Survival Medicine Hour: Anaphylaxis, Ear Infections, Hemorrhage

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Ear Anatomy

The Survival Medicine Hour, hosted by Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy of https://www.doomandbloom.net/ brings you a few topics, including ear infections, bleeding control and the final part 3 of the allergy series: anaphylaxis. Monday, February 20, 2017 is President’s Day, but do you know about the pre-George Washington “Presidents”? Do you also know who held the presidential office twice, but not with consecutive terms?

anaphylaxis

signs/symptoms of anaphylaxis

Severe allergic reactions may cause body-wide reactions called anaphylaxis that can be life-threatening. Although few die from simple allergic reactions, anaphylaxis is much more severe and, without quick intervention, the victim can die from respiratory or cardiac arrest. Having an epi-pen handy is advisable, although you can learn how to dose with epinephrine solution from a sterile vial.

 

Ear infections are fairly common in babies and children, and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keep your ear canal as dry as possible during and after swimming. Feed babies in a head-up position, to prevent formula or milk from entering the passages into the ear. Beware of early warning signs before the ear infection becomes severe, such as: pain and itching, drainage from the ear canal and redness and swelling in the ear canal. babies may tug at their ear.

 

Plus, an introduction to hemorrhage and its effects on the human body.

 

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/02/17/survival-medicine-hour-ear-infections-bleeding-anaphylaxis

 

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

 

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

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The Altons

10 Ways to Use Castor Oil

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10 Ways to Use Castor Oil When you think of castor oil, you probably think about the vile tasting liquid your grandma used to insist that you take. But in reality, the external uses of castor oil are extremely impressive. Did you know that many modern medications have castor oil as an ingredient? It is …

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Allergies: What You Need To Know, Pt. 1

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immunity

allergies: What You Need To Know

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

A SHORT HISTORY OF ALLERGIES

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

 

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

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

HOW ALLERGENS CAUSE REACTIONS

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

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

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

SYMPTOMS OF ALLERGIES

bee

Toxin Allergies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DRUG TREATMENT OF ALLERGY SYMPTOMS

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

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

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

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

NATURAL TREATMENT OF ALLERGY SYMPTOMS

neti-pot

Neti Pot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton MD

JoeAltonLibrary3

Joe Alton, MD

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

 

Prepper’s Survival Medicine Handbook (Book Review)

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You’re a suburban homesteader.  You know how to raise your own food, protect your land, hunt for your protein, fix just about everything around your home and work with your neighbors to make your world that much better.  But, do you know how to deal with any acute medical emergencies that show up?  Scott Finazzo’s

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

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water

Safe Water

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

 

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

 

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

 

To Listen in, click below:

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

 

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

 

Amy and Joe Alton

Amy Alton Everglades Close up 400 x 600

Amy Alton, ARNP

 

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

 

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

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Doom and Bloom’s SURVIVAL! board game unboxed

13 Tips on Surviving a Protest

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closed fist protest

Anti-Free Speech?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones

Guest Article: Homeopathy and Preparedness

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homeopathic meds

Nurse Amy and I are conventionally trained medical professionals that incorporate an integrative philosophy into our writings. We don’t know everything, however (far from it), and sometimes find writers on specific topics that are outside of our wheelhouse and cannot speak to authoritatively. Here’s an article by Becky Rupert, a board-certified homeopath, to introduce you to her field:

 

When preparing for any emergency, we all know it is a good idea to have basic things on hand such as first aid kits, bandages, extra medications, analgesics, essential oils, herbs, wraps, blood stop powder, and all of those things to help us when we have minor injuries or emergencies.  It is also a good idea to have extra skills such as how to make tinctures, or herbal products, or the many wonderful first aid skills taught at organizations such as the Red Cross.  Suturing skills are a plus, as well as classes in nursing or EMT classes.  These are wonderful adjuncts to your preparedness portfolio!

 

However, I think there is one more thing that is incredibly useful to add to your “tool kit”.

 

What I am going to teach you about today is a form of alternative medicine that is easy, safe and very effective in an emergency when you have no access to standard medical care.  You can use this method with little cost input to start, and you can use it right now for your family in acute situations such as:

 

  • colds
  • flu
  • sprain
  • strain
  • injuries

You can start learning now to give remedies in acute situations so that you can understand how to give remedies in situations where there is a dire need, so you can help family and friends with a safe, holistic healing method.  It is not difficult to do, and it is very rewarding.  It can require a shift in how you think about healthcare. Homeopathy is quite different from what you may be used to.

 

First, some background:

 

Let’s first talk a bit about what homeopathy is, what it is not, and how it can help your family!  Homeopathy is a 200 year old system of medicine created by a physician and chemist, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann.  In his time, physicians used toxic crude substances which had many side effects and harmed more than healed.  Dr. Hahnemann devised a way of using dilutions of substances to help the body heal without the toxic effects, even if the original substance was toxic.

 

Homeopathy means “similar suffering”.   Remedies are made from just about anything from plants, to animals, to minerals and each has a specific pattern of symptoms associated with it.  Right now there are about 5,000 remedies and more are being made every day.  They are sustainably sourced and they are “FDA approved drugs”.  Some are over the counter, and some are prescription based.  In fact, Samuel Hahnemann wrote the good manufacturing practices that are still in use today.

 

Homeopathy is not herbalism, although we may start with an herbal “mother” tincture at the base of the remedy, we often use the entire plant, something that herbalists rarely do because at times the parts of a plant may not have therapeutic value or may be toxic.  In the homeopathic remedy, there are  no molecules of the original substance left once you go above 12c (explained below), which renders them non toxic and safe for infants, animals, or the elderly.

 

Homeopaths don’t use machines, muscle testing, herbs or supplements.  We (generally) don’t make remedies ourselves (there are special pharmacies for that).  Constitutional Homeopaths also don’t give you more than one remedy at a time, and we don’t use machines to figure out what remedies you need (with the exception of a computer program to go through all of your symptoms).  The pellets we use are small, pleasant tasting and dissolve under the tongue.  Children readily take them and usually respond quickly, as do animals.

 

What do the numbers and letters mean on a homeopathic remedy package?

 

The remedies all have latin names, such as apis mellifica (honey bee) and the number tells you how many times the remedy was diluted, the “C” stands for the amount of water it was diluted in, in this case, 99:1=100 (99 parts alcohol and water to one part mother tincture).  If you remember your roman numerals, you will see they are common in homeopathy.  There are also “X” potencies, that is 1 in 9=10.

 

C potencies last longer than X potencies, but all you really need to know is to stick with 12c or 30c if you  can, for best results.  There are situations that 6c, or 200c is much more preferred, and if that’s the case, I will let you know.  Generally, you can’t go wrong with a 12 or 30c.  That is a great potency for beginners and they are readily available, and in the common remedy kits for home use.

 

How does it work?

 

We don’t know the exact mechanism of action of the remedies.  We know they are not placebo, because they work on infants and animals very well.  If you have the wrong remedy, nothing happens and there are no side effects or unwanted symptoms.  There are instances when people can be sensitive to remedies and if you are the type that is very sensitive to everything around you, then I would consider having someone walk you through the process so you know how to take remedies.  Sensitive folks can aggravate which means that the symptoms they already have get worse before they get better.  This is rather unusual but does happen on occasion, and usually sensitive people are sensitive to so many other things such as medications, perfumes, everything sets them off.  This is not to say that chemically sensitive people shouldn’t use homeopathy, I have lots of clients who are environmentally sensitive and they are often fine with remedies. We often need to dilute them a bit in about 4 oz of water.

 

The wonderful thing about homeopathy is that it works to heal the entire person, mentally, emotionally, physically, all at the same time.  We do not have one remedy for asthma and one for headaches, and one for eczema and one for autism, we see the person as a whole and give a remedy and potency based on that person’s unique set of symptoms.  Homeopathy is so safe, you can give it during labor and delivery.

 

We recommend that home prescribers use remedies for acute situations (self limiting situations such as colds, flu, injuries, sunburn), and leave the chronic situations to the professionals.  Chronic symptoms are symptoms such as PMS, fatigue, headache, asthma, autism, eczema, etc.

 

My clients come from all over the US and abroad and I teach them to be able to care for themselves during acute situations.  I see people for acute situations and chronic ones and some people want to learn everything they can and some just want me to fix it!  Either way is fine, but here we’ll get your feet wet so you can learn more.  Even if the only thing you do is use arnica for bumps and bruises, that’s a step in the right direction.  Carry arnica with you wherever you go and you’ll be amazed at how it stops pain fast!  Learn to give some remedies in a few situations and soon you’ll be learning more and more.

 

Homeopathy is a wonderful addition to your medical kit or bug out bag.  Remedies are easy to use and pretty forgiving.  Dosing depends on the individual, the amount of pellets is not based on body weight or age.  In homeopathy, frequency of dose is what is important.

 

The most important thing to remember is:

 

  • Give the remedy as needed, not on a schedule. If you have an aggravation from a remedy DO NOT REPEAT, wait and watch, usually this is minor and improvement will follow; then repeat as needed by putting a pellet in 4 oz of water and sip only as needed.
  • Give the remedy 2 doses before moving on to the next remedy if nothing happens… unless you are very sensitive.
  • Most people in an acute situation will know how often to take the dose, their symptoms relapse after improvement. If you have hit yourself with a hammer, and you take hypericum, the pain will come back and you will know when to repeat, more is not better!
  • In a situation like a cold, you may need 3 doses in one day to determine if you should switch to another remedy.
  • Remedies come in different pellet sizes, large pellets like the decorating balls for cookies – you can use one at a time, tiny, poppy-seed sized pellets, the dose is about 5 pellets. Generally, the amount of pellets is not important, the frequency of dose is.
  • In critical situations such as shock, you may need a stronger dose or the remedy may be needed more frequently then you expect, don’t be surprised if the remedy lasts for minutes or a half hour and you need to repeat. The doses should start lasting longer and longer until the problem resolves or you get help
  • Try to get help if the situation is beyond your skills or training
  • If there is a very high fever (104 or above), you may need to seek out care or diagnosis. Obviously, use your judgement, but some of the scenarios in this article are for those who can’t get to medical care.  Medical care is important in a critical situation, if you are having a heart attack, get help if you are able.  It sounds silly but people have called me in the middle of a heart attack!

 

Bumps, Bruises, Head injuries, Fractures, etc.

 

Arnica Montana:

Everyone should have arnica on hand for emergencies, it a wonderful first aid remedy and often the one that people pick up whenever there is an injury.  Especially useful for bruising and head injuries, I use 200c for head injuries and 30c for minor bruising.  This remedy is often useful to help heal damage from surgery.

 

(Dr. Bones says: I don’t have a lot of experience with some of the substances mentioned in Becky’s article, but can vouch, from personal experience, for the effectiveness of Arnica in alleviating pain from injuries.)

 

Bellis Perennis:

Bellis is in the same family as arnica and is useful for deep muscle trauma, deep incisions or heav blows when arnica doesn’t offer much help.  I use 6c three times a day until it is no longer needed.

 

Ruta Graveolens:

Ruta is wonderful for ligament and tendon injuries or sprains and strains.  I use 200c followed by 6c three times a day until unnecessary.  I found that sprains heal in half the time with ruta.

 

Symphytum Officionales:

The best remedy for fractures, It is used after being set to knit bones quickly.  I use 200c for pain if arnica doesn’t help and then 6c three times daily for 3-6 weeks.  Also very useful for eye injuries at the same potencies.

 

Staphysagria:

Useful for healing cuts and knife wounds after stitching or approximating wounds.  For a deep wound may need 200c one dose or 30c three times a day for 2 days.

 

Calendula Officionales:

Used in tincture or potency this is excellent for skin abrasions and can also be used diluted 1:10 parts water in eye infections, abrasions, or as eyewash.  This can be also used as an antibacterial for wounds or lacerations, but some homeopaths also like Echinacea tincture for this purpose as well.

 

Silica:

This remedy is often used to expel splinters or foreign material embedded in skin.  I use 6c or 30c three times a day for 2 days.

 

Cantharis:

This remedy (like all others) has many uses, but is very useful for burns and scalds, and can also be used for urinary tract infections with a great amount of burning with urination.  I use 30c as needed for pain control.  For sunburn I prefer sol 30, but it can also be used for sunburn.

 

Apis Mellifica:

One of the best remedies for bee or wasp stings or even anaphylactic shock, apis has redness, edematous swelling and heat.  It is also used for cellulitis.  If you have severe allergies it is a good idea to have epi pen around but if you don’t have one, apis may be a lifesaver.  It is always a good idea to have other alternatives such as Benadryl just in case!  A 30c of apis may not be strong enough of a dose, so I recommend having a 30c and 200 on hand.

 

Fevers/Infection/Shock:

 

Pyrogenum:

I have used pyrogen 1M potency for tooth infections with great results, it is also generally used for septicemia.  At this high of a dose, it is given only as needed for fever or pain control.

 

Belladonna:

The most used homeopathic remedy for fever, it is useful in high fevers of many kinds.  The skin is usually hot and dry, and it has been used for decades for scarlet fever.  Useful in situations where there are delusions or hallucinations with fever.  Belladonna is very violent and sudden and is also used in heat stroke or heat exhaustion.  Symptoms tend to be hot red and violent and tend to be right sided.  Aggravation time is often 3 AM or PM and can be used for childhood ear infections of sudden onset when these symptoms match.

 

Ferrum Phos:

Often useful in situations where there are mild symptoms and you aren’t sure which remedy to give, ferrum phos has vague symptoms and is often given at the beginning of an illness to stop it before it starts.

 

Aconitum Napellus:

Aconite is incredibly useful in shock and there can be fright or anxiety and restlessness.  There is a sudden onset of symptoms like in belladonna.

 

Phosphorus:

This is a remedy that is often useful in hemorrhaging, and nosebleeds, which are often left sided.  I usually use 30c in minor cases and would use 200c in severe cases.

 

(Dr. Bones says: With regards to significant hemorrhage, it’s always important to know appropriate first aid techniques like you’ll find in many of my articles on this website.)

 

I hope this helps you get your feet wet with what homeopathy can do.  I recommend that people use Homeopathy in every day acute illness such as colds, flu, or minor injuries to see how remedies are used.  Don’t keep them on a shelf, becoming proficient with their use helps so when you really need them you will know how to use them.  A side benefit is that they last forever unless they are exposed to extreme heat so you can store them long term without expiration.  These are the remedies that are very useful for a bug out bag or emergency kit and can be used for the barnyard or home.  We offer kits with 40 remedies for those who are interested.  I hope you never have to use a kit in an extreme emergency, but I personally feel better knowing they are around if I need them!

 

I wish you good fortune on your journey to health…

 

Becky Rupert, ND, CCH

Board Certified Homeopath

Becky has been homesteading for 20 years while practicing and teaching homeopathy to laypeople to help themselves, their families and their animals.  She consults with people all over the US and abroad and can be reached at beckyrupert@frontier.com or by phone EST at (419) 853-3805. Please address any of your questions to Becky.

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Expiration Dates, Face Masks, More

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N95-Surgical-Mask

N95 mask

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

Antibiotics

expiration dates

To listen in, click below:

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

 

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

Joe and Amy Alton

LabCoatsBonesAmy1

joe and amy alton

Video: Surviving a Building Fire

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wildfire21

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

 

To watch, click below:

 

 

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

joealtonlibrary4

 

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

Survival Medicine Hour: Hypothermia Pt. 3, Frostbite, Winter Hazards

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frostbite2

Frostbite with gangrene

The Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy discusses altitude sickness, winter car survival, falling through the ice or into very cold water and more. Car Survival equipment should include wool blankets, instant hand warmers, flashlights and extra batteries (fresh), small tool with blade, screwdrivers, pliers etc, foldable shovel, sand or rock salt, flares and reflective large triangles, tow chain or tough rope, jumper cables, water and food, a first aid kit (Doom and Bloom makes a grab and go bag), tarp, noisemaker and more.

caraccidentwinter

Winter car survival

To increase your chances of survival in cold water you should wear a life jacket whenever you are on a boat. It enables you to stay alive longer by keeping you afloat without burning too much energy. A built-in whistle is a great item to have on the life jacket also. Keep your clothes on while you are still in the water. Button or zip up to retain some body heat. The layer of water between your clothing and your body is slightly warmer and will help insulate you from the cold.

 

To listen in, click the link below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2017/01/20/survival-medicine-hour-hypothermia-pt3-frostbite-winter-hazards

 

Wishing you all the best in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

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

 

 

Video: Cold Prevention Myths and Facts

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colds

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

To watch, click below…

 

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

 

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

 

 

drbones-nurseamy

Car Survival in Winter

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carsinsnow

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

 

Your Car

 

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

 

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

 

Your Life 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Stranded!

 

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

 

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

The Winter Car Kit 

caraccidentwinter

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

 

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

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

 

Joe Alton MD

AuthorJoe

Dang, It’s Cold! Treating and Preventing Hypothermia

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shutterstock_90110446

hypothermia (and bad judgment)

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Prevention of Hypothermia

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

st. bernard

Pet the Dog, Skip the Booze

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

 

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

 

Treating  Hypothermia

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Joe Alton, MDAuthorJoe

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

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

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shutterstock_90110446

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

 

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

avalanche-center1

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

 

To listen in, click below:

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

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

The Altons

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

Video: Norovirus, the Stomach Flu

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hot-dog-stand

In this video, Joe Alton, MD discusses a recent experience with the stomach flu on a trip to New York. Norovirus is the most common cause of the “stomach flu”, a debilitating and dehydrating intestinal illness that affects millions every year throughout the world. Often caused by contaminated food on cruises, 800 students at a high school in Illinois were recently affected, presumably due to cafeteria issues. Learn more about the norovirus and what to do if you or a loved one comes down with it.

 

To watch, click below:

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Choosing Sutures

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Sutureneedleholder1

As we go around the country teaching the art of suturing pig’s feet to aspiring porcine podiatrists, we are often asked about how to choose the appropriate suture needles and material for different types of injuries.  There are a wide variety of choices and, today, we’ll discuss what is available and what is most effective for different types of wounds.

 

First, let’s identify some of the qualities of the optimal suture.  The suture should:

 

·        Be sterile

·        Be easily worked with

·        Be strong enough to hold wound edges together while they heal

·        Be unlikely to cause infection, tissue reaction or significant scar formation

·        Be reliable in its everyday use with every type of wound

 

It is rare, if not impossible, to find a single suture type that meets all of the above criteria, but there are many that will serve if chosen properly.

 

In the United States and many other countries, a standard classification of suture has been in place since the 1930s.  This classification identified stitches by type of material and the size of the “thread”.  Suture diameters most commonly used in humans (and pigs, I would think) is measured in zeroes, much like buckshot.  2-0 (00) suture, for example, is thicker than 5-0 (00000) suture. The more zeroes, the finer the “thread”. Finer sutures have less tissue reaction and heal faster, but are more difficult to handle for those without experience.

 

In addition to size, sutures are classified as absorbable and non-absorbable.  An absorbable suture is one that will break down spontaneously over time but not before the tissue has had sufficient time to heal.  Absorbable sutures have the advantage of not requiring removal after healing has taken place. This type of suture is commonly used in deep layers, such as muscle, fat, organs, etc.  A classic example of this is “catgut”, actually made from the intestines of sheep or cows.

 

(Aside: Catgut was once also used in the manufacture of stringed musical instruments and tennis racquets.)

 

Catgut is usually found in “plain” and “chromic” varieties. When dipped in a chromic acid salt solution, catgut lasts longer in the body while remaining absorbable.

 

Although still popular, catgut has been replaced by synthetic absorbables for many applications. examples of synthetic absorbable suture include “Vicryl” (polyglycolic acid), “PDS” (polydiaxanone), and others. These tend to last longer than catgut sutures, but will eventually be absorbed by the body.

suturenylon

Nylon suture package depicting size, needle shape, and length of “thread”

Nonabsorbable sutures are those that retain their character for a very long time, and will stay in the body until removed.  As such, normal immune response will cause the development of scar tissue, sometimes called “encapsulation”, around these sutures if used in internal body structures. 

 

Nonabsorbable sutures are best used in skin closures and situations that require prolonged tensile strength. They include monofilaments (such as “Nylon” and “Prolene”) and braided multifilaments (such as ”Surgical Silk”). Monofilaments like Nylon are useful because of less likelihood of harboring bacteria, whereas braided multifilaments have nooks and crannies for these organisms to hide. Monofilament also glide more easily through tissue. In trade, braided Silk is somewhat easier to handle than Nylon for many and often used for teaching purposes.

 

I recommend Nylon in most survival situations, with 2-0 or 3-0 Nylon ideal for those new to the suturing skill.  This size “thread” is easy to handle and useful for aspiring medics to learn surgical knot-tying.

 

The size of the “thread” you’ll use depends on the area of the body being repaired. Slowly healing tissues such as skin and tendons require nonabsorbable sutures; wounds in rapidly healing areas such as the inside of the cheek and vagina (childbirth) are best repaired with absorbables. 

 

In survival settings, cosmetic results are less important, but surgeons generally use smaller sutures in delicate areas such as areas on the head and face.  5-0 or 6-0 Nylon would normally be the choice here, but require more skill in handling.  Skin sutures should be placed, in my opinion, about 1/2 inch or so apart in most instances. This will allow drainage while keeping the wound together.  Areas over joints or other moving parts should be closer together. In wounds not near joints, say, the forearm, the sutures may be further apart and could be interspersed with Steri-Strips or butterfly closures.

suture needles

typical suture needles (chromic catgut)

 

The type of needle is also an important factor in choosing suture material. Needle that are less traumatic to sensitive tissues, like the lining of the bowel and other deep structures, are round on cross-section. These are known as “atraumatic” or “tapered”. Needles that are best on tough areas like skin are triangular in shape on cross-section and are referred to as “cutting” needles. Most suture needles that are useful for skin form a 3/8 circle; needles for deep work are often ½ circle in shape.

 

Having said all of the above, the choice of suture needles and material will vary depending on the user. Each surgeon will have his or her preferences based on their experience.

 

How long skin sutures remain in place before removal is dependent on the body part repaired.  Face wound sutures are usually removed relatively soon (5 days) compared to, say, a forearm wound (7-10 days).  Thicker skins, such as the sole of the foot should stay in somewhat longer.   Sutures placed over the knee or other joints should remain in place longer, 2-3 weeks, in my opinion.

 

Remember that the act of suturing is more traumatic than using butterfly closures, Steri-Strips, surgical glue, and others due to the fact that you are making more punctures in an area of skin already injured.  Each extra “hole” you create could allow the entry of bacteria into the wound. 

 

One last relevant point:  When you practice suturing on your pig’s foot, you are learning a skill, not a trade.  The practice of medicine without a license is illegal and punishable by law; as long as modern medical care exists, seek it out.

 

We’ll talk about staples, medical glues, and Steri-Strips/butterfly closures in future articles.

 

To see me suture in real time, here’s my YouTube video:

Joe Alton, MD

joealtonlibrary4Find out more about wound closure and 150 other topics in our 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for when Medical Help is Not on the Way“. Find suture kits and individual sutures at Nurse Amy’s store.

Survival Medicine Hour: Hypothermia, Nightclub Terror

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hypothermiaoldmanincoldwater

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

 

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

 

To listen in, click below:

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

 

Follow us on twitter @preppershow

Follow our Youtube Channel at DrBones NurseAmy

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

 

All the best for a happy and healthy 2017!

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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

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

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

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

To listen in, click below:

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

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

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

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

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Surviving A Hangover

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hangover-the_tower-1

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

 

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

 

What Causes Hangovers?

 

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

 

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

 

Symptoms of Hangovers

 

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

 

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

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

 

Treating a Hangover

headachebarbie

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Home Remedies for Hangovers

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

PREVENTION

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

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

Using Epinephrine in Vials

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The EpiPen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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1:1000 epinephrine in vials (from WebMD)

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

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

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

 

(This article can be viewed in video form HERE)

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Dr. Joe Alton

 

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

My Favorite Survival Books

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With Christmas coming around the corner I want to share some of my favorite new survival books of this year.

What better way to learn than by reading? Be it factual or fictional there are all kinds of good books to read. Bobby Akart and Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy are some of the best authors I know of. Bobby Akart writes fictional true stories that haven’t happened yet. His words. 🙂 Dr bones and Nurse Amy have a goal set in mind to teach as many people as possible how to treat medical emergencies at home so that we can take care of our families in a disaster. Both of the authors should be on all book shelves.

The Survival Medicine Handbook by Dr.Bones and Nurse Amy is a must have for every home. Not only preppers. The Survival Medicine Handbook is a 670 page detailed guide for those who want to be medically prepared for any disaster where help is NOT on the way. The third (2016) edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook is not your standard first aid book: Unlike other so-called “survival” medical 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. The Survival Medicine Handbook will give you the tools, in plain English, to competently handle injuries and illness for any situation that leaves you as the end of the line with regards to your family’s medical well-being

Bobby Akart has a post-apocalyptic series titled “The Boston Brahmin Series” is fantastic! There are 6 books in this series and each book takes you deep inside of our corrupt government with The Loyal Nine as America descends into societal and economical collapse.

 

 

“With social unrest sweeping the country, Europe on the brink of war and the U.S. economy under siege by foreign nations, a new threat emerges. The nation is caught in the crosshairs of a power struggle between wealthy oligarchs and the political leaders who claim to have the country’s best interests at heart.

As the collapse events escalate, enter The Loyal Nine – direct descendants of the Founding Fathers, a modern day Knights Templar whose mission is to protect America, and the republic, from those who would inflict tyranny upon her.

But will America be destroyed from within? Conditions of war are building and they do not involve bullets and bombs. There is a new battleground – cyberspace. As the country descends into decline economically and socially, will America be caught off guard by a threat never before experienced – a devastating Cyber War?”

It is definitely worth the read and will turn any non believer into a prepper very quickly. As Bobby says, “This is a true story. It just hasn’t happened yet.”

Book One: THE LOYAL NINE

Book Two: CYBER ATTACK

Book Three: MARTIAL LAW

Book Four: FALSE FLAG

Book Five: THE MECHANICS

Book Six: CHOOSE FREEDOM

A few others of my favorites written by Bobby Akart are:

Cyber Warfare

EMP

36 hours (The Blackout Series Book 1)

Zero Hour (The Blackout Series Book 2)

Turning Point (The Blackout Series Book 3)

 

The post My Favorite Survival Books appeared first on American Preppers Network.

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

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Norovirus: The Stomach Flu

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

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

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

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

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

Joe and Amy Alton

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Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

The “Stomach Flu” Virus

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Oysters may harbor norovirus

We often write about disaster situations that we personally experience. We’ve been through hurricanes, tornadoes, and epidemics, just to mention a few. Recently, our home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee was threatened by the wildfires there, which killed 14 and wiped out more than 1700 buildings and over 100 on the mountain where the house is located.

 

We’ve written about a number of medical issues that we’ve experienced as well. For example, I converted to positive for Tuberculosis during my work with Cuban refugees during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. I still carry a small walled-off nodule on X-ray, even after months of multi-drug therapy.

 

On a recent trip to New York City to visit our daughter, we both experienced a medical issue so common that it surprised us that we haven’t yet written about it: acute gastroenteritis, or the “Stomach Flu”. When this infection hits you, it makes even the healthiest individual miserable. Nurse Amy required an urgent care visit, no small issue in a strange and heavily-populated city. She was just one of nearly 2 million outpatient visits caused by norovirus in the U.S. every year.

 

Norovirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans. It was originally called “Norwalk Virus”, after the area where it was first identified in the 1960s. Since then, it’s been blamed for 50% of all gastroenteritis in the U.S. Worldwide, there are more than 200 million cases of norovirus infection a year. It affects people of all ages, but it’s particularly dangerous in the elderly, the very young, and those with weakened immune systems. Winter is the most common time for outbreaks.

 

Norovirus is very contagious (just 5-20 viral particles can cause illness) and is easily transmitted through contaminated food or water, close personal contact, and by air droplets from vomit, contaminated food counters, and even toilet flushes. Infection can be passed from person to person for a time even after apparent recovery.

 

Here’s how contagious the norovirus is: In one outbreak reported in 1998, 126 people were dining at a restaurant when one person vomited onto the floor. Despite a rapid cleanup, 52 fell ill within three days. More than 90% of the people who later dined at the same table reported symptoms. More than 70% of the diners at a nearby table got sick; at a table on the other side of the restaurant, the rate was still 25%.

 

Norovirus is a hardy microbe, and is known to survive for long periods outside a human host. It can live for weeks on countertops and up to twelve days on clothes. It can survive for months in still water. Disinfectants containing chlorine, however, like bleach will quickly eliminate it, as will sufficient heat.

 

The symptoms of the stomach flu include nausea and vomiting, watery diarrhea, and (sometimes severe) abdominal pain, usually within 12 to 48 hours of exposure. Along with this, muscle aches, headache, and fever may be seen. Luckily, life-threatening illness is rare, with dehydration being the main danger in those infected with the virus.

 

Unlike some viruses, immunity to norovirus is only temporary, maybe six months, after recovery.

 

Outbreaks of norovirus infection often occur in closed spaces such as cruise ships, nursing homes, schools, camps, and prisons. Shellfish, such as oysters, and salad ingredients are the foods most often implicated in norovirus outbreaks. In our case, it might have been a kiosk advertising “the World’s Best Hot Dogs”.hot-dog-stand

As is the case with most viruses, there is no cure for norovirus infection. Antibiotics will not be effective, as they are meant to kill bacteria, not viruses. Treatment involves staying well-hydrated. Dehydration can be noted by these symptoms:

 

  • ·        Dry mouth

  • ·        Decrease in quantity or dark color of urine

  • ·        Dizziness when standing up

  • ·        Decreased elasticity of skin (it “tents” when pulled)

  • ·        No tears when crying or unusual irritability in infants

Using antidiarrheal meds like loperamide (Imodium) and anti-vomiting drugs like Ondansetron (Zofran) may also help.

 

A cure may not be available but prevention is another issue. To decrease the chance of norovirus infection:

 

·        Wash your hands frequently with soap and water (norovirus is relatively resistant to alcohol), especially after using the restroom or handling food. Be especially sure to do this for 2 weeks after becoming infected (yes, you can be contagious for that long).

·        Wash food before cooking; cook shellfish thoroughly

·        Frequently disinfect contaminated surfaces with a bleach solution (the EPA recommends 5-25 drops of bleach per gallon)

·        Keep sick individuals away from food preparation areas

·        Avoid close contact with others when you are sick, and don’t share utensils or other items

·        Wear disposable gloves while handling soiled items

·        Immediately remove and wash clothes that may be contaminated with vomit or feces. Machine dry if possible.

 

It may be difficult to completely eliminate the risk of norovirus infection, but careful attention to hand and food hygiene will go a long way towards avoiding the stomach flu.

 

Joe Alton, MD

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 Check out Nurse Amy’s entire line of medical kits and individual supplies at her store at store.doomandbloom.net.

 

Zika Defects More Common Than Previously Thought

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microcephalic infant

A recent U.S. study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that 6% of 400 babies infected with Zika virus born here had one or more related birth defects. The study pales in comparison, however, to a Brazilian study of 125 women just reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. In that study, 46% of babies had abnormalities or did not survive the pregnancy. Previous studies had shown a risk of defects of 1 to 13 per cent.

Troubling evidence has now emerged that suggests that babies may still develop issues even as they approach their first birthday. Previously, it was thought that all damage occurred while still in the womb. Now scientists are asserting that the virus may continue to destroy nervous tissue for a time after birth.

The timing of the infection seemed to have an impact, with 11% of U.S. pregnancies diagnosed with Zika in the first trimester yielding babies with birth defects, less in mid- or late-pregnancy. Although Zika virus lasts only a short time in the blood, it appears to possibly last for months in brain tissue. The overall incidence of 6% in the U.S. was the same for women who experienced symptoms of Zika illness and those who were asymptomatic.

Most cases in the continental United States were diagnosed in women who had traveled to the epidemic zone, although an epidemic of more than 30,000 locally transmitted cases was seen in Puerto Rico and a local outbreak of more than 200 cases was noted in South Florida. More recently, a case of local transmission was reported in the Brownsville area of Texas.

Zika virus is known to cause increased numbers of newborns with microcephaly, an abnormality of growth in the brain and fetal head normally seen in less than 1% of all births. In the lab, Zika has been shown to kill brain cells. Other defects in sight, hearing, joints, and elsewhere have also been detected, according to Margaret Honein, lead author of the U.S. study and head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

Another troubling aspect is that the Zika virus is completely asymptomatic in 80% of those infected. This means that the actual number of cases may be five times the recorded numbers. Additionally, it is unknown what developmental milestones may be delayed over the first few years of life, and whether school performance may be affected.

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The best way to prevent Zika virus is still to prevent mosquito bites by wearing appropriate clothing and using repellent when in at-risk areas (or avoid travel there altogether), Pregnancies should be delayed for 8 weeks in women who have had the virus or traveled to the epidemic zone. Men shouldn’t attempt to impregnate their partner for at least 6 months.

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Get a copy of our 700 page third edition of “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way”, available on this website and also at amazon.com.

It’s not too late to get a copy of the premiere board game of the preparedness community “Doom and Bloom’s SURVIVAL!” as a Christmas gift! Find out all about it at survivalboardgame.com.

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Doom and Bloom’s Survival, now with free miniatures

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Survival Medicine Hour: Pneumonia, Natural Remedies

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survival medicine

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

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Joe Alton MD

When to Close a Wound

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There are many injuries that a medic will face in a survival scenario, and a common and potentially life-threatening one occurs whenever the skin is broken. Your skin is your body’s armor; when it is breached, infectious organisms enter a highway which can transport them to just about any part of the body. Therefore, it makes common sense that you’d want to close that breach to speed healing and lock out infection. Indeed, that’s exactly what happens thousands of times daily in emergency rooms in normal times.

The off-grid medic has a dilemma, however: Most wounds in survival will be dirty, and providing a sterile environment for a surgical procedure is a difficult challenge. You could make the work area as clean as possible, but sterile? Not likely. As such, you should wisely choose what wounds should be closed and what wounds should be left open.

Many medics can’t imagine not closing a tear or cut in the skin (called a “laceration”), but it’s a reasonable way to deal with contaminated wounds in situations where you can’t assure a sterile, or even clean, field on which to work. Lacerations that are kept open must be dressed and cleaned regularly until they’re fully healed.

Open wounds heal through a process called “granulation”, where new tissue forms at the base and sides until the defect in the skin is fully healed. Essentially, “from the bottom up”. This tissue is somewhat granular in appearance, hence the name.

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To Close or Not to Close?

To paraphrase Hamlet, “To close or not to close? That is the question!” To answer this questions, we must examine what our goals are in closing a wound. Among other reasons, you close wounds to:

  • Repair the defect in the body’s armor, thus preventing infection in a clean wound.
  • Accelerate the healing process. Wound edges that are touching heal faster than those that aren’t.
  • Decrease scarring. Scarring is less of an issue in survival, unless the scar would, say, limit the range of motion of a joint in extremity.

A note about bleeding: Although closing a wound may apply pressure to bleeding areas, it is not a substitute for hemorrhage control, also known as “hemostasis” before closure. Consider the application of direct pressure first on the bleeding area, a method that succeeds in many cases. Also, for major blood loss, have tourniquets, hemostatic agents like Celox or Quikclot, and pressure dressings as part of your medical storage.

So what factors come into play when deciding to close a wound or to keep it open? Consider keeping the wound open in these circumstances:

The wound is dirty. Are the circumstances suspicious for contamination? In survival scenarios, the answer is often yes. In austere environments, even WHO (the World Health Organization) agrees that the safest course of action is to keep it open.

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Candidate for closure IF clean

Here are some circumstances where wounds should be kept open:

  • The wound is infected. Infected wounds have a certain appearance: They are red, swollen (sometimes appearing “shiny”), warm to the touch, and may drain pus.
  • The wound is colonized (infected but not yet showing signs). Even the air has bacteria; you can expect a wound to be colonized within 6-8 hours or so.
  • There is dead tissue in the wound. This tissue won’t bleed when it is cut and often appears discolored or black. No closure should be performed without removing dead tissue first (a procedure known as “debridement”).
  • Puncture wounds, especially from mammalian (including human) bites have lots of bacteria and shouldn’t be closed. Interestingly, snake bites become infected less often than, say, cat or dog bites, but don’t close them either.
  • The wound edges are so far apart that closing them would cause undue pressure. This occurs with injuries like “avulsions”, where entire areas of tissue are missing.
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wound infection

Here are situations where you should consider closing the wound:

  • You’re certain the wound is clean. This usually requires witnessing the injury as it happens.
  • The wound has been open less than 6-8 hours.
  • The laceration is long or deep enough to penetrate the entire thickness of the skin. A deep wound would allow you to see underlying tissue such as subcutaneous fat.
  • The wound is located over a joint. A moving part, such as the knee, will constantly stress a wound and prevent it from closing in by itself.
  • The wound gapes open loosely, suggesting that it can be closed without undue pressure on the skin (and won’t close at all without your intervention).

In future articles, we’ll explore wound closure materials, techniques, and theory.

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Joe Alton, MD

Learn all about wound care and wound closure methods via our DVD or in the Third Edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way.  View our entire line of medical kits and supplies at store.doomandbloom.net

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

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colds

Respiratory Infections

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

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

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Pick the right shoes!

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

To Listen in, Click below:

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

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton, MD

 

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Doom and Bloom’s SURVIVAL! board game

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game setup

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game miniatures (an added bonus!)

Video: Storing Medications

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Storing Meds

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

To watch, click below:

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

 

 

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

Sleep Deprivation

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sleep deprivation

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

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

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

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

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

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

effects-of-sleep-deprivation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

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Joe Alton, MD

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

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medicaltent

This week on the Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton, MD aka as Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP aka Nurse Amy, November 19, 2016, discuss some tips to help “survive” the possibly stressful Christmas shopping experience. Ebay did a study that found 88% of shoppers had elevated heartbeats similar to an athlete running a marathon. What are the effects of a rapid heart rate on the body, and learn why you feel so exhausted after an anxiety attack.

The latest update on Zika theories about why some countries are experiencing a higher rate of birth defects than others. What is going on with the progress of a Zika vaccine and a breakthrough medication to limit the ill effects of the virus on unborn babies.

Respiratory infections affect millions of people each year. Knowing how to tell the difference between different types will help you, as the survival medic, determine the best treatment plan. Colds vs flus, how to tell the difference, and more…

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/11/18/survival-medicine-hour-respiratory-infections-pt2-effects-of-stress-and-morehttp://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/11/18/survival-medicine-hour-respiratory-infections-pt2-effects-of-stress-and-more

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

AmyandJoePodcast400x200

The Altons

 

Why The Disparity In Zika Affected Newborns?

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zika virus

Zika Virus under the microscope

Zika virus hasn’t been on the front page much lately, but case numbers continue to rise in many countries. The World Health Organization stated recently that Zika infection has been documented in 75 countries throughout the globe.

One of the many unusual aspects of Zika virus is that Brazil has, far and away, the most cases of babies born with birth defects. The most prominent of these is microcephaly, a condition where the brain fails to grow normally, causing a striking appearance where the head is much smaller than normal. Brazil has about 2000 cases of this abnormality, while Colombia has the second highest with only 57; the U.S. is third with 31 cases, including miscarriages. Within Brazil itself, the Northeastern part of the country has the highest number of infants affected by the debilitating effects of the virus.

The American Society of Tropical Medicine, in its annual meeting in Atlanta, discussed this disparity, which has fueled a hotbed of speculation about the disparity.

A  Brazilian health official, Pedro Fernando da Costa Vasconcelos, suggests that vaccination against  Yellow Fever, a virus in the same family as Zika, may be a factor. In Northeastern Brazil, few receive this vaccine compared to other parts of the country. It’s possible, he says, that the vaccine may give some cross-protection against Zika.

A number of other theories exist, including effects on humans by certain pesticides used in the epidemic zone and, perhaps, contaminated lots of vaccines. However, no hard data has, as yet, implicated these and other possibilities as part of the equation.

Another factor may be the growing tendency of women to terminate their pregnancies in the face of a diagnosis of Zika infection. Still another, according to Albert Ko, a Yale professor, relates to the difficulty tracking numbers of abortions for this reason and the fact that many never know they had the infection at all. Zika has no symptoms whatsoever in 80% of patients. The rest experience fever, joint aches, rashes, and eye redness.

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Microcephalic Infant

What is obvious, however, is that there are wide variations in the percentage of Zika infections to birth defects. Puerto Rico recently reported its first case of microcephaly in a newborn, but has catalogued  more than 30,000 people infected with Zika.

Professor Ko says that a new large-scale study will follow thousands of pregnant women with Zika diagnoses. Genetics, prior viral infections, and even the mosquitoes that transmit the virus will be evaluated. It’s possible that, with this information, a more definitive picture of factor involved in Zika-related birth abnormalities will emerge.

An issue not commonly considered is what effect Zika infection may have long-term in apparently unaffected infants. Will they reach normal milestones like walking and talking at the appropriate time? Down the road, will they perform adequately in school? It will take years to find out.

Meanwhile, cases continue to accumulate, mostly travel related. A total of close to 36,000 cases have been documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. New cases are still being reported in Florida by the Department of Health, which says that 1,165 total cases (153 in pregnant women) exist in the state as of November 11, 2016. Of these, 225 were transmitted by local mosquitoes.

Some good news: A vaccine called Zika Purified Inactivated Virus, or ZPIV, seems to be showing promise in research conducted, and human trials have begun at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. In addition, Dr. Michael Diamond of the University of Washington has identified an antibody that might protect the unborn fetus against the effects of the Zika virus on nervous tissue. Research is ongoing on these and other fronts in the battle against what has become a worldwide epidemic.

Joe Alton, MD

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Dr. Alton

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

 

 

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

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antibiotics1

How to store meds

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

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

medic_memorial_700-1

Medic Memorial

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

To listen in, click below:

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

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

 

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

Storing Medications

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medicines

Storing Medications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

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Dr. Alton

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

Video: Fish Antibiotic Update

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2015 Birdhouse Inn Mountain Paradise View!

Mount LeConte at sunrise, Great Smokies

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

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

To watch, click below:

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Joe Alton MD/Amy Alton ARNP

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

 

Medical Supplies for the Homestead

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image by pixabay.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prepper Medical Supply Kit

Family Medical Kit

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

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

PERSONAL PROTECTION 

N95-Surgical-Mask

N95 mask

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MINOR INJURIES

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

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

ORTHOPEDIC INJURIES

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The popular SAM Splint

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HEMORRHAGIC WOUNDS

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

EMT shears or bandage scissors can help expose a bleeding wound

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OPEN WOUNDS

stabwound

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW MUCH TO HAVE?

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

joealtonlibrary4

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

 

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

Survival Medicine Hour: Giardia, Bear Safety and more

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black bear

American Black Bear

In this episode of The Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP discuss the hazards of trail blazing in Gatlinburg Tennessee, such as Bear Safety. Walking with a sturdy stick, making noise and keeping up situational awareness are all part of bear safety tips. Bears hibernate less deeply than some animals and can be found walking around even in the deep snow of winter. Always keep an eye out and learn all about bear safety.

giardia

Giardia lamblia

 

Recently, Dr. Alton talked about parasitic worms in survival scenarios, but there’s a more common parasite that infects our streams, waterways, and, unfortunately, intestines! Giardia Lambia is a common cause of severe diarrhea and is transmissible all sorts of ways. Find out more about this parasite and what fish antibiotic would be most effective to have in your medical storage.

Ways to prevent Giardia are covered in this episode and include strict and proper handwashing. Just a couple of the ways to avoid getting this parasite, as well as many others, include washing fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking, and using bottled water to brush your teeth if the water is suspect. Nurse Amy recommends demanding daycare workers use gloves when changing your infant or toddler’s diapers. Unfortunately, this is not a Federal regulation and is only a requirement in a few states, which are listed in this episode.

Even though a lot of us may severely disappointed come Tuesday evening’s election results, the earth is not going to end the next day. It may just feel that way.

Life is short, learn Nurse Amy’s secret motto for happiness. Hint: It isn’t a material thing.

All this and more on the Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Hour!

Our books and custom hand-packed medical kits can be found at: https://store.doomandbloom.net

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The Future of Fish Antibiotics in Survival?

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Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens)

As the first physician to write, years ago, about aquarium and avian antibiotics as a survival tool, I’ve long realized their utility in preventing unnecessary deaths in true survival scenarios (in normal times, seek modern and standard medical care). Lately, I’ve received a lot of mail asking about the upcoming FDA Veterinary Feed Directive. Does it mean the end of the availability of fish and bird meds for placement in disaster medical storage?

To understand what the Veterinary Feed Directive is and what it means for the preparedness community, we should first describe the problem that the Directive aims to correct: Antibiotic resistance. There is an epidemic of antibiotic resistance in this country, and it exists, not because of pet bird or fish antibiotic use, not because “preppers” might put them in a disaster medical kit, nor even primarily from the overuse by physicians. It is due to the excessive use of antibiotics on livestock. About 80% of antibiotics used in the United States are given to food-producing animals.

antibioticslivestock

The definition of a “Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) drug”, according to section 504 of the FD&C Act (21 USC 354) states that it is “[a] drug intended for use in or on animal feed. The CDC’s goal #1 of decreasing the emergence of antibiotic resistance and preventing the spread of resistant infections has three objectives (see page 33):

1       -“Implement public health programs and reporting policies that advance antibiotic resistance prevention and foster antibiotic stewardship in healthcare settings and the community. “

2       -“Eliminate the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in animals and bring other in-feed uses of antibiotics, for treatment and disease control and prevention of disease, under veterinary oversight. “

3       –“Identify and implement measures to foster stewardship of antibiotics in animals.”

As you can see, 2 of 3 of the above relate specifically to animals. Why are so many antibiotics given to livestock? It’s not, primarily, to treat infections that they may have. It’s actually because, for reasons that aren’t completely clear, it seems to speed their growth and gets them to market sooner. In other words, the profit motive. This is standard practice here in the U.S., but some countries, like Denmark, have banned the use of antibiotics on livestock unless they need them to treat disease.

The FDA and CDC are concerned about the excessive use of antibiotics in general and, in particular, on the animals that produce our food. CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden mentioned some months ago that an increased “stewardship” (in other words, control) of these meds was indicated to decrease the development of antibiotic resistance. The Veterinary Feed Directive is part of that response.

What are the drugs affected by the Veterinary Feed Directive? Here they are:

Established drug name Examples of proprietary drug name(s)
chlortetracycline Aureomycin, Aureomycyn, Chlora-Cycline, Chloronex, Chlortetracycline, Chlortetracycline Bisulfate, Chlortet-Soluble-O, CTC, Fermycin, Pennchlor
erythromycin Gallimycin
gentamicin Garacin, Gen-Gard, GentaMed, Gentocin, Gentoral
lincomycin Linco, Lincomed, Lincomix, Lincomycin, Lincomycin Hydrochloride, Lincosol, Linxmed-SP
lincomycin/spectinomycin  Lincomycin S, Lincomycin-Spectinomycin, L-S, SpecLinx
neomycin Biosol Liquid, Neo, Neomed, Neomix, Neomycin, Neomycin Liquid, Neomycin Sulfate, Neo-Sol, Neosol, Neosol-Oral, Neovet
oxytetracycline Agrimycin, Citratet, Medamycin, Oxymarine, Oxymycin, Oxy-Sol, Oxytet, Oxytetracycline, Oxytetracycline HCL, Oxy WS, Pennox, Terramycin, Terra-Vet, Tetravet-CA, Tetroxy, Tetroxy Aquatic, Tetroxy HCA
penicillin Han-Pen, Penaqua Sol-G, Penicillin G Potassium, R-Pen, Solu-Pen
spectinomycin Spectam
sulfadimethoxine Agribon, Albon, Di-Methox, SDM, Sulfabiotic, Sulfadimethoxine, Sulfadived, Sulfamed-G, Sulforal, Sulfasol
sulfamethazine SMZ-Med, Sulfa, Sulmet
sulfaquinoxaline S.Q. Solution, Sulfa-Nox, Sulfaquinoxaline Sodium, Sulfaquinoxaline Solubilized, Sul-Q-Nox, Sulquin
tetracycline Duramycin, Polyotic, Solu/Tet, Solu-Tet, Supercycline, Terra-Vet, Tet, Tetra-Bac, Tetracycline, Tetracycline Hydrochloride, Tetramed, Tetra-Sal, Tetrasol, Tet-Sol, TC Vet

“Note: apramycin, carbomycin/oxytetracycline*, chlortetracycline/sulfamethazine*, streptomycin, sulfachloropyrazine, sulfachlorpyridazine, and sulfamerazine/sulfamethazine/sulfaquinoxaline* are expected to transition to Rx status, but are not marketed at this time. If they return to the market after January 1, 2017, they will require a prescription from a veterinarian.”

If you look at the list above, you’ll see no mention of the common aquarium/avian antibiotics used in the pet industry. Fish-Mox (Amoxicillin) is not included in the list. Neither is doxycycline, metronidazole, nor others that I’ve recommended for disaster storage. Some first-generation drugs, like Penicillin and Tetracycline, are mentioned but not any of the proprietary names related to the ornamental trade. That doesn’t mean that they might not include them at some point. As the earliest antibiotics, they have been subject to significant resistance, and might not be the best choices for survival storage in any case.

At present, Thomas Labs, one of the largest distributors of fish and bird antibiotics for the pet trade, has not visibly changed any of its policies regarding sale of these products. Their labeling clearly states “Not for Human Use”, and many sites that sell their products  include this statement:

“…Thomas Labs sources it’s (sic) antibiotics from the same USP grade manufacturing as antibiotics used for humans, but we and Thomas Labs are not doctors and do not deal in human health problems, or prescription medications.  Only a doctor can correctly prescribe antibiotics for specific need in humans.  We strongly discourage anyone who wants to take Fish Antibiotics for themselves…”

It seems clear that the Veterinary Feed Directive considers livestock and not hobby fish and birds to be the highest priority targets. If they did,  the pet trade might cease to exist.

The Veterinary Feed Directive may, indeed, decrease the incidence of bacterial resistance in the U.S. So will the wise use of antibiotics by the nation’s physicians. Hopefully, one day food livestock will be raised antibiotic-free; some companies are already taking this step.

From a preparedness standpoint, I still believe that having antibiotics in your medical kit will save lives in a long-term disaster or survival setting. The ones I have written about over the years are still available, at least for the time being; those medically responsible in times of trouble will find them to be useful tools in the medical woodshed.

 

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Joe Alton, MD is a physician, author, and medical preparedness writer for disaster and long-term survival scenarios where medical help is not available for the foreseeable future. For more information on these and other topics, see the Altons’ #1 Amazon bestseller “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for when Medical Help is Not on the Way“.

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

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Survival Medicine Hour

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

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

To listen in, click below:

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

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Amy Alton ARNP

All About Giardiasis

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giardia-lambia

giardia (aren’t you glad it’s microscopic?)

Recently, I wrote about a relatively unusual medical issue for developed countries: parasitic worms. Problems related to poor hygiene and sanitation, chronic issues in many countries, cause parasites to reach epidemic status.

There are other types of parasites, however, that are more common in local water sources than worms, and they can have dire consequences. One of these is Giardia, a family of parasites that is found in just about every region on Earth. The most common species to affect North America is Giardia lamblia, sometimes called Giardia intestinalis.

A parasite feeds off another organism to survive, and Giardia prefers mammals, including humans. Giardia is a hardy bug, though, and can live for long periods of time in moist soil or water. Infection, known as “giardiasis”, occurs as a result of ingestion of food or water contaminated with feces. Once a person or animal becomes infected with Giardia, it inhabits the intestines and is passed in excrement.

The most common cause of giardia transmission occurs from person to person. Poorly prepared food, unsterile water, and improper bathroom hygiene accounts for the majority of cases. Despite this, the clearest streams in the Colorado backcountry may be contaminated by Giardia, causing it to be an issue for wilderness hikers who don’t pay strict attention to water disinfection and frequent hand-washing.

Mothers and child care workers who fail to adhere to strict hand washing while changing diapers of infected babies are also at risk.

SYMPTOMS OF GIARDIASIS

The symptoms of Giardia don’t often appear immediately. They can begin as early as 2 days after infection. As an intestinal infection, you can expect to see significant watery diarrhea interspersed with soft, greasy stools. Other symptoms include:

  • bloating
  • excessive gas
  • abdominal cramps
  • upset stomach
  • nausea
  • weight loss
  • fatigue

You might not consider the above all that severe, but in many cases, the symptoms last for weeks and may lead to severe dehydration, a common cause of otherwise-avoidable deaths in earlier times, and a serious issue today anywhere advanced care isn’t available. Children are especially prone to malnutrition and, if chronic, may experience stunted growth and development.

TREATMENT OF GIARDIASIS

Severe symptoms can be treated with hydration and antibiotics like Metronidazole (aquarium equivalent: Fish-Zole) or anti-worm drugs (also known as “anti-helminthics”) like Albendazole.

Many less severe giardia infections may resolve without treatment after a few weeks. It’s thought, however, that some people may develop a “carrier” relationship with giardia; symptoms become less noticeable with time, but the carrier can transmit the infection to others (even sexually through oral-fecal routes).

PREVENTION OF GIARDIASIS

There is no medication or vaccine that will prevent Giardia infection. There are, however, a number of precautions that will minimize your risk of infection:

  • Wash your hands. Hand washing after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, and before/after the preparation of food. Use alcohol-based sanitizers if soap and water aren’t available.
  • Disinfect questionable water. Avoid drinking untreated water from lakes, rivers, creeks, and springs unless you filter it with products like the Lifestraw, Mini-Sawyer, or Berkey.  Alternatively, bring water to an active boil for 1-5 minutes first. Add 1 minute for every 1000 feet of elevation (water boils at lower temperatures higher up). It should be noted Giardia is relatively resistant to bleach, a commonly-used water disinfectant.
  • Travel concerns: Use bottled water wherever water is of dubious quality, even for brushing teeth. Avoid putting ice made from local water in drinks. When swimming, keep your mouth closed.
  • Wash food before you eat it. Wash raw fruits  and vegetables before adding them to your meals.
  • Practice safe sex. Sexual intercourse, especially anal sex, can transmit Giardia. Avoid this method or use a barrier like a condom.

The smallest organisms can cause major medical issues in good times or bad. Pay careful attention to sanitation and hygiene, and you’ll keep it together at home, on that wilderness hike, or abroad.

Joe Alton, MD

joealtonlibrary4

 

(Thanks to Dr. Pam Hendrix for suggesting this topic for an article)

Find out more about giardiasis and many other survival-related medical issues in our brand new 700 page Third Edition of
The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for when Medical Help is Not on the Way, available at Amazon or on this website.

Parasitic Worms

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parasiticwormEM

parasitic worm

It’s important to realize that there are infections not commonly seen today in developed countries that may become major issues if a disaster throws you off the grid. Knowing which disease-causing organisms exist in your area, even if they are not major problems today, will be important to keep your loved ones healthy.

The word “parasite” comes from the Greek word Parastos, meaning “someone that eats at someone else’s table”. When we think of para- sites, none give us the creeps more than having worms.

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

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

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

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

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

SYMPTOMS OF WORM INFESTATIONS

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

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

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

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

CONSEQUENCES OF WORM INFESTATIONS

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

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

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

TYPES OF WORMS

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

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

 

Pinworms

pinworm-cycle

Pinworm life cycle

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

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

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

 

Hookworms

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

hookworms

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

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

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

 

Ascaris

parasiticworm

ascaris super-infestation

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

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

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

 

Tapeworms

tapeworm

tapeworm with 12 inch ruler at bottom for comparison

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

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

TREATMENT OF WORM INFESTATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Dr. Alton aka Dr. Bones

 

Video: Hurricane Tips (With Winds in the Background)

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Hurricane Safety Tips

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

To watch, click below:

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Video: An Alternative to Epi-Pen

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bee-sting

bee stings can cause severe allergic reactions

In this video, Joe Alton, MD, aka Dr. Bones, discusses the recent scandal where Mylan corporation, the company that markets the life-saving autoinjector “Epi-Pen“, raised prices on a pack of two from $100 in 2007 to $600 today. Although the company has given out some savings cards for up to $300, only a certain few are eligible and definitely not if you’re on Medicaid. Indeed, now it appears that Mylan had been gouging the federal government as well, and is being investigated. Guess that’s proof that all publicity isn’t good publicity.

Joe Alton looks for an alternative and one option is to get vials of 1:1000 epinephrine, insulin syringes, and some alcohol wipes. In the video, Joe Alton describes the process for using prefilled epinephrine for a severe allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock, and the formula for adult and pediatric use.

Adult dose from drugs.com for anaphylaxis: “30 kg (about 66 pounds) or greater: 0.3 to 0.5 mg (0.3 to 0.5 mL 1:1000 epinephrine solution) of undiluted drug IM or subcutaneously into anterolateral aspect of the thigh; repeat every 5 to 10 minutes as needed. Maximum dose per injection: 0.5 mg (0.5 mL of 1:1000 epinephrine solution).”

Pediatric dose from drugs.com for anaphylaxis: “Less than 30 kg (about 66 pounds): 0.01 mg/kg (0.01 mL/kg) of undiluted drug IM or subcutaneously into anterolateral aspect of thigh; repeat every 5 to 10 minutes as needed. Maximum dose per injection: 0.3 mg (0.3 mL of 1:1000 epinephrine solution).”

To take an example, a 20 kg child (about 44 pounds) would, using the 0.01 mg/kg formula would need 0.2 mg, which translates in a 1:1000 epinephrine solution to 0.2 ml injected in the anterior/lateral aspect of the thigh.

There’s more to know, though, so check out Dr. Alton’s video. To watch, click the image below:

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

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

 

 

Would You Survive A Hurricane?

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hurricane satellite image pixabay

The “eye” of a hurricane

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

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

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

Category 2:  96-110 mph winds

Category 3:  111-130 mph winds

Category 4:  131-155 mph winds

Category 5:  >155 mph winds

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

hurricanepalms2

Coconuts? You mean missiles…

Are You Ready?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

storm surge

storm surge

Riding Out The Storm

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

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

Outdoors

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

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

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

Indoors

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

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

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

What About The Kids?

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

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

Be Smart

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

After the Storm

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

 

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

Survival Medicine Hour: Epipens, Hurricanes, Kratom, Chamomile

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epi-pen
The Survival Medicine Hour hosted by Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Nurse Amy, are bringing you another episode of exciting and thrilling (well very entertaining and useful at least) survival information. Don’t miss out! Folks we have another hurricane on the horizon, Matthew is churning up the seas and is now a level 3 Hurricane with the possibility of hitting the USA in a few days time. Get prepared and learn what you need to do now to stay safe. Storm safety for all kinds of storms is vital knowledge.
What’s up with the Epipen crisis? What will you do if you don’t have or can’t afford the epipen, or even the still expensive ($606 for 2 pack) generic version? Dr. Bones shares a method of administering an alternative in the face of an emergency.
Kratom is being made into a schedule 1 drug, which is the same level as Heroin. This herb is blamed for 15 deaths, but only one of those deaths was the person found with only Kratom onboard. Many Kratom users herald it as the reason they were able to stop using other drugs, like heroin and pain meds. The users and their families contacted their congress members and a call to delay the change of Kratom to a schedule 1 drug has been made by the supportive congress members. More research should be done to accurately determine the effects of Kratom before a hastily decision is made. We discuss this issue and give you the 411.
Chamomile is a wonderful herbal medicine. It has been used safely for thousands of years. It is know to calm digestive issues and calm nervous disorders. Nurse Amy discusses this awesome herbal remedy and how to use it.
To listen in, click below:
Joe and Amy Alton
Amy Alton Everglades Close up 400 x 600

Amy Alton, MD

 

Find out how to deal with medical issues in disaster/survival settings with the brand new 700 page Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook: The essential guide for when medical help is not on the way.

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

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mud-play

image by publicdomainpictures.net

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

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

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

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

tolerance that would prevent allergic reactions.

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

pixabay-old-farm

old farm via pixabay images

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

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

Here are some things you might consider:

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

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

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

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

dog-and-kid-pixabay

image by pixabay.com

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

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

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

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gunshot wound kit

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

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

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

To listen in, click below:

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

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

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

Kratom, Natural Pain Reliever, Lost to FDA Actions

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kratom

Mitragyna speciose (Kratom)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

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

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Kratom Ban, Dental Trauma, Medical Uses for Rosemary

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kratom

Kratom

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy (Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP), Dr. Bones discusses the upcoming ban on the useful but, perhaps, addictive herb Kratom, a Southeast Asian herb used for centuries to treat chronic pain and depression, and used by some today to replace addictions to opiates. Also, Nurse Amy discusses the many medical uses of Rosemary, and Dr. Bones discusses dental trauma, and what to do about that loose or knocked-out tooth in a survival setting.

dental-trauma

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/09/16/survival-medicine-hour-kratom-ban-dental-trauma-rosemarys-uses

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

batman and robin

The Dynamic Duo

Zika: 10 Things to Worry/Relax About

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asian-tiger-mosquito1

Aedes Albopictus Mosquito

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

1.

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

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

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

 

2.

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

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

,

3.

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

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

microcephaly-reuse-wiki

microcephalic infant

 

4.

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

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

 

5.

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

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

 

6.

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

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

 immunity

7.

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

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

 

8.

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

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

dead bees

dead bees

 

9.

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

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

singapore-pixabay

Singapore’s next for Zika (image: pixabay)

                                                                                                                                                                                

10.

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

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

 

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

 

 

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Hurricanes, Zika Update, Bee Deaths

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zika virus

Zika Virus

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

storm surge

A hurricane’s storm surge

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

bee1

More bad news for bees

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

To listen in, click below:

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

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

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

The Altons

Are You Ready For A Hurricane?

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hurricane satellite image pixabay

image by pixabay.com

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

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

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

Category 3:  111-130 mph winds

Category 4:  131-155 mph winds

Category 5:  >155 mph winds

 

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

Are You Ready for a Hurricane?

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

storm surge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riding Out The Storm

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

Outdoors

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

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

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

Indoors

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

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

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

What About The Kids?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Dr. Alton

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

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fighter plane jet

image by pixabay.com

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

ooda loop graphic

the OODA loop

 

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

 

Observe: Yellow Alert

yellow alert image

Stay at Yellow Alert when in crowds

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

 

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

 

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

 observe view ooda

Orient: Baselines and Anomalies

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

batman and robin

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Decide and Act

 

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

 

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

 

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

Joe Alton, MD

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Joe Alton, MD

Survival Medicine Hour: Earthquakes, Epi-Pens, More

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epipen

The Epi-Pen

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

earthquakedamage

earthquake safety

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

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

 

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

 

Joe Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP

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Could You Survive An Earthquake?

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earthquake

earthquake preparedness

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

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

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

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

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

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

AN EARTHQUAKE SURVIVAL PLAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home Earthquake Safety

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

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

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

When The Earthquake Hits

earthquake drop cover hold on

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

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

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

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

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

After The Earthquake

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

 

Video: Flood Safety Tips

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car driving in flood

Less than 2 feet of moving water can lift away a vehicle

In this companion video to a recent article, Joe Alton, MD discusses the different causes of floods and some important tips for before, during, and after the disaster. To watch, click below:

Wishing you the best in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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The Altons

Flood preparedness is just one of the new topics you’ll find in the brand new Third Edition of “The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way“. You’ll find it at Amazon.com

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

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car driving in flood

Flood Safety

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

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Nit (Lice Egg)

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

 

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

To Listen in, click below:

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

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

Could You Protect Your Home/Family in a Wildfire?

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wildfire21

Wildfire

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

VEGETATION MANAGEMENT

wildfire1

Blue Cut Fire reaches 80 feet high

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

DEFENSIBLE SPACES

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

ESCAPING A WILDFIRE

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

TRAPPED IN A WILDFIRE

smoke

smoke inhalation

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Joe Alton, MD

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

13 Safety Tips For Floods

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Mid Atlantic Coast Prepares For Hurricane Sandy

Storms often bring flooding

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

 

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

 

TYPES OF FLOODING

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

FLOOD PREPAREDNESS



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

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

 

FLOOD SAFETY TIPS

floods_02

Flood water may not recede quickly

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Use Waterproof Containers for Important Stuff

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

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

 

 

Joe Alton, MD

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Dr. Alton

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Formula For Penicillin

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The Penicillin Formula

As you might know, I write mostly about how to deal with medical issues in situations where modern medical facilities and care don’t exist. Accumulating medications for disaster settings may be simple when it comes to finding aspirin and other non-prescription drugs, but prescription drugs will be hard to get for those who can’t write their own prescriptions or don’t have a relationship with an understanding physician.  Antibiotics are a case in point.

I consider this a major issue because there will be a much larger incidence of infections when people have to fend for themselves. In a long-term survival setting, they will perform activities to which they are not accustomed and injuries are likely.  Simple cuts and scratches from, say, chopping wood can begin to show infection, in the form of redness, heat, and swelling, within a relatively short time.

The History Channel, some years ago, aired a special called “After Armageddon”, where a family gets out of Dodge after a collapse-level catastrophe and eventually makes their way to a village of survivors. Integrating into the community, the father (a paramedic) takes to gardening and other survival-type activities. He suffers a cut which quickly becomes infected. Unfortunately, no antibiotics are available and he slowly succumbs to the infection despite knowing exactly what’s happening to him.

Treatment of infections at an early stage improves the chance that they will heal quickly and completely.  However, many rugged individualists would most likely ignore the problem until it gets worse. This is unwise, as an infection can become life threatening if not treated. Having antibiotics readily available would allow them to deal with the issue until medical help (if available at all) arrives.

ANTIBIOTIC OPTIONS IN SURVIVAL SETTINGS

Years ago, I wrote the first physician article about aquarium and avian antibiotics as a way to stockpile medications for the uncertain future.  Since the only ingredient in certain of these medications is the antibiotic itself, it’s a reasonable alternative. There are some veterinary antibiotics, like Fish-Mox, that are only produced in human dosages and appear identical to human pharmaceuticals, down to the identification numbers on the capsules. For more information, see my series of articles on the subject.

This is not to say you should treat yourself in normal times. When modern medical care is available, seek it out. The practice of medicine without a license is illegal and punishable by law.

Once in a while, I get someone who wants to know how to make penicillin (isn’t it just bread mold?).  It’s true that penicillin is a by-product of a fungus known as penicillium, which, indeed, grows on bread and fruit.  It was originally discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1929. In 1942, a moldy cantaloupe in Peoria, Illinois was found to have a strong version of it.  Most of the world’s supply of penicillin in the 1940s came from cultures of the fungus on that cantaloupe.

There is a formula for making penicillin at home. It’s next to impossible, honestly, to get all the chemicals needed to produce it safely. Besides the legal issues, home laboratories are dicey at best (just ask a local Meth dealer). To illustrate a point, however, here it is:

THE FORMULA FOR PENICILLIN

penicillin mold

Penicillium Notatum mold

Penicillin is a by-product of the Penicillium fungus, but the thing is, it’s a by-product of a Penicillium fungus that’s under stress.  So you have to grow the fungus, and then expose it to stresses that will make it produce Penicillin.

First you need to produce a “culture” of the penicillium fungus. – A microbiological culture is a method of multiplying microscopic organisms by letting them reproduce in a certain environment under controlled conditions.

One of the most important things to know is that it is easy for other microbes to contaminate your penicillium culture, so use sterile techniques at all times or you will likely wind up with something entirely different (and, possibly, harmful).

NIH penicillin process

general penicillin production process (from NIH)

STEP 1

Expose a slice of bread or citrus peel or a cantaloupe rind to the air in a dark place at 70 deg. F until a bluish-green mold develops.

Cut two fresh slices of whole wheat bread into ½ inch cubes and place in a 750ml Erlenmeyer flask with a non-absorbent plug. One thing you might not know is that a lot of bakeries put a substance called a mold inhibitor on bread.  This suppresses fungal growth so you should probably use bread that you baked yourself.

Sterilize the flask and contents in a pressure cooker for at least 15 minutes at 15 psi. An alternate method is to place in an oven at 315 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.

In a sterile fashion, transfer the fungus from the bread or fruit peel into the flask containing the bread cubes. Allow the cubes to sit in the dark at 70 degrees for 5 days. This is called incubation.  That’s the easy part.

STEP 2 

This is where it gets complicated. Prepare one liter of the following solution:

Lactose Monohydrate                    44.0 gm

Corn Starch                                      25.0 gm

Sodium Nitrate                                3.0 gm

Magnesium Sulfate                         0.25 gm

Potassium MonoPhosphate          0.50 gm

Glucose Monohydrate                   2.75 gm

Zinc Sulfate                                      0.044 gm

Manganese Sulfate                        0.044 gm

You’ll obviously need a scale that measures very small amounts. These are called gram scales and you can find them online.  The above ingredients can be found at chemical supply houses, but you’ll have to buy a significant amount.

Dissolve the ingredients in the order listed in 500ml of cold tap water and then add more cold water to complete a liter (1000 ml).

Adjust the pH to 5.0-5.5 using HCL (hydrochloric acid). You’ll need a pH test kit like those found at pet shops and garden supply stores. Fill glass containers with a quantity of this solution. Only use enough so that when the container is placed on its side the liquid will not touch the plug.

Sterilize the containers and solution in a pressure cooker or stove just like you did before. When it cools, scrape up about a tablespoon of the fungus from the bread cubes and throw it into the solution.

Allow the containers to incubate on their sides at 70 degrees for seven days. It’s important that they are not moved around.  If you did it correctly, you’ll have Penicillin in the liquid portion of the media. Filter the mixture through a coffee filter or something similar, plug the bottles, and refrigerate immediately.

STEP 3

To extract the penicillin from the solution:

Adjust the cold solution to pH 2.2 using (.01 %) HCL. Mix it with cold ethyl acetate in a “separatory funnel” (that’s a funnel with a stopcock; you can find all these items at chemistry glass suppliers) and shake well for 30 seconds or so.

Drain the ethyl acetate (which should be on the bottom) into a beaker which has been placed in an ice bath and repeat the process. Add 1% potassium acetate and mix. You want the ethyl acetate to evaporate off. This can be induced by a constant flow of air over the top of the beaker, say from a fan.  When it dries, the remaining crystals are a mixture of potassium penicillin and potassium acetate.

There you have it, you have put together a laboratory and made Penicillin!  You are now officially a mad scientist.

REALITY

It’s clear that making penicillin at home is beyond the ability of non-chemists.  However, it does make a point.   If there’s a major long-term disaster, there isn’t a way that anyone will be able to produce reliably safe and effective antibiotics at home. You might read about producing penicillin teas, but the issue is that you might have contamination by other molds that could be hazardous to your health.

If you are concerned about a collapse-level event, it may be wise to consider stockpiling some veterinary equivalents. At present, no prescription is necessary nor is there a limit to quantities purchased. This may eventually change as the CDC has declared that an increased “stewardship” of animal antibiotics will be necessary to combat the issue of antibiotic resistance. This is a reasonable concern, but restrictions will probably involve drugs for food animals first.

You can find lists of useful antibiotics, their veterinary equivalents, and much more in The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, now in its 700 page Third Edition. The book is available on Amazon or at DoomandBloom.net.

If you don’t want to buy fish medicine, at least grow plants that might have some antibacterial action. Garlic, for example, has scientifically proven antibacterial properties, as do some other herbs.  Honey, in its raw and unprocessed state, is also consider to be antibacterial. More on various herbal options in a future article.

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Dr. Alton

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Pain Relief, Risks in Rio

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Pain-Meds-ftr300

pain relief

In this episode of The Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, the discussion turns to pain relief in survival setting and what options you have in terms of prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as the beginning of a series of natural alternatives for pain by Nurse Amy. Also, Dr. Bones talks about 5 ways that being in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics is hazardous to your health, plus how to stay safe and healthy if you’re going to the Games.

serbian rowers

Serbian rowers capsize into Rio microbe-infested “waters”

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/08/07/survival-medicine-hour-pain-relief-risks-in-rio

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Joe and Amy Alton

Hey, fill those holes in your medical storage by checking out Nurse Amy’s entire line of specially designed survival medical kits! You’ll be glad you did!

Video: Latest Zika News

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asian-tiger-mosquito

Aedes Albopictus mosquito

In Joe Alton, MD‘s latest video, he discusses recent updates by the CDC on the Zika virus, now with 15 or 16 locally transmitted cases in Miami, and closing in on 2000 travel-related cases in the U.S. Puerto Rico has it even worse with close to 6000 cases, almost all locally transmitted, on the island. Several hundred pregnant women are being followed for signs of microcephaly and other birth abnormalities (12 on U.S. soil so far).

Don’t panic, though, there may be clusters of cases in the U.S. this year, but the CDC stops short of predicting an epidemic.

To get all the latest on this worrisome virus, click below:

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

Prepping With Prescription Dependencies, Guest Post by Cory Thomas

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shutterstock_89589424

(Joe Alton, MD aka Dr. Bones says: We support the efforts of aspiring writers in survival medicine, and you’ll occasionally see a guest post on our website. This time, our guest author is Cory Thomas, editor at survivethewild.net. His article relates to preppers’ options with regards to their meds in a survival setting. Guest posts are the opinions of their authors and not necessarily that of Doom and Bloom.)

 

When preparing for an emergency, you immediately think to store food and water. You may consider different routes to a bug-out location or whether you should carry a weapon. But what about the things you depend on someone else to give you, like prescription drugs? If your doctor is unavailable, if you’re in an unusual location, if your town and its pharmacies are flooded, or if the economy has tanked and money doesn’t mean what it used to, having a supply of prescription drugs or drug alternatives will be paramount. It won’t matter if you have three months’ food supply if you don’t have necessary insulin or heart medication to keep you alive along enough to eat it. Here are some ways to avoid trouble in the event of an emergency or event:

 

Go Off Your Meds
Not possible in all scenarios, stopping medication is sometimes a viable option. While medications may sustain life, others make life easier. One person may be able to go without anti-anxiety medication and still make it through while another needs the medication for survival. Some pain medications may fall into this category as well. If you choose to stop using any medication, know the procedure in advance. Some medications can cause your condition to worsen if stopped suddenly.
Use Your Three-Month Plan
Many insurance companies offer a mail-order plan allowing you to get three months’ worth of prescriptions at once. Of course, as you near the end of those three months, your stockpile will dwindle, but it’s an easy way to get started.
Ask Your Doctor
Depending on your doctor’s attitude towards prepping, timing can be everything here. It may be best to ask your doctor if she has samples so you aren’t without medication immediately prior to hurricane season or if you may get snowed in over the winter. There’s no need to mislead your doctor, but it is good to have a specific concern. Let her know that you are stocking your emergency supplies and would like to include necessary prescriptions. If samples are unavailable, consider asking for an extra month’s prescription. You may not be able to bill it through insurance, but you’ll know you have it. Over time, you’ll be able to build up a decent supply of medicine.

 

Maintenance and Storage

 

Bugging In
If you’re sheltering in place, you’ll have your medicines with you, but should take extra care in storing them. Most tablets and capsules should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place, and if you’re without your usual heating and cooling system, you’ll need to ensure they’re safe. A dry basement or root cellar may be an ideal location, but an interior closet can be utilized as well.
Some medications require refrigeration, so make sure you have a generator or other power source available to keep these medications cool. A dorm-sized refrigerator takes less power to run than your normal fridge, so consider getting one to store your stockpile as well as for use during an outage.

 

Bugging Out
If you have to leave your home, be prepared to take your medication with you. Maintain all of your medication with its proper labeling in the event you are stopped or questioned. You should also have copies of recent medical records which will provide evidence that you’re not doing something nefarious with the drugs. Keep shelf-stable medications in the coolest space available in your vehicle while traveling, and take care to store them properly once you are at your destination.
If you must travel with refrigerated medications, have an appropriately-sized cooler prepared and necessary ice packs ready at all times. It is best not to keep your medication and food in the same cooler if possible, to avoid cross-contamination in case of breakage or leaks. Consider a cooler that will plug into your vehicle’s charger, particularly for longer journeys, and ensure that your destination has available refrigeration. Transfer medications to standard refrigeration as soon as possible.

 

Rotate Your Stock
This is vital for prescription medications, which may not show their age like food does. The tablet may look the same, but if it’s out of date it could have unexpected results. If you’ve gotten samples, go ahead and take them, allowing your regular prescription to become your stockpile. Every time you refill the prescription, take the medicine from your stockpile and replace it with the new stock.

 

Know Your Options

 

Plants Are Your Friends
Find a naturalist or herbalist to help you find ways to treat your condition without prescriptions. Not all conditions can be resolved naturally, but knowing what you can do before emergency strikes is important. Essential oils of bergamot and cinnamon may help to lower blood sugar, allowing some diabetics to reduce the amount of insulin needed. Hibiscus tea can be used to treat moderate cases of high blood pressure. Aromatherapy and meditation can do wonders for anxiety and depression. Work with these things while you have prescriptions available and can do the proper testing so you are never over-medicated or without a back-up while you figure out what works. Remember that when you don’t have a steady supply of medication, using natural methods to simply decrease your dose may be as helpful as having a greater supply.

 

Alternative Practitioners
Alternative treatments beyond herbs or oils may also be helpful. Talk to a chiropractor, acupuncturist, or other alternative therapist for suggestions. Research therapies online or at the library. Learn to do what you can on your own, whether that means taking some online classes or just figuring out how to use a manual blood pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer). Again, this is best accomplished ahead of time when you have more options available.

 

Prepping with prescriptions doesn’t have to be difficult, but it can take time and attention to detail. Planning now may save your life, or just make it a little easier if disaster strikes.

 

Cory Thomas

SurviveTheWild.Net

 

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

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bee-sting

bee stinger in a sting wound

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD (Dr. Bones) and Amy Alton, ARNP (Nurse Amy) tackles a bunch of topics. First, new cases of Zika in Florida may not be related to travel outside the country. Until now, all cases were from people who returned from the epidemic zone in the Caribbean and Latin America. Puerto Rico now has 4000 cases, almost all locally transmitted, and the CDC thinks we’ll have some clusters of local cases in the continental U.S. as well.

snakebite ankle with bruising

snakebite wound

Also, summer is here and a murderous heat wave has gripped the Nation’s East, Midwest, and Southwest, causing at least 6 deaths and cause the heat index to feel like 100 degrees or more in locations that are used to much milder weather. Heat stroke is a major risk and you need to know how to identify and treat it.

heat dome reuse

the “heat dome”

Plus, out in the woods you’ll encounter a lot of critters. Last week, we talked about bites and attacks from warm furry ones, this weeks it’s snakes and bees/wasps. Learn all the latest about how to deal with a snakebite when modern medical help is not available, plus how to use an epi-pen to treat severe allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock.

All this and more on the latest Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton! To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/07/25/survival-medicine-hour-snakebite-bee-stings-zika-in-the-us-heat-waves

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

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

The Altons

 

Success and Survival Medicine!

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Success and Survival Medicine! Tom “Galt Strike” Have you ever been interested in the medical industry?  Have you ever wanted to become a Doctor or a Nurse?  Or maybe you want to write a book and don’t know where to start, or maybe even develop your own board game. So what do all of these … Continue reading Success and Survival Medicine!

The post Success and Survival Medicine! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Under The Heat Dome

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heat dome reuse

heat dome

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

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

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

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

noaa heat index chart

NOAA Heat Index Chart

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

Prepper-Corn-Garden-Container

Yes, Corn can sweat!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

heat stroke vs heat exhaustion

heat exhaustion (L) Heat Stroke (R)

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

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

heat stroke graphic

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

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

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

heat-stroke

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

 

 

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

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animalbite1

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

gerald celente

Gerald Celente

To listen in, click below:

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

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

Joe and Amy Alton

AmyandJoePodcast400x200

The Altons

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

lazybear

Book review: The Survival Medicine Handbook – what to do when help isn’t on the way

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What happens during a medical emergency when dialing 911 is not an option? What is your next move?

by Leon Pantenburg

Most first aid and medical manuals will tell you to seek a medical clinic or hospital as quickly as possible when an emergency occurs. It’s sound advice.

But what happens when 911 isn’t an option? Maybe there has been a major earthquake, tsunami or natural disaster, and the roads are out, and Life Flight helicopters are grounded. The cavalry isn’t coming.

The survival medicine handbookThis is when reality hits with a resounding thump, and you realize the only person available to deal with the medical emergency is you. And you will have to rely on whatever training you had.

This is the concept behind “The Survival Medicine Handbook,” Third Edition, revised and expanded by Joseph Alton, MD and Amy Alton ARNP.

Better known as Doctor Bones and Nurse Amy, the duo is widely known in the preparedness industry as the go-to couple for all things medical. Their stated goal is: “To put a medically prepared person in every family for any disaster.”

First aid manuals are a dime a dozen, and come in all shapes, configurations and sizes. There is a plethora of information about taking care of injuries on the trail. But most of the ones I’ve seen, including those designed for Third World areas, always end up recommending the readers to seek modern medical help.

That’s where this manual is different. What happens if a disaster overwhelms emergency responders? Or if a catastrophe, such as a flood or earthquake, prevents entrance into an area?

The Survival Medicine Handbook is based on the assumption that outside help won’t be available.

Read it from that standpoint.

I found the book to be a wealth of information and a treasure trove of simple tips for improvising. The reader will learn such tips as:

Improvisation may be key in dealing with a medical emergency.

Improvisation may be key in dealing with a medical emergency.

Improvise butterfly and wound closure bandages – from duct tape. I knew how to use butterfly bandages from a first aid class I took. I carry duct tape in every emergency kit I have, and tried this technique as soon as I read about it. The concept works really well.

Make a water filter out of a plastic soft drink bottle.

Items to include in a survival dental kit.

How to handle a mass casualty event when medical personnel are overwhelmed.

Essential oils and herbal teas: In a long term survival scenario, nature may be your only pharmacy. It is imperative to learn the medical benefits of plants that may grow in your garden. A whole section is devoted to identifying and discussing some of these plants.

Allergic to bee and/or wasp stings? You probably won’t know until one stings you. Learn how to identify and treat anaphylactic shock.

Q: So how would this book fit into your preparedness planning?

A: By starting you thinking about survival scenarios where there is no outside help.

Dr. John Leach wrote in his groundbreaking “Survival Psychology” book, that  in any emergency, 80 percent of the people present won’t have any idea what to do, 10 to 15 percent will do the wrong thing, and 10 to 15 percent will act appropriately. This small group will react, based on what training they have had.

You want to be in the group which is in the know.  A good place to start is by reading this book. It is full of practical, sound advice on how to handle many basic medical emergencies.

But no book is a substitute for a first aid class. The best investment in your family’s well-being is to have several members trained in basic first aid. One is not enough. The trained person might be the one needing help.

The next investment should be in some medical books – not downloads – that can be used as reference materials when the electricity goes down and the batteries run out.

I review a lot of preparedness books, and my wife generally peruses them, too. After the publication has been read and reviewed, it is generally donated to the local library.

But, at my wife’s suggestion, we’re keeping “The Survival Medical Handbook, Third edition,” and it will go into our survival/preparedness library. We’ll be ordering another as a gift to friends who live part-time on an isolated ranch in the Oregon high desert.

That’s the highest recommendation I can give a book. Get one.

Please click here to check out and subscribe to the SurvivalCommonSense.com YouTube channel, and here to subscribe to our weekly email update – thanks!

Amazon.com Widgets

Video: Heat Wave Safety

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heat stroke 1

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

To watch, click below:

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

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

Survival Medicine Hour: Tom Martin of APN, Shooter Issues, Summer Germs, Natural Remedies

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shutterstock_53362708

Summer Germs

In this episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Joe and Amy Alton, aka Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, Tom Martin of American Preppers Network joins us to talk about his new show, plus a serious look at the recent shooter events and when violence is the answer to stop the fatalities. Also, places you’ll be this summer that could make you seriously sick if you’re not careful. Nurse Amy continues her discussion of natural remedies that will help for orthopedic injuries. Dr. Bones also talks about what the medic’s priorities should be when under fire in hostile survival scenarios. All this and more on the latest Survival Medicine Hour.

DBS_character_hunter

 

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/07/08/survival-medicine-hour-shooters-summer-germs-tom-martin-of-apn-more

 

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

 

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Don’t forget to check out our brand new Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook, as well as our Zika Virus Handbook, both available on Amazon. And fill those holes in your medical supplies at Nurse Amy’s store!

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

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sprained-ankle

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

heat stroke 1

To listen in, click below:

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

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

 

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

AmyandJoePodcast400x200

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

Cheap Medical and Prepping Supplies

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Cheap Medical and Prepping Supplies

ThePatriotNurse shares with us how she shops for her medical prepping supplies, Wonder Woman and a few other things you may not have considered.  She walks us through Costo and shows us some of their best deals to get your medical supplies stored up fast. I have to say, she definitely makes shopping fun.

Medical supplies are very important to have in case of an emergency or bug out/in circumstance. Medicine can mean the difference when it comes to preventing or treating infection, fever, cough, acid reflux etc. Preventing a cough, allergies or vomiting can also mean not giving away your location should you need to remain quiet.

Medical training is also a very important thing to consider working towards. After all, what good are medical supplies if you don’t know how to use them?

Hope you enjoy ThePatriotNurse and shopping with her bubbly personality.

 

Video By ThePatriotNurse
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Transcription provided by American Preppers Network

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Duration:  8 min 43  sec

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It’s A Cruel, Cruel Summer: Heat Waves

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house on fire burning

Well, Summer is here and the West is experiencing record high temperatures in a series of heat waves that may continue until Fall. Even worse, the scorching temperatures are igniting scores of wildfires that are threatening communities throughout the region.

Officials predicted a high-risk situation as the heat surpassed 100 degrees across much of Southern California; desert cities throughout Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico hit temperatures reaching the 120s. These temperatures place the more than 3,000 firefighters in the area in extreme danger for heat-related complications.

The power grid is being tested by the millions of air conditioning units set on “max cool”, and we can expect to see some major issues if the electricity goes out and people have to fight the heat with hand fans.

You might not consider a heat wave a natural disaster, but it most certainly is. Heat waves can cause mass casualties, as they did in Europe when 70,000 died of exposure (not in the Middle Ages, but in 2003). India, Pakistan, and other underdeveloped tropical countries experience thousands of heat-related deaths yearly. A pre-monsoon heat wave in April killed hundreds in the region. There are already several recorded deaths in the American West.

So how exactly does heat kill a person? Your body core regulates its temperature for optimal organ function. When core body temperature rises excessively (known as “hyperthermia”), damage occurs that leak toxins, cause cell death, and major inflammation. These deaths can occur very quickly without intervention, even in those who are physically fit. Even in modern times, hyperthermia carries a 10% death rate, mostly in the elderly and infirm.

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

The risk of heat stroke correlates strongly to the “heat index”, a measurement of the effects of air temperature combined with high humidity.  Above 60% relative humidity, loss of heat by perspiration is impaired, increasing the chances of heat-related illness.  Exposure to full sun increases the reported heat index by as much as 10-15 degrees F.

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

heat stroke vs heat exhaustion

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

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

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

If not dealt with quickly, shock and organ malfunction may ensue, possibly leading to death. In heat stroke, the skin is likely to be hot to the touch, but dry; sweating might be absent.  The body makes efforts to cool itself down until it hits a temperature of 105-6 degrees or so. At that point, thermoregulation breaks down and the body’s ability to use sweating as a natural temperature regulator fails. In heat stroke, the body core can rise to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

You’ll notice that the skin becomes red, not because it is burned, but because the blood vessels are dilating in an effort to dissipate some of the heat.

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

heat-stroke

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

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

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

heat stroke graphic

Treating heat stroke: Only give fluids in someone that is awake and alert

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

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

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

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

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

Survival Medicine Hour: Expert Charley Hogwood, Cinnamon, Antibiotics, Alligators

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charleylongdistancepic

Charley Hogwood, Survival Group expert

In this topic-packed episode of the Survival Medicine Hour with Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP, survival group expert and author Charley Hogwood joins us to talk about survival group dynamics as well a number of other issues that may affect your chances for survival in the uncertain future. Also, Nurse Amy talks about one of her favorite herbs, Cinnamon, and its medical uses and Dr. Alton discusses an unusual subject, driven by recent news: Alligator attacks, what to do and some common-sense prevention strategies. He also brings you up to date with the Zika epidemic ramping up in Puerto Rico, and the 3 infants born with Zika-related deformities in the United States. Finally, Dr. Alton discusses antibiotics while answering a question from a listener of the popular Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko. Dr. Alton serves as the medical expert on Jack’s Expert Council.

alligator above water

image by pixabay.com

Plus, doctors say 1 in 5 trauma victims’ death are preventable. Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy discuss why and what could be done to increase your chances of surviving a mass casualty incident.

To listen in, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/06/20/survival-medicine-hour-expert-charley-hogwood-cinnamon-antibiotcs-alligators

 

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

Joe and Amy Alton

joe and amy radio

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

Zika Update: More Cases In U.S., More Woes In Brazil

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asian-tiger-mosquito

aedes albopictus

The U.S. now has three newborns with Zika-related birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Puerto Rico now has 1,700 confirmed cases of Zika, almost 200 of which are in pregnant women. The warm-weather U.S. territory is in the midst of an epidemic of the mosquito-borne illness. The numbers don’t take into account that 80 per cent of infections are without symptoms, a fact that suggests that the actual number of cases is at least five times higher. Evaluations of blood banks in the island has found that more than one per cent of all units donated carry evidence of the Zika virus.

Although 750 cases has been identified in the continental U.S. and Hawaii, all appear related to travel in the epidemic zone. More than 200 pregnant women are being monitored for signs of fetal damage. The CDC has yet to find a case that they are confident was locally transmitted. They consider the risks of a U.S. epidemic to be very low.

shutterstock_372565018

Microcephaly

The CDC is counting a range of abnormalities in its study on the effect of the virus. Chief among them is microcephaly, where the baby’s skull fails to grow normally, probably as a result of defects in brain development. Also seen are calcium deposits, excess fluid in the brain, and abnormal eye development.  It is thought that 1-15 per cent of Zika-infected newborns will come out with some type of problem.

In an effort to increase preparedness levels, the CDC has assembled teams of experts that it will send to various high-risk states, especially when the first expected local cases are found. Also, the teams plan to assist efforts to control mosquito populations in the affected areas. Lab tests for Zika virus, previously available only through state labs, are now available in various commercial labs, such as Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp.

shutterstock_369343772

Aedes Aegypti life cycle

The Zika virus, along with the often-more serious Dengue fever virus, is spread by Aedes mosquitoes. Both Aedes Aegypti and its cousin, the Asian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes Albopictus, are thought to be able to spread the virus. These mosquitoes have now been identified in 44 states, up from 12 in previous surveys. The same mosquitoes are known to transmit Yellow Fever and the West Nile virus.

In the meantime, the World Health Organization has closed ranks with the International Olympic Committee in saying that it considers Zika a low risk for causing problems in the upcoming Summer Games. Previously, it had sounded alarms regarding Rio de Janeiro, the host city. Rio has the second highest number of Zika cases in Brazil. The Games start August 5th.

More than 250 medical professional of all stripes, including myself, have signed a petition recommending cancellation or transfer of the Summer Olympics to another venue. At present, this forms a minority opinion, although many countries are warning against travel to the Zika epidemic zone, especially for women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy and their partners. Canadian professor Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa was invited to sit in on WHO’s Zika hearings, but the invitation was then rescinded when he refused to sign a confidentiality agreement.

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Brazil: Zika epicenter

As if Brazil wasn’t having enough problems with Zika virus, the acting governor of Rio de Janeiro state has declared a state of “financial disaster“.  Governor Francisco Dornelles announced the measure to allow Rio to adopt extraordinary measures to pay mounting costs related to the Summer Olympics. Brazil is in the midst of a major economic recession.

Dornelles’ spokesman said that the decision was made because of lower-than-expected revenues from taxes and oil royalties. He said: “The financial crisis has brought several difficulties in essential public services and it could cause the total collapse of public security, health care, education, urban mobility and environmental management,”.

Rio’s situation is so bad that two of its hospitals were taken over by the government to pay medical personnel. Some police stations are so strapped for funds that they have asked for donations of basic items like toilet paper. Public workers and retirees have suffered months-long delays in receiving their money. Major Olympic projects, like the metro line being built to carry tourists to venues, are well behind schedule.

So, ask yourself this question: Is it worth it to have half a million tourists from 180 countries travel to the epicenter of a major epidemic for a sports event?

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4

Joe Alton, MD

Hey, find out everything you need to know about Zika Virus with Dr. Alton’s new book: The Zika Virus Handbook.

High Resolution Front Cover_6093961

Alligator Attacks

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danger alligator

Take this sign seriously

 

While reading of the tragic attack by a Florida alligator on a two year old boy recently, it struck me that, although I’ve written about bear encounters, animal bites, and shark attacks, I’ve never written about alligators or crocodiles. Yet, we sometimes see gators in the lake behind our home here in South Florida, and they can be very dangerous.

Alligators are crocodilians, which also include crocodiles, caimans, and some other species. Solidly built and reaching large sizes, you might be surprised to know that these powerful reptiles’ closest relations still in existence are birds. Although humans are usually not on these carnivores’ menu, they aren’t the pickiest eaters. As a result, there are about 300 attacks reported yearly worldwide that lead to injury or death. Attacks by crocodilians occur mostly in Africa and Asia, mostly by Nile river crocodiles, but have also been reported in North America, South America, and Australia.

alligator range

BE AWARE

alligator smile

Looks slow and clumsy; it’s not.

Although alligators look clumsy and slow on land, they can actually reach a speed of 10 mph. In the water, however, they can be agile and seriously fast. It makes sense to give them a wide berth whenever they are seen. This isn’t always easy, as their modus operandi is to stalk and ambush with only their eyes, ears, and nostrils above water. Once they grab hold of their victim, they hold it underwater until it drowns.

Situational awareness, so important in survival, will help avoid an encounter with an alligator. Attacks can occur both in the water and the water’s edge.Watch for mounds of vegetation that could represent a nest and stay away from murky water or shallow swampy areas of vegetation. Swimming in alligator territory is unwise, and they are especially attracted to splashing around. If you find yourself in the water unexpectedly, get out as quietly and quickly as possible.

alligator vegetation

Alligators might be hard to spot in swampy vegetation

Attacks by crocodilians most often occur at dusk or at night. Nesting mothers are, unlike other reptiles, protective of their young, and have a nasty temper. Having a flashlight or head lamp will alert you to their presence at night in or out of the water by the reflection of light from their eyes.

KEEP A DISTANCE

alligator in water

Most images for this article by pixabay.com

If you spot a gator on land, stay 75 feet away. If you’re camping in alligator country, make sure that your tent is six feet above the water line and at least 150 feet from the water’s edge. Store all food securely and avoid leaving scraps around that might attract them. Especially keep a close eye on dogs and children near the water’s edge. Alligators prefer smaller prey that they can easily drag into the water.

Alligators will sometimes hiss when they feel threatened. If they charge, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction from the water. If they catch you, they’ll try to drag you in. Once you’re in, your chances of survival drop greatly.

ATTACKED!

alligator above water

alligators can jump vertically out of the water

Let’s say you, somehow, find yourself in the jaws of an alligator or crocodile. If it lets go, it was just a defensive reaction, but if it holds on and tries to get you in the water, you must fight. The eyes are most vulnerable, and gouging at them might be your best chance. After that, any trauma you can inflict to the head might discourage it enough to let you go.

If all has failed and you’re in the water, there’s still a chance. The alligator has a flap of tissue in their throat that prevents it from drowning. If you can grab hold of or damage this tissue, called the “palatal valve”, water will flow down its windpipe and your attacker might just release you.

If you manage to get out of the water, realize that any bite wound is probably already colonized with the huge amount of bacteria that alligators have in their mouth. Even  a minor bite will become infected if not treated with antibiotics.

Joe Alton, MD

AuthorJoe

Hey, check out the brand new 2016 edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook at amazon.com, over 670 pages of medical info you’ll need in times of trouble.

 

Survival Medicine Hour: Urban Survival, Slowly Healing Wounds

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In this episode of the Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Hour, Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP discuss what it takes to be an effective medic in an urban survival setting. From dealing with contaminated water to controlling a bleeding wound, there are special considerations that must be taken into account when surviving in place in the town or city. Find out what items you should have and how to approach the bleeding wound. Plus, Dr. Alton answers a question from “rancher”, a member of Jack Spirko’s Survival Podcast audience, about how to deal with thinning skin as you age and spend time in the outdoors. Conventional and natural remedies are discussed to help wounds in fragile skin heal faster.

Also, the new 2016 Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook has hit Amazon, and it’s 670 pages of plain English advice on what to do in a disaster when the hospital is far away or just plain no longer exists. Get a copy today for your survival library.

To listen in to the podcast, click below:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/survivalmedicine/2016/06/12/survival-medicine-hour-urban-survival-slowly-healing-wounds

 

Wishing you all the best in good times or bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

JoeAmyPortrait2013

 

 

 

Prepper Book Festival 12: The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook + Giveaway

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Survival Doctors Complete Handbook | Backdoor Survival

How many times have you had a medical or first aid issue occur during the middle of the night or on a weekend when getting help would be difficult?  Or, equally bad, help is available but only at a hospital emergency room an hour a way?  What if the power was out, roads were blocked, or there was something going on that precluded EMTs coming to the rescue?

What I describe are typical survival scenarios and those that we, as Preppers, plan for.  I don’t know about you, but for medical and first aid emergencies, I don’t rely on free information on the internet or free eBooks on Amazon.  I want real information, written by real doctors who have practiced medicine on real people.

Survival Doctors Complete Handbook | Backdoor Survival

With that introduction, I want to introduce you to Dr. James Hubbard’s newest book, The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook.  Many of you might recall two of James previous books from earlier book festivals: First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival and Duct Tape 911.  His latest book takes things a step further and is an all-around handbook for dealing with a much broader variety of medical related things that can and do happen when professional help is not available.

Let me share an example.

In The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook there is a section describing how to close a scalp wound.  James starts by saying that unless you are bald, tape is not going to stick. True enough and funny how I never considered that.  Whereas you can use superglue to close things up, he suggest using the hair on either side of the wound to cinch things up nice and tight until it is closed.  This advice is coupled with easy to follow illustrations that even I can follow.

Below you will find an all-new Backdoor Survival interview with James, plus I have two copies of his book up for grabs in a giveaway.  Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.

An Interview with James Hubbard, Author of The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook

One question on everyone’s mind is what they would do if a disaster or even a collapse occurred in their own back yard. If that happened to you, would you bug-in or bug-out and why.

I would bug-in. I live in a rural area, and I think I would be able to handle the problems that would arise, including food and water scarcity, better where I live than fighting for it in a place that I’m unfamiliar with. The traffic would probably also be a major barrier for bugging out, if cars were working.

If you did decide to hunker down and bug-in, what items would you include for comfort? Or would you?

The basics of food, blankets, drinkable water, and a store of essential medicines are givens.

For comfort I would include over-the-counter medicines, such as something for pain, rashes and bowel/stomach problems; candles for light at night; a few good books to read; maybe a board game; and at least a small variety of favorite food treats. I’d have plenty of bug spray, breathable clothes for the heat, along with a good coat and raincoat.

If feasible, I’d have a good mattress and pillow or at least a good foam pad.

Home defense and protection from the bad guys is a big deal. That said, not everyone is prepared or even qualified to use firearms. What do you recommend in that case?

Learn how to use a gun and have one you’re comfortable shooting. Have a Taser or two, or something similar, and know how to use them. Keep a low profile. Don’t wander out unless you have to. Have a dog or two.

These days, it seems as though a new book about survival or preparedness is released daily. How is your book different from the others and why should we read it?

The information in The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook is based largely on my experience as a doctor—over 30 years of it. I share what I believe to be the most common medical problems one might encounter, how to recognize them and what to do. The book has close to 100 illustrations so you can learn visually while you read. I include makeshift options for times when you don’t have the medical tool typically used for a problem.

Since sometimes expert medical help is available, just far away, dangerous to get to, or both, I provide information to help you decide if the problem is so dire that it’s get-help-or-die.

What is your favorite survival, disaster, or post-apocalyptic film or TV show?

I liked Apollo 13 and the book and film version of The Road. Regarding TV, I enjoyed Revolution.

It is said that everyone has a book inside them. What advice do you have for the budding author?

Know the basics of writing, such as grammar, flow, organization, and how to make a good outline. Or hire an editor. Make the book easily readable. Don’t use never-ending sentences or lots of big words. Know, or learn, your topic well. Join a critique group, or have someone who will read your material and is willing to give constructive criticism.

The Giveaway

James has reserved two copies of his book in this newest Book Festival Giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

Note:  This giveaway is only open individuals with a mailing address in the United States.

The Final Word

I do want to mention one other thing about The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook.  Each chapter begins with a pop quiz.  The quiz begins with a few descriptive paragraphs describing something that occurred during James career as a medical doctor.  There are four potential answers in a multiple choice format.

On the next page are the answers along with a thorough description of why each choice is correct or incorrect.  Some of the answers may surprise you and would make excellent discussion points when talking about medical first aid among family members or friends.

For more information about the books in this latest book festival, visit Prepper Book Festival #12: The Best Books to Help You Prepare, Stay Healthy and Be Happy.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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Spotlight:  The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook

It’s the worst snowstorm you can remember. The ice-covered streets are abandoned. You hear a boom in the distance, and your computer screen goes blank. Darkness. A crash and another bang from inside the house. In the hallway, your husband sits on the floor, soaked in blood. You dial 911, and all you get is a busy signal. Would you know what to do next?

The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook will teach you just what you need to know to take care of yourself and your loved ones in the event you aren’t able to get professional medical help right away. Encompassing but going well beyond immediate first aid, the book covers:

  • How to put a dislocated joint back into place
  • How to prevent hypothermia when your heat has gone out
  • What to do for asthma when you don’t have your inhaler
  • Whether you can really drink your own urine if you run out of water
  • What to feed your toddler if he has a fever and you have no medicine
  • And much more

Featuring more than 100 illustrations, along with quick quizzes and real-life examples, The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook will take you step by step through the essentials of medical care during a crisis. Whatever your situation and your health needs, this handbook is your must-have medical resource.

Bargain Bin:  For your convenience, here is a complete list of all of the books in BDS Prepper Book Festival 12.

Survival Fiction

The Borrowed World: A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Collapse
The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb

Non-Fiction

5 Gallon Bucket Book: DIY Projects, Hacks, and Upcycles
Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking
DIY Solar Projects: How to Put the Sun to Work in Your Home
Mason Jar Nation: The Jars that Changed America and 50 Clever Ways to Use Them Today
Mother Earth News Almanac: A Guide Through the Seasons
A Prepper’s Cookbook: Twenty Years of Cooking in the Woods
The Complete Guide to US Junk Silver Coins (2nd edition)
When There Is No FEMA: Survival for Normal People in Very Abnormal Times
Coloring Flower Mandala Postcards: 20 Hand-Drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation
The Zika Virus Handbook
The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook
Book 8: Alcohol Mantle Lamps (The Non-Electric Lighting Series)
Preppers Armed Defense

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Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.  The eBook is only 99 cent plus the print version is available for less than $6.00.

~~~~~

Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)?

I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has a feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are “wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For Emergency and Survival Kit Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from Amazon.com
Bug Out Bag – Get Home Bag Supplies
Amazon Gift Cards

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

~~~~~

The post Prepper Book Festival 12: The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Announcing The NEW Third Edition Survival Medicine Handbook

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The Survival medicine handbook Third Edition 2016

The Survival Medicine Handbook 2016 Third Edition

Well, we’ve returned from an awesome week in the great state of Oregon and got to look at the final proof of the Third Edition, which arrived while we were away. It looks good on review, so we hit the publish button and it’s now available at Amazon.

 

For those who don’t know us, the third edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook is not your standard first aid book: Unlike other medical books (even some outdoor and “survival” medicine books), it assumes that a disaster, natural or man-made, has removed all access to hospitals or doctors for the foreseeable future; you, the average person, are now the highest medical resource left to your family.  It’s also for the family that lives or is traveling in rural areas where the ambulance is more than a few minutes away, or where there isn’t cell phone service.

 

To let you know what’s in the book, most of the topics are below. Every chapter has been revised to some extent. We’ve greatly increased the content on hemorrhagic wounds, adding chapters on active shooters, tourniquets, gunshot and knife wounds, discussions of ballistic trauma and body armor, and even the medic under fire. Food/water contamination, pandemic diseases, rodent issues, and disease-causing microbes also added as individual discussions. The section on respiratory infections is completely reworked as is the section on physical exams. Additional natural disaster preparedness topics include blizzards, avalanches, survival when lost at sea, mudslides, and more. Nurse Amy has added a lot of material to the medical supplies section, plus how to sterilize supplies, choosing a medic bag, and more. Soft tissue wound care and patient transport have been expanded. As always, we discuss alternative remedies wherever they may be helpful.
Here are just some of the over 150 topics (175 illustrations) covered in our 670 page book:

PRINCIPLES OF MEDICAL PREPAREDNESS-HISTORY OF PREPAREDNESS-USING ALL THE TOOLS IN THE WOODSHED-SPIRITUALITY AND SURVIVAL-MODERN MEDICINE VS. SURVIVAL MEDICINE-THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY-HOW TO BECOME AN EFFECTIVE MEDIC-LIKELY MEDICAL ISSUES YOU’LL FACE-MEDICAL SKILLS YOU’LL WANT TO LEARN-MEDICAL BAGS, KITS, AND SUPPLIES-HOW TO STERILIZE MEDICAL SUPPLIES-NATURAL REMEDIES, LIKE OILS, TEAS, TINCTURES, AND SALVES-THE MEDICAL HISTORY AND PHYSICAL EXAM-THE MASS CASUALTY INCIDENT-THE ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENT-PATIENT TRANSPORT-HYGIENE-RELATED MEDICAL ISSUES-LICE, TICKS, AND WORMS-DENTAL ISSUES AND PROCEDURES-RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS-GUIDE TO PROTECTIVE MASKS-FOOD AND WATER-BORNE ILLNESS-WATER STERILIZATION-DIARRHEAL DISEASE AND DEHYDRATION-DEALING WITH SEWAGE ISSUES-RODENTS AS DISEASE VECTORS-FOOD POISONING-PATHOGENS (DISEASE-CAUSING ORGANISMS)-HOW INFECTIONS SPREAD-APPENDICITIS AND OTHER ABDOMINAL INFECTIONS AND CONDITIONS-HEPATITIS-URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS-INFECTIONS CAUSED BY YEAST-CELLULITIS-ABSCESSES-TETANUS-MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES-PANDEMICS-THE SURVIVAL SICK ROOM -HYPERTHERMIA (HEAT STROKE)-HYPOTHERMIA-FROSTBITE/IMMERSION (TRENCH) FOOT-COLD WATER SAFETY-FALLING THROUGH THE ICE-AVALANCHE PREPAREDNESS-ALTITUDE SICKNESS-WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS-SMOKE INHALATION-TORNADO PREPAREDNESS-HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS-EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS-FLOOD PREPAREDNESS-MARITIME SURVIVAL-NEAR-DROWNING-VOLCANO PREPAREDNESS-ALLERGIC REACTIONS-ASTHMA-ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK-POISON IVY, OAK, AND SUMAC-RADIATION SICKNESS-BIOLOGICAL WARFARE-INJURIES TO SOFT TISSUES- MINOR WOUNDS-HEMORRHAGIC WOUNDS-PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF BLOOD LOSS-HEMORRHAGE CONTROL-TOURNIQUETS-COMMERCIAL BLOOD-CLOTTING AGENTS-KNIFE AND BULLET WOUNDS-BODY ARMOR-THE MEDIC UNDER FIRE-SOFT TISSUE CHRONIC WOUND CARE-HOW TO SUTURE SKIN-HOW TO STAPLE SKIN-LOCAL NERVE BLOCKS-BLISTERS, SPLINTERS, AND FISHHOOKS-NAIL BED INJURIES-BURN INJURIES-ANIMAL BITES-SNAKE BITES-INSECT BITES AND STINGS-HEAD INJURIES-SPRAINS AND STRAINS-DISLOCATIONS-FRACTURES-PNEUMOTHORAX-AMPUTATION-THYROID DISEASE-DIABETES-HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE-HEART DISEASE-ULCER AND ACID REFLUX DISEASE-SEIZURE DISORDERS-JOINT DISEASE-KIDNEY AND GALL BLADDER STONES-SKIN RASHES-VARICOSE VEINS-HEMORRHOIDS-AIRWAY OBSTRUCTION-TRACHEOTOMY-CPR IN THE UNCONSCIOUS PATIENT-HEADACHE-EYE TRAUMA AND INFECTIONS-NASAL TRAUMA-EAR INFECTIONS-PREGNANCY AND DELIVERY-ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION-SLEEP DEPRIVATION-OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS-PAIN RELIEF-ANTIBIOTICS (and how to use them)- EXPIRATION DATES

 

We hope you’ll consider the Third Edition of the Survival Medicine Handbook for your library.

 

Joe and Amy Alton

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Joe Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP

 

American Survival Radio, June 4th

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Lighthouse, Oregon Coast

High Resolution Front Cover_6093961 Zika
American Survival Radio brings you the news that affects, well, America’s Survival! With disaster and epidemic preparedness experts Joe and Amy Alton as hosts, expect some hard-hitting opinions on the news of the day.

In this episode of American Survival Radio, Joe and Amy Alton bring you the show from the great state of Oregon, where they’re speaking at the very popular Mother Earth News Fair there. When you’re a homesteader, sometimes you’re far from where you could get help, so self-reliance is the key (and that’s right up their alley!).

American Survival Radio #11 investigates why the murder rate in Chicago is so high, and climbing higher every year. The Altons have a pretty good idea of what’s behind it. Plus, The Florida Medical Association sends Dr. Alton a letter about their outrage that highly trained nurse practitioners may be seeing some VA patients, to decrease wait times for our veterans needing medical help. Seems that’s some kind of territorial threats to the doctors at the FMA, but Nurse Practitioner Amy Alton has her own choice words to say on this subject.

Also, the first baby born in the continental U.S. with Zika virus-related brain damage puts new attention on the risk to American citizens this summer, when mosquitoes will be out in force. Yet, the Democrats and Republicans can’t stop squabbling about how to fund efforts to avoid local cases in the U.S. Sheesh.

All this and more on American Survival Radio #11.

All the best in good times or bad,

Joe and Amy Alton

American Survival Radio

Prepper’s Guide to the Health Benefits of Parsley

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Health Benefits of Parsley | Backdoor Survival

When it comes to the survival garden, those of us with insufficient space or inadequate growing conditions feel kind of stuck.  Rather than fight to overcome environmental conditions beyond our control, I have been actively promoting the establishment of a medicinal or health-related garden in lieu of a food garden.

The most obvious reason is that herbs, spices, and other medicinal plants do not take a lot of room and many can be grown in pots either indoors or outdoors.  Perhaps a more important reason is this:  given a survival situation, traditional healthcare and medicines may be difficult to get so having supplies of herbs and the knowledge of how to use them will become invaluable.

Health Benefits of Parsley | Backdoor Survival

Furthermore, as much as I believe in the healing power of essential oils, during an extended embargo on new goods coming into the marketplace, stocks of essential oils will be depleted and may become as difficult to come by an traditional medicines.  The only difference is that essential oils can be purchased in quantity and stockpiled in the same manner as food storage.

With that introduction, I would like to call your attention to the health benefits of parsley, an easy to grow herb that is readily available as seeds.  First, with the able assistance of Carmella Tyrell, I will address the basics of parsley as an herbal power house.

Survival Plants in Action: The Parsley Power House

Have you ever been so poor that you didn’t know what you were going to eat until your next pay day?  In a time of major social collapse, even if you stockpile enough gold to fill Fort Knox, there simply may not be enough food to buy.  As someone who has gone through some tough times, I can tell you that super nutrient dense foods are critically important.  Believe it or not, one of the best foods, parsley, may be as close as the herb pot sitting on your window sill.

As a survival food and medicine, few can rival parsley for delivering important key nutrients in a small space.  This article will give you information on the hidden nutritional benefits of parsley, medicinal value, and how to grow it for survival needs.

What is Parsley?

Parsley, or Petroselinum crispum, is a biennial herb that traces its origins back to the Mediterranean region. Not surprisingly, it is featured often in Italian cuisine and has become a favorite herb throughout the world.  There are three basic types of parsley:

  • Italian/ Flat Leaf Parsley – this form has flat, dark green pointy leaves on a single stem.  In order to make more leaves, additional stems will come up from the root.   This variety has the strongest flavor and is recommended for its medicinal value and nutrients.
  • Curly Leaf Parsley – Curly parsley has leaves that look like they are all rumpled up.  Their growth habit is similar to Italian Parsley in the sense that new leaves come up from the roots instead of branching off from existing stems.   Other than being more bitter than Italian Parsley, this variety is milder in taste, but still carries most of the nutrient and medicinal properties.
  • German/ Hamburg Parsley – German Parsley tends to have flat leaves that grow on longer stems.  This variety is used mostly for its roots, which have a mild flavor.  Nutritionally and medicinally speaking, the roots have similar value to Italian and Curly Leaf varieties.

The Surprising Nutritional Value of Parsley

Did you know that 30 grams of parsley (½ cup) have half a full day’s supply of Vitamin C?   That’s 3x more than what you would get in a single orange.  If you think that’s a lot of vitamins packed into a tiny amount, have a look at some other key nutrients packed into that same ½ cup:

  • 30 grams of parsley yields 41 mg of calcium compared to just 30 mg in spinach and 38 mg in milk.
  • 30 grams of parsley also has 1.88 mg of iron compared to between .6 and .8 mg in the same amount of beef.  To add insult to injury, the iron found in beef and most other meat sources will be absorbed by your body whether you need it or not.  Plant-based sources of iron found in parsley and other plants are referred to as “non-heme” iron because your body will only take in the iron if it is needed.  This reduces the number of free radicals that get into your body, which reduces your risk of developing cancer.
  • 30 grams of parsley also yields over 500 times more Vitamin K than you need for a full day’s supply.  Since your body cannot absorb or use calcium without Vitamin K, lack of this vitamin leads to poor bone health. In addition, lack of Vitamin K also increases the risk of brain damage from Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Parsley is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and folate.  It also has good, easily digestible amounts of copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
  • On a scale of 0 to 100% in terms of a complete source of all needed nutrients, Parsley scores a whopping 91%.   Parsley is also high in protein and contains almost all the required amino acids for good health.

Medicinal Benefits of Parsley

Aside from the known benefits that come from many nutrients found in parsley, this herb also has medicinal properties that range from acting as a diuretic to fighting cancer to treating diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and reducing anxiety levels.

Here are some of the key compounds that may reach therapeutic levels in parsley essential oil and other preparations:

  • Apigenin – can be used to shrink breast cancer tumors.  Apigenin may also help prevent prostate, breast, and skin cancer. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and may also help with neural disorders.
  • Eugenol – has some antibacterial properties, and can also act as a pain reliever. Eugenol also contributes to the anti-inflammatory effects of Parsley and can reduce pain and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis.  Some research also shows that Eugenol can help lower blood sugar levels by making body cells more sensitive to insulin.  This is especially important for Type II diabetics.
  • Chyrsoeriol – helps lower blood pressure and relax blood vessels.
  • Luteolin – has been used in Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to fight cancer, and reduce allergic reactions.
  • Imperatorin – inhibits skin, stomach, and lung cancer.

Health Considerations

Newbies and advanced herbal medicine users can easily be lulled into thinking that parsley and other medicinal foods can be consumed without worrying about side effects. While eating parsley has many health benefits, care must still be taken to avoid the following problems:

  • If you are inclined to get calcium-oxalate kidney stones, it may be best to avoid parsley because it is high in oxalates.   That being said, if you have no problems with spinach, beets, rhubarb, okra, swiss chard, peanuts, almonds, quinoa, wheat germ, and bran flakes, then parsley may be an additional nutrient source to consider.
  • Since Vitamin K helps the blood clot, parsley can interfere with the blood thinning action of Coumadin and several other drugs.
  • Parsley is also known to increase uterine contractions.  As such, if you are pregnant, consuming parsley can cause a miscarriage.
  • Even though higher concentrations of Eugenol have therapeutic value, they can also cause liver damage.  As with any other medication, start with the lowest possible dose so that you do not risk taking more than is needed to treat the medical condition.
  • Myristicin is readily concentrated in essential oil made from parsley.  This compound can cause dizziness, headaches, and hallucinations.  If you must use essential oil of Parsley, use it in the most minimal amounts.

How to Grow Parsley for Food and Medicine

Parsley is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors and outdoors. It does well in most climates and will produce plenty of healthy green leaves within just a few weeks.  Parsley prefers full to partial sun and well-drained, slightly acidic soil.   Even though the seeds take longer to germinate than some others, the plants catch up quickly and remain strong producers throughout the growing season.

No matter whether you decide to grow parsley indoors or out, make sure that you won’t have to move the plants for at least two years.  Parsley produces one single, deep root that does not adapt well to being moved or disturbed.  When planting indoors, it is better to choose a deep pot so that you don’t have to worry about transplanting.

Be sure to choose heirloom or non-hybrid seeds so that you can save seeds to start a new generation of plants.  Since parsley is a biennial, you will only get a chance to collect seeds in the second year of the plant’s life.  Unlike many other plants, you cannot start new parsley plants from rhizomes.  Some people claim that they have successfully grown parsley from cuttings, however, I have not been successful with these methods.  You can still try it if you have extra leaves on hand and want to experiment.

Harvesting Parsley

Once you pick parsley, it will only last a few days before rotting.  Therefore, if you plan to harvest a large amount, you should also be ready to begin drying on the same day.

When harvesting parsley, try to cut leaves from the outer areas and work inward.  If there is still time left in the season, this will make it easier for the plant to continue growing and producing more leaves.  Without a question, if you want to season foods and only need a few sprigs, selecting the outermost leaves will give you plenty to work with and reduce the risk of damaging the plant.

Have you been looking for super foods or super herbs that will cover a range of needs in a crisis situation?  If so, then parsley may be an herb that you may have overlooked because it is so common and readily available.

Author’s Note:  My gratitude to Gaye Levy for giving me a chance to guest post!  It is my sincere hope that readers of this site gain good value from this post and that in time of need, this information will help save lives.

~~~~~

About Carmela Tyrrell –  I have been a prepper for many years and enjoy applying gardening, homemaking, and other skills to this fascinating subject.  I am always looking for new ways to live a better life by cutting reliance on all things “municipal” and embracing self-sustainable living.   Please see survivorsfortress.com for more of my articles on different aspects of prepping.

Parsley Tea for Bladder and UTI Discomfort

One very useful application for parsley is in a tea. Because the volatile oil in it’s leave and roots have diuretic properties, minor bladder problems can be treated by drinking 3 or 4 cups a day.

To make a parsley tea, add 1 teaspoon of minced parsley to a cup of boing water and let it steep for five minutes.  Strain and drink.

The Final Word

Parsley was one of the first herbs I grew as I was cultivating my green thumb back in the 70s.  I don’t know about elsewhere, but here in the Pacific Northwest, parsley is a biennial which means we get two years of growth for the price of one.  Late in the second year, the plant bolts and seed develop.  Many of these seeds will germinate and become volunteers in subsequent years, thus providing a never ending supply of parsley.

Before closing, I want to add a word about using parsley for bad breath.  Parsley is often prescribed as a remedy for bad breath and it certainly works better than breath sprays after consuming a meal laden with garlic.  That said, parsley will not cure chronic bad breath that is caused by some underlying health or dental issue.

Still, it does a fantastic job of temporarily freshening the breath.  In a survival situation where we may be in close quarters with others, having some fresh sprigs of parsley in the garden might make an unpleasant situation a bit for tolerable.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

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Bargain Bin:  I frequently emphasis the importance of “Comfort” when it comes to survival.  Whereas being truly comfortable during and following a disruptive event is an oxymoron, here are items that I feel will contribute to our comfort, for better or for worse.  For more ideas, visit 16 Items To Help You Hunker Down in Comfort.

Let’s start with something we can use to brew coffee and move on from there.

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator: Here is a link to my own percolator.  It is about $21 and without question, it makes great coffee.  I also own this manual coffee grinder and starting using it a couple of weeks ago when my electric grinder went T.U.:

Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill.  Note that whole beans store well when sealed in a Mason Jar (see How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning).

Making biscuits in a cast iron pan - Backdoor Survival

Lodge Logic Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Drop Biscuit Pan: Biscuits with jam are one of my favorite comfort foods.  This is the pan I purchased for biscuit making and to me, it was worth the cost.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite The Sunday Survival Buzz Volume 22: Having adequate light when the grid is down is another key to comfort.  Don’t let the $20 price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price.

Coleman Mini Lantern:  You already know that I have a think about flashlights but this is a slightly different take on portable lighting.  It is 7.5 inches tall lantern and weighs just seven ounces, including batteries.  And boy does it give off light.  Inexpensive plus, it is a genuine Coleman.

Mr. Heater Portable “Big Buddy” Heater:  Off course you are going to need a heat-source.  With the Mr. Buddy heater, you can use propane indoors safely.  It features an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system that automatically turns the unit off before carbon monoxide fumes reach dangerous levels in home.  To learn more about propane, read the series Propane for Preppers.

Ticket To Ride: This my favorite board game, bare none.  Family friendly, you will spend hours in front of the fireplace playing Ticket to Ride with your favorite people.  This is worth the splurge.

Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards:  This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out.  Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness kit.

Coloring Books for Grown-Ups:  This is the latest addition to my list of comfort items.  I hope you don’t think I am being silly because there really is something quite relaxing about coloring books. Don’t forget the crayons or Colored Pencils.

~~~~~~~~~~

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Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)?

I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has a feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are “wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

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Spark Naturals 2016 | Backdoor Survival

The post Prepper’s Guide to the Health Benefits of Parsley by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Cancel or Move The Olympics

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olympics

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A letter signed by 150 doctors and scientists has called for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to be moved or delayed due to the Zika virus. Rio is in the heart of the current epidemic.

Calling inaction “irresponsible” and “unethical”, the letter suggests that the Zika virus in Brazil is acting differently than it has in other areas, something I suggested may relate to a mutation in a recent article.

So make it 151 doctors and scientists. In my opinion, sending a half million tourists, not to mention athletes, to the  epicenter of a raging epidemic is, to say least, a bad idea. They’ll come from 170 different countries, get bitten by mosquitoes in Brazil, and head back home to have local mosquitoes spread the poorly-understood virus throughout the world.

Several hundred cases in U.S. citizens returning from the epidemic zone have been identified so far. Since 80 per cent of victims don’t experience symptoms, that means thousands of Americans have likely been infected.

pregnancycassat

There are 160 pregnant U.S. women among the group that has been diagnosed with the virus. Zika is known to be related to thousands of cases of microcephaly, a birth defect that prevents normal head growth. Brain development suffers as a result.

The fact that many Zika victims have no symptoms means that other women won’t know they had the virus until a sonogram identifies abnormal growth in their fetus. Zika is also associated with higher rates of Guillain-Barre and other nervous system disorders, some of which can be life-threatening.

The Olympics have been canceled five times in the last century, but this was due to world wars, not due to public health issues. As such, the International Olympic Committee, and worse, the World Health Organization, still claim that the Olympics will be safe and “enjoyable”.

Brazil, despite mobilizing most of its military to deal with mosquito control, has hardly been able to get a handle on the epidemic and is behind on putting together some of the infrastructure for the Games, including a metro line that takes visitors to the venues.

Despite this, the government is adamant about continuing, stating that calling off the Olympics would mean stopping half-finished buildings, canceling contracts, and refunding ticket fees. Brazil is thought to have sunk about 20 billion dollars into the Games so far.

asian-tiger-mosquito

In the meantime, the CDC is expecting clusters of Zika cases to be locally transmitted in the U.S. this summer, while stopping short of predicting an epidemic. Director of the National Institute of Health Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the CDC is “stealing from itself” to fund Zika efforts here, taking money from funds meant to combat influenza and other infectious diseases that hit America. Congress and the Obama administration have disagreed on the amount of money that should go to Zika research and mosquito control, delaying what might be vital funding.

Delaying the Olympics is not the answer. It’s being held during the “winter” in Southern Hemisphere Brazil, when mosquitoes might be less active. Delaying it just puts in warmer seasons when mosquitoes will be out in force.

So cancel or move the Olympics. I’ll bet there’s a lot of countries that are under-utilizing the expensive venues they built for previous Olympics. Make the event truly global by having it in a number of countries instead of having it be one big commercial of a particular one. To have a massive sporting event in the middle of an epidemic zone is just plain unethical, if not downright crazy.

 

Joe Alton, MD

Find out all you need to know about Zika virus with Dr.  Alton’s latest book “The Zika Virus Handbook“, available on Amazon.

The Zika Virus Handbook, by Joseph Alton, MD

The Zika Virus Handbook, by Joseph Alton, MD

 

12 Wellness Reasons to Include Elderberries in Your Preps

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12 Wellness Reasons to Include Elderberries in Your Preps | Backdoor Survival

The first time I learned about elderberries is when a homesteader I know told me she supplemented her income from making and selling her homemade syrups and tinctures.  At the time, I knew nothing about elderberries even though they are quite common near the edges of the forest here Washington State.

As my interest in natural remedies grew, I started investigating the merits of elderberry then stumbled upon this fact: elderberries can and do fight the flu.  Not only that, they do so exceptionally well.  Talk about a light bulb going off in this prepper mind of mine!  That single fact set me on path to learn about the other health and wellness benefits of elderberry and, as a natural follow-up, to make my own elderberry tincture and elderberry syrup.

12 Wellness Reasons to Include Elderberries in Your Preps | Backdoor Survival

Introducing the Elderberry: Some Background Information

Picking wild berries and using them for both food and medicine has been a part of human existence since the dawn of time.  Not much has changed in that regard.  These days, preppers and survivalists consider knowing how to forage for berries and other food items indigenous to their geographical area an important cornerstone of long term survival in the event of a catastrophic disruptive event.

The black elderberry, or Sambucus Canadensis, is a unique member of the honeysuckle family which grows on a small tree that resembles a shrub. Early Native Americans would use the durable yet pliable elderberry branches to craft tools, pipes, housing materials, and other items for their village. The berries, which typically were used in a recipe, were enthusiastically enjoyed by villagers young and old. The sweet and tart little berry would be crushed up, mixed with sugar or honey, and then used to make a tasty jam or syrup.

Interestingly, man’s first interactions with the actual berry from the elderberry tree involved using it for a variety of things besides food, including as a dye for fabrics. Over time, man learned that this dark, purple berry had a lot more to offer than taste. Pretty soon, elderberries were being used for salves, pastes, tinctures, and everything in between.

In my own research, I have learned that there are at least seven different species in North America, each specific to native growing conditions.  Imagine my surprise when I learned there was even a species that grows in the Arizona desert!

12 Benefits of Elderberry for Health and Wellness

The elderberry is quite potent with several health and wellness benefits.  I have identified twelve of those benefits although I am certain there are others.

1.  Fights Flu:  This is where elderberry shines, with ample research on the safety and efficacy of elderberry as a remedy for both influenza A and B.

2.  Treats Wounds:  With it’s antiseptic and mild antibiotic action, elderberry helps fight infection in wounds, especially when used in conjunction with honey.

3. Powerful Antioxidant:  Elderberries are dense in antioxidants which have been linked to a reduction in Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and even cancer cells.

4. Boosts Immunity to Disease:  They are rich in vitamin C, which promotes the production of white blood cells and reduces oxidative stress.

5. Enhanced Brain Function:  Elderberries contain 2.32mg of iron, which decreases lethargy and increases mental capacity.

6. Combat the Common Cold: Elderberry extract has proven to be an effective remedy to fight the common cold by triggering an increased immune response.

7. Clearer Vision:  They are dense vitamin A content which maintains and improves vision.

8. Oral Hygiene and Mouth: Elderberries are beneficial for your dental health as well, with an ability to reduce gingival index scores by a measurable degree.

9. Efficient Digestion:  As a great source of dietary fiber, elderberries help decrease bloating and constipation while also helping facilitate bowel movements.

10. Improves Skin:  Elderberries provide a natural boost to skin’s moisture and elasticity levels.

11. Bone Health:  Elderberries contain a high level of unique minerals that combined become the perfect cocktail for proper bone density and a healthy skeletal system.

12. Heart and Cardiovascular Support: Elderberries are  rich in potassium, which increases blood flow in support of a healthy cardiovascular system.

Additional Reading:  7 Herbal Remedies You Should Have In Your Arsenal

How to Make an Elderberry Tincture & Elderberry Syrup

Homemade elderberry tinctures are a cinch to make and can save you a lot money when compared to over-the-counter versions.  Also, it goes without saying that as a natural remedy, it is a better choice than synthetic medicines from companies whose primary interest is profit over wellness.

So how do you make an elderberry tincture?  There are many variations but here is the version I made, using the recipe in Cat’s book, Prepping For a Pandemic.

Elderberry Tincture

  • Fill a mason jar 3/4 full of dried elderberries (I used these)
  • Fill the rest of the jar with vodka (I used the cheap stuff)
  • Let it sit for 6 weeks
  • Strain and remove the elderberries, reserving the liquid

Dosage for flu:  30 to 60 drops hourly beginning when you first suspect the flu coming on.
Dosage for general health and as a preventative:  1 teaspoon daily, perhaps in a glass of apple juice.

Elderberry Syrup

I also made a very simple elderberry syrup using these directions, again from Cat Ellis.

  • Add 1/2 cup of elderberries to a pot with 2 cups of water
  • Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes to reduce by half
  • Strain out the berries, and let the liquid cool just enough so that it’s still warm, but doesn’t burn you to touch it. You should have 1 cup of liquid
  • Add 1 cup of honey and gently stir to dissolve the honey into the elderberry extraction

This is a very basic recipe.  Try experimenting by adding other herbals and spices with healing benefits such as ginger root, cloves, garlic, cinnamon, and wild cherry bark. If you decide to experiment (I have not, but plan to) start off with a bit of extra water.

Dosage for flu or an acute infection: 1 teaspoon every hour until symptoms subside (try for a minimum of 4 times a day).  As symptoms improve, reduce to 3x day, then 2x, then 1x until symptoms are completely gone.
Dosage for general health and as a preventative:  1 teaspoon daily.

Side Effects of Elderberry

There is some controversy relative to red elderberries and many authorities recommend that you avoid them.  That said, if they are toxic, the symptoms are no worse than an upset stomach.  Still, I would err on the side of caution and avoid them.

In addition, some studies have suggested that elderberry tinctures may not be an issue to people with an auto-immune disorder. This is because the elderberry tincture’s potency might cause their immune system to go into overdrive. There is also some debate as to whether or not pregnant and nursing mothers should use elderberry syrups and tinctures.

As with all natural remedies, if in doubt, consult with a trusted and sympathetic health care professional first.

The Final Word

As far as I am concerned, learning about the positive health benefits of elderberry and then putting that knowledge into practical use is prudent during normal times. I suggest you seek out wild elderberries growing in your community or learn cultivate elderberry yourself.

Make some elderberry tincture or syrup, and the next time you feel a cold or flu coming on, use this natural remedy and see how you respond.  You can also start taking a teaspoon daily to build immunity and reap the benefits of the many addition wellness properties of elderberry.

In closing, I would like to thank Cat Ellis (aka The Herbal Prepper) not only for sharing her wisdom in two fantastic books, but for also answering my questions about making elderberry tinctures and syrups.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to the items related to today’s article as well as the items you need to make your your own custom-crafted Miracle Healing Salve.

Frontier Elder Berries Whole Organic:  These are the elderberries I used. I purchased this brand after reading so many reviews that my eyes bugged out.  Plus, I could not find organic elderberries locally.  I am extremely happy with my purchase.  There were no odd smells and they tasted great!

Sambucus Elderberry Syrup: If you prefer to purchase elderberry syrup, here is one of many that you can try.  There is also a children’s version.  By the way, did you know that elderberries are one of the main ingredients in Sambuca, an Italian digestive aid sold over-the-counter?

Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor:  This is a fantastic book from fellow blogger, Cat Ellis.  In it you will learn that natural remedies are not voodoo but rather, natures way of healing without the use of toxic chemicals and additives.  Highly recommended. Also see: Prepper Book Festival 9: Prepper’s Natural Medicine.

Prepping for a Pandemic: Life-Saving Supplies, Skills and Plans for Surviving an Outbreak:  Here is the other book I mentioned in the article.  If you worry about a pandemic, you will want this book.

The Last Ship:  Speaking of a pandemic, we have been watching this TV series on Hulu.  If you don’t have Hulu, there is also a DVD version plus I saw it at our local library.  Season 2 was just released.

Beeswax Organic Pastilles, Yellow, 100% Pure 16 Oz:  I ordered the white pastilles but have since learned that the natural yellow pastilles are better.  That said, the difference may not be discernable – just be sure that what you purchase is cosmetic grade.

Spark Naturals Essential Oils:  These is what you need for the Miracle Salve: Lavender essential oil,  Rosemary essential oil, and Peppermint essential oil.  Enjoy a 10% discount on your Spark Naturals order with code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.

NOW Foods Essential Oils:  My salves were made using essential oils from Spark Naturals.  My sniff test tells me they are stronger and more pure smelling.  For healing purposes, I feel they are superior.  On the other hand, NOW Foods has decent essential oils at a budget price:  NOW Foods Rosemary Oil, NOW Foods Peppermint Oil and Now Foods Lavender Oil.

Coconut Oil & Organic Honey:  Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions is my preferred coconut oil.  I love it so much I purchased a 5 gallon tub.  I find it very silky to work with and love the taste when used in cooking.  I also purchase raw, organic honey by the case from Tropical Traditions.

~~~~~~~~~~

   Shop the Emergency Essentials Daily & Monthly Sales for Fantastic Deals!

For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices.  Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.

Live Well!Emergency Essentials carries a wide variety of equipment and supplies – all at competitive prices.

~~~~~

Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)?

I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has a feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are “wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For Emergency and Survival Kit Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from Amazon.com
Bug Out Bag – Get Home Bag Supplies
Amazon Gift Cards

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

~~~~~


Which are the best oils for your survival kit?  This article describes my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival

The post 12 Wellness Reasons to Include Elderberries in Your Preps by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Survival Medicine Videocast

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Amy Alton Everglades Close up 400 x 600

Our live videocast is done in collaboration with the nice folks at Around The Cabin, an entire network of shows where you can join in the chat room and ask questions, or just listen in. For live shows, tune in the first and third Wednesdays of each month and be ready to watch us demonstrate survival items, discuss timely topics, and occasionally make fools of ourselves!  To choose a show, click the link below:

Wishing ng you the best in good times OR bad,

 

Joe and Amy Alton

Preparing For Wildfires

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wildfire

Wildfire

After experiencing a hellish wildfire season last summer and fall in the U.S., a huge conflagration in the Canadian province of Alberta has us thinking again of wildfire preparedness. The wildfire in our northern neighbor’s territory has burned 400,000 acres so far and destroyed or damaged 1600 buildings. Two have died in a car crash while attempting to escape the flames, which has caused the evacuation of 100,000 people. The grid is damaged, the water undrinkable, and even local firefighters are seeing their homes burn to the ground.

In a news conference today, authorities state that, although the spread has slowed, the fire might continue to burn for months and threatens the neighboring province of Saskatchewan. The region affected is the heart of Canada’s oil industry, with the third-largest reserves in the world. A quarter of the country’s oil production has been suspended, leaving questions about the effect the natural disaster will have on Canada’s economy.

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

 

VEGETATION MANAGEMENT

wildfire1

vegetation management is key to fire protection

 

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

 

You’ll want to clean up dead wood and leaf piles lying on the ground close to your buildings and off the roofs and gutters. Although you may have spent time and money putting lush landscaping around your home, you may have to remove some of the vegetation close to the structure. Some people place thorny bushes by windows to deter home invaders, but these would have to go if your concern is fire protection.

 

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

 

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

 

DEFENSIBLE SPACES

 

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

 

If you’re building a home in an area where wildfires are common, consider the materials that your retreat is made of. How much fire resistance does your structure have? A wood frame home with wooden shingles will go up like a match in a wildfire. You should try to build as much flame resistance into your forest retreat as possible.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

ESCAPING A WILDFIRE

 

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

 

The safest recommendation, therefore, would be to get out of Dodge if there’s a safe way out. It’s a personal decision but your family’s lives depend on it, so be realistic. If you’re leaving, have that bug-out bag already in the car, as well as any important papers you might need to keep and some cash.

 

Before leaving, make sure you shut off any air conditioning system that draws air into the house from outside. Turn off all your appliances, close all your windows and lock all your doors. Like any other emergency, you should have some form of communication established with your loved ones so that you can contact each other. Make sure your medical kit contains some eyewash; smoke is a major irritant to the eyes.

 

TRAPPED IN A WILDFIRE

 

If your routes of escape are blocked, make sure you’re dressed in long pants, sleeves, and heavy boots. A wool blanket is very helpful as an additional outside layer because wool is relatively fire-resistant. If you don’t have wool blankets, this is a good time to add some to your storage, or keep some in your car.

 

If you’re in a building, stay on the side of the building farthest from the fire with the least number of windows (windows transfer heat to the inside). Stay there unless you have to leave due to smoke or the building catching fire. If that’s the case and you have to leave, wrap yourself in that blanket, leaving only your eyes uncovered. Some people think it’s a good idea to wet the blanket first. Don’t! Wet materials transfer heat much faster than dry materials and will cause more severe burns.

 

If you’re having trouble breathing because of the smoke, stay low, and crawl out of the building if you have to. There’s less smoke and heat the lower you go.Keep your face down towards the floor. This will help protect your airway, which is very important. You can recover from burns on your skin, but not from major burns in your lungs. For some more information about smoke inhalation, click this link to a short article: http://www.doomandbloom.net/smoke-inhalation/

 

BUILDING A FIRE-RESISTANT HOME

 

If you’re building a home in an area where wildfires are common, consider the materials that your retreat is made of. How much fire resistance does your structure have? A wood frame home with wooden shingles will go up like a match in a wildfire. You should try to build as much flame resistance into your forest retreat as possible.

 

You might consider building with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs). These are polystrene blocks made to fit together. Filled with concrete, ICFs create solid insulation that locks out sound, weather, and gives some fire resistance. Mostly used in commercial buildings and schools, constructing a home with ICFs cost a little more, but is superior to wood.

 

Flame-resistant roofing and siding is important, also. Asphalt shingles are used in most roofs, but there’s a fiberglass variety that offers better fire resistance. Decking can also be fire-resistant if constructed with Class A composite materials made from PVC and wood fiber. Windows using heat-reflective glass reduce the  heat that  enters your home in a wildfire. The heat-reflective coating acts to reduce up to 90 percent of the heat. Metal or fiber cement siding is superior to wood or vinyl products. As you might imagine, all these fire-proofing strategies come at an increased cost.

 

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

 

Joe Alton, MD

JoeAltonLibrary4
Learn more about wildfire safety plus how to deal with many other events that threaten your survival with The Survival Medicine Handbook, with 300 5-star reviews on Amazon!

8 Things You Can Do Now to Promote Medical Self-Care

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8 Things You Can Do Now to Promote Medical Self-Care | Backdoor Survival

Something not frequently addressed by the survival and prepping community is the importance of good health and medical self-care.  What I am referring to is individual responsibility for our own physical and mental wellness.

Why is this important?  If there were to be a major disruptive event, whether local, regional or global in nature, you will need the stamina to survive adverse and even austere conditions, perhaps with minimal food, shelter, and water.  Health care facilities may be scarce, if they exist at all.

8 Things You Can Do Now to Promote Medical Self-Care | Backdoor Survival

Think about it.  As much as we prep and do our best to store a year’s worth of food and supplies, how much attention do we actually pay to taking care of ourselves and staying informed of medical issues and topics?  For most of us, I can pretty much guarantee that food, water, and supplies come first, closely followed by bullets and band-aids.

In a very worst case scenario, would you have the stamina and health to leave the comfort of your home with only the clothes on your back, a bug-out-bag and whatever else you could physically carry?  Answer honestly.  Are you healthy enough to do that?

Even if you were not required to leave your home, would you have the mental acuity to handle the challenge of no electricity, no running water, and no sewer  or septic system for waste?

I ask these questions today not to chide you to lose ten pounds or to take on a rigorous exercise routine.  Instead I ask them so that you will think about your own health in terms of those things you can do now to become accomplished at medical self-care so that you will stay healthy and stay fit even when professional medical care is not readily available.

But first let us define medical self-care.

What the Heck is Medical Self-care?

Medical self-care is defined as those things that individuals do to deal with minor illness and injuries at home, including preventing, detecting, and treating sickness and disease.  Nothing weird, nothing “out there”.  Instead, medical self-care refers to making an attempt to initially take hold of and treat minor healthcare issues yourself.

Or, put another way, simply asking yourself if you need to see a health care provider or weather you can you apply a home treatment instead.  Medical self-care can be as simple as taking an over-the-counter medication for a headache, using essential oils to relieve minor aches and pains, or securing a sprained ankle with an ace bandage.

Most important, medical self-care means you are an active participant in your own health.  And for that, you need to take a proactive stance and take control over your own well-being.

8 Rules of Medical Self Care that will Ensure Survival in Adverse Conditions

1.  Listen to your body since you know yourself best.  When you do not feel well, take care of yourself.

Since the beginning of time, humans have suffered from mild illnesses and simply taken it easy until the illness passed.  These days, however, with computers, the internet, cell phones and other gizmos, a lot of sick time is spent in the digital world instead getting real rest.  If you are going to be your optimal self, when feeling unwell, take the time to slow down for a few hours or a day, and give yourself time to heal.

2.  Stay abreast of common first aid procedures and utilize readily available resources to stay knowledgeable of viable solutions to everyday medical maladies.

With the resources currently available, much day to day doctoring can be done at home.  Things like taking one’s vital signs and blood pressure or testing one’s urine are easily and safely accomplished at home.  Learning to do these things now without reliance on a health professional will allow to take control of your own wellness no matter what happens in our society.

Additional Reading:  Managing Blood Pressure With Essential Oils

3.  Understand that being healthy and being well means more than simply being disease free.

The spread between wellness and illness is large with a lot of room in between.  Prevention means focusing on good health  while you are still on the wellness side of the spectrum rather than waiting to act only when disease or disability occurs.

4.  The goal of any health care system should be to help people stay healthy by giving them the tools that they need to take care of themselves.  You need to make that happen yourself.

To a large extent, individual practitioners still feel this way but for one reason or another, have had to subrogate those feelings as part of their alliance with large group practices.  These larger practices, many of which are huge conglomerates , have allegiance to big pharma and wall street interests.  This means that patient care comes secondary to making money.

The solution?  Individuals need to take more responsibility themselves through knowledge and through healthy lifestyle choices.  And when we do need medical care, we need to seek out healthcare workers who put our own needs first, above and beyond those of their employer or the greedsters who only care about money and huge year-end bonuses.

5.  Genetics and environmental conditions aside, we all have a degree of control over our health and wellness.  Eat a healthy diet and embrace an active lifestyle.

The human body has incredible healing powers if given half a chance to fix itself.  In order to restore itself, however, we need to treat the body with respect by feeding it a healthy diet and giving it regular exercise.  In addition, from a mental and spiritual  point of view, we need to provide ourselves with a meaningful and strategic life.

Remember this: practicing medical self care is one more way of taking control of your life.

6.  Prevention is the best medicine and will help you catch problems early.

There are no guarantees that prevention will eradicate illness but chances are if you catch a medical problem early, it will be easier and less expensive to resolve.  The price you pay is in time.

Take the time to educate yourself about home remedies, herbal remedies, essential oils, and homeopathic remedies.  When you do need the services of a health care provider, take the time to research and find the best preventative professionals: acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, naturopathic, physical therapy, and exercise coach.

7.  Do not short change yourself when it comes to mental wellness.

We live in a stressful world. Although we don’t know how these uncertain times will play out nationally as well as globally, there is a lot of fear and anxiety bubbling under the surface.  Add prepping and never feeling ready and you are bound to be a bundle of nerves.

Develop coping mechanisms, whether they come in the form of hobbies, reading, or simply enjoying some down time watching a movie or playing with your pets.  Meditation works for some as does adult coloring.  Whatever you chose, make time for yourself.

Additional Reading:  13 Ways To Roll With the Punches and Nine Reasons Why Adult Coloring is Important to Preppers

8.  Get enough sleep.  It has been proven that sleep reduces illness and helps the body rebuild on a cellular level.

I have said this in the past.  Most of us push sleep to the back burner. We have so many things to do. Just getting through the demands of work, family life, chores, and a bit of leisure leaves little time for much else, sleep seems to draw the short straw.  Add prepping to the equation and well, you get the drift:  burning the candle at both ends becomes the norm rather than the exception.

During the sleep cycle, our bodies are in rest mode with not much to do at a physical level.  During this rest mode, our immune system goes into high gear, fighting off the germs and bacteria that can lead to illness and disease. According to WebMD, a chronic lack of sleep has been associated with colds, influenza, diabetes, heart disease, mental health concerns, and obesity.  Who wants that?

Additional Reading:  Get Some Sleep! 7 Reasons the Well-Rested Prepper Will Prevail

The Final Word

It is somewhat of a travesty to think of our health as something that can abused over time knowing that a doctor at some point down the road will fix us up just like a mechanic will tune up the engine in our aging automobile.  Doesn’t it make more sense to simply perform preventative maintenance on an ongoing basis?

A few good print resources to put you on the road to successful medical self care are The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way by Joe and Amy Alton, Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor by Cat Ellis, and the classic Physicians’ Desk Reference.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

Note:  This is a major update to an article posted in September 2012.

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to the items related to today’s article.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way: This book teaches how to deal with all the likely medical issues you will face in a disaster situation, including strategies to keep your family healthy even in the worse scenarios. It covers skills such as performing a physical exam, transporting the injured patient, and even how to suture a wound. This medical reference belongs in every survival library.

The Ultimate Survival Medicine Guide: Emergency Preparedness for ANY Disaster: This is a slightly abridged version if you can call 328 pages abridged. The print version is currently only $13.96and the Kindle version $11.99.

Spark Naturals Essential Oils: My first line of defense for minor ailments and illness is essential oils.A good option to start with is the “Health and Wellness” kit that comes  packaged in a tin and includes a brochure with suggested uses for each of the oils.  As kits, these oils are already discounted but as an added bonus, you get an additional 10% off with discount code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.

Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor:  This is a fantastic book from fellow blogger, Cat Ellis.  In it you will learn that natural remedies are not voodoo but rather, natures way of healing without the use of toxic chemicals and additives.  Highly recommended. Also see: Prepper Book Festival 9: Prepper’s Natural Medicine.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: I first became interested in aromatherapy and essential oils in the early 90s which was before they really became mainstream. I read every book I could get my hands on and dabbled at creating synergy’s (a combination of two or more oils that create a chemical compound that is greater than the sum of its individual components). My bible then, and even now, is this book.

~~~~~~~~~~

   Shop the Emergency Essentials Daily & Monthly Sales for Fantastic Deals!

For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices.  Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.

Live Well!Emergency Essentials carries a wide variety of equipment and supplies – all at competitive prices.

~~~~~

Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)?

I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has a feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are “wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For Emergency and Survival Kit Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from Amazon.com
Bug Out Bag – Get Home Bag Supplies
Amazon Gift Cards

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!

~~~~~


Which are the best oils for your survival kit?  This article describes my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival

The post 8 Things You Can Do Now to Promote Medical Self-Care by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.

Food Contamination

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food large

We’ve talked a lot about sterilizing water to make it safe for drinking, but a few things in the news lately got me thinking about food safety, another responsibility for the survival medic. Let’s start with some news of the weird:

Two supermarkets in Great Britain were closed by police after a man allegedly sprayed foul-smelling “urine” on the produce. The motive for this act is unknown, but if it’s a terror event, he certainly gets credit for creativity. In any case, authorities claim little if any risk to public safety (unless you shop at those markets, I guess).

While the above is a rare case of food contamination, outbreaks of bacteria found on food seem  to be becoming more frequent. Besides highly publicized problems at restaurants like Chipotle Mexican Market, a number of food companies have announced recalls of a wide variety of products. CRF frozen foods, who products are carried at Safeway, Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, and prepper favorite COSTCO, is recalling a total of 358 different items sold under 42 brands(!).

food

These items were found to contain a bacteria known as Listeria, and at least seven people were hospitalized with 2 deaths. Organic and non-organic versions of carrots, broccoli, squash, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are among the many and varied products involved. All affected items have sell by dates between 4/26/16 and 4/26/18.  The US FDA website has a list of every brand.

So what’s listeria? Listeria monocytogenes is a member of a family of bacteria named after a founding father of modern sterile surgery, Joseph Lister; his name is also on various types of surgical instruments. It causes a relatively rare bacterial disease called listeriosis, a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria. The disease especially affects pregnant women, newborns and toddlers, adults with weakened immune systems, and the elderly. In these folks, the death rate from sepsis and a nervous system infection, meningitis, is about 20%.

A person with listeriosis usually has fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, and other intestinal symptoms. Listeria starts in the GI tract, but frequently invades different organ systems, often varying from patient to patient.

Pregnant women infected with Listeria can expect a higher incidence of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, and neonatal (newborn) infections. Others, such as the very young and the very old, may experience confusion, stiff necks, loss of coordination and balance, and seizures.

Although there are some differences in opinion, the antibiotic Ampicillin is generally thought to be a drug of choice. Other penicillins are considered acceptable by many. If allergic to Penicillins, other antibiotics like Sulfa drugs may be an option, although no specific alternative is officially recommended.

So how do you prevent infections with Listeria, and really, any bacteria that causes food poisoning? The below recommendations come from the Food and Drug Administration:

  • Rinse raw produce, such as fruits and vegetables, thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if the produce will be peeled, it should still be washed first. If you touch the peel, and then the peeled fruit or vegetable, it can get contaminated with bacteria.
  • Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush.
  • Dry the produce with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Separate uncooked meats and poultry from vegetables, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.

It’s important to consider food storage and preparation surfaces. The FDA recommends:

  • Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
  • Listeria monocytogenes can grow in foods in the refrigerator. Use an appliance thermometer, such as a refrigerator thermometer, to check the temperature inside your refrigerator. The refrigerator should be 40°F or lower and the freezer 0°F or lower.
  • Clean up all spills in your refrigerator right away–especially juices from hot dog and lunch meat packages, raw meat, and raw poultry.
  • Clean the inside walls and shelves of your refrigerator with hot water and liquid soap, then rinse.

Without thoroughly cooking meats, you put yourself at risk for infection. You should be sure that food is cooked evenly. It is thought that Ebola may have started in West Africa from partially-cooked bat meat. Each type of meat has its own recommended temperature to eliminate pathogens (disease-causing organisms). To see these, click the link below:

http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/mintemp.html

You might wonder how long meats are safe to eat even if stored in the refrigerator? The USDA has firm opinions on this:

  • Use precooked or ready-to-eat food as soon as you can. Do not store the product in the refrigerator beyond the use-by date; follow USDA refrigerator storage time guidelines:
    • Hot Dogs – store opened package no longer than 1 week and unopened package no longer than 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
    • Luncheon and Deli Meat – store factory-sealed, unopened package no longer than 2 weeks. Store opened packages and meat sliced at a local deli no longer than 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • Divide leftovers into shallow containers to promote rapid, even cooling. Cover with airtight lids or enclose in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Use leftovers within 3 to 4 days.

In a survival scenario, it may be difficult to avoid bacterial contamination unless you closely monitor food preparation. In normal times, it’s easier, but only if you pay attention to good practice of food hygiene.

 

Joe Alton, MD