Coping With Life-Threatening Allergies in a SHTF World

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Coping With Life Threatening Allergies in a Post SHTF World via The Survival Mom

We have lived in our home for nearly a decade and I love it. I truly love my yard, but the feeling is not mutual. My yard is trying to kill me. After a lifetime of thinking of myself as allergy free, I have been proven wrong. Oak trees, along with other things, cause me to have an extreme allergic reaction. Care to guess where I live? Yes, in the middle of a 150 acres of forest.

I had no idea that this could be a life-ending allergy for me. Huge portions of this country have primarily hickory and oak forests.  I would need to drive at least a twelve hours to be somewhere that doesn’t have oak trees. If you or someone in your family struggles with seasonal allergies, please go to an allergist to find out what they are. In a truly catastrophic event, it is critical that you know the type of environment you can live in.

My Story

I have had chronic bronchitis and other coughing-related problems since Junior High. At one point, a doctor prescribed an inhaler, and another mentioned I might have asthma. When I lived on the West Coast, my coughing problems subsided and I thought I had outgrown my allergies.

After I moved back East, the coughing problems returned. After a few years, seasonal allergy flare ups became a problem, so I started taking over the counter antihistamines. Things got worse and I was now using a nasal spray and prescription medication. I remembered my inhaler and tried it. It helped, a lot.

When I developed an allergy to onions, I realized that I needed to see an allergist. When I told her I had used more than 3/4 of a rescue inhaler in three weeks time, she was shocked. Clearly, it was the wrong treatment and I should have been in sooner.

Testing

As per normal procedure, I had stop taking antihistamines for a week before the testing, to ensure they were all out of my system. Thankfully I could still use an inhaler. The allergist tested nearly 30 different things on me using prick and intra-dermal methods. I came back as allergic to all of them. I reacted as a 4++, with 4 being the highest, on oak trees. My body was also very reactive to many other common substances such as ragweed and dust mites.

I had no idea how severe my allergies were. There were times I had difficulty breathing and that should have caused me to seek immediate treatment. But it crept up so slowly over a long period of time, I did not think about it. So please get check out by a allergist if you have symptoms that you can’t control. It may be worse than you realize, even potentially life-threatening – like mine.

Medication and Other Steps

There are many steps to help reduce your allergies. If you know you have a pet allergy, accept it and do not get another pet that will trigger your allergies. When you see an allergy and asthma specialist, they will give you a specific plan with remediation steps to take.

One simple step is to use a face mask. I strongly prefer the machine washable, reusable “Breathe Healthy” face masks because I can wear them for hours without the discomfort that cheap disposable masks cause.  There are a variety of fun patterns to choose from. Cleaning the inside of you home can stir up dust, pet dander, and other allergens. Cleaning outside can stir up pollen. Wearing a face mask and possibly even goggles reduces how much of the allergen enters your system.

Neti pots can also be a great help, but be careful with the water you use. Buying distilled water is a great choice, although boiling and then cooling water before using it is also popular.

With the severity of my allergies, I will be getting immunotherapy shots. Immunotherapy is a weekly commitment for about five years. It isn’t something that everyone can do, even if they are a candidate for it. I know that I cannot avoid oak trees and I am going to keep my pets. For me, the sacrifice and time of immunotherapy is worth it.

Medication

The week leading up to my allergy test, I was wearing a face mask any time I went outside and most of the time I was inside. There were moments when it was difficult for me to breathe, and it wasn’t even peak pollen season.

My doctor prescribed Singulair, antihistamines, a nasal spray, and an asthma inhaler for daily use. I also rely on a rescue inhaler in case of an allergy induced asthma attack. Many allergy medications are available over the counter. It is important to know what medicine is best for you and to keep a good supply on hand.

If a severe allergy sufferer is without their medications for more than a day or two, their condition could degenerate from healthy to life-threatening before help arrives. For example, antihistamines only stay in your system for 2-7 days. Consider keeping extra medication at work, in the car or other places where you might need it.

Local Honey

Local honey can help with allergies for weeds, grasses, and anything else bees pollinate. But bees aren’t big pollinators of trees, so it can’t be a solution for everyone. It didn’t even occur to me that the reason the honey was improving, but not eliminating, my allergy problems was that I had multiple allergies to some things that bees don’t pollinate.

Local honey operates on the same principal as allergy shots. When ingested, your body is exposed to small amounts of an allergen to help it develop a tolerance. Honey has the potential to reduce the user’s overall “allergen load.”  An allergen load is the total amount of allergens your body is dealing with at any point in time.

Reducing Exposure

Once you know what you are allergic to, it is important to take steps to reduce your allergen load. You may be able to reduce your total exposure below the allergic threshold, which is where symptoms start. Since it is the total exposure to all allergens that leads to being symptomatic, it makes sense to reduce anything possible.

If you have a cup, and you pour some milk in it, some soda, some coffee, and a little bit of tea, it will eventually overflow. It doesn’t matter that there are lots of different types of drinks in it. The cup will overflow the same  if you held it under the sink and filled it with just water. The same is true of allergens. If sufferers can remove or reduce even one or two triggers, it can make a difference.

Certain foods, such as onions, garlic, corn, and wheat, are common and seemingly impossible to avoid entirely. Others, such as passion fruit and quinoa, are fairly simple to avoid. The same is true of non-food allergens. Mites are almost impossible to avoid entirely and oak trees are incredibly common wherever there are deciduous forests.  While most of us won’t part with a family pet easily, horses and orchids are pretty simple for most of us to avoid.

Bugging In versus Bugging Out

As a prepper, keep at least one extra month or two supply of your allergy medications, including local honey if you use it. Asthma inhalers are prescription only, making it hard to have extras on hand. Keep a supply of over the counter medicine, including simple anti-histamines, even if they aren’t part of your daily regimen. Remember that having your gear and supplies to keep allergens off you is also a must. A scrub cap (they make scrub caps specifically for long hair), no rinse shampoo, and the  “Breathe Healthy” face masks can help keep pollen away from your eyes and nose. Pollen is designed to stick to things, so it will be carried in on the surface of anything that goes outside. Being able to clean your clothes without electricity will let you have pollen-free clothing, when you or anyone in the family has to venture out into nature. Pollen will also attach to your pets (waterless pet shampoo is a good idea), so be prepared to clean a lot during pollen season and in an emergency.

I know my allergies has forced us to change some of our preparedness plans. I am a big proponent of bugging in versus bugging out. In the event of a disaster, my family will have only  a month or two of bugging in at our home. We will need to move away from any oak trees before I run out of medications. I will also need to be careful around fires because the smoke triggers my asthma.

As difficult as it is to have allergies, knowing what they are, how to treat them and what to do in an emergency, has given me more control over my health and preparedness plans.

Coping With Life Threatening Allergies in a Post SHTF World via The Survival Mom

Do You Know How to Clean Up a Biological Mess?

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biological messJust before Christmas, my family and I were shopping at a local big box store. Near the dressing rooms, my daughter spotted a young man totally passed out on the carpeted aisle, with a pile of vomit nearby. Since that’s not a normal thing, we immediately alerted a clerk. Being the Survival Mom, I was curious to see this store’s protocol when dealing with a biological mess like this, so I hovered in the distance to watch.

Once the young man was on his way to an emergency room, the clean up protocol consisted of paper towels, a plastic trash bag, and some sort of spray in a bottle. Thankfully, the 2 employees charged with the clean up used plastic gloves. I was surprised that the carpeted section was immediately open to customers, complete with a large wet spot, hopefully sanitized.

I don’t know exactly what type of liquid was in the spray bottle, but the CDC recommends a sanitizing agent specific to vomit and fecal accidents. Stronger than a typical sanitizer, it should be a combination of 1/2 cup bleach to a liter of water.

For businesses, the protocol used by this store’s employeees wasn’t too far off the mark. Official recommendations can vary from county to county and state to state, but most recommend segregating the area so customers don’t track through, possibly spreading germs. Some viruses can become airborne, so a disposable face mask is another recommendation, and some states recommend wearing some sort of cover.

Another common recommendation is to sanitize the area far beyond the original mess. Some germs, such as Norovirus, can spread by air and infect persons dozens of feet away, and, depending on the individual’s health condition, blood could be present as well. Ugh.

Keep in mind, businesses have no idea whatsoever what type of biological mess they’re dealing with, even if the sick person is known to them, so going above and beyond recommended protocol wouldn’t be out of line. After all, every epidemic has a “patient zero”.

Cleaning a biological mess around the house

I had a chance to read Noah’s article, “How to Prep For a Quarantine“, and was reminded of the importance of having the right supplies to deal with biological messes when they occur around the house. Years ago when my young daughter had the Norovirus, it was a horrible mess and I ended up throwing away her favorite pair of pajamas — the diarrhea mess was that bad. Looking back, we were very fortunate that the entire family wasn’t infected with this highly contagious virus.

Over the years, I’ve had to clean up after my own kids as well as their friends whenever unpleasant accidents happened in the house, the car, or anywhere else where I happened to be the responsible adult. Most of the time, these incidents happen, are cleaned up, and there are no further repercussions, but it’s still a good idea to err on the side of caution.

So what should you have on hand to deal when a diarrhea or vomiting episode looks to become something more than just a “one and done” event?

Clean up from beginning to end

First, if you spend a lot of time outside the house or often have a house full of people, you might want to buy a complete clean-up kit and have everything on hand and in one place. A kit like this one contains gloves, absorbent powder, a biohazard waste bag, and a few more items. I’d add a few extras of the consumable items, like the nitrile gloves.

As an extra precaution, I’d also add a simple face mask. A simple vomit or bleeding event isn’t Ebola, but you may remember that that particular virus could be transmitted through any body opening, including nostrils and eyes, which is why Ebola health care workers wore goggles along with their face masks. Face masks are inexpensive and multi-purpose, so adding one or two to your clean-up kit is a simple matter.

At home, these same items will come in handy and not just for biological messes, which is a plus. (If you’re going to buy supplies and gear for any emergency, it’s a very good thing when they can be used for all kinds of emergencies.)

It’s vital that you isolate any potentially contaminated material as quickly as possible. That could mean keeping everyone out of the sick room or barricading a room until you can clean and sanitize the area. Also, be sure to very gentle soak up the blood, vomit, or other mess. Scrubbing at this point will just push the material deeper into the carpet, if that’s where the incident happened.

One of the easiest strategies for the actual clean up is to absorb the mess with paper towels, even if you’ve sworn off paper towels forever. Keep a couple of rolls with your first aid supplies. It’s easy to grab handful after handful, if necessary, and if the particular biological mess contains a virus, easy to put everything in a trash bag, seal, and dispose. If you decide to burn the contaminated paper towels, it will be a quick and easy task.

I’ve been collecting old, white towels for things like this. I keep them in my laundry room and everyone in the family knows where they are. Whenever there’s some sort of emergency, like a flooded toilet or vomit, those are the towels we use. Since they’re already white, I can use bleach when I launder them in the hottest water possible without fear of them being ruined. It’s also no problem if I just trash or burn the contaminated towels.

Using some sort of absorbent material to clean up the mess is a vital first step. You don’t want a pool of blood or other liquid at the bottom of a plastic bag, so make sure everything is first absorbed by paper or cloth towels and then dispose of those in a heavy-duty trash bag. Personally, I like the idea of having trash bags that let everyone around me know that it contains something that could be a health hazard. A box of 50 bright red biohazard bags is less than $12, and I hope to never have to use them all!

Before you just toss that bag, spray down the outside with an antiseptic spray or water/bleach solution, just in case the bag itself was accidentally contaminated. At this point the question is, what to do with the bag now? In an ordinary case of kid vomit or cleaning up after a typical injury with a bit of blood, it’s safe to throw out anything you’ve used in the cleanup. However, in a public health emergency, it will be a different story.

Finish up with your clean up by wiping the area clean one last time with a disinfectant spray like this one. When this is nearly, or completely, dry, spritz it well with a good dose of Stain & Odor Remover. I’ve used this product for years and swear by it.

Most likely a government public health agency will advise you on the disposal of anything that might be contaminated and contagious. In a real emergency, it would be okay to just store the trash bags in an out-of-the-way location until they can be properly disposed of. Be sure to keep them away from the sun, but putting them in a trash can out in the garage or on the patio would be okay. Those plastic bags could rip or be punctured, so if you end up storing them in a safe place temporarily, they should be in either a heavy duty cardboard box, a plastic bin, or something similar.

If the scenario is one of those “end of the world” situations, then burning or burying the waste will be best. That burial pit should be at least 3 feet deep and several feet away from any source of ground water.

Tools of the trade

Here are a few other items to have on hand to clean up biological messes:

In the typical household, these items will probably be used on occasion and not returned to their proper place, leaving you to scramble when it’s time to clean up a big mess. I recommend putting these supplies in a small plastic bin with a lid and then labeling it, “Emergencies Only”. When there really is an emergency, running around and yelling at the kids is not the way to go!

biological mess

Homecare Nursing: The Missing Piece in Survival Medicine

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Homecare Nursing-

Medical planning and training is a huge subject among preppers, and with good reason. In a large-scale disaster or worst case scenario, medical treatment may be impossible to access. Preppers, as a group, know more than the average person, but there is one area that very few preppers even seem to notice: Homecare Nursing.

I am a Licensed Practical Nurse, EMT, Wilderness EMT, phlebotomist, and CPR/ First Aid instructor. I also instruct disaster medicine with a well known firm and am currently working on my RN. I work full-time as well and have done this over the last several years. In addition to this training, I have had the opportunity to care for two relatives on hospice.

I have noticed that many preppers want to know how to suture a wound or remove “the bullet” or some other “glamorous” task. But the more training I receive and practice in the field, the more I realize how much I do not know, in spite of all my training and experience. That concept really scares me but it’s a healthy fear. Preppers will benefit from that realization as well. Learn the basics. Have the proper supplies ready. And then take the next step to learn how to suture a wound or remove a bullet.

Homecare nursing

The most ignored area in medical training that I have seen in survival circles is homecare nursing. I know it may be a boring subject, but it’s an absolute necessity to keep your patient alive and viable. It is sad when I deal with a person (young or older) who has contractures, bed sores, develops pneumonia, or just fights to maintain some level of independence because no one in their life provides basic homecare nursing skills.

A basic overview of the skill set necessary

Good basic patient care can be learned and mastered by becoming a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). The job of CNAs is to take temperatures and blood pressures, give bed baths, turn, and feed patients. They help monitor for bed sores, pressure areas, changing incontinent patients, and providing basic necessary care. It may not have the glamour or prestige of removing a bullet, but basic patient care is actually more necessary.

Not everyone understands that a person cannot lie in bed for hours, days, or even weeks without someone really involved in their care. An immobile patient must be turned and checked every two hours. If you turn them and see a red mark on their side, butt, or back, you are probably looking at a bedsore very soon. Bedsores can kill patients!! I have seen Stage 4 pressure ulcers that go to the bone. Do not let that happen. Patients need to be clean, dry and intact – always!

Bed-bound patients need to be exercised daily to help prevent contractures, a shortening or distortion of muscle or connective tissue. Contractures ultimately have the patient going into a fetal position. In nursing school we have worked with patients that required four adults to just change them and get them out of bed. Very, very sad.

This exercise involves having the patient move all their joints through their full range of motion. One or more caregivers may have to help with this. Start with the head by going side to side and rotations, move to the neck, shoulders, arms, fingers, knees and toes.

I also use incentive spirometers for lung exercises. This can help prevent pneumonia. If that is not available, try chest physiotherapy. Try cupping your hands and have the patients on their side. Use your cupped hands and tap on the patients back to loosen anything in the lungs. Do not use too much pressure but tap several times a day.

Necessary materials

  • Gloves – No latex. I prefer Nitrile for durability (available at Costco). It is impossible to have too many. I personally have 10 –12 cases. Each case has 10 boxes of 100 gloves. (Latex allergies are fairly common; there are nitrile allergies but they are far more unusual.)
  • Bed pan
  • Urinal – Male and female.
  • Wash basin
  • Emesis basin
  • Bed pads for incontinence – Reusable or disposable. The reusables are strong and can be used to help turn/ reposition your patient
  • Incontinence briefs (diapers) and pull-ups
  • Baby wipes – You can never have enough.
  • Thicken – Makes liquids thick for people with swallowing difficulties.
  • Nosey cups – Plastic cups with the nose section cut out to help with liquids for patients with limited mobility
  • Incentive spirometers – Lung exercisers.
  • Walkers
  • Crutches
  • Cane – Carbon Fiber is far lighter than other options.
  • Bedside commode
  • Gait belt – Assistive belt to help a patient ambulate.
  • Thermometer
  • Blood pressure cuff and stethoscope
  • Manual wheelchair
  • Hand Cleaner
  • Clorox and sprayer

I designed a “raised platform bed” for homecare nursing because I could not justify a hospital bed with hand cranks. The raised bed allows me to care for the patient without killing my back.

This is just a starting point to help you begin to think about skills and supplies you may want to add to your repertoire. It is far from complete but should give you an idea about needs for your patients. The American Red Cross may offer classes in your area to provide more training.

Remember, everyone in your family or group will need training and practice. Someday, the patient may be you, and these simple procedures may save a life, including your own. Also and most important, many of these tasks are not fun. Many are done for infants and young children without any thought. Please be kind and offer privacy and dignity to your patients. Treat them as you would want to be treated.

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Guest post by Dave, LPN, EMT, WEMT. Originally published February 3, 2011 and updated.

23 Medical Supplies Most People Overlook

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Med Supplies

A typical first aid kit provides only the bare minimum of supplies that a well-equipped home should have when it comes to health and medicine.  After giving this a good deal of thought, here are 23 additional medical supplies you should have on hand.  Some will be easy to acquire, while others may take more effort.

A few items are notated with an * and are to be used only by individuals with advanced medical training.  If this isn’t you, don’t cross the item off your list.  There may very well be a doctor, nurse, EMT or other individuals with training nearby, and if you have the supplies they need, it will be a huge advantage to keeping someone alive.

Medical Supplies You Should Have on Hand

1. N-100 High Filtration Face Mask/Respirator

The N-100 seals to the face and provides more filtration protection than the N-95.  It also has an exhalation valve. Here is more information about selecting face masks.

2. A secure treatment area

Being able to  attend to urgent medical needs in a secure area is something you may not have thought of. In addition to the presence of hysterical family members and friends whose loved ones’ lives are in jeopardy, there could be additional threats from outsiders. Take some time to plan where your makeshift treatment/triage area should be located.

3. Medical skills and ability

Acquire and practice knowledge, concentration, control, stamina, will, training, and expertise. By all means, take a First Aid and CPR class, but don’t stop there. Wilderness Survival classes are offered at REI stores and some community colleges offer classes for EMT students. Red Cross offers a lot more than just basic First Aid and CPR.

4. Spare battery for cell phone

This could be your own life-saving connection to the outside world. If you have a smartphone, download Red Cross apps as well as other survival apps.

5. Reference Materials

Merck Manual, JP Sanford (antibiotic guide), Tarascon’s Pharmacopea (Rx index), CPR & Cardiac Care guides, etc.

6. Penrose Drain Tubes

These can be used as tourniquets or drains, etc.

7. Suction Device, manual operation (non-electric)*

For anyone choking who is needing “suction” or as you “intubate” (only for advanced care professionals).

8. Foley Catheters*

Used for urinary blockage relief, but also for a make-shift “chest tube” when necessary!

9. Nasogastric Tubes and Large Syringe*

These can be used for Rectal IV instillation when an IV cannot be accessed.

10. Bouillon cubes 

Can be mixed with water for an electrolyte solution to drink when very ill.  The solution can also be administered rectally with the concept above as well.  Very handy to know and have on hand in a pinch.

11. Antibiotics

These will be a must-have in any post-collapse scenario! Check out this article for more details about how to stock up on antibiotics and which to buy.

12. Oropharyngeal Airways or OP Airways*

These can save a life if you know how and when to use them!

13. Fluids

Pedialyte is best, not Gatorade! You can also mix up your own with this recipe.

14. Over-the-counter medications

See list here.

15. LED Lights

You will need lights at night: headlamps, strobes (possibly for attracting moving vehicles or people nearby), reflective vests, powerful LED flashlights (for runners or operations with kit) & possibly a “surgical light”, for which we use a 12-volt car light connected to a car battery!

16.Blankets

Hypothermia is a real danger outside when any patient is traumatized.

17. Ear Candles 

These are easy to carry and used to provide relief with ear pain.

18. Organic (not synthetic) Natural Multi-B Vitamins

19. Large Commercial Trash Bags

Used to contain waste, worn over your torso as a make shift “rain coat” (don’t forget to punch three holes in the “top” for your head and two arms), or for “shields” when dealing with bloody/infectious messes.

20. Needles and scalpels

Along with these, you’ll need the knowledge to use them properly.  Training is necessary to use these items, and DO NOT USE this stuff if you don’t know how to do so, ever! However, if a medical professional is able to provide assistance, they will be invaluable.

21. Reflective Cones

These are often nowhere around when we need one – “outside” in the “Outback” (or on the side of the road)!

22. Emotional Stress Treatment

Have on hand extra meds you and family members are already taking.  If you run out of special meds that treat acute episodes, it will definitely be a time to panic!

23. Comfort items

These may not have to do with “medical care” at all. Think of things like candy, DVD’s, animals in our care that we love, protective and security items.

Prevention is the best mode of “medical care” in the world. If we thought this way as a nation – before the accidents occurred – well, I’d be out of a job, wouldn’t I?

There are a few excellent medical websites that are prepper/survival focused:

Prevent first and make sure to gather these medical supplies you should have on hand!

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Article by the Outback Doc. Get to know him at his website and blog, Outback Medicine.

The Dental Survival Kit

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dental survival

Dental Preparedness

Over the years, we have written hundreds of articles on medical preparedness for short or long-term disasters. Many now include medical kits and supplies to add to survival food storage and items for personal protection. Yet, few who are otherwise medically prepared seem to devote much time to dental health. Poor dental health can cause issues that affect the work efficiency of members of your group in survival settings. When your people are not at 100% effectiveness, your chances for survival decrease.
History tells us that problems with teeth take up a significant portion of the medic’s patient load. In the Vietnam War, medical personnel noted that fully half of those who reported to daily sick call came with dental complaints. In a long-term survival situation, you certainly will find yourself as dentist as well as nurse or doctor.
Anyone who has had to perform a task while simultaneously dealing with a bad toothache can attest to the effect on the amount and quality of work done. If your teeth hurt badly, it’s unlikely that your mind can concentrate on anything other than the pain. Therefore, it only makes sense that you must learn basic dental hygiene, care, and procedures to keep your people at full work efficiency. It could easily be the difference between success and failure in a collapse. In normal times, however, you should understand that the practice of dentistry without a license is illegal and punishable by law. Seek modern and standard dental care wherever and whenever it is available.

The Survival Dental Kit

The prepared medic will have included dental supplies in their storage, but what exactly would make sense in austere settings? You would want the kit to be portable, so dentist chairs and other heavy equipment wouldn’t be practical. You would want it to be easily distinguished from the medical kit.
We’ve mentioned that gloves for medical and dental purposes are one item that you should have in quantity. Don’t ever stick your bare hands in someone’s mouth. Buy hypoallergenic nitrile gloves instead of latex. For additional protection, masks should also be stored and worn by the medic.
We’ve researched dental items that should be in the dental kit of those that would be medically responsible in a long-term survival community. After consulting with a number of preparedness-minded dentists, we have put together what we believe will be a reasonable kit that can handle a number of dental issues. Items that would be practical for  the survival “dentist” include:
• Dental floss, dental picks, toothbrushes, toothpaste or baking soda
• Dental or orthodontic wax as used for braces. Wax can be used to splint a loose tooth to its neighbors.
• A Rubber bite block to keep the mouth open. This provides good visualization and protection from getting bitten. A large eraser would serve the purpose.
Cotton pellets, Cotton rolls, Q tips, gauze sponges (cut into small squares)
• Compressed air cans or a bulb syringe for drying up saliva on teeth.
• Commercial temporary filling material, such as Tempanol, Cavit, or Den-temp.
Oil of cloves (eugenol), a natural anesthetic. Often found in commercial preparations such as:
-Dent’s Toothache Drops (benzocaine in combo with eugenol)
It’s important to know that eugenol might burn the tongue, so be careful when touching anything but teeth with it.
• Other oral analgesics like Hurricaine or Orajel (Benzocaine)
Zinc oxide powder; when mixed with 2 drops of clove oil, it will harden into temporary filling cement. Here’s a video of the procedure:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3rTF4c26Po
• Spatula for mixing (a tongue depressor will do)
Oil of oregano, a natural antibacterial.
• A bulb syringe to blow air and dry teeth for better visualization, and as a diagnostic tool to elicit discomfort in damaged teeth. A can of compressed air may be an alternative.
• An irrigation syringe to flush areas upon which work is being done
Scalpel #15 or #10 to incise and drain abscesses
Dental probes, also called “explorers”.
Dental scrapers/scalers to remove plaque and probe questionable areas.
Spoon excavators. These instruments have a flat circular tip that is used to “excavate” decayed material from demineralized areas of a tooth. A powered dental drill would be a much better choice, but not likely to be an option off the grid.
Elevators. These are thin but solid chisel-like instruments that help with extractions by separating ligaments that hold teeth in their sockets. #301 or #12B are good choices. In a pinch, some parts of a Swiss army knife might work.
Extraction forceps. These are like pliers with curved ends. They come in versions specific to upper and lower teeth and, sometimes, left and right.
Although there are more types of dental extractors than there are teeth, you should at least have several. Although every dentist has their preferences, you should consider including the following in your dental kit:
-#151 or #79N for lower front teeth
-#150A or #150 for upper front teeth.
-#23, best for lower molars
-#53R, best for upper right molars
-#53L, best for upper left molars
• Blood-clotting Agents: There are a number of products, such as Act-Cel, that help control bleeding in the mouth after extractions or other procedures. It comes a fabric square that can be cut to size and placed directly on the bleeding socket or gum.
• Sutures: A kit consisting of a needle holder, forceps, scissors, and suture material is helpful for the control of bleeding or to preserve the normal contour of gum tissue. We recommend 4/0 Chromic catgut as it is absorbable. It’s small enough for the oral cavity but large enough for the non-surgeon to handle. Don’t forget a small scissors to cut the string. More information on suture materials can be found later in this book.
• Pain medication and antibiotics. Medications in the Penicillin family are preferred if not allergic. For those allergic to Penicillin, Erythromycin can be used. For tooth abscesses, Clindamycin is a good choice. These antibiotics are discussed in detail in the section dedicated to them in this book.
Just as obtaining knowledge and training on medical issues likely in a disaster is important, the study of dental procedures and practices is essential for the aspiring survival medic.

More dental resources

dental survival kit

Article contributed by Joe and Amy Alton, the authors of the 3 category #1 Amazon Bestseller “The Survival Medicine Handbook.  See their articles in Backwoods Home, Survival Quarterly, and other great magazines. For over 600 articles on medical preparedness in wilderness, disaster, or other austere settings, go to their website at www.doomandbloom.net.The opinions voiced by Joe Alton, M.D., and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. are their own and are not meant to take the place of seeking medical help from a qualified healthcare provider. 

Tips to Stay Healthy This Winter

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Tips on staying healthy this winter @MamaKautz

Get outdoors:

Take up snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Get as much natural Vitamin D as you can.

Boost your immune system:

Look natural ways to boost your immune system and with the seasonal influx of flu and colds there is never a better time to get started. I take natural supplements everyday as well as a protective essential oil blend.

Probiotics also help for good gut health which helps overall health.

Look after your heart:

A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and garlic is known to lower blood pressure and is used as a treatment for hyper tension. Heart attacks are common in winter months because of snow shoveling and the like.

Keep hydrated:
In the winter, many of us can go all day without even thinking about drinking water. Unlike summer when we are hot and always drinking it. This is a highly unhealthy practice as the change in season makes very little difference in the importance of water to your body. DRINK YOUR WATER!
I add lemon or grapefruit essential oils to mine to give it some flavor. A drop or 2 is all it takes.
I LOVE my HydroFlask water bottle. Keep my ice frozen for a long time.

What would you add for staying healthy?

The post Tips to Stay Healthy This Winter appeared first on Mama Kautz.

All About The Moringa Plant – GIVEAWAY!

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moringaHave you ever heard about the Moringa plant? I’ll be honest – I had never heard of such a thing until fairly recently. At first I dismissed it as a fad, but after some extensive research, it looks as though it is here to stay because of its genuine benefits.

Very simply put, Moringa oleifera is a plant that has recently come into the public consciousness because of its high nutritive value. It has many culinary uses, is easy to grow, and can be used to purify water to boot! It goes by other names as well: some call it the “drumstick tree” and in the Philippines it is known as “malunggay.”

I haven’t had the opportunity (yet) to try out any of the many things you can do with the moringa plant, but the more I’ve researched the more intrigued I have become. I haven’t been this fascinated by a plant since I heard about soapwort and vowed I would grow it in my garden and use it as shampoo. But that’s a subject for another day.

Basic nutrition facts about moringa

Moringa has joined the exclusive club of “super foods” that also counts among its members kale, quinoa, and acai berries, for some very good reasons. Moringa is extremely high in over 90 nutrients, including 8 essential amino acids that our bodies need but cannot produce, such as vitamins B, B1, B2, B3, D, and E. It has three times as much iron as spinach, four times the calcium of milk, four times the vitamin A of carrots, and is higher in vitamin C than oranges.

Moringa is one of the highest naturally occurring sources of chlorophyll, the health benefits of which could be the subject of its own article. Because of this, many international NGOs are encouraging the use of moringa as a treatment for malnutrition.

Because of its amino acid profile, moringa is considered to contain a complete protein, which makes it of particular value to vegans and vegetarians. With all these nutrients, one or more moringa plants would be a great asset to your garden, in addition to the foods in your food storage pantry.

Culinary Uses

The leaves, flowers, seeds, and seed pods are all edible. The flowers must always be cooked, however slightly, before eating to neutralize certain toxic compaounds found therein. WebMD recommends avoiding the flowers entirely during pregnancy because they can act as an abortifacient. WebMD also recommends staying away from the roots and bark, as the same toxic compounds found in the flowers are present in the roots in much higher concentrations, and can cause paralysis and death. The threshold for such a dismal fate is not known, so to be on the safe side, don’t eat the roots.

Young and tender seed pods, also referred to as “drumsticks,” can be cooked as green beans and have a flavor that is reported to be not unlike asparagus. Interesting fact: they call them “drumsticks” because they resemble the things you use to hit drums, not because they have anything to do with a certain favored part of a chicken. They kind of look like really long okra pods, to me. Older trees produce seed pods that are tough and bitter in addition to tender ones; for this reason moringa trees are often grown as seasonal crops even in places where they can thrive year-round. Why not try this drumstick sour soup recipe from Myanmar (Burma)?

The leaves can be found in many traditional South Asian dishes, whether they are dried and added as a garnish, or added to soup, omelettes, or curry. As for the taste, one source said that the leaves tasted like a “pecany spinach” when cooked, and slightly pungent like radishes or watercress when raw. It has become popular in the Philippines to make a pesto dish from moringa leaves. A delicious recipe/ tutorial for such a dish can be found here.

Seeds can be roasted like nuts when mature or cooked like peas when young. Unless you are eating seeds grown yourself, use caution when ingesting seeds. Only eat seeds meant for human consumption, as seeds intended for cultivation are sometimes sprayed with insecticides.

As for the flowers, they can be used to make tea, or can be battered and fried like squash blossoms.

Using Moringa Seeds To Purify Water

As a prepper, this is the thing about the moringa plant that most piques my curiosity. You can not only eat it, but can purify water with it, too? It sounds almost too good to be true. In fact, I am pretty sure I once saw an episode of “I Dream Of Jeanie” that featured some kind of magic seeds that could be used for water purification. Unlike that ridiculous made-for-TV plotline, this looks pretty legit. According to this tutorial, two spoonfuls of dried, powdered moringa seeds can be used to purify as much as 20 liters of water!

Not only does this sound like a practical solution to the widespread problem of water accessibility in the third world, trying this out would be an extremely educational homeschooling activity!

The seed powder bonds with particulates in the water and make them sink to the bottom, so the purified water can be poured off through a simple cloth filter. This method also takes care of most (but, as a caution, not all) of any bacteria present in the water. It doesn’t take care of 100% of all possible water contaminants, but it appears to do a pretty decent job. In a SHTF scenario when bleach drops could be impossible to come by, this could be a legitimate option.

Growing Your Own Moringa

Moringa is a tropical tree native to Northern India and the Himalayas. It loves heat, and does very well in zones 9, 10, and 11. The seeds germinate easily, and the plant grows quickly. Many gardeners report that it can grow up to 20 feet in a single season! If, like me, you live in a colder climate (zone 6 here in the Intermountain West), it is still possible to grow this plant in a greenhouse or as an annual.

Karen Coghlan of Blue Yonder Urban Farms suggests:

GROWING IN A GREENHOUSE

If you have access to a greenhouse Moringa seedlings could be grown in a greenhouse, with temperatures kept well above freezing.

GROWING IN POTS

Moringa grown in pots can be moved inside when the weather changes. Just be sure to provide warmth and light to keep it alive.

GROWING AS AN ANNUAL

If you grow a vegetable garden you are probably aware of the practice of growing vegetable as annuals. Most vegetables are grown in one season and replanted again the next year.

I don’t have a lot of garden space in my backyard these days, but I think next year I will give moringa a try, just for fun. Do any of you have experience with the Moringa plant? We would love to hear all about it.

Moringa

Win a packet of Moringa seeds!

Karen of Blue Yonder Urban Farms is donating packets of 25 Moringa seeds to 4 lucky Survival Mom readers! Enter the giveaway using the form below. Winners will be selected at random on October 26, and notified by email no later than October 27. Winners have 48 hours to respond.

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Survival Mom DIY: Making Apple Cider Vinegar At Home

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DIY ACVI really love having fresh, raw, organic apple cider vinegar at home for all of its health benefits. If it can help me stay away from doctors offices or hospitals, I”ll take it. I want to avoid the Superbugs that live in those places. (I won’t even pick up those magazines they have sitting around, because sick people have been touching them).

It’s important to get the unpasteurized, raw, organic form. Pasteurizing apple cider vinegar kills the probiotics and beneficial bacteria found in the gelantinous substance called “The  Mother”. If you make it at home, it can be fun, easy, and practically free. I pick the apples from the apple tree in my back yard. They are small, sour, have some bugs, and not good for much of anything. Since they attract a lot of wasps, I decided to pick some of the apples off the ground and do something practical with them.

First, let’s go over some benefits, some of which are backed up by science and some that aren’t. There are home remedies made from apple cider vinegar that many people claim really work for them, even if science hasn’t documented it yet.

Home Remedies

According to WebMD: Carol Johnston, PhD, directs Arizona State University’s nutrition program. She has been studying apple cider vinegar for more than 10 years and believes its effects on blood sugar are similar to certain medications.

image“Apple cider vinegar’s anti-glycemic effect is very well documented,” Johnston says. The vinegar blocks digestion of some of the starch. “It doesn’t block the starch 100%, but it definitely prevents at least some of that starch from being digested and raising your blood sugar.”  I think that is amazing, but it doesn’t mean to increase unhealthy choices. After all, you don’t want to cancel out those health benefits.

Raw, organic Apple Cider Vinegar, (henceforth referred to as ACV)  can help eliminate Candida (yeast overgrowth) in your system. It is often blamed for fatigue, poor memory, sugar cravings, and yes…yeast infections. It also helps break up mucous, so it may help with allergies, sinus infections and other nasty things that go along with it like sinus headache and sore throat.

ACV may help both prevent constipation and diarrhea. (It must be those beneficial bacteria in there helping the G.I. system.)

Cleaning and Hygiene

I wipe down my counters with a solution of diluted AVC. After all, it is a disinfectant, and the vinegary smell goes away after it dries. I think it acts like a deodorizer as well.

I also clean windows with it, and wipe it with crumbled newspaper so it doesn’t leave a paper-like residue. It works just fine. My Grandma Angela taught me the tip about using newspaper instead of paper towels when I was just a kid.

Some people use a 3:1 ratio of water to ACV as a facial skin toner, and say it eliminates blemishes as well. Others said they put AVC on a cotton ball and applied to a wart and bandaged it overnight. I have not personally tried these things, but go ahead and experiment yourself.

We also use a few tablespoons in a quart mason jar of water for a hair rinse after shampooing. It makes your hair silky soft and glossy.

Eating

I have a AVC based salad dressing that I make that is really a health elixer. Yum!

  • Two to three parts ACV to 1 part Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I like a tangy taste, so I do 3:1) I fill a Mason jar 2/3 with AVC, 1/3 Olive Oil
  • 3-4 Garlic Toes crushed
  • 1/4 cup Raw Organic Honey (I use 1/2 cup)
  • 1-2 TBS Grated fresh Ginger
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

It solidifies a bit in the fridge, so leave warm up enough to be easier to mix just before you put it on a salad. I could actually just drink it straight out of the jar!

One of the health food stores I go to sells a popular well know brand of AVC. Under its shelf space there is a sign listing the following information:

Some of the health benefits of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar include:

  • Helps promote youthful skin
  • Helps remove artery plaque, infections, and toxins
  • Helps fight germs, viruses, bacteria, and mold naturally
  • Helps slow down the aging process
  • Helps keep blood the right consistency
  • Helps regulate menstruation, relieves PMS, and UTI’s
  • Helps normalize urine pH
  • Helps digestion, assimilation and helps balance pH
  • Helps relieve sore throats, laryngitis and throat tickles
  • Helps banish acne, athlete’s foot, soothes sunburns
  • Helps fight arthritis, and helps remove toxins and uric acid crystals from the joints, tissues and organs
  • Helps control and normalize weight

Make your own.

So, I decided it would be great to make my own at home. I began by washing the apples in the sink. Then, I filled my large Coleman cooler just over halfway with cut up apples, cores, and peelings. I mixed in a 4 lb. bag of sugar. I would have done 5 lbs, but now they make the bags smaller.

I covered it with cheesecloth for a few days and kept it in a cool place out of direct sunlight. This gives the natural yeast in the air time to come in contact with the apples and start multiplying in the liquid. Then I close the lid. Every few days, I open it to stir it, smell it, and look for the white mat of gelatin looking like substance: the “Mother”.

Over time (a few weeks), it turns into an alcohol, then into vinegar. I take the apples out around the one month mark, after they have settled to the bottom of the cooler. The remaining liquid remains. My vinegar usually takes four to six months before I think its ready. I like the nice deep amber color that develops. If I opt for jarring it up sooner, it is paler and not as strong because the flavor intensifies over time. It’s just your own personal preference.

Once, it’s ready, I set my cooler up on a chair and stick a bucket under the valve at the bottom. I open it and strain the liquid through a wire strainer lined with a coffee filter, layers of cheesecloth, or non-bleached natural Muslin. Low tech, but it works. After straining, I pour it into pint and quart Mason Jars. I add a little of the “Mother” back into each one. Sometimes even a few Apple Seeds!

I have heard some people who “can” their ACV, but I personally never have.  I have never had a batch go bad on me….yet.

If you do the following step, you may lose some of the probiotic benefits you’re aiming for. But, if you would like try it anyway, just warm it in an enamel lined pan at 150 degrees for 30 minutes and pour into your sterilized Mason Jars. You won’t be able to use this as a “starter” for more vinegar, so save some if you wish to keep any on hand. Give it a try, experiment with different methods, and you can soon enjoy your raw, organic, healthy, and cheap apple cider vinegar.