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

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Survival Medicine Hour #372

sleep deprivation

sleep deprivation

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

Eye Injuries

Eye Injuries

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

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

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

To listen in, click below:

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

Joe and Amy Alton

The Altons

The Altons

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

Just some of our kits

Just some of our kits

5 Tips to Prevent Sleep Deprivation

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5 Tips to Prevent Sleep Deprivation

5 Tips to Prevent Sleep Deprivation

 Six to eight hours of sleep every day is the amount of rest we need to keep our brain and body healthy and prepared for any challenge. When we’re young, we could manage with less sleep. But as we age, our ability to tolerate the sleep deprivation effects diminishes drastically. And when we find ourselves in a survival situation, the lack of proper sleep will influence us even more than in our usual daily life.

Continue reading 5 Tips to Prevent Sleep Deprivation at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

The 4 Cheapest Ways To Feed Your Chickens

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The 4 Cheapest Ways To Feed Your Chickens

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Chickens are arguably the most efficient livestock you can own. They take up little space, are easy to care for, and produce both meat and eggs. However, feeding them can still be expensive, especially if you rely on pricier organic feeds for your flock. With egg prices remaining near ten-year lows, feeding your chickens as economically as possible is especially important right now.

Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to keep your feed costs manageable. And while you may not eliminate your trips to the hardware store for another bag of layer pellets or cracked corn, you can certainly reduce the number of trips you have to take this year. Here are four great tips for lowering feed costs with the chickens you raise.

1. Range free and far

If chickens are penned up, they are completely reliant on the food you provide them. But if you let them roam free, they will be able to forage and eat grasses, seeds and any hapless bugs that come their way. Free-ranging your chickens will enable them to get much of the nutrients they need, and will help make the feed you purchase go a long way. Many people believe that eggs from free-range chickens taste better, too.

You also can set the chickens on your garden beds in the fall, and let them devour dead vegetables, plants and any bugs that are setting up shop there. The key with free-ranging your chickens is ensuring they are protected from predators (and themselves, since some chickens are prone to wandering) with good fencing. If you are uncomfortable with letting your chickens roam completely free, then you can compromise and set them in a chicken tractor that you move around your homestead every few days.

2. From table to coop

Hopefully you are accustomed to composting your table scraps, and an additional trip to the chicken run with a pale of leftovers is no big deal. If not, you can still start feeding your chickens table scraps today.

Diatomaceous Earth: The All-Natural Livestock De-Wormer!

The 4 Cheapest Ways To Feed Your Chickens

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Chickens can eat most of the things that we eat, although there are some foods that should be avoided. Your birds will make good use of the leftovers and food waste that you otherwise would compost or throw away. Food items like cooked vegetables, grains, breads and meats (cut into small pieces) make great feed for your chickens. Simply keep a food-safe plastic pale in your kitchen, add the scraps to it as you prepare or finish meals, and then feed them to the flock.

3. Grow bugs

It’s no secret that chickens love to eat bugs; throw a grasshopper in front of a few hungry hens and watch what happens! However, many people don’t realize that bugs are full of protein, and some bugs are easy to grow as a food source for your birds.

One easy-to-grow food source bug is the lowly mealworm. Mealworms are the larva of the mealworm beetle; chickens love to eat them, they are loaded with protein, and they make a great food for your layer flock. Raise them in plastic containers or old aquariums, and keep an ever-replenishing supply of mealworms on hand. So purchase a mealworm starter culture, and start growing them today.

4. Cull older birds

One of the most effective ways to reduce the cost of raising chickens, especially if you are focused on laying hens, is to cull the older birds. Most chickens’ egg-laying capacity declines precipitously after two years; keeping them around after that does little more than add to your feed costs.

Birds that reach two years or so should be destined for the stew pot. Alternatively, you could sell them or give them away on Craigslist to people interested in chickens as pets. You also should ensure that you limit the number of roosters you have on hand, if any; unless you are using different roosters for a breeding program to fertilize eggs, having more than one doesn’t make much sense for a cost-conscious homesteader.

How do you feed your chickens “on the cheap”? Share your tips in the section below:

How Your Sleep Patterns Can Spark Alzheimer’s

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How Your Sleep Patterns Can Spark Alzheimer’s

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Staying up late or even all night can be fun — sometimes. You’re at a party that goes long and nobody wants to leave. Or you have a new baby in your house. Or you’re binge-watching Netflix. Or you just can’t stop working on a craft project.

Occasional all-nighters are a fact of life, but sleep deprivation can be harmful, especially during emergencies. Frequent all-nighters (or insomnia) can bring serious, long-term health consequences, even for teenagers.

The body “recharges its batteries” during sleep. Long-term sleep deprivation can promote and accelerate cognitive conditions like Alzheimer’s. If you’re getting less than six hours of sleep per night, your brain cannot detoxify the buildup of harmful proteins (called amyloid-beta) so your liver can flush them out. Over time, the buildup of these proteins can cause deterioration of the brain’s mental faculties, bringing on Alzheimer’s, and increasing the risk for dementia.

Fast, All-Natural Pain Relief With No Nasty Side Effects!

Sleep deprivation also can cause a number of physical and psychological problems. In the short term, you may be cranky, snapping at people and having abnormally highly emotional reactions. This can cause problems with family members as well as coworkers. You’ll look tired. Your judgment and self-control will suffer. Long-term sleep deprivation can bring on anxiety and depression.

The reaction time of a sleep-deprived person can be equal to a drunk person, without alcohol. The risk of a car accident or other devastating event increases. It’s not just you that becomes groggy; your cells will, too. You also might gain weight.

You may have an occasional deadline-sensitive project. Working when you start getting tired means you’ll be less productive.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s time get your body back in order so that it can sleep at least 8 hours again.

Try some of these tips:

  • Have a regular bedtime and wake-up time. This will keep your circadian rhythm working like it should.
  • Get regular exposure to natural sunlight during the day. If you work in an office, factory or other enclosed place, then take a walk outside at lunchtime or during a break.
  • Keep your bedroom completely dark, or as close to dark as you can. Even light from a digital alarm clock can activate your pineal gland and make it think it’s daylight, thus disrupting sleep. Turn the clock’s face away from you and turn off any other lights.
  • Practice regular rituals, like reading, that tell your body that it’s sleep time.
  • Limit/eliminate the use of electronic devices an hour before bed. If you must use your smartphone or tablet, then use the setting that gives you a “night mode.” This will change the screen from the disrupting “blue light” to a warmer light. Additional apps are also available that go beyond the built-in functions.
  • Take a warm bath/shower an hour or two before bed. This drops your core body temperature when you finish, signaling the body to start going to sleep.
  • If you get up during the night, don’t turn on a light or check the clock. Using a low-wattage yellow, orange or red bulb in night lights prevents the disruption melatonin production (like white or blue light will).

With a few changes to your nightly routine, you’ll be sleeping like a baby again. Your body – and your brain – will thank you.

What are your tricks for getting a good night’s sleep? Share your suggestions in the section below:

Sleep Deprivation

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sleep deprivation

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD


Joe Alton, MD

Videocast: Rib Fractures, Pneumothorax, Sleep Deprivation

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rib fracture

Dr. Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy put on a live videocast every first and third Wednesday of each month in collaboration with the nice folks at This time, they talk about rib fractures, collapsed lungs, chest seals, and do some demonstrations. Also, they discuss some important things you should know about sleep deprivation, a major issue in any SHTF scenario…


To watch, click below:



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



Joe and Amy Alton

Fill those holes in your medical supplies by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits at

Survival Medicine Hour: Sleep Deprivation, Burns, Zika, More

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In survival, getting sleep is important to keep you sharp and make sure that appropriate judgements are made and actions taken. Learn about sleep hygiene from Joe Alton, MD, plus a new study tells you what states in the U.S. are the most sleep-deprived. Also, Dr. Alton discusses first and second degree burns, the difference between sunscreen and sunblock, and what the SPF rating system means. Also, how to identify and treat these common injuries in disasters or other situations where medical help isn’t on the way. Nurse Amy and Dr. Bones also discuss the latest about Zika virus, plus how the Army is so lacking in medical providers that they are offering a rapid path to citizenship for foreign medical graduate volunteers. All this and more on 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

joe and amy radio