Create a Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Kit Personal hygiene and sanitation are two of the most often overlooked parts of the prepping and survival world. They are not as cool as tactical pants, guns and food storage. The truth is hygiene and sanitation will be the first and one of the most dangerous threats in …
Create a Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Kit Personal hygiene and sanitation are two of the most often overlooked parts of the prepping and survival world. They are not as cool as tactical pants, guns and food storage. The truth is hygiene and sanitation will be the first and one of the most dangerous threats in …
Invasion of the Pests! James Walton “I Am Liberty” Audio in player below! There are lots of terrifying scenarios that come to mind when you mention a post-apocalyptic scenario. Most of this is based on the vicious behavior of the human animal. When we talk about home invasion, riots and murder these are all threats … Continue reading Invasion of the Pests!
Hygiene and sanitation, #1 in watching out for #2! Host: Sam Coffman “The Human Path” Hygiene and sanitation, how prepared are you really in regards to and (in the worst case) coping with gasto-intestinal disease in a post-disaster environment? The Human Path Sam Coffman discusses everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you … Continue reading Hygiene and sanitation, #1 in watching out for #2!
The post Hygiene and sanitation, #1 in watching out for #2! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.
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
All too often, the world is shaken by a new flu bug or the resurgence of an old one. This article caught my eye, as it’s about a mutated version of avian flu H7N2 that was transmitted from a cat to a human, quite a rare occurrence. I also have a long enough memory to recall the Ebola panic just a couple of years ago and shaking my head at the incompetence and poor decision making by those in authority, including the CDC.
The history of Ebola, as detailed in this book, is helpful to know and understand how a deadly virus originates, mutates, and spreads.
With an eye on the future and knowing a little about how quickly certain viruses can spread, I have put into place a number of preps that would see my family through the duration of a widespread outbreak, similar to the ones described in Steve Konkoly’s The Jakarta Pandemic. I know Steve personally and the massive research he put into this book, although a novel, is spot on. Read it to learn even more strategies to keep your family safe.
So, if we can learn anything from past epidemics, we can fully expect to see many more viruses of every kind spread, to one degree or another. And, naturally, there will be even more cases of overwrought hysteria by the media and public officials. Another very concerning development where these viruses are concerned is the flood of immigrants from all parts of the earth whose health issues are unknown. Some carry highly contagious diseases, like tuberculosis, which have previously been very rare here in the U.S.
That said, imagine for just a moment that you and your family have been placed under an official quarantine lasting seven days, fourteen days, or even longer. No one goes to work, no one goes to school. You won’t be eating at restaurants, going to church, the bank, to the movies, or visiting friends. During a quarantine, you will be expected to be self-sufficient for everything except for your utilities.
How will you cope?
Prep now for a quarantine
Preparing for something like this is a good excuse to really get going with your prepping if you’ve slacked off or are pretty new to the idea. Basic prepping for anyone begins with food and water. If you haven’t yet started storing food, here’s a list of some basic foods to begin stocking up. One simple strategy is to begin buying extras of the groceries you use more often and do that each time you go grocery shopping.
If you’re the one who’s sick and possibly very contagious, you’ll need to have on hand a couple of week’s worth of things like canned soup, freeze dried meals, and other simple “open and serve” type meals. Make sure everyone in the family knows where this food is and how to prepare it.
Add essential non-edibles
In addition to food, you’ll need essential non-edibles that are a part of your daily life but also a few items more specific for dealing with a quarantine and pandemic. Those would include soap, laundry detergent, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bleach, black trash bags (the really heavy duty contractors bags), rubber gloves, N-95 face masks, medical quality disinfecting wipes, and medical disinfectant spray.
An official looking quarantine warning sign would be a good idea. Keep in mind, in a true epidemic or pandemic, you will want to quarantine, even if no one in your household is sick. Hunker down at home and let the virus run its course, far from you and your loved ones. A quarantine sign will be a reminder to outsiders that you’re aware of the health scare and are taking necessary precautions within your 4 walls. At the same time, if any potential intruders are casing your home, that sign could possibly scare them away if they believe the virus is alive and well inside your house.
Now would also be a good time to make sure you have a working thermometer or two, extra bottles of pain reliever, at least one humidifier, diarrheal medicines, and electrolyte drinks or dry mix as detailed in this article. If the virus is affecting the upper respiratory system, the humidifier becomes even more important, along with decongestants, many boxes of tissues (be sure they are immediately disposed of in something like this), lots of water for rehydration, possibly natural remedies you have found helpful (we use Boswellia tablets for coughs). The CDC has a helpful article that details complications from the flu — good to review, take notes, and plan to have on hand supplies to deal with this type of common virus.
Once the quarantine is in place, you will probably not be able to go to a drugstore or pharamacy. In that case, you need to make sure you have an adquate supply of prescription drugs. I’m thinking, in particular, of asthma inhalers, since a number of flu viruses focus on the upper respiratory system. This could be particularly dangerous to an asthmatic.
Depending on how severe the illness, you may need contractor-grade bags to hold refuse, biohazard bags, barf buckets, even gauze (or maxipads) to absorb blood. (Remember pictures of people with tuberculosis coughing up blood in old movies?) In the case of Ebola, the virus was found in bodily secretions of all kinds. That’s where rubber gloves, goggles, disposable Tyvex suits (not as expensive as most people think) and a biohazard clean up kit should be added to your supplies.
Most people don’t give much thought to the pathogens that could be present in vomit, saliva, urine, and feces. They’ll probably grab some paper towels and maybe a bottle of Clorox spray, but an actual biohazard spill, or clean up, kit provides most everything you need to clean up and then dispose of potentially dangerous substances. Speaking of disposal, adding biohazard disposal bags provides you with a safer option for disposal of used medical supplies and even clothing worn by the sick person.
Clothing, towels, and sheets used by the sick person will have to be quarantined away from those used by everyone else. Launder them separately and once the patient has recovered, throw them away. This is true of everything else used by the patient: cups, plates, silverware, etc.
Lest you think it impossible to deal with a deadly virus like Ebola within your home, a young Liberian woman did just that by using low-tech supplies to keep family members alive during the worst of the outbreak:
Every day, several times a day for about two weeks, Fatu put trash bags over her socks and tied them in a knot over her calves. Then she put on a pair of rubber boots and then another set of trash bags over the boots.She wrapped her hair in a pair of stockings and over that a trash bag. Next she donned a raincoat and four pairs of gloves on each hand, followed by a mask.It was an arduous and time-consuming process, but Fatu was religious about it, never cutting corners.
Maintaining sanity within your home
A quarantine will require that everyone stay home. If you have kids or grandkids, then you’ll want to make some plans now to keep them busy and entertained.
First, they should understand basic quarantine rules:
- Wash hands after every time they use the restroom.
- Immediately dispose of used tissues in a biohazard container.
- Stay away from the “sick room” without specific instructions from an adult.
- Know to wear protective clothing, including goggles and a face mask, around the sick person.
Very young children who tend to not always follow instructions may need to be kept behind a barricade, such as a kiddie gate.
Having the kids at home 24/7 may drive everyone batty, so it will be worth your while to tuck away a few books on CD, DVDs, books, and even school workbooks. Amazon carries the BrainQuest workbooks for various grades, and at over 300 pages each, surely they’ll keep kids busy for a long while. Also, have plenty of pencils and a good pencil sharpener handy. Puzzle books, board and card games, and indoor physical activity supplies (jump ropes, exercise videos, etc.) can help create a routine that, in turn, helps everyone stay sane. This article provides many more examples of how to set up a shelter-in-place routine.
Finally, if no one is working during the quarantine, it’s possible your income might suffer. Your mortgage company, landlord, and utilities must still be paid right on time, so do a little financial planning to be sure that money is set aside in case the worst does come to pass. As always, it pays to be prepared in more ways than one.
This 7 minute video from Dr. Bones gives more helpful tips for setting up a quarantined home:
This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com I am always on the lookout for products that can help you maintain good hygiene in an emergency. When a representative from Epic Wipes contacted me with an offer for a sample, I thought it would be a good fit for a review. Here is what a box of 10 and an individual packet looks like: What are Epic Wipes? Epic Wipes are individually wrapped wet wipes that are 16 times larger […]
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.
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.
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
Fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of kit and individual items at store.doomandbloom.net!
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.
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:
Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,
Joe and Amy Alton
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
It’s August, time to get the kids ready to go back to school. A bunch of children together in class means a lot of close contact, and one of the issues you might have to deal with is head lice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that 6-12 million children contract head lice in the U.S. every year.
Head lice (pediculus humanus capitis) are parasitic wingless insects that feed on blood which they obtain by biting the scalp. Their presence causes irritation and itching in many, although 50 per cent of kids don’t seem to notice them. Lice are, generally speaking, species-specific: You cannot, for example, get lice from your dog like you could get fleas. You get them only from other humans.
Lately, evidence has emerged that the average head louse has mutated into a “super” louse which is relatively immune to common over-the-counter treatments like pyrethroids. While pyrethroids were successful 100 per cent of the time in 2000, in 2013 the success rate dropped to 25%, due to a new trait called “knockdown resistance” (kdr).
According to a March 2016 study in the Journal of Medical Entomology, kdr lice have been identified in 48 states and Canada, up from 25 states a year or so ago. In 42 states, mutant lice with the resistance trait comprised 100% of the infestations.
This means that currently recommended products by the CDC to eliminate head lice, like Rid, Licide, and Triple X will likely be ineffective in most of the U.S. So how to identify and treat super lice?
HOW TO IDENTIFY HEAD LICE
Super lice look like regular head lice (other than the cape, of course). They’re greyish or yellowish-white as adults and can reach the size of a small sesame seed. Infestation with lice can cause itching and, sometimes, a rash. Unlike body lice, however, this type of lice is not a carrier of any other disease.
With their less developed immune systems, kids often don’t even realize they are infested with lice. Adults, however, are usually kept scratching and irritated unless treated. An interesting fact is that those of African-American descent are somewhat resistant to head lice, possibly due to the shape and width of the hair shaft.
The diagnosis is made by identifying the presence of the louse or its eggs, also known as “nits”. Nits look like small bits of dandruff that are stuck to hairs. They are more easily seen when examined using a “black light”. This causes them to fluoresce as light blue “dots” attached to the hair shafts near the scalp.
A fine-tooth comb run through the hair will also reveal the adult lice and nits. These special combs are used to remove as many lice as possible before treatment and to check for them afterwards. The diligence required to do this eventually led to the coining of the term “nitpicking”.
You will find the nits firmly attached to the hair shaft about ¼ inch from the scalp. They will appear yellowish-white and oval-shaped. The application of olive oil to the comb may make them easier to remove. Many prefer the metal nit combs sold at pet stores for animals to plastic ones sold at pharmacies for humans.
TREATING SUPER LICE
Dr. Kyong Sup Yoon, a researcher involved with the recent studies, believes that the only way to be sure to eliminate the super lice is to use stronger “pediculicides”. These are available by prescription only, so he recommends a visit to the doctor first. Dr. Robin Gehris of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh suggests that using the usual treatments and repeating in a week might work. Some believe that home remedies like olive oil, coconut oil, or mayonnaise could suffocate the pests.
The sharing of personal items can also lead to louse infestations. Clothing, combs, bedding, and towels that are used by multiple individuals are common ways that lice spread from person to person.
Be sure to wash and, more importantly, dry all clothes in hot temperatures (130 degrees Fahrenheit) or, alternatively, place them in the freezer for two or three days.
Another option is to place clothing and personal items (like stuffed animals and toys) in a plastic bag for two a week or two and then shake outside. Adult head lice usually only live a few days off the host.
Over-the-counter products that normally kill lice include:
- Pyrethrins (brand name Rid shampoo, a natural product for adult lice only also found in chrysanthemum flowers)
• Permethrin 1% (brand name Nix lotion, a synthetic pyrethrin that kills lice and their nits)
These would likely require more than one treatment to get “Rid” of resistant lice. For super lice, consider these prescription products available through your physician:
Lindane Shampoo (prescription brand Kwell; avoided in kids because it’s known to cause neurological side-effects)
• Spinosad (brand name Natroba, a natural insecticide derived from soil bacteria – only for head lice in children 4 year or older)
• Ivermectin 0.5% (brand name Sklice, also from soil bacteria and only for head lice in children 6 months or older)
Here’s the procedure:
- Start with dry hair. If you use hair conditioners, stop for a few days before using the medicine. This will allow the medicine to have the most effect on the hair shaft.
- Apply the medicine to the hair and scalp.
- Rinse off after 10 minutes or so.
- Check for lice and nits using a comb in 8 to 12 hours.
- Repeat the process in 7 days
Combs and brushes should be placed in alcohol or very hot water after treatment. It would be wise for any item that might have been exposed, even if it belongs to unaffected family members.
Want to take chemicals out of the process altogether? Some centers like Lice Clinics of America in Denver, Colorado use heat in special hair dryers about triple the strength of your home unit. This dehydrates the adults and their eggs over a 30 minute period. They also ask that you vacuum the house thoroughly to prevent recurrences.
Although crowded, unsanitary conditions may cause infestations to occur, the cleanest children can be affected if exposed. Treating aggressively and being “nitpicky” will help get rid of super lice.
Joe Alton, MD
Learn all about lice, ticks, and other infestations and a whole lot more about medical issues that could affect you in normal times or not-so-normal in the brand new Thrid Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is NOT on the way, now available at amazon.com
Self-Reliance Skill: Making Soap Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” If you want to stay healthy post-disaster, then you need to learn how to make soap. Soap making is both an essential skill, and an easy craft to learn. Some people, however, are nervous to try making soap at home because it involves lye. Lye is … Continue reading Making Soap!
Vinegar is a great multi-purpose item it can be used for preserving food, as a condiment, salad dressing, medicinally, as a disinfectant and as a cleaner. There are numerous types on the market, but for the purposes of this post, but we will only consider white distilled vinegar and apple cider vinegar. White vinegar will store almost indefinitely if tightly sealed in a glass or plastic bottle with a plastic lid. The acid it contains will destroy enamel-coated metal caps over time. White vinegar works well for pickling and most other uses.
Apple cider vinegar is sold in two types: one is a cider flavored distilled acetic acid, the other is a true cider vinegar fermented from hard cider. Fermented apple cider vinegar will occasionally form a cloudy substance. This is not harmful and can be filtered out prior to use or consumed. The cloudy substance is called Mother of Vinegar and can be used to make more vinegar. If it starts to smell bad, throw it away. If you are using it for any type of medical purpose, make sure you get real apple cider vinegar and not the imitation.
16 Reason you need vinegar
- For Arthritis, take 2 spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar and honey in a glass of water several times daily.
- Sunburns: apply ice cold vinegar right away for fast relief.
- Add a spoonful to cooking water to make cauliflower white and clean.
- Storing cheese: keep it fresh longer by wrapping it in a vinegar-soaked cloth and keeping it in a sealed container.
- Rinse glasses and dishes in water and vinegar to remove spots and film.
- To eliminate mildew, dust and odors, wipe down walls with vinegar-soaked cloth.
- Clean windows with vinegar and water.
- Clean breadboxes and food containers with vinegar-dampened cloth to keep fresh smelling and clean.
- An excellent all-purpose cleaner: vinegar mixed with salt. Cleans copper, bronze, brass, dishes, pots, pans, skillets, glasses, windows. Rinse well.
- Apple cider vinegar and honey as a cure-all: use to prevent apathy, obesity, hay fever, asthma, rashes, food poisoning, heartburn, sore throat, bad eyesight, dandruff, brittle nails and bad breath.
- To remove lime coating on your tea kettle; add it to the water and let stand overnight.
- Clean jars with vinegar and water to remove odor.
- Preserve peppers: put freshly picked peppers in a sterilized jar and finish filling with vinegar.
- Freshen vegetables. Soak wilted vegetables in 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of vinegar.
- Marinating meat in vinegar kills bacteria and tenderizes the meat. Use one-quarter cup vinegar for a two to three pound roast, marinate overnight, then cook without draining or rinsing the meat. Add herbs to the vinegar when marinating as desired.
- It can be used for personal hygiene. Cleaning yourself with a mixture of a small amount of water and vinegar kills body odor and conserves water.
Here are a couple of links that may help you
As you can see, it has many uses. This is only a partial list. In the past it was highly prized for many uses and belongs in your storage. It is inexpensive and can be stored for several years in its original containers. In the future, I plan to attempt to make apple cider vinegar. This is a product that belongs in your storage.
Man, it’s hot out and you have more to worry about than mosquitoes and Zika virus this summer. Many places we like to visit in summer are home to bacteria and viruses, and they could make you seriously sick if you don’t take precautions. Here are a few locations where you should be careful, if you want to stay healthy:
What’s better on a hot day than a refreshing dip in the local swimming pool? Despite most pools being chlorinated to remove germs, some are relatively resistant to the chemical. One of these is cryptosporidium, which can cause diarrhea. It’s also thought that the majority of swimming pools contain E. coli, a bacteria found in human feces. Crowded public swimming pools have the most risk. Avoid swallowing pool water and make sure to shower both before and after swimming.
Your vacation rental in the mountains comes with a hot tub, and what better way to relax those muscles after a day of hiking? Well, the warm waters of the Jacuzzi aren’t disinfected often enough to prevent bacteria from getting you sick. One particularly nasty bacteria called Pseudamonas Aeruginosa can cause an infection that leads to severe rashes.
What summer vacation doesn’t include a trip to the beach? Salt water is colonized with organisms that can make you ill, and that damp beach towel you’re using several days in a row has plenty of them. The worst, perhaps, is Vibrio Vulnificus, which can cause a life-threatening soft tissue infections called necrotizing fasciitis. Even MRSA infections have been identified in damp towels, so make sure to wash and thoroughly dry them after spending a day in the water.
Sure, public restrooms are Germ Central, especially in warm weather, but it’s not just the toilet seat. The sink faucet and door handles are hot spots as well. You might consider bringing some hand sanitizer and, definitely, use paper towels or tissue instead of your bare hands to touch sink handles and the door as you leave.
School’s out, and the kids will be spending lots of time at the local playground. The swings and slides, however, are crawling with bacteria, and the sandbox might also be the litter box for interesting critters like rats, pigeons, and stray cats. One report found 59 of 60 playgrounds had bacteria like E. coli, Shigella, Salmonella, and even Hepatitis A virus. Bounce houses seem to also be teeming with germs. Always make sure children wash their hands when they return home.
Picnic food may start out hygienic, but they become colonized with bacteria if left out more than 2 hours (less if it’s really hot out). Use ice or cold packs to keep that cole slaw or potato salad below 40 degrees until you’re ready to eat. That bag of chips and finger foods are likely to be touched by a lot of dirty hands, as well. Single-serving bags are much better. And no double dipping! Once you put that chip in the salsa and then in your mouth, don’t put it back in the dip. Your mouth bacteria goes with it.
Picnic tables can be pretty dirty, so bring a clean tablecloth. Clean patio tables as often as you clean indoor tables.
THE BACKYARD GRILL
Cases of food-borne illness are most common in the summer. Food that’s undercooked might harbor E. coli and Salmonella, so make sure you cook meat evenly at 145 degrees (160 degrees for ground meat, 165 degrees for chicken and other poultry). A meat thermometer will help. Wait three minutes before digging in. Keep all meats hot until it’s time to eat.
Store your grill indoors until it’s needed. If you have to leave your grill outside, make sure to always keep it tightly covered. Bird droppings can cause contamination, and small animals may try to get in to find some leftovers. Avoid tempting them by thoroughly cleaning the grill after every use.
Whether it’s an airplane ride to a summer resort or just the bus to the beach, germs exist on seats, armrests, seat belts, and tray tables; these are rarely disinfected effectively. Carry some disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer to decrease the colony count of bacteria and viruses.
Remember that, in many instances, colds and other respiratory infections occur as often in summer as they do in winter. Avoid touching your face with your hands, a common way to get infected. Give your homey on the bus a fist bump instead of a hand shake: you’ll pass less germs that way.
YOUR OWN GARDEN
Getting that vegetable, herb, and flower garden going will give you a sense of accomplishment but, also, an unhealthy dose of bacteria, as well as insect and animal feces. One infection from cat feces is toxoplasmosis, which can be hazardous to young children, pregnant women, and the infirm. Use garden gloves as protection and wash your hands, including that green thumb, after you’re done planting or weeding.
A FEW SUMMER SAFETY TIPS
Cuts and scrapes are almost inescapable if you’re active outdoors. Make sure to clean minor injuries and cover with a bandage of some sort. Remove wet bandages and dry the skin before replacing with a fresh one. An infected wound will appear red, swollen, and warm to the touch. Antibiotic ointment will help prevent infection, but doesn’t do much to cure an existing one.
Mosquitoes might transmit viruses like Zika or Dengue, but scratching the itch with dirty fingernails can easily cause infection with bacteria. Use mosquito repellants like DEET or Oil of lemon eucalyptus if you’re outside during mosquito season.
Prevent sunburn by staying in or providing shade with, say, beach umbrellas. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside and re-apply frequently during the day.
If even all of the above seems like a good reason to stay indoors this summer, a little preparation and common sense will go a long way to staying healthy and enjoying the outdoors this summer.
Joe Alton, MD
Although food, water and security are definitely necessary to keep you alive, there is one aspect of prepping that is often overlooked and it can hurt even the most knowledgeable and well equipped survivalist.
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
5 Things You’ll Need in an Emergency
Unfortunately, there are variety of disasters or that could strike at any moment. It is smart to be ready for am emergency by stocking a variety of important staples while prepping. Some of the most critical items are the most overlooked and taken for granted, so here are five essential things ready to go in case a major crisis happens.
Items for Cleaning and Sanitation
Staying clean and sanitary is something people often take for granted and forget when preparing for a disaster. It is entirely possible for plumbing to get destroyed during a disaster, so keeping cases of garbage bags for human waste is essential. Bleach and other cleaning supplies like brooms, mops and towels should be stocked up on too.
Items for Cold Weather
Extra bedding and enough clothes to layer up is crucial. These are another set of items beginning preppers tend to forget about. Dying of exposure is a reality in certain climates, and winter can be very unforgiving. The bedding will come in handy on a cold night, and layering clothing is a great way to combat the cold when moving around during the day.
As controversial as they may be, guns are something every prepper should have to defend what they worked so hard on building. A long range rifle can quickly turn into a necessary tool for hunting, and pistols can go a long way in deterring burglary and stopping harm in its tracks. Needing something for defense from looting and rampant crime is an unfortunate reality.
Access to an Abundant Water Supply
It is essential to have five years’ worth of drinking water available, and the best way to fortify property with enough water is to make sure it has access to an onsite well or cistern. Contact a well company like Candescent Well Service, LLC to begin your preparations. Be sure to have plenty of purifying tablets and an emergency water filtration system as well.
Sources of Light
Electricity is a luxury. If the power goes out for any amount of time or reason, then alternative sources of light need to be available for use. Matches, lighter fluid, candles and batteries are the backbone for a good kit. Alternative energy tech has gotten more advanced too, so items like solar powered chargers can be added as well for common battery sizes.
These are just five of many key things to have available if disaster strikes. Focus on making sure there is a versatile set of supplies for survival. There are different types and degrees of devastation, and it is best to be ready for anything. Having enough of a variety could be what separates life and death following a terrible event.
Guest Post by : Dixie Somers
Water is widely understood to be one of the greatest survival needs. Most survival teachers state that you need one gallon of water per person, per day for drinking and cooking. Unfortunately, many have taken that to mean you need one gallon of water per person, per day to survive. This is a mistake. We […]
How often do you do laundry? Maybe it’s once or twice a week. For some people it’s everyday. What would happen if you couldn’t do laundry anymore? First you’d be digging out old clothes that either don’t fit or that you don’t like anymore. Next you’d end up turning shirts and underwear inside out. But […]
Now there are numerous situations in which disaster could leave us short of water. They could be just for a couple of hours or situations that lasted for months or even years. Now this brings us to the topic of waterless hygiene. I am assuming that you have only access to a limited amount of water. Drinking and cooking will be your biggest priority. But at the same time, you need to keep yourself clean.
Maintaining good hygiene helps to prevent disease and maintain good moral. Today we are very spoiled; we take a shower just about everyday and use many gallons of water for other hygiene purposes during the day. This has changed over the years, even when I was a child you mostly had one bath a week and washed up in the sink the remainder of the time.
Now when we talk about waterless hygiene most people immediately think of wet wipes and hand sanitizer. If you have these on hand by all means use them, but you can’t count on them for long term.
Now many people who lived without indoor plumbing, simply washed up morning and evening with a basin of water, soap, and a washcloth. You can keep yourself clean like this if you are careful. You can brush your teeth with two mouthfuls of water, one to rinse your mouth and one to rinse off the brush.
Washing your hair can be done with 16 ounces of water. Put a bowl on the ground to catch the water you use to get the hair wet and use it again to rinse with. If you don’t have water, but you have cornmeal or baby powder, running it though your hair will help remove the oils and make your hair feel cleaner.
What about shaving? Dry shaving is not fun, but if you have a tube of generic sex lube it will help. A little dab and a disposable razor and you can get a nice shave. Rub a spoonful or two of water over your face and wipe off to finish. Rinse your razor if at all possible and it will last longer.
If you have access to vinegar, a small amount mixed with water can be used to wipe critical areas of your body and it will kill bacteria and help prevent rashes and other problems.
The one big concern that many people have is lack of toilet paper. Here is a link to a post on No Toilet Paper Now What?.
What about your clothes. If you have no water lay them out in the sun and sun wash them. Shake them to get rid of loose dirt and lay them over some bushes. Let the sun hit them for an hour or more and you will be surprised at how much fresher they are.
Most of these ideas are nothing but common sense. But after a disaster, waterless hygiene may become a serious problem. Remember lack of hygiene can kill.
Many have heard the old myth about snakes wriggling up toilet pipes, some even hearing the old wives’ tale about always being sure to double check the toilet before having a seat, but is the same thing true for rats? The short answer is yes.
Every year, the city of Washington DC gets at least a couple of calls about rodents in civilian toilets, making for a trend that has become all-too familiar with the pest control experts in the area. The problem isn’t too common, but the reasoning behind it is as logical as math. Toilet pipes are connected to the sewer and because sewers are essentially the headquarters for rats, they make for easy gateways into the interior plumbing of our home – but what happens next?
Since rats don’t mind the touch of slime on them or the taste of garbage, they definitely don’t mind crawling up the maze-like structure that makes up the inner pipes of a toilet. Much of this piping is submerged underwater, but because rats are semi-aquatic and excellent swimmers, they’re actually able to dip and dive through the watery tubing, even teaching themselves through human-like techniques on how to come up for breath in times of tight squeezes or crisis.
Another big factor that allows rats to do this is the flexibility of their ribs, allowing them to squeeze through narrow areas that are smaller than their actual bodies. In tight spaces, rats can easily slip out by automatically constricting their ribcage and using their sharp claws to either push forward or pull out.
Although the likelihood of this happening is more expected in larger cities with tons of food lying around, the fact that it can and does actually happen at all is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl.
Watch the video below to see how rats crawl up toilets
Contaminated Water Survival
Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live”
In this episode of Herbal Prepper Live, we’re talking about water borne illnesses that result from contaminated water and poor sanitation, and what to do if you or a loved one become ill.
Water is essential to life. We need to have water that is clean and safe to drink, bathe, and wash our clothes and dishes. We need safe water to wash our hands and for cooking. But, safe, clean water is often unavailable in a crisis.
Illnesses to be discussed include:
We’re going to look at what causes them, what are their symptoms, and how to avoid becoming sick in the first place. We will also discuss emergency first aid you can provide, including several methods of rehydration. Finally, learn which herbal remedies you should plan on having on hand, in case you or a loved one become sick.
Most people never think about their water supply until they have to pay their water bill, have a leak and need a plumber, or until tragedies like heavy metal contamination of water in Flint, Michigan hit the news. There are, however, many scenarios that could cause municipal water departments all over the country to just stop processing and pumping potable water.
Even for those outside the city on their own wells, need a back up for their electrical pumps. A hacked electrical grid or an EMP could make your well useless if your pump won’t bring water to you.
Contaminated water is a leading cause of life-threatening infections after a disaster. When our modern lives turn into third world conditions, waterborne illnesses will be one of the first challenges for survival. While disease prevention is vital, what would you do if you or a loved one became ill from contaminated water? Listen to this episode to learn more.
Herbal Prepper Website: http://www.herbalprepper.com/
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Listen to this broadcast or download “Contaminated Water Survival ” in player below!
In this episode of The Survival Medicine Hour, good friend, author, and new dad Charley Hogwood joins Dr. Joe Alton to discuss group dynamics in survival scenarios. Charley is a veteran army recon scout with the 11th Armored Cavalry and survival expert who wrote the bible of survival groups, “The Survival Group Handbook“.
Also the average family of four throws out $1500 worth of food a year, something that has got to concern any prepper. Plus: Is there a vaccine being developed that might kill cancer cells? It’s being tested right now in Great Britain. All this and more with Amy Alton, ARNP and Joe Alton, MD in their latest podcast.
To listen in, click below:
Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,
Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP
It’s important to have medical supplies if you’re the family medic for times of trouble, but a lot of these items, once used, must be discarded. Other, more reusable items and improvised bandages must be sterilized or otherwise disinfected. We’ve talked about how to sterilize instruments before, but now an article in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine has proposed a novel new way that might have applications for the survival medic. See the topic discussed and the method (really quite simple) demonstrated in Joe Alton, MD’s latest video…
To watch, click below:
Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,
Joe Alton, MD
There is a lot of information online about emergency preparedness and how to deal with various crisis scenarios. However, when it comes to dealing with survival sanitation, it seems that this subject is somehow sensitive and it’s not covered by many survival experts. If a catastrophic event would hit us tomorrow, handling survival sanitation will … Read more…
Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference between a good life and a bad one in a survival setting. The little things I’m talking about are bugs. Of all the creepy-crawlies that raise an alarm in a household, few are worse than bed bugs. Although poor standards of living and unsanitary conditions have been associated with bed bug infestations, even the cleanest home in the most developed country can harbor these parasites.
Bed bugs were once so common that every house in many urban areas was thought to harbor them in the early 20th century; they declined with the advent of modern pesticides like DDT, but a resurgence of these creatures has been noted in North America, Europe, and even Australia over the last decade or so. Cities such as New York and London have seen 5 times as many cases reported over the last few years. This may have to do with the restriction of DDT-like pesticides or perhaps the general over-use of pesticides leading to resistance. Imagine what the situation would be if a disaster took you off the grid for good.
The common bed bug (Cimex Lectularius) is a small wingless insect that is thought to have originated in caves where both bats and humans made their homes. Ancient Greeks, such as Aristotle, mention them in their writings. They were such a serious issue during WWII that Zyklon, a Hydrogen Cyanide gas infamously used in Nazi concentration camps, was implemented to get rid of infestations.
There are a number of species which are found in differing climates. Unlike lice, the subject of one of our recent article, bed bugs are not always species-specific. For example, Cimex hemipterus, a bed bug found in tropical regions, also infests poultry and bats.
Adult bed bugs are light to medium brown and have oval, flat bodies about 4mm long (slightly more after eating). Juveniles are called “nymphs” and are lighter in color, almost translucent. There are several nymph stages before adulthood; to progress to adulthood, a meal of blood (yours!) is necessary.
Bed bugs, which are mostly (but not exclusively) active at night, bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans to feed on their blood; they then retreat to hiding places in seams of mattresses, linens, and furniture. Their bites are usually painless, but later on, itchy raised welts on the skin may develop. The severity of the response varies from person to person.
Bed bugs can make you miserable and have been known to harbor other disease-causing organisms, but there have not, as yet, been cases of illness specifically caused by them. This is in contrast to body lice or fleas, which has been associated with outbreaks of Typhus, Relapsing fever, and even Plague.
Strangely, bed bugs don’t like to live in your clothes, like body lice, or on your skin or hair, like fleas. They apparently don’t care much for heat, and prefer to spend more time in your backpack or luggage than your underarm.
Many confuse the bites of bed bugs with mosquitos or fleas. Most flea bites will appear around the ankles, while bed bugs will bite any area of skin exposed during the night. Flea bites often have a characteristic central red spot. Bed bug bites may resemble mosquito bites; bed bugs, however, tend to bite multiple times in a straight line. This has been referred as the classic “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” pattern.
The most common treatment for bed bug bites is hydrocortisone cream to treat inflammation and the use of diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergic symptoms and itching. The cure, however, is to eradicate the bed bug from your shelter or camp; that’s a little harder to do. Some use chlorhexidine (Hibiclens) as a cleansing agent.
First, find their nests: Look at every seam in your mattress, linens, backpacks, and furniture. Bed bugs will also hide in joints in the wooden parts of headboards and baseboards. You will usually find bed bug “families” of various ages, along with brown fecal markings and, perhaps, even small amounts of dried blood.
Most people, once bed bugs are identified, will immediately want to treat with chemicals. Pesticides in the pyrethroid family and Malathion have been found to be effective. Propoxur, an insecticide, is highly toxic to bed bugs as well, but is not approved for indoor use in the U.S. due to health risks. If you use chemicals, be sure you cover all areas on the bed, including the frame and slats. Expect several treatments to be required to eliminate the infestation; repeat at least once 10 days after the initial treatment.
Those concerned with the over-use of pesticides or with lack of availability, as in a long term survival situation, could consider using natural predators, but this is highly impractical, as the bed bug predator list consists of everything else you don’t want in your shelter: ants, spiders, cockroaches, and mites.
One reasonable option is the use of bedding covers. These are impervious sheets or padding that, essentially, trap bed bugs inside your mattress until they starve. If they can’t reach you to get a meal of blood, they will eventually die out. This method (known as “encasing”) is the least risky, as it doesn’t involve the use of chemicals.
If you have electricity, make sure to place all bedding and clothes in a hot dryer for, say, an hour. Usually, washing clothes will not kill bed bugs by itself although hot, soapy water over 125 degrees Fahrenheit may work. This strategy, by the way, includes your backpack when you return from a trip out of town or an extended foraging patrol. Extreme cold is also considered an effective treatment. If you live far enough North, 4 or 5 days of temperatures approaching 0 degrees Fahrenheit should kill them.
If you have access to a working vacuum, use it on flooring and upholstery. A stiff brush is helpful to scrub mattress seams before vacuuming.
As bed bugs can live for months without a meal, it’s important to maintain long-term diligence in identifying these pests wherever you hang your hat when things go South. These bugs may not end your life, but they can certainly affect the quality of it.
Joe Alton, MD
It’s been said that toilet paper will be worth its weight in gold after the shit hits the fan. I don’t think this is far from the truth. Toilet paper is a modern luxury that people tend to take for granted until the moment they reach for it […]
The post 15 Ways To Wipe Your Butt When The Toilet Paper Is Gone appeared first on Urban Survival Site.
More deaths from late season tornadoes in Texas makes us ask this question: Do you know how to keep your family safe if you were in the path of a twister? Find out what to do to decrease the risk of injury. Also what part does hygiene play in survival success. Dr. Alton talks about a common issue in good times or bad: LICE. Plus, some thoughts on the part dental hygiene plays in the duties and responsibilities of the survival medic, all in this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy.
To listen in, click below:
Wishing you the best of health in good times or bad,
Joe and Amy Alton
Mice and spiders have been a major problem this fall. While the sticky traps are catching some of the mice, I know there is a much larger mouse population I’m not catching in traps. Mom and I have smushed a couple of big spiders that seem intent on crossing into the house. With all the rain the DE barrier washes away and won’t stop insects entering the house. I’m trying out peppermint essential oil in a couple of forms to get rid of the spiders and push the mice into traps. I hope the peppermint will encourage all vermin to stay out side of my house.
The two methods I am trying out:
- Cotton balls soak with several drops of peppermint oil. The smell is pungent and the cotton balls can be placed in areas that are not easy spots to place traps. My hope is the cotton balls will drive the vermin into traps or out in the open were the can be caught and or smushed.
- Peppermint spray: 1 cup of water, 20 drops of peppermint oil and a squeeze of dish soap to make it mix and that is easy to spray on walls/baseboards.
I don’t know if this will work but I have used crushed mint leaves to keep some insects out of the house. The smell of peppermint is a bit over powering for a few minutes then it seems to dissipate quickly for my sniffer. I do not want to be cruel to mice or bugs. I would prefer to find methods that repel them rather than kill them. I won’t use poisons as Smokey the cat and Tucker the peke are mousers of a sort and I don’t want them poisoned if they catch a mouse.
Update on the rest of the critters: Diana the peke is finally responding to the steroid treatment. It would help if she would take it easy and heal up before trying to keep up with the younger dogs. But Diana let me give her a bit brushing and did not growl when I picked her up. Early days yet on her healing but I think she is on the mend. Sadie the schnauzer still is timid though we are trying to get her to interact with the pack and not be so sensitive. I think Sadie was a bit neglected in a social way and never given any positive reinforcement nor was she encouraged to be part of a pack. Dogs are social animals and it “breaks my heart” to see this little dog be so fearful. Tucker the peke seems to have taken an interest in Sadie and Tucker loves life, so he should be a good doggie guide to bring Sadie out of her shell.
Speaking of Tucker the peke, he is finally getting the idea of chasing the cat is a bad thing. It is a slow process but I hope we can break Tucker from chasing the cat and yet keep his love of chasing away the squirrels that attack my garden. Tucker and Brodie were supposed to be Mom’s dogs but both have attached to me.
Hygiene being #1 or #2
Sam Coffman “Herbal Medic”
Hygiene and sanitation, how prepared are you really in regards to and (in the worst case) coping with gasto-intestinal disease in a post-disaster environment? Today, on The Human Path Sam Coffman discusses everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you maybe didn’t!) about purifying your water, taking care of human waste, and dealing with gastro-intestinal distress, using both orthodox medicine as well as a plant-medicine (herbalism) and common sense.
Listen to this broadcast or download “Hygiene being, #1 or #2” in player below!
While I don’t care much for strong winds, the black walnut trees and lilac bush leaves finally dropped to the ground today. I got a bit frustrated by all the leaves and sticks the pekes always drag into the house via their “fluffy butts” so I got out the leaf blower and the leaf rake to try and stop all the tracking in of leaves. My apple tree leaves are still green but by raking up the last of the walnut and lilac leaves we won’t have the pekes, or ourselves dragging in so many leaves and twigs coated with a sticky sap that clings to everything! I don’t consider myself some sort of “neatnik” but I’m tired of vacuuming up leaves inside the house and combing or cutting leaves and twigs out of my peke’s fur.
I loaded up the wood rick today. This damp, windy weather has myself and Mom feeling a bit “chilled” and we used up a bit more wood out of the front porch rick this week than I had anticipated. I filled the little garden cart with wood this last weekend so it was easy to top off the porch wood pile. With this CIDP when and how much I can do physical labor can be a bit iffy at times. I was wiped out after stacking up the last cord of wood and filling up the wood buckets, but after a couple of days of rest I could get some chores done around the house.
Everyone has limits! Those limits might consist of time, physical energy or money but they are very real to each individual. I have lots of time because I’m disabled and SSD and VA provide my income. I’m not getting rich but I live a good life and can afford to buy a few gadgets and tools because I’m mostly debt free. I got a good deal on my house and my mortgage payment is lower than most rent payments for an 3 bd. 1 3/4 bath home.
New Toy first impressions: Mom is really having a bad reaction to my cigarette smoke since we are starting to close off all windows, leaks and drafts. I will not stop smoking in my house, even for my Mom. You can call me names, trust me it won’t be the first time. Now I am taking steps to “mitigate” my cigarette smoke. Holmes smoke grabber ashtray $10.44 on Amazon. Upside of the ashtray is does grab smoke and run it through a small filter. Mom says my smoking area seems to lack a smoke cloud. Downside it only grabs the smoke from a cigar or cigarette while it sits in the ashtray. The ashtray I bought is only battery powered and has no A/C backup or recharging function.
On the Holmes smoke grabber ash tray. Many complain that the ashtray is small. The tray is a bit small but is larger than most bar ashtrays that get dumped by bartenders. The ashtray is about 4 inches square and about an 3/4inch deep. This ash tray will not hold more 10 cigarette butts or 2-5 cigars before you have to dump the ash tray but that should not be a problem for most people. I don’t get folks complaining about the size of the tray if what they want to get rid of smoke and odors. It is not all that difficult to dump the small ashtray in the trash when full. My wish would have Holmes/Amazon offer a battery powered smokeless ashtray that is rechargeable via both 12 volts or 110 volts AC.
The little air ionizer for a car runs on 12 volts and has an electrical 120-240 volt adapter/converter. The specs on this little air cleaner is for only 12 square feet, or about a sedan. I have plugged the little ionizer next to my computer desk and the air feels a bit different, though I’m not sure it is working to eliminate smoke from the room. I bought a Holmes air purifier with optional Ionizer and it seems that the air is getting better/cleaner. Mom says she is starting to feel better, even my sinuses are finally starting to drain/clear out and the air is less stuffy /feels better and the house smells cleaner.
A great thing about the Holmes HEPA type air purifier as it will accept a replacement of a true HEPA filter. On the Amazon reviews of the Holmes air purifier for $34.99, many people complained it was loud. I have been running the air purifier on high for several hours and it’s about as loud as your basic 20 inch box fan on medium setting. The low setting on the air purifier is very quiet, about “white noise” level. For a great bargain I would buy the discontinued Holmes HEPA type air purifier for $34.99 and install a true HEPA filter and not buy the new/ improved air purifier that is a HEPA type and costs about $10.00 more at Amazon.
I know the “air purifier” is not equal to an over-pressure type air-exchanger but I hope to cut down on air borne type viruses, bacteria along with allergens and smoke in the house.
DIY Herbal Cleaning Supplies
Cat Ellis “The Herbal Prepper Live”
Learn to make your own non-toxic herbal household cleaners in this episode of Herbal Prepper Live. The ability to stay clean increases your chance of staying healthy. Many of these contain toxic ingredients, some suspected of being carcinogens. Plus, many people take for granted that there will always be a store to pick up some extra soap or counter top disinfectant spray.
Did you know that most soap sold in stores isn’t really soap? Or that artificial fragrances are some of the most carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances? Why use artificial cinnamon scent when you could just use real cinnamon? Have a clean, fresh homestead using pleasantly aromatic herbs and other materials you can either grow or store long term.
Beyond stocking up on soaps, shampoos, soft scrubs, and air fresheners, these things are expensive and often are loaded with questionable, potentially carcinogenic ingredients. By making your own herbal cleaning products, you can make your own for less money and without possibly increasing your risk of cancer later on. Plus, you can save the money from buying the commercially made stuff, and put those savings towards your other preps or debt reduction.
This episode will discuss the basics of how to make soap, shampoo, natural hand sanitizer, a degreasing spray for the stove top, soft scrubs for the tub and sinks, a disinfectant spray, homemade laundry soap, and dish soap. This will allow you to keep your body, clothing, bed linens, and surfaces clean. This alone will reduce the amount of germs in your home, and help prevent illness.
Thankfully, cleaning products made from non-toxic, natural, herbal cleaning ingredients do not contribute to the ever growing threat of drug-resistant bacteria. Even the hand sanitizer will not contribute to antibiotic resistance, unlike the common hand sanitizers we find in hospitals and on pharmacy shelves.
Learn what supplies you need to have on hand to be independent of the toxin-steeped cleaners, and how to use them to keep you and your household clean and healthy.
Herbal Prepper Website HERE!
Join us for The Herbal Prepper “LIVE SHOW” every Sunday 7:00/Et 8:00Ct 4:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat
Listen to this broadcast or download “DIY Herbal Cleaning Supplies” in player below!
Disinfecting Cleaning Solutions From Scratch
Commercial disinfectant products consist of many chemicals that may cause allergic reactions, vomiting, respiratory problems, irritation of skin, and may pollute the air in your home. Moreover they are expensive. You need to take care for you and your family’s health. There is no need of unpleasant situations because of a cleaning product. So the safer method is to make a cleaning detergents by yourself. They are made by cheap products such as vinegar, baking soda, water and etc. and are strong competition to those that are bought from the shop.
You do not need to disinfect every room and every day, but disinfection is a necessity in the bathroom and the kitchen. Here are some DIY disinfecting cleaning solutions from scratch to keep it naturally.
If you want to kill the germs off the surfaces in your home, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, here is a recipe for a home-made disinfecting cleaner.
- Half cup of white vinegar
- One tsp baking soda
- Ten drops of tea tree oil
- Spray bottle
Direction: Mix them in a clean spray bottle with 400-500 ml of hot water. When you spray on the surfaces, let the liquid sit for ten minutes and then wipe it off. You can say goodbye to the germs.
Here is a another recipe for disinfectant that is most commonly used for the bathroom. What do you need?
- Clean an old spray bottle
- Half cup of both white vinegar and vodka
- Ten drops of both lavender and lemon essential oils
- Half cup of hot water
You can spray any surface of the bathroom and let the DIY product sit for about ten minutes. If you want to do it the right way, use different microfibre cloth for sink, mirror, shower, tub and toilet. There will be no germs.
Another way to deal with the germs is this recipe for disinfecting. Mix in a bucket…
- Three quarters cup of chlorine bleach
- 1 tsp laundry powdered cleaner
- Gallon of hot water
Leave the liquid for a little more than five minutes. After that you can rinse and wipe off the surfaces with a sponge or a microfibre cloth. You can disinfect, deodorize and clean tubs, sinks, showers, porcelain, ceramics, chairs, diaper pails, tables, garbage cans, fridges. Do not use it on trim or aluminum surfaces.
For the next recipe you will need:
- 2 tablespoons of borax
- Three cups of hot water
- Four spoons of white vinegar
- Spray bottle
Shake the substances. Now you have a powerful disinfectant and every single germ will be eliminated. When you spray on surfaces, leave the product for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse carefully and dry it.
Another easy and natural way to disinfect the bathroom and the kitchen is by mixing equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol. Spray wherever it is required and leave it for seven-eight minutes. Then rinse and wipe off with a cloth. Notice that you need to clean the surfaces first, and then to disinfect them. It is a part of the cleaning process, not the cleaning process itself.
Using natural products is much more safer and does not cause health problems. They are as effective as the commercial ones, but less dangerous and cheaper. Keeping you and your family safe is your main purpose. Disinfection is essential and necessary, but it does not need to be chemical and toxic. Killing germs in the eco-friendly way is the better way for you and your beloved.
The article is contributed by Edna Thomson. She is the manager of a cleaning company called SW6 CleanersLondon.
This article first appeared on American Preppers Network and may be copied under the following creative commons license. All links and images including the CC logo must remain intact.
In discussions of infant-centered emergency preparedness, the topic of cloth diapers inevitably gets brought up.
“They’re good for 72 hour kits because you can reuse them,” is what I hear most often.
“So good for when the SHTF,” is another one.
There’s just one problem – I’ve noticed that the people gushing about the emergency preparedness applications of cloth diapers don’t actually use them, themselves. This creates the false impression that one could simply go out, buy some diapers to put in your B.O.B, and have done with it.
Yeah, that’s not really how it works. There are a lot of good things to say about cloth diapers. I’ve been using them for a little over four years, now, with three children, so I have at least some knowledge base here. We did save some very real money by opting for cloth; the initial cost will tend to turn your hair white. Our preferred brand tends to run about $18 per diaper, but in the long run we saved at least $1000, if not more.
Many people choose cloth diapers for their babies, and for a wide variety of reasons. Some parents are concerned about carcinogens found in disposable diapers, others favor the physical appearance of the diapers. Whatever reason you may have for looking into cloth diapers, there are some things you need to know about how to use them before you choose to rely on them in an emergency.
Before I continue, I should clarify what I mean when I say “cloth diapers,” because there are many different kinds. Most people hear the term and think of the old-fashioned prefolds that were worn with plastic or rubber pants. Those are certainly still around and are available for purchase, but doesn’t represent the current landscape of the cloth diaper market. Most people I know (myself included) prefer one-size pocket diapers – these have adjustable snaps, and must be stuffed with a liner, usually made of microfiber or similar. My kids have worn them from about three weeks after birth until potty training. And yes, they have lasted that long, too. There are also “snap-in-one” diapers, “all-in-one” diapers, and hybrid diapers. And with the invention of the snappi and polyurethane laminate covers, even flats and prefolds have experienced advances.
Reasons Why You Might Want To Think Again
- Cloth diapers are re-usable, but require a large amount of water to wash them. This should be a major consideration when packing your Bug-Out-Bag. 72 hour kits are for evacuations – will you be evacuating to a place that is guaranteed to have laundry facilities? If you don’t have access to a washing machine, will you at least have a bathtub, and will you be okay with doing diaper laundry by hand? These are important questions you need to ask yourself.
- Using cloth diapers can involve something of a learning curve. There are many different brands of cloth diaper, and depending on your baby’s physique (e.g. chubbiness of legs in proportion to the circumference of their waist) some brands may be more prone to leaks than others. Some problems can be solved by fiddling with the diaper itself, but other problems may require that you purchase another brand altogether.
- You will need more than just the diapers: wet bags, diaper sprayers, and special detergent. If you attempt to make the switch to cloth without the use of these accessories, it will be that much harder for you. It is absolutely essential that you use only cloth-diaper-friendly detergent on your cloth diapers. Regular detergent can lead to a build-up of soapy residue that will negatively impact the diapers’ absorbency and consequently shorten the life of the diaper.
- Cloth diapers require time and maintenance. I’ve had at least one child in diapers, and sometimes two, for four years. In that span of time, I have had to do an extra load of laundry at least every three days. When I had very young babies, it was closer to every other day and, at times, even daily.
So what’s in my own 72-hour kits? Disposables, known to my kids as “paper diapers.” They don’t take up as much room as cloth diapers, and don’t require any maintenance. They are a good solution to have on hand for times that require quick and easy diaper changes with little fuss.
You’ll probably read the above and be sworn off cloth diapers forever, because of how dull and dreary-sounding it appears. I hope you decide to keep reading, though, because there are more points to consider.
Reasons Why You Should Make The Switch to Cloth Diapers
- A short-term emergency is one thing; what about a long-term emergency? Say there’s a tremendous disruption in shipping, and Costco’s inventory runs dry and you can’t get disposable diapers anywhere, not for love or money. Having cloth diapers on hand could be a real blessing, especially if you are already familiar with them. Even without the SHTF scenario hanging over your head, you won’t ever run out of diapers if you have a stash of “fluff.” Gone will be the days of midnight runs to the store to get more diapers.
- Cloth diapers last a long time. I got, on average, about two and a half years of use out of each of my posh bumGenius diapers. They don’t last forever and do wear out, but are extremely cost effective in the long run. “Old-school” diapers – prefolds and flats – have been known to last a decade or more.
- Yes, you do save money. Lots of money. I only wish I kept track of exactly how much money we’ve saved over the four years we’ve had our cloth diapers. We did need to purchase additional cloth diapers when my daughter was first born, and that set us back about $250, including the cost of detergent. Compare this to the average estimated cost of disposable diapers in a child’s first year, about $600. Our electric and water bills have not been significantly impacted since we began using cloth.
- Less trash in the landfill. Take a walk down the diaper aisle at any grocery store. Everything in that aisle is going to go straight into the trash.
A note on the Mommy Wars
The Cloth vs. Disposables debate has been at times heated and bloody. Rather than engage the rhetoric from either side, I’ll try to be a little diplomatic: as you’ve seen above, both kinds of diaper have their pros and cons. Circumstances change, and your situation may warrant one over the other. Some children develop horrible rashes in response to cloth diapers, in which you could argue that disposables are in the best interest of the child, if you have a choice. Other babies, however, get rashes from disposables.
My two boys loved their cloth diapers, but my daughter (now on the cusp of potty training.) starts crying if I try to put a cloth diaper on her. To be fair, her skin is more sensitive than her brothers’, and she breaks out in hives. It’s a battle that I have ceased to fight; after four years of exclusive cloth diapering, wherein I have battled a myriad of rashes and yeast infections and all kinds of things, I bought a big ol’ pack of disposables last week. I felt a little like I was abandoning my principles, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Have any of you had any experience using cloth diapers in during an emergency? What was your experience?
Most all of us have a bottle – or twelve – of hydrogen peroxide put back. Did you know that its uses are more than just wound disinfection? Hydrogen peroxide actually has a multitude of uses and makes the storage of it even more important.
Oh and by the way there is a reason hydrogen peroxide comes in a dark brown bottle. It is because light will ruin its potency.
It should be obvious to see how all of these uses are directly related to preparedness.
Here’s the list……
Tooth Cleanser – mix with baking soda to make an extremely effective tooth cleaning paste.
Antiseptic Mouth Rinse – Hydrogen peroxide can help with canker sores as well as kill germs causing bad breath. Consider diluting with water to verify it won’t cause too much irritation if used full strength.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner – Pour a half a cup into the toilet bowl and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Come back and wipe clean.
Pet Saver – If your pet swallows something they shouldn’t have and you need to make them throw up simply get them to drink some hydrogen peroxide. Very effective as within minute the animal will be vomiting.
Disinfect and Clean Wounds – the most obvious use. Irrigating the wound with hydrogen peroxide can help clear away dead tissue and kill bacteria.
Acne and Boils – Just like treating a wound the use of hydrogen peroxide on infected acne and boils and greatly increase the healing. It works!
Athlete’s Foot – There are different types of fungus that cause athlete’s foot as well as jock itch. Many people have had success treating these fungi with hydrogen peroxide.
Household Cleaning – Disinfect your countertops by mixing hydrogen peroxide and water in equal parts. Remember to keep the mixture away from light to protect the hydrogen peroxide from loosing its strength. Something to consider if no other cleaning agents are available.
Hope this list generated a few ideas and will get you to put back a few extra bottles.
Gotta get going now. Heading to the dollar store to pick up a few bottles of hydrogen peroxide.
Hurricane season is quickly approaching here on the East Coast. Unfortunately, for many East Coasters, these storms are common weather phenomenons that impact the lives of millions each year. Depending on where you live, some of the destruction caused by them may result in local flooding. The impacts of such an event can be widespread, and one of the major consequences of flooding can be poor sanitation.
Natural Disaster Preparedness
Let’s spend a few minutes talking about natural disaster preparedness before we get neck deep in SHTF sanitation.
Ideally, in a situation like a hurricane, you have the basics on hand. That would be water, food and communication. Water and food are obvious for survival situations. Communication can be a tricky one. The idea is to know what’s going on around you. It may mean having something as simple as a pocket radio to something more complex like a HAM radio.
Cleanliness Is Key
Beyond the food, clean drinking water and communication, you should also be ready to keep yourself clean and sanitary.
It’s important, especially if you have children or elderly people, to make sure that you don’t create or spread disease around your living area.
There are three key items you’ll want to clean regularly and consider:
- Yourself and other people in your group.
- Your eating utensils and dishes.
- Your living quarters and sewage.
Keeping these three categories clean and sanitary will be key to long-term survival and well-being.
Post SHTF Sanitation Supplies
You should already have soap and basic cleaning supplies in the stockpile of supplies you have, but do you have enough?
I could make a claim about how much soap to store, but the best way to track that is through tracking your own usage. For me and my family, a single bar of soap per person should last a month or more when you consider using the soap with conservation in mind. Check on how much soap you use on a normal basis, and then assume that you can use a considerable amount less if you have to.
A good all-around soap can work wonders in a variety of applications, and there’s no reason you can’t use one type of soap to wash all the essentials. Just be careful about the scent since your probably don’t want to clean your dishes with soap that has a musty scent.
By adding some extra water, along with plenty of soap and vinegar to your stock of supplies, you will be able to have a safe and sanitary area.
While the accepted rule of thumb is to keep one gallon of water per person per day in storage, this does not include enough water for real sanitation.
It is plenty for cooking, eating, and drinking, but not for washing.
keeping yourself clean is of the utmost importance if you are in a hotter climate or are engaged in a lot of physical activities. Depending on your living conditions and level of activity, you may want to wash yourself every day. However, it is possible only to wash every other day. That is a call you can make yourself.
Despite the necessity of keeping clean, this is one of the areas when you can save some water. By wetting a washrag and then lathering it up instead of taking a shower or bath you can cut down on the water needed drastically.
Washing the three essential areas is not only a key to sanitation, but also to a healthy existence. The three essentials are the genitals, rear end and face. This probably goes without saying, but make sure you have separate washrags for your face.
Washing is even more important if you have a group with you. Be sure to have children keep themselves clean and check the elderly regularly as well. If anyone is incapacitated, move them when possible to prevent bed sores and ensure that they get the washing and attention needed to keep them as healthy and clean as possible.
Utensils and Dishes
While it may make a lot of sense to use disposable or burnable dishes and utensils, some things you are just going to have to wash. Chances are you’ll have a few pots and pans and other such things around if you’re hunkered down and able to stay put for a while.
A good way to cut down on the amount of dishes you need to wash is to cook in cast iron. Cast iron pans will last virtually forever and require almost no water to wash and sanitize.
However, if your pot and pan selections do require cleaning, there are a couple of ways to keep them clean without using too much water. Add dish soap to a spray bottle of water and you can limit the amount of soap and water needed. The spray action of the bottle will provide the suds and water needed to wash the pans.
You can make you supplies of soap and water last a lot longer by only spritzing the pans a few times to get them moist and allow the soap to do its thing.
Another great, inexpensive option is to keep a jug of bleach around. You can keep a spray bottle of diluted bleach around for sanitizing surfaces. Be sure to mix to the right strength since the concentration of the bleach can vary by brand.
There’s more to being sanitary than just washing your dishes and keeping yourself clean. You can’t live in filth and still consider yourself clean, no matter how much you wash.
Besides the normal dirtiness of living in a post SHTF world, you are responsible for cleaning your filth as well. Keeping your living quarters clean is a necessary step for any long-term survival. Try to keep your food crumbs picked up so they don’t attract pests. Many illnesses can be traced back to rodents and other pests getting into the food or living area.
Another thing to consider is dealing with sewage…
No innovation in the past 200 years has done more to save lives and improve health than the sanitation revolution triggered by invention of the toilet.
– Sylvia Mathews Burwell
One of the best ways to keep sanitary is to use existing plumbing (i.e. the toilet) or an outhouse. Don’t forget that you can use nonpotable water for manually flushing the toilet.
If the grid is down or you have limited access to sanitary facilities, then your best option may be an outhouse.
If you end up using an outhouse, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
- Location: An outhouse needs to be at least one hundred and fifty feet away from any source of drinking water.
- Hole Depth: Studies have found that users of outhouses are more likely to get tapeworms. This is because most outhouses are not dug deep enough. A tapeworm can move through the soil almost five feet, so a shallow outhouse will allow the worms and possibly other pests to reach the surface and will raise the chances of exposure.
- Toilet Paper: Depending on the scenarios that you are planning for makes a pretty big difference in the amount of toilet paper that you will need to keep in stock. We usually keep a healthy amount of toilet paper around anyway since we buy in bulk from Costco.
Summary of SHTF Sanitation
Keeping yourself and your group clean and healthy must be one your top priorities. What’s the point of surviving a disaster only to be struck down by a preventable disease? By adding plenty of soap and some extra water to your stockpile you can be clean and healthy.
If you think about the following, then you and your family will be in good shape:
- Store a little extra water, soap, and some wash rags.
- Have a plan for cleaning your plates, utensils, or other kitchen implements.
- Store some toilet paper.
Billy’s Fun Facts: Lives in the southeast, Georgia to be specific. Been to 49 of the 50 states. Idaho is the only one left and the target date is June 2015. Drives a beat up Ford F150. Enjoys the shooting range way too much
Many of us rely on wells for our water supply, and in such cases, we have an electric pump that lifts the water up and into a supply tank.
These pumps are usually long-lived and reliable, and draw little power (at least by present day standards where we have access to virtually unlimited electrical power at comparatively low cost).
But what happens in a future adverse scenario where first our power fails and then secondly our pump fails? The obvious answers are backups and spares, but there are also some design issues that should be considered well before any such problems occur.
Operating Electric Pumps When Electricity is Scarce
The first problem – power failing – will hopefully be addressed by your on-site power generation needs. One of the ‘good’ things about needing power for a water pump is that – assuming you have a reasonably sized holding tank above the well, the power your water pump needs can be time-shifted to those times of day when you have a surplus of (eg solar) power – use the power at those times to pump up water and to fill your above ground storage tank, and use the water from the storage tank at those times of day (eg night-time) when you have no free power.
Water pumps vary in terms of how much power they require, depending on the lifting height they need to bring the water, and the number of gallons per minute of water desired. Obviously, greater heights and greater gpm rates require more power. Fortunately, assuming moderate lifting heights and gpm requirements, you can get a lot of water from a pump that uses only 1000 or 2000 watts of power. From an energy management point of view, you would probably prefer to have a less powerful pump running for longer, than a more powerful pump running for a shorter time.
This also allows you to get good use from a well with a low replenishment rate. When specifying your well and water needs in the first place, you should give more importance to assured continuity of water supply at a low instantaneous flow rate but with sufficient total flow each day to meet your needs, rather than limiting yourself only to wells that can support rapid draws down of water via a high-capacity pump.
Chances are you can get the better part of a gallon of water lifted up your well and into your holding tank for every watt-hour of power – 1000 gallons per kWh if you prefer to think in those terms.
So the first problem – loss of utility sourced electricity – is hopefully not a huge problem (and see below for a discussion on hand pumps).
Planning for Pump Problems
However, the second problem – pump failure – quite likely may be a big problem, and so we offer several solutions to consider.
The first solution is a very simple one. If your water pump fails, simply replace it with a spare one that you’ve kept in storage, in anticipation of just such an event occurring, as it undoubtedly will, sooner or later.
Water pumps aren’t very expensive (probably under $500) and are fairly long-lived. You’re unlikely to need to be replacing pumps every year, indeed, assuming that the duty cycle for the pump is moderate and appropriate, it is realistic to at least 10 – 15 years of trouble-free life. With clean water and a light cycling rate, some pumps give up to 40 years of service.
When you do have a water pump problem, it is probably something you could – at least in theory – repair rather than fix by a complete replacement, and many of the problems actually relate to the fixtures and fittings and tanks outside the well, not the pump inside the well. But, if it is a pump problem, and to keep things really simple, obviously a total replacement should work (assuming the problem isn’t somewhere above ground, outside of the well, in particular the electrical and control wiring that goes to the pump to turn it on and off as needed).
Depending on your level of skill, your supply of spare parts, and how long you can manage with the pump system down, repair would always be preferable to replacement, of course. It would be a good strategy to talk to whoever installed and/or maintains your pump currently to find out what the likely failure points may be and to keep those appropriate spare parts, as well as a complete second pump assembly too.
For many of us, having a complete spare water pump would be all the protection and preparing we feel we need.
Here’s a useful but slightly muddled website with a lot of information about troubleshooting and repairing well based water systems.
A Large Temporary Holding Tank
These considerations point to a related point. You should have a larger than normal above ground temporary tank, and keep it full to half full all the time. Your choice of above ground holding tank should be such that you can live off the remaining half of its capacity for a reasonable number of days, if the pump does fail. That gives you the luxury of some time in which to respond to the failed pump and get it fixed, before the toilets stop flushing and the taps stop running.
There’s a related benefit to a large temporary tank. It means your pump doesn’t cycle as frequently. It is the starting part of the pump’s operation that is most stressful; you’ll get much more life out of the pump by reducing its frequency of cycling on and off.
It is common for the well water to be pumped to a small pressure reservoir, and then to travel from there to the taps as needed, primarily by the force of the pressure in the reservoir. In such cases, we suggest adding a temporary holding tank between the well and the pressure reservoir (rather than creating an enormous pressure reservoir). We also suggest locating the holding tank as high above ground as possible, so as to reduce your dependence on the pressure reservoir. A gravity fed system from the reservoir to your taps would be much more reliable.
Typical domestic water supplies have pressures in the order of 40 – 60 psi, sometimes a little less, and sometimes going up as high as 80 psi.
Yes, there is such a thing as too much water pressure. We’d recommend keeping the water pressure to around the 40 – 50 psi point so as to minimize stress on taps and pipes. Each foot of water height creates 0.43 lbs/sq in of water pressure. So even a 40 psi service would require the water level at the top of the holding tank to be 93 ft above the tap level – this is almost certainly impractical.
There are two workarounds. The first is to have large diameter piping and high flow rate taps. This will compensate for the lower pressure in all situations except showers. If you want to have good showers, you’ll need to have a pressure booster of some type, either just for the shower, or perhaps for the entire house.
The problem with holding tanks appreciably above ground level is that they are insecure. A vandal or attacker will see the tank, and almost certainly, rifle rounds will penetrate through the tank wall and while the holes might be readily repairable, the water you lose may or may not be so easily replaceable. Without wishing to over-engineer a solution, our preference sometimes is for two holding tanks. A large one that is mainly underground, and then a smaller ‘day tank’ type tank that is above ground at a high up point. That way your main holding tank is relatively secure, and your vulnerability reduced; indeed, you could even have your day tank built into the attic/inside the roof of your retreat.
Adding a Hand Pump to the Well
So far, we’ve recommended adding a large temporary holding tank, set into the ground, and a smaller ‘day tank’ located in the ceiling/attic of your retreat. We’ve also suggested keeping a complete spare pump and some replacement spares for those parts most likely to wear out.
But wait. There’s still more! We’d feel more comfortable if we also had some type of hand pump, so that pretty much no matter what else happens, we can always get water. It goes without saying that if we can’t get water to our retreat, everything else becomes irrelevant and our entire retreat becomes unlivable. Water is an essential part of any retreat, and abundant water allows our lifestyle to move massively up the scale.
Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind our water needs probably extend way beyond what we directly personally use in our retreat. We have agricultural needs too, for our crops and livestock. We might even have ‘industrial’ type needs if we have any sort of manufacturing processes. You’ll probably find a hand pump, while able to provide the essential water for living, would be inadequate to provide all the other water you might need over and above your domestic and personal needs. Perhaps better to say – the pump may be adequate, but your supply of pumping manpower may be inadequate!
Hand pumps come in many different shapes and sizes, and come with various types of claims and promises about being easy to operate and providing so many gallons per minute of water from your pumping actions.
There are, however, two main types of hand pump (and many other types of less relevant ways of raising water too, starting with a traditional well and bucket that is lowered down to the water level and then lifted up again).
Pumps that are designed to lift water only a short height are probably suction pumps (also called pitcher pumps) – their piston is above ground, directly connected to the pump’s operating handle, and simply sucks the water up the pipe and eject it out the other end of the piston.
But suction pumps quickly become less effective when the distance the water needs to be lifted increases. A sometimes cited rule of thumb is that suction pumps are good for about 25 ft of lifting. At that point, a totally different type of pump comes into its own, the lift or piston pump.
These pumps have their operating mechanism at the far end of the pipe, down where the water is. Each stroke of the pump handle causes the cylinder to lift another measure of water up into the pipe. Eventually, the water has been lifted all the way to the top and comes out the spout.
These pumps can lift water hundreds of feet, but the greater the lift height, the more effort is required to lift the water, and the more stress on the cylinder’s seals and the tubing in general.
Treat all the claims of gallon per minute (gpm) outputs and ease of use of hand pumps with a grain of salt. There are unavoidable physical laws of nature which dictate how much energy is required to lift water from your well to your holding tank, and while a hand pump can operate with a greater or lesser degree of efficiency, thereby influencing how easy/hard it is to pump the water, it can never be more than 100% efficient (and more likely, never more than perhaps 70% efficient) so you’re always going to have to put some effort into the pumping.
Adding a hand pump to your current well system is probably much easier than you’d think. Well, it is easy now while society is still functioning; it would be much harder subsequently!
The good news is that your current well comprises a pipe that is probably 6″ in diameter, and the pipe for the electrically powered pump water that comes up is probably only 1″ – 1 1/4″ in diameter. This leaves lots of room for more pipes, so you simply lower down an extra pipe, and mount a hand pump on the well head.
Now for a clever extra idea. You can have the output of the hand pump go to a valve, which can direct the water either to an outlet/tap or to feed into the water line from the electric pump (through a check-valve of course). That way, if your electric pump fails for any reason, you can still feed water into your holding tank, your pressure tank, and your household water system. This is a bit like having a distribution panel for your electricity, allowing your house wiring to be fed from utility power, a generator, batteries, or whatever other power source you wished to use.
What sort of hand pump do you need? Our first point is one of warning. Hand pumps are not necessarily long-lasting just because they operate by hand rather than by electricity. We’ve heard of people having their hand pumps fail on them after less than a year of moderately light use. In alphabetical order, we’re aware of Baker Monitor, Bison, Flojak, Simple Pump and Waterbuck Pump brands. You might also find used Hitzer pumps out there, but after some years of struggling, the company finally liquidated a short while ago this year (2014).
There are other brands as well, but we’ve not uncovered as much information on them so hesitate to mention them. We’ve not experimented with all the different makes and models of hand pumps, and hesitate to make a recommendation. We suggest you speak to a couple of different well digging and maintaining companies and see what they recommend, and roam around online user forums and see what type of feedback the different makes and models of pumps are getting from bona fide users.
The Waterbuck product seems impressive, but we don’t fully understand exactly what it is or how it has the apparent advantage and extra efficiency it claims. It seems to still be a fairly new to market product – maybe by the time you read this there is more feedback from people who have been using it for a while and who can comment accordingly.
If you are fortunate enough to be somewhere with a reasonable amount of wind, maybe you can supplement your water supply with a windmill.
The classic American windmill can provide a reliable regular supply of water, ideally into a reasonably sized holding tank so as to buffer the differences in supply and demand as between the vagaries of wind powered pumping and the water draws for your various requirements.
Windmill powered pumps can lift water up to almost 1000 ft, and the more powerful pumps can lift up to 1000 gallons per hour (albeit more moderate heights).
Windmills can therefore work well, even as primary water supply pumps, just as long as there is a reasonable amount of wind to drive them.
Well Depth Issues
There’s no avoiding gravity. The deeper you have to drill for water, the more hassle it becomes to then lift the water up to the surface and on into your retreat, the more energy it requires, and the more stressed every part of the pumping process becomes.
It would be time and money very well spent to explore widely around your retreat property to find the best location for the shallowest well. A well digger can probably tell you fairly quickly, based on logs from past drilling projects in your area, what the typical well depths might be and if there’s likely to be much variation in the distance down to the water table around your property.
It is massively less costly, from an energy point of view, to run a water line horizontally across your property than it is to dig down in the first place. Our point here is that if you had to choose between a 50 ft well, half a mile away, and a 200 ft well, right next to your retreat, we’d probably choose the 50 ft well (assuming there were no other risks or negative factors associated with then running half a mile of pipe from the well head to your retreat).
Best of all, of course, would be to do both wells, giving you another element of redundancy and assuredness of water supply.
Typical well water supplies have water feeding from a well to a relatively small and pressurized reservoir and then from there to the household plumbing.
We suggest a better design for a prepper has the well feeding to a holding tank, of sufficient size to store several days of water. The well pump should be configured to deliver water infrequently with fewer starts and stops, making it less stressed and therefore more reliable and longer lived. A second system then feeds from the holding tank to a pressurized reservoir and into the house. This makes it easier to troubleshoot your water supply system and, in the event of the well pump failure, gives you some time to fix the pump before running low on pumped water on hand.
In addition to the electric well pump, you should have a second pump line going down your well tube, with a hand-operated pump at the top. The pump should also feed into your main holding tank supply, plus have the ability to have water drawn direct from the pump itself.
Lastly, a backup system to feed water from the holding tank to your retreat would make sense also.