sprains and strains and other medical issues

Your medic kit should contain various OTC meds

Your survival medicine cabinet should have plenty of different meds that can handle pain, inflammation, fever, respiratory infections, stomach upset, diarrhea, and many more of the common issues that the survival medic will confront off the grid. Here’s a good list and explanation of why you should have these medicines in your storage.

mudslide

mudslide

Plus, Living in a cliffhanging home on Ski Mountain in Gatlinburg, TN, gateway to the Smokies, puts ol’ Dr. Bones and the lovely Nurse Amy at risk for a mudslide, especially since the 2016 wildfire, destroyed so many trees that were preventing erosion in the area. What are warning signs of future mudslides and what can you do to prevent becoming a victim?

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

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/10/20/survival-medicine-hour-mudslides-otc-drugs-more

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

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

We’re pleased to announce that the Survival Medicine Handbook’s 700 page Third Edition has won the 2017 Book Excellence Award in the category of medicine. Earlier editions are out there, so make sure get the latest edition!

8 Health Benefits of Cloves

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Health Benefits of Clove

Dried Clove Buds

Dried Clove Buds

Our readers often ask us to comment on various natural remedies. Face it, medics can stockpile all the drugs they can, but if a disaster event lasts long enough, medicine and supplies will be expended. Unless society restabilizes pretty darn quickly, commercial medical items and drugs will be hard to find unless your retreat is the local hospital.

That leaves you with whatever’s in your back yard that might have medicinal benefits. Therefore, you’d be smart to start planting an herb garden in normal times. Once you get over the learning curve, you’ll figure out what plants do well in your grow zone. These plants will comprise your survival medicine cabinet.  Once you get through a good season, you can experiment a little with teas, tinctures, or other ways that plants are processed into medicines. Your ancestors did just that, and had this plant or that plant in the garden not because it was food necessarily, but to treat illnesses and injuries.

Many medicinal plants are herbs that are mostly used in cooking, but also have uses for the medic. Today, let’s talk about cloves.

Clove Tree

Clove Tree

Cloves, (syzygium aromaticum) are one of the spices native to Asia. You can find them in places like the Maluku islands in Indonesia, where it might have originated, but also in India, Pakistan, and even areas of East Africa. They are a popular spice used in a variety of ways in Asian cuisine. In fact, cloves form the basis of a lot of the food in a number of different nations.

Cloves have an interesting history. During the 13th and 14th centuries, they were transported all the way from Indonesia to pretty much all over the known world. I would think Marco Polo shipped some cloves to Italy and other European nations. During this time, cloves were very expensive, so much so that they were the subject of wars for monopoly over their production, distribution, and the islands where they came from. Dutch traders emerged victorious and held the Maluku islands for some time.

When we talk about natural plants, we usually talk about using leaves, roots or flowers, but with cloves, it’s the flower buds that are used as a spice and for most of its medicinal purposes. These look like miniature nails from your tool box. They are processed in a number of ways; for example, we use the essential oil in some of our kits.

Clove bud

Clove bud

Cloves are antioxidant powerhouses. Minerals in cloves include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc. The vitamins found in them include vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin K. They are also a source of Omega-3 fatty acids (the good kind).

Cloves are reported to have many health benefits, some of which include providing aid in digestion, having antimicrobial properties, fighting against cancer, protecting the liver, boosting the immune system, controlling diabetes, preserving bone quality, as well as fighting against oral diseases and headaches, while also, at least the Chinese say, displaying aphrodisiac properties. Which takes me to, how do I know if cloves are effective against this problem or that problem? I’ll admit that hard scientific data is hard to come by, so you have to understand that the reports aren’t always proof, and effects may be very individual, some may receive these health benefits in full, others, not so much.

What makes Clove buds a useful part of your off-grid medicine cabinet? The health benefits include beneficial effects on pain and inflammation, but also a negative effect on bacterial, viruses, fungi, and more. Like many herbs, Clove have a number of different compounds that may have medical uses, but the most well-known is called “Eugenol”.

Here are eight benefits that cloves may impart to your off-grid patients:

  1. Pain relief: We supply clove oil in all our dental kits because of its anesthetic and antiseptic effect in damaged teeth. Mixing 2 drops of clove oil with some zinc oxide powder can produce improvised temporary cement, useful for lost fillings and other oral issues. It may also relieve gum discomfort, but beware of using too much or too often; it can cause irritation.
  2. Breath issues: It may be hard to distill oil, but teas are easy to make right from the garden (and after drying in many cases). Gargling some tea made with cloves is thought to be a great way to eliminate bad breath.
  3. Respiratory ailments: Clove in its various forms is reported to be helpful for respiratory system complaints due to antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant effects. It’s been used for colds, sore throat, bronchitis, sinusitis, and more. Warm tea is a good way to access these benefits but better, perhaps, is adding clove oil to hot water and inhale steam.
  4. GI problems: Nausea and vomiting might be improved with direct inhalation of clove oil in a cloth. Mix some powdered clove buds with honey to decrease gas. It’s possible that cloves improve the production of digestive enzymes and help relax irritated intestinal lining, which might help stomach ache, diarrhea, and other GI discomforts.
  5. Ear infections: Clove has anesthetic and antimicrobial oral properties, but these also pertain to the ear canal. A combination of clove oil and sesame oil soaked in a cotton ball (best if warm) can relieve earache and treat infection. Alternatively, make an infusion with crushed cloves and olive oil, let sit for an hour, strain well, and put a few warm drops in the affected ear.
  6. Skin blemishes: Acne may be improved with Cloves due to its antibacterial effect. Mix clove oil with coconut oil (ratio 1:10) and apply to affected skin with a Q-tip two or three times daily until improved.
  7. Headaches: Due to it pain-relieving properties, massaging Clove oil mixed with coconut oil into the forehead or other area can relieve headache discomfort. Alternatively, place a few drops of clove oil on a warm cloth and apply to where the pain is.
  8. Joint Pain: Massaging aching joints with the above mixtures may work the same way on joint pain. Alternatively, a warm clove compress to the joints may be helpful.

It should be noted that clove oil is pretty strong stuff, and must be used sparingly. It can cause irritation, as mentioned above, but also has ill effects on the body’s cells when used excessively. It may also slow blood clotting, and, hence, not used prior to surgery. Having said that, used correctly in small amounts by diluting with carrier oils or liquids, clove oil is generally considered to be safe. You can expect whole dried clove buds to last 3-4 years if stored properly.

With clove oil and other natural plant oils, teas, tinctures, infusions, and balms, the quality of the product and medicinal benefits may vary due to a number of reasons. Soil conditions, seasonal temperatures, rainfall, and time of harvest are just some of the factors involved in determining the end product when it comes to herbal products. Many of these remedies also vary from individual to individual.

The off-grid or homestead medic should have a stockpile of commercial medicines, but also a sustainable supply of plants with medicinal properties for use in good times or bad. Use all the tools in the woodshed and you’ll be a more effective caregiver in austere settings.

Joe Alton

Dr. Alton

Joe Alton MD

Find out more about cloves, other natural remedies, and much more with the Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, 2017 winner of the Book Excellence Award in the medical category.

Plus, don’t forget to check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net.

You’ll be glad you did!

 

Video: Azithromycin as Survival Antibiotic

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veterinary equivalents for Azithromycin

One of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics is Azithromycin, known in the U.S. as Z-Pak, is now in a new veterinary version known as Bird-Zithro. In survival situations where you’re off grid and there no modern medical care for the foreseeable future, the medic for the family must stockpile medical supplies, and this includes antibiotics.

See how Azithromycin in the form of “Bird-Zithro” might fit into you survival plans to treat your, well, sick birds. Uses, dosages, precautions, and more are more are discussed in this video by medical preparedness writer Joe Alton, MD.

To watch, click below:

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

 

Joe Alton MD aka “Dr. Bones”

Joe Alton MD

 

Hey, learn more about Azithromycin, survival antibiotics, and 150 other medical issues in the Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, available on this website and at Amazon.com. Also, check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net. You’ll be glad you did.

Setting Up A Survival Sick Room

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medicaltent

A hospital tent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tent joe's kids

The injured should be separate from the infected, if possible

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

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

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

shutterstock_209173573

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Joe Alton MD

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

The Survival medicine handbook Third Edition 2016

The Survival Medicine Handbook 2017 Third Edition

Video: Cold Prevention Myths and Facts

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colds

In this video, Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones, discusses some common misconceptions about colds and how to prevent them. Companion video to a recent article.

To watch, click below…

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Survival Medicine Hour: Norovirus, Cold Myths, Man Flu?

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Norovirus: The Stomach Flu

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, a bout of acute gastroenteritis, also called “stomach flu” caused by Norovirus sends Nurse Amy to urgent care. Find out about the microbe that sends two million victims to their doctors every year in the U.S., how to prevent it and some other important advice to stay healthy this winter.

colds

Also, top ten myths people believe will prevent a cold. We know there’s one or two in there you think are true! Also, why do men seem to have worse symptoms than women when they get the flu or other viruses? Is there such a thing as the Man Flu?

All this and more on the latest episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton, ARNP. To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/12/16/survival-medicine-hour-norovirus-cold-myths-man-flu

Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad, and Merry Christmas!

Joe and Amy Alton

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Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

Survival Medicine Hour: Pneumonia, Natural Remedies

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survival medicine

The Survival Medicine Hour, with Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP aka Nurse Amy, bring you a tremendous amount of information today. Are you going to be the medic or caretaker in a disaster or survival situation?  Our mission is to help put a medically prepared person in every family for any disaster.

Pneumonia is an infection affecting the aprt of the lungs that absorbs oxygen from the atmosphere. Pneumonia may be viral, bacterial or fungal infection. The infection usually starts by affecting a portion of one lung (a “lobe”) before spreading to the entire organ. If enough fluid clogs the air clogs the air sacs (alveoli), it’s possible, while listening to lung sounds, you actually won’t hear any sounds at all.

Natural remedies are available for help with respiratory infections to reduce symptoms and build a person’s immunity. Antioxidants, like Vitamin C and Vitamin E and other antioxidants taken regularly are supposed to decrease the frequency and severity of respiratory infections.

Some of the best essential oils for symptoms are Lavender, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Peppermint and Geranium. Herbal teas such as Stinging Nettle, Licorice Root, Peppermint, Anise Sage and Dandelion are all made better with a bit of raw, unprocessed honey and fresh squeezed lemon.

Joe Alton, MD

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Joe Alton MD

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 miniatures (an added bonus!)

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

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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

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Storing Meds, Respiratory Infection, Pt. 1

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How to store meds

The Survival Medicine Hour (November 11, 2016) exposes the issues we all face when looking at an uncertain future. If you prepare for long-term survival due to man-made or natural disasters, one looming problem is how to keep your much needed medications in the best condition possible. Nurse Amy. aka Amy Alton, ARNP and Dr. Bones, aka Joe Alton, MD cover some techniques and methods to help you solve this medication storage problem.

Part 1 of respiratory infections is also covered in this episode, plus a discussion of the reappearance of the respiratory virus that originates in the intestine, Enterovirus D68.

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Medic Memorial

On this Veteran’s day, Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy want to say thanks to all of our military staff new and old; we greatly appreciate your service to our country!

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/11/11/survival-medicine-hour-storing-medications-longterm-respiratory-infections-pt1

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

 

AmyandJoePodcast400x200Find out more about medical issues in times of trouble with the Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for when Medical Help is Not on the Way, available at Amazon.com.

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

 

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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Survival Medicine Hour: Asthma, Zika, Fukushima 5 years later, more

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Five years ago, The Fukushima Daichi plant melted down after an earthquake and tsunami, and today spills out radioactive water from cooling operations that are still ongoing. What effects will it have on the population? Plus, Joe Alton, MD, talks all about asthma, especially in survival settings and give an update on the latest on Zika Virus. Also, super-resistant lice are now seen in 25 states, what can you do to deal with this new threat? All this on the Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy.

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To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/02/29/survival-medicine-hour-asthma-zika-fukushima-5-years-later-more

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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

FLUAD, The Next Generation Vaccine?

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virus

One thing you can count on seeing every winter is a flu outbreak. Influenza is a viral respiratory illness that has been the cause of worldwide epidemics (“pandemics”). In 1918, the Spanish Flu spread throughout the globe and killed close to 100 million people.

 
Even non-pandemic influenza can turn deadly in some cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have limited information on official death counts from flu each year, but it can be anywhere from a few thousand to fifty thousand in the U. S., mostly among those over 65.

 

So many people get the flu yearly (one in five to one in twenty in recent years) that modern medicine has worked diligently to try and prevent it. This has led to the development of vaccines. Vaccines work by exposing you to the previous year’s virus in the hope that you will develop immunity to this year’s version. Now, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a new type of flu vaccine with a “booster” meant to improve the immune system, especially in the elderly. This new vaccine, called Fluad, claims to translate into better outcomes among older people.

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Fluad’s main target is people over 65 years of age. The elderly typically do worst if they get the flu, so much so that influenza has been called the “Old Man’s Friend” because it ends their suffering, and I mean permanently. According to an FDA spokesperson: “Immunizing individuals in this age group is especially important because they bear the greatest burden of severe influenza disease and account for the majority of influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths…”

 

Fluad contains MF59, a mixture that includes squalene, an oily nutrient produced by the liver but also seen in sharks, certain birds, and amaranth seeds (it also includes some preservatives). When incorporated into vaccines, MF59 increases the number of immune cells that are activated.

 

From a pandemic standpoint, there’s another benefit: Adding MF59 can help extend vaccine supplies. People might need a lower dose of vaccine, thus allowing more to receive it.

 

The government actually considered using MF59 when the Swine Flu arrived in the U.S. in 2009. But, although vaccine supplies were short, MF59 wasn’t used due to the expected resistance to the new ingredient.

 

U.S. government officials have been wary about using MF59 in vaccines because of public suspicion of new ingredients in medical treatments in the U.S. Fluad, however, has been in use in Europe and Canada for close to 20 years; the FDA now declares it to be safe and effective.

 

Vaccine effectiveness is a big issue, because last year’s vaccine was only around 20% effective in preventing the flu in those who took it. Normally, you want a flu vaccine to be 60% effective or more.

 

There are two reasons why last year’s vaccine failed, relatively speaking. The formulation may not be effective against a particular virus if the virus mutates or a new virus arrives. Also, if the vaccine doesn’t activate a person’s immune response, it won’t work to produce antibodies against the virus.

Tests show Fluad works at least as well as the vaccines already on the market, and may boost a senior’s protection from H3N2, one of the currently circulating strains of influenza.

 

(DID YOU KNOW: Type A (the most common) Influenza viruses are categorized by certain proteins on their surface called HA (Hemaglutinins) and NA (Neuraminidases). For example, Swine Flu is H1 N1.)

 

The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months of age receive the vaccine. Despite this, only 148 million doses get distributed in the United States, a country with a population of more than 300 million. This is because of concerns on the part of many of adverse reactions. Some believe that reluctance is also due partly to the injection required, so a nasal mist was developed. Unfortunately, shortages are commonly reported.

 

Another concern is the possibility of  an adverse reaction to something in the vaccine. Ill effects of flu vaccine can be minor or major. Minor problems following a flu shot include pain, redness, and swelling at the site of injection, plus flu-like symptoms. If these occur, they usually last 1 or 2 days.

 

This doesn’t mean, however, that serious problems can’t occur with vaccines. One in a hundred thousand to a million people may develop a disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome, which can cause long-term damage to nerves. Children may, rarely, experience seizures due to high fever from a flu shot. Of course, anyone could be allergic to a component of the vaccine, causing a mild to serious reaction. Major reactions seems to occur in one in a million cases.

 

You won’t find Fluad on pharmacy shelves this year but it should be available next year. Will it decrease flu-related deaths among older citizens in the U.S.? We’ll have to wait until 2016 to find out.

 

Joe Alton, MD

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To find out more about influenza, check out our classic 4 part series of articles, or get a copy of our bestseller The Survival Medicine Handbook, with over 250 5-star reviews.

And, if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for that older child, check out our board game Doom and Bloom’s SURVIVAL!, a great way to have a fun family game night (and think about tough decisions you’d make in a survival scenario). Now with a full set of 8 custom miniatures, our survival medicine DVD, and a SURVIVAL! nylon mini-backpack free with your purchase!

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Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs

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The wise medic will store antibiotics to deal with infections in survival scenarios, but what happens when a bacteria becomes resistant to them? In other words, a “Superbug”?

In the U.S., 2 million people are infected annually with bacteria resistant to standard antibiotic treatment. At least 23,000 of these will die as a result. In an increasingly overburdened health system, resistant microbes are responsible for a huge increase in the cost of caring for the sick.

This article will discuss antibiotics and the epidemic of resistance that has spawned a growing number of superbugs.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are medicines that kill micro-organisms in the body. Amazingly, the first antibiotic, Penicillin, was discovered entirely by accident in 1928 when Alexander Fleming returned to his lab from a vacation. He noticed that a lab dish with a bacterial culture had developed a mold known then as Penicillin Notatum. Around the mold, an area had developed that was clear of bacteria. Further study proved the potent germicidal effect of the compound processed from the mold.

By the 1940s, penicillin was in general use and credited with saving many lives during WWII. Since then, more than 100 different antibiotics have been identified and developed into medicines.

Antibiotic Overuse

The huge success that antibiotics had in eliminating bacterial infections caused them to be used excessively. Liberal employment of antibiotics is a bad idea for several reasons:

  • Overuse fosters the spread of resistant bacteria.
  • Allergic reactions can occur, sometimes severe.
  • Antibiotics given before a diagnosis is confirmed may mask some symptoms and make identifying the illness more difficult.

Antibiotics will kill many bacteria, but they will not be effective against viruses, such as those that cause influenza or the common cold. They are also not meant as anti-fungal agents.

 

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Viruses are largely unaffected by antibiotics

 

Most will be surprised to hear that almost 80% of the antibiotics used in the U.S. don’t go to people, but to livestock. This is not to treat sick livestock but to make healthy livestock grow faster and get to market sooner. No one knows for sure why antibiotics have this effect, but the gross overuse on food animals is a big reason for the epidemic of resistance seen today.

The Superbug List Grows Longer

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled a list of close to 20 bacteria that have shown a tendency towards antibiotic resistance. They include various organisms that cause severe diarrheal disease, respiratory issues, wound infections, and even sexually transmitted disease.

The CDC’s list:

  • Clostridium difficile
  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
  • Drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter
  • Drug-resistant Campylobacter
  • Fluconazole-resistant Candida
  • Extended spectrum β-lactamase producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBLs)
  • Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
  • Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Drug-resistant Non-typhoidal Salmonella
  • Drug-resistant Salmonella Typhi
  • Drug-resistant Shigella
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis
  • Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA)
  • Erythromycin-resistant Group A Streptococcus
  • Clindamycin-resistant Group B Streptococcus

 

There have been no effective treatments identified for some of the above microbes, as in the case of multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis. MRSA, Methicillin-Resistant Staph. Aureus, was responsible for more deaths than AIDS in recent years.

 

Although this is the CDC’s list of superbugs that affect the United States, they aren’t the only ones. A new type of Malaria, a very common parasitic disease of warmer climates, is turning up that is resistant to the standard drugs.

 

Viruses are “resistant” to antibiotics by nature (in other words, they are unaffected by them) and include Influenza A, Swine Flu, Ebola, Bird Flu, SARS, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). These will be discussed in detail in a future article.

 

An Effective Strategy

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Strategy #1

 

Many believe that antibiotic-resistant Superbugs listed are exotic diseases that could never affect their community. With the ease of commercial air travel, however, cases of antibiotic-resistant diseases from afar can easily arrive on our shores.

 

Recently, a case of multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis was identified and then isolated at the high level isolation unit at the National Institute of Health in Maryland. Although we have increased our capacity for handling this type of patient significantly since the arrival of Ebola in the U.S. last year, it wouldn’t take much to overwhelm our facilities.

 

 

Therefore, the medic must have a plan to decrease the chances for antibiotic-resistant infections. The main strategy is to hold off on dispensing that precious supply of antibiotics until absolutely necessary, but other strategies include:

 

  • Establishing good hygiene practices: Everyone should be diligent about washing hands with soap and hot water or hand sanitizers. Good respiratory hygiene includes coughing or sneezing into tissues or the upper arm, but never the bare hands.
  • Supervising sterilization of water, preparation of food, and disposal of human waste and trash. Contaminated water and food will lead to many avoidable deaths in survival scenarios. Make sure that food preparation surfaces (counter tops, etc.) are disinfected frequently.
  • Dedicating personal items: Personal items like towels, linens, utensils, and clothing may be best kept to one person in an epidemic setting.
  • Cleaning all wounds thoroughly and covering with a dressing. Skin is the body’s armor, and any chink in it will expose a person to infection.
  • Social distancing: When a community outbreak has occurred, limiting contact with those outside the family or survival group may be necessary to stay healthy.
  • Keeping a strong immune system: Getting enough rest, eating healthily, and avoiding stress will improve a person’s defenses against disease. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to achieve these goals in times of trouble.
  • Going natural: Allicin, a compound present in garlic, is a natural antibiotic that is thought to have an effect against some resistant bacteria like MRSA. Crush a clove and eat it.

 

 

Preventing the spread of infections, especially antibiotic-resistant ones, is important to maintain the viability of a survival community. If you’re the medic, have antibiotics in your storage but use them wisely. If you do, you’ll help prevent not only resistance, but a lot of heartache if things go South.

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Top Anti Viral Herbs Part 2

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Top Anti viral Herbs Part #2

A few Powerful  Primary Anti Viral herbs 

  • Oregano
  • Clove
  • Astagulus
  • Garlic
  • Elderberry
  • Mullein 

Secondary Antiviral herbs
These powerful herbs which particularly bind to the antiviral enzymes through specific properties such as  anti oxidants and much more. Providing a new property known as “MODIFIERS”  which aid in the defeat of antiviral resistances’. Secondly, they will provide through completely natural solutions for different level of viral infections and or to different parts of the human anatomy (this effect is then applied to the genetic makeup while in parallel modifying the molecular composition of the viral infection, thus breaking it down(Modifying) to a non resistant level. To get a better understand read our post on “ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANT MODIFIERS” Thirdly, “Secondary” is not limited to one additional herb but many.

Oregon Grape: (can be used in a antiviral formulation to assist antiviral properties while maintaining a healthy immune system)
Green Tea: provides a powerful amount of antioxidant properties, thus inhibiting oxidation of infected cells that can potentially inhibit the aid of repair needed.
Lavender: its powerful antimicrobial properties assist directly the antiviral properties in parallel thus creating a molecular environment that is repairable.
Slippery Elm Bark: this potent herb provides extremely high levels of nutrition but not to the virus to all effected areas then while assisting the primary herbs antiviral properties to create a repair.
Dandelion: Another powerhouse of a herb that not only provides secondary supplementation(s) of nutritional vitamins and mineral it also has diuretic properties which aid in detox of toxins and neurotoxins derived from the viral infection(s)
Bee Pollen: loaded with pure form of complex vitamins and also classified as a superfood will supplement the immune system and central nervous system in tandem with the primary herb antiviral properties.
Grapefruit seed extract: another powerhouse of a herb with antioxidant, anti viral properties and also maintains a healthy immune system.
Pine Needles: This herb has powerful antiseptic properties which viral infections cannot survive

A few Powerful Essential oils

Thieves oil: This oils is composed of many powerful essential oil to provide a natural and sanitary environment were no virus can survive.
Grapefruit: This essential oil is loaded with antioxidant and vitamin C which inhibits oxidation and make the virus accessible for repair. and  will help maintain a health immune system.
Cinnamon: This essential oil provides  powerful antiseptic properties which bind to the primary herbs antiviral properties which creates a sanitary molecular environment so that the virus is reparable and not able to mutate and or propagate.
Rosemary: this powerful oil stimulates the immune system and other main system to be receptive of other powerful antiviral enzymes ( do not use this oil if you have had any cases of epilepsy, convulsions, and or stroke.)
Clove: Loaded with powerful antibacterial and antiviral enzymes to produce a powerful anesthetic property to help with pain relief.
Tea tree: Has Potent anti viral and anti bacterial properties. and diluted, is amazing for burns (all types).

Lavender:  The high levels of concentrates of enzymes that produce powerful antimicrobial properties assist directly the antiviral properties in parallel thus creating a molecular environment that is repairable.

Metronidazole as a Survival Antibiotic

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Antibiotics

Antibiotics are an important part of any medical arsenal in tough times. Many infections easily treated today would possibly be life-threatening in an off-grid survival setting. Indeed, if such a thing occurred, you can bet that these drugs would no longer be produced. There would be a lot of otherwise avoidable deaths due to simple cuts that become infected or dehydration from diarrheal disease. We only have to look at mortality statistics from pre-antibiotic times like the Civil War to know that this is true. More soldiers died then from infectious disease that from bullets or shrapnel.

 

 

This article is part of a series on antibiotics and their use in survival settings. Today we’ll talk about an antibiotic that would be useful to deal with some organisms that can cause a number of major problems. Metronidazole (aquatic equivalent: Fish-Zole) 250mg is an antibiotic in the Nitroimidazole family that is used primarily to treat infections caused by anaerobic bacteria and protozoa.

 
“Anaerobes” are bacteria that do not depend on oxygen to live. “Protozoa” have been defined as single-cell organisms with animal-like behavior. Many can propel themselves randomly from place to place by the means of a “flagellum”; a tail-like “hair” they whip around that allows them to move.

 

giardia

Giardia (Protozoal Parasite)

 
The antibiotic Metronidazole works by blocking some of the functions within bacteria and protozoa, thus resulting in their death. It is better known by the U.S. brand name Flagyl and usually comes in 250mg and 500mg tablets. Metronidazole (Fish-Zole) is used in the treatment of these bacterial diseases:

 

 

• Diverticulitis (an intestinal infection seen in older individuals)
• Peritonitis (an inflammation of the abdominal lining due to a ruptured appendix, ruptured cysts, and other causes)
• Certain pneumonias (lung infections)
• Diabetic foot ulcer infections
• Meningitis ( an infection of the spinal cord and brain lining)
• Bone and joint infections
• Colitis due to a bacterial species known as Clostridia (sometimes caused by taking Clindamycin!)
• Endocarditis (a heart infection)
• Bacterial vaginosis (a very common vaginal infection)
• Pelvic inflammatory disease (an infection in women which can lead to abscesses, often in combination with other antibiotics)
• Uterine infections (especially after childbirth and miscarriage)
• Dental infections (sometimes in combination with amoxicillin)
• H. pylori infections (a bacteria that causes peptic ulcers)
• Some skin infections

 
And those are just the bacterial infections that metronidazole can deal with. It also works with these protozoal infections:

 
• Amoebiasis: dysentery caused by Entamoeba species (contaminated water/food)
• Giardiasis: infection of the small intestine caused by Giardia Species (contaminated water/food)
• Trichomoniasis: vaginal infection caused by parasite which can be sexually transmitted

 
Amoebiasis and Giardiasis can be caught from drinking what appears to be the purest mountain stream water, and these infections are seen right here in the Great Smoky Mountains and elsewhere. Never fail to sterilize all water, regardless of the source, before drinking it.

 
Metronidazole is used in different dosages to treat different illnesses. You’ll find detailed information in our book “The Survival Medicine Handbook” and in other standard medical references such as the Physician’s Desk Reference. You’ll also find this information at drugs.com or rxlist.com.

 
Here are the dosages and frequency of administration for several common indications:

 
• Amoebic dysentery: 750 mg orally 3 times daily for 5-10 days. For children, give 35 to 50 mg/kg/day orally in 3 divided doses for 10 days (no more than adult dosage, of course, regardless of weight).

 
• Anaerobic infections (various): 7.5 mg/kg orally every 6 hours not to exceed 4 grams daily.

 
• Clostridia infections: 250-500 mg orally 4 times daily or 500-750 orally 3 times daily.

 
• Giardia: 250 mg orally three times daily for 5 days. For children give 15 mg/kg/day orally in 3 divided doses (no more than adult dosage regardless of weight).

 
• Helicobacter pylori (ulcer disease): 500-750mg twice daily for several days in combination with other drugs like Prilosec (Omeprazole).

 
• Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): 500 mg orally twice daily for 14 days in combination with other drugs, perhaps doxycycline or azithromycin.

 
• Bacterial Vaginosis: 500mg twice daily for 7 days.

 
• Vaginal Trichomoniasis: 2 g single dose (4 500mg tablets at once) or 1 g twice total.

 
All drugs have the potential for side effects, also known as adverse reactions. These are different from allergies, where your body actually mounts an immune response to a drug, such as in a penicillin allergy.

 
One particular side effect has to do with alcohol: drinking alcohol while on Metronidazole will very likely make you vomit.

 

Metronidazole should not be used in pregnancy. but can be used in those allergic to Penicillin.

 
Having antibiotics will give you an additional tool in the medical woodshed that just might, one day, save a life. They’re not toys, however, and should only be used when absolutely necessary.

 

Joe Alton, MD

joe bleachLearn more about antibiotics and their use in survival settings in our book “The Survival Medicine Handbook“, with over 250 5-star reviews on Amazon.

Preventing a Cold: Myths vs. Facts

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colds

We often talk about infections that would cause avoidable deaths in disasters, but minor illnesses that negatively affect work efficiency in times of trouble are also major problems for the family medic. When everyone has to be at 110% just to survive, anything that limits the ability to perform activities of daily survival puts the whole group at risk.

 
One of these issues is the common cold. Known variously as a head cold, naso-pharyngitis, coryza, or just a cold, it is the most common illness on the planet, and 75-100 million Americans present to a medical professional for treatment every year. A small percentage of these people go on to have secondary respiratory infections such as pneumonia, which can lead to a life-threatening condition.

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typical virus

The common cold is an infection caused, usually, by a virus in the Rhinovirus or Coronavirus family, although a number of others have been implicated. Affecting the upper respiratory system (nose, throat, sinuses), it’s a (very) rare individual that hasn’t dealt with a cold at one point or another.

 
Like many viral illnesses, there is no cure for the common cold, and attention should be paid to methods that might prevent it. Many people have their own strategies for prevention, but some of these methods are ineffective and have little basis in fact. Here are time-honored (but false) ways that you can (can’t) prevent a cold:

 
Dress warmly and you won’t get sick: Dressing warmly for cold weather is a smart move to prevent hypothermia, but it won’t prevent colds. A cold is an infectious disease caused by a virus. Regardless of what you wear, you can be infected in any type of weather.

 

 

Stay inside during the winter to avoid catching a cold: Staying inside actually increases your chances of getting infected. Enclosed spaces can expose you to a higher concentration of the virus.

 

 

Take antibiotics to prevent colds: Antibiotics kill bacteria. Colds are caused by viruses, an entirely different organism. Therefore, antibiotics are ineffective against them as a preventative or a cure. Although many people ask their doctors for antibiotics to prevent or treat colds, this is a practice that has contributed to an epidemic of resistance in the U.S. Indeed, one out of three Americans leave their doctors’ offices with a prescription for antibiotics to treat an illness that is completely unaffected by them.

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Keep your head dry. A wet head will cause a cold: Having a head full of wet hair is thought by some to predispose you to a cold, but it just isn’t so. You may feel a chill, but it won’t make you more likely to catch a virus.

 
A weakened immune system will cause a cold: Certainly, having a strong immune system is a good thing, but even the healthiest person can catch a cold if exposed to the virus.

 

 

Vitamin C will prevent colds: Although supplements like Vitamin C and Zinc may decrease the duration of a cold, they don’t do anything to prevent your catching one.

 
Turning down the heat in the house will prevent a cold: Many feel that central heating causes the nose to dry up and make them more susceptible to a cold. A virus can colonize the mucus membranes, regardless of the level of humidity.

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Prevention is only an issue in the winter. You can only catch colds then: In reality, colds occur most often in the Spring and Fall. Many viruses actually become dormant in cold weather.

 
Wearing Garlic or other herbs will prevent your getting sick: What? Wearing garlic may repel vampires (and everyone else), but its health benefits mostly derive from being ingested.

 
Avoid kissing to prevent colds: Interestingly, relatively small quantities of virus reside on the lips or in the mouth. Most of it is found in the nasal cavity. Then again, it’s hard to be kissed without being breathed on as well.

 
Those are some myths, but here’s a fact: Hand washing is an effective way to decrease your chances of catching a cold. Viruses are transmitted less often if hands are washed regularly and frequently throughout the day. This is especially true if you want to prevent colds in children. Instill hand-washing as a part of daily routine in kids, just as you would teach toilet training.

 

 

Natural remedies would include one of my favorites: Green tea with Lemon and Honey.  Drinking the tea and breathing in steam helps the hair follicles in the nose to drain germs out. Lemon is known to thin out mucus and honey is a great natural antibacterial agent.

 

 

Don’t forget that viruses can live on surfaces for a period of time, so have some disinfectant around to clean countertops, work surfaces, and doorknobs.

 
There are as many myths about treating a cold as there are about preventing one. “Feed a cold, starve a fever” is one. We’ll discuss these in detail in a future article.

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Learn more about dealing with medical issues in times of trouble with our Amazon bestseller “The Survival Medicine Handbook“, with over 250 5-star reviews!

Preparing for a seasonal change “ELDER”

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Preparing for a seasonal change  “Elderberry”

Elderberry also a member of the honeysuckle family is a powerhouse for aiding and maintaining the immune system possesses large levels of vitamin c and also has a presence of  Bioflavanoids help deter viral and bacterial infections from invading cells and replicating . The present Phytochemical in european elder help defeat viral infections. 
The bark and berries have been used to make tonics,teas,syrups, extracts and more

A few things Elder can be used for but not limited to are:

  • Respiratory Infections
  • Colds
  • Flus
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • sore throat
  • Traditional Uses:
  • Diarrhea
  • fever
  • boils
  • blisters
  • arthritis
  • pain,
  • sores
  • swelling
  • obesity
  • headache
  • eczema
  • laryngitis

Secondly,

This is a great herb to combine with other herbs to achieve greater successful results. Example, combining equal parts of elder berries and echinacea not only is great for the immune system support but the diaphoretic properties that the elder plant possess’ will induce sweating and aid as a form of detox through the pores system. this is great for all types and severity levels of respiratory infections. 


The Elderberries used in the form as a syrup and with equal parts of Rose hips and even dandelion or oat straw and taken daily can aid as a powerful overall health tonic.





Recipe:

To make a daily Health Tonic take one equal part of the following( use this recipe as long as you are not allergic to ragweed or are sensitive to hay fever allergies):

  • Elderberries
  • Rose hips
  • Oatstraw
  • Dandelion

Directions:

Bring 2 cups of water to a hard boil then lower heat to low simmer, Add all herbs
let simmer on low for about 15 minutes ore until reduced to 1/2 (1 cup) take pot off heat let cool and strain and press well this is were a potato ricer comes handy. take the cooled liquid(concocton)  and add 1 cup of raw wildflower honey stir well until completely blended bottle and sore in refrigerator for up to 4 weeks if this is an adult tonic that has no problem with alcohol add 2 tablespoons of grain alcohol and mix well this will extend the shelf life to up to 2-3 months.

If you are allergic to ragweed or are hay fever sensitive omit the Oatstraw

Adult Dosage: 1 tablespoon daily each morning.

Children over the age of 5 years old refer to Clarks Rule of Pediatric dosing.