Diseases Caused By Food And Water Contamination

The primary necessity for survival is the availability of air. Once you have air to breathe, water, food, and shelter become the next requirements for your continued existence on the planet; that is, clean water and properly prepared food.

Even in normal times, there are many instances where an outbreak of infectious disease occurs due to water of poor quality. Ingesting food that was incompletely cooked caused the deaths of medieval kings in medieval times and may even have sparked the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

Epidemics caused by organisms that cause severe diarrhea and dehydration have been a part of the human experience since before recorded history. If severe enough, dehydration can cause hypovolemic shock, organ failure, and death. Indeed, during the Civil War, more deaths were attributed to dehydration from infectious diseases than from bullets or shrapnel.

Off the grid, water used for drinking or cooking can be contaminated by anything from floods to a dead opossum upstream from your camp. This can have dire implications for those living where there is no access to large amounts of IV hydration.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the preparation of food and the disinfection of drinking water should be under supervision. In survival, this responsibility should fall to the community medic; it is the medic that will (after the patient, of course) be most impacted by failure to maintain good sanitation.

Many diseases have disastrous intestinal consequences leading to dehydration. They include:

Cholera: Caused by the marine and freshwater bacterium Vibrio choleraCholera has been the cause of many deaths in both the distant and recent past. It may, once again, be an issue in the uncertain future.

Cholera toxins produce a rapid onset of diarrhea and vomiting within a few hours to 2 days of infection. Victims often complain of leg cramps. The body water loss with untreated cholera is associated with a 60% death rate. Aggressive efforts to rehydrate the patient, however, drops the death rate to only one per cent. Antibiotic therapy with doxycycline or tetracycline seems to shorten the duration of illness.

Typhus: A complex of diseases caused by bacteria in the Rickettsia family, Typhus is transmitted by fleas and ticks to humans in unsanitary surroundings, and is mentioned here due to its frequent confusion with “Typh-oid” fever, a disease caused by contaminated, undercooked food.

Although it rarely causes severe diarrhea, Typhus can cause significant dehydration due to high fevers and other flu-like symptoms. Five to nine days after infection, a rash begins on the torso and spreads to the extremities, sparing the face, palm, and soles. Doxycycline is the drug of choice for this disease.

Typhoid: Infection with the bacteria Salmonella typhi is called “Typh-oid fever”, because it is often confused with Typhus. Contamination with Salmonella in food occurs more often than with any other bacteria in the United States.

In Typhoid fever, there is a gradual onset of high fevers over the course of several days. Abdominal pain, intestinal hemorrhage, weakness, headaches, constipation, and bloody diarrhea may occur. A number of people develop a spotty, rose-colored rash. Ciprofloxacin is the antibiotic of choice but most victims improve with rehydration therapy.

Dysentery: An intestinal inflammation in the large intestine that presents with fever, abdominal pain, and severe bloody or watery mucus diarrhea. Symptoms usually begin one to three days after exposure. Dysentery, a major cause of death among Civil War soldiers, is a classic example of a disease that can be prevented with strict hand hygiene after bowel movements.

The most common form of dysentery in North America and Europe is caused by the bacteria Shigella and is called “bacillary dysentery”.  It is spread through contaminated food and water, and crowded unsanitary conditions. Ciprofloxacin and Sulfa drugs, in conjunction with oral rehydration, are effective therapies.

Another type is caused by an organism you may have read about in science class: the amoeba, a protozoan known as Entamoeba histolytica. Amoebic dysentery is more commonly seen in warmer climates. Metronidazole is the antibiotic of choice.

Traveler’s Diarrhea: An inflammation of the small intestine most commonly caused by the Bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli). Most strains of this bacteria are normal inhabitants of the human intestinal tract, but one (E. coli O157:H7) produces a toxin (the “Shiga” toxin) that can cause severe “food poisoning”. The Shiga toxin has even been classified as a bioterror agent.

In this illness, sudden onset of watery diarrhea, often with blood, develops within one to three days of exposure accompanied by fever, gas, and abdominal cramping. Rapid rehydration and treatment with antibiotics such as Azithromycin and Ciprofloxacin is helpful. The CDC no longer recommends taking antibiotics in advance of a journey, but does suggest that Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate (Bismuth Subsalicylate), two tablets four times a day, may decrease the likelihood of Traveler’s Diarrhea.

Campylobacter: The second most common cause of foodborne illness in the U.S. after Salmonella, this bacteria resides in the intestinal tract of chickens and causes sickness when meat is undercooked or improperly processed. It’s thought that a significant percentage of retail poultry products contain colonies of one variety, Campylobacter Jejuni. It is characterized as bloody diarrhea, fever, nausea, and cramping which begins two to five days after exposure. Although controversial, Erythromycin may decrease the duration of illness if taken early.

Trichinosis: Trichinosis is caused by the parasitic roundworm Trichinella in undercooked meat, mostly from domesticated pigs. Trichinosis causes diarrhea and other intestinal symptoms, usually starting one to two days after exposure. Fever, headache, itchiness, muscle pains, and swelling around the eyes occur up to 2 weeks later. Recovery is usually slow, even with treatment with the anti-helminthic (anti-worm) drugs Mebendazole and Albendazole (Albenza).

Giardiasis: The most common disease-causing parasite in the world is the protozoa Giardia lamblia. It has even been found in backcountry waters in many national parks in the U.S. Symptoms may present as early as one day after exposure, although it more commonly presents in one to two weeks. Patients complain of watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, violent (often called “projectile”) vomiting, and gas. Metronidazole is the drug of choice in conjunction with oral rehydration.

There are many other pathogens that can cause life-threatening dehydration if untreated. Although we have mentioned common antibiotic treatments where applicable, most of the above will resolve on their own over time with strict attention to oral (or intravenous) rehydration. Many antibiotics (Cipro is an example) are associated with adverse effects that can be worse than the illness they’re designed to treat, so use judiciously.

It should be noted that some of these illnesses may be mimicked by viruses that are completely unaffected by antibiotics, such as Norovirus. Norovirus has been implicated in many of the outbreaks you read about on cruise ships.

Air, food, water, and shelter is necessary for survival. Bad air, food, water, and shelter leads to the next requirement, and that is medical supplies. Have a good medical kit and know how to use all its components. If you can accomplish this goal, you’ll be an effective medic if things go South.

Original on the https://www.doomandbloom.net site.

What To Do and Not Do When a Pandemic Starts- Part 1, by Scientist69

The Basics (Science is Awesome)

What is the basic difference between an epidemic and a pandemic? In an epidemic, an infectious disease spreads quickly between people; however, this will be relatively confined to a geographic area, country, or even a continent. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa is an example. On the other hand, a pandemic means that this infectious disease spreads quickly to other continents, basically causing disease globally, most likely resulting in high fatality rates.

Examples of infections that can potentially cause a pandemic are the bird flu (avian influenza), SARS or MERS like infections that are caused by viruses in the coronavirus family, and of course Ebola and similar so-called hemorrhagic viruses.

Viruses More Likely to Cause a Pandemic

Why are these viruses more likely to cause a pandemic?

All of these viruses are so-called RNA (not DNA) viruses. This means there are more mutations happening … Continue reading

The post What To Do and Not Do When a Pandemic Starts- Part 1, by Scientist69 appeared first on SurvivalBlog.com.

Colds vs. Flus

When you wake up sneezing, coughing, and have that achy, feverish, can’t move a muscle feeling, how do you know whether you have cold symptoms or the flu?

It’s important to know the difference between flu and cold symptoms. A cold is a milder respiratory illness than the flu. While cold symptoms can make you feel bad for a few days, flu symptoms can make you feel quite ill for a few days to weeks. The flu can also result in serious health problems such as pneumonia and hospitalizations.

What are common cold symptoms?

Cold symptoms usually begin with a sore throat, which usually goes away after a day or two. Nasal symptoms, runny nose, and congestion follow, along with a cough by the fourth and fifth days. Fever is uncommon in adults, but a slight fever is possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold.

With cold symptoms, the nose teems with watery nasal secretions for the first few days. Later, these become thicker and darker. Dark mucus is natural and does not usually mean you have developed a bacterial infection, such as a sinus infection.

Several hundred different viruses may cause your cold symptoms.

How long do cold symptoms last?

Cold symptoms usually last for about a week. During the first three days that you have cold symptoms, you are contagious. This means you can pass the cold to others, so stay home and get some much-needed rest.

If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.

Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or a sinus infection. If cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor to see if you have developed an allergy or sinusitis.

What are common flu symptoms?

Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Swine flu in particular is also associated with vomiting and diarrhea.

Most flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but it’s not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more. A common complication of the flu is pneumonia, particularly in the young, elderly, or people with lung or heart problems. If you notice shortness of breath, let your doctor know. Another common sign of pneumonia is fever that comes back after having been gone for a day or two.

Just like cold viruses, flu viruses enter your body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, or mouth. Every time you touch your hand to one of these areas, you could be infecting yourself with a virus, which makes it very important to keep hands germ-free with frequent washing to prevent both flu and cold symptoms.

Is it flu or cold symptoms?

How do you know if you have flu or cold symptoms? Take your temperature, say many experts. Flu symptoms often mimic cold symptoms with nasal congestion, cough, aches, and malaise. But a common cold rarely has symptoms of fever above 101 degrees. With flu symptoms, you will probably have a fever initially with the flu virus and you will feel miserable. Body and muscle aches are also more common with the flu. This table can help determine if you have cold or flu symptoms.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Sometimes, usually mild Usual; higher (100-102 F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Occasionally Common
General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue,  Weakness Sometimes Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort, Cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe
Complication Sinus congestion; middle ear infection Sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infection, pneumonia; can be life-threatening
Prevention Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone with a cold Wash hands often; avoid close contact with anyone who has flu symptoms; get the annual flu vaccine
Treatment Decongestants; pain reliever/fever reducer medicines Decongestants, pain relievers, or fever reducers are available over the counter; over-the-counter cough and cold medicines should not be given to young children; prescription antiviral drugs for flu may be given in some cases; call your doctor for more information about treatment.

Usually, the time of year will give you some sense of what you’re dealing with. The standard flu season runs from fall to spring of the next year.

When do I call the doctor with flu or cold symptoms?

If you already have flu or cold symptoms, it’s important to call your doctor if you also have any of the following severe symptoms:

  • Persistent fever: A fever lasting more than three days can be a sign of another bacterial infection that should be treated.
  • Painful swallowing: Although a sore throat from a cold or flu can cause mild discomfort, severe pain could mean strep throat, which requires treatment by a doctor.
  • Persistent coughing: When a cough doesn’t go away after two or three weeks, it could be bronchitis, which may need an antibiotic. Postnasal drip or sinusitis can also result in a persistent cough. In addition, asthma is another cause of persistent coughing.
  • Persistent congestion and headaches: When colds and allergies cause congestion and blockage of sinus passages, they can lead to a sinus infection (sinusitis). If you have pain around the eyes and face with thick nasal discharge after a week, you may have a bacterial infection and possibly need an antibiotic. Most sinus infections, however, do not need an antibiotic.

In some cases, you may need to get emergency medical attention right away. In adults, signs of a crisis include:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Persistent vomiting

In children, additional signs of an emergency are:

  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Lethargy and failure to interact normally
  • Extreme irritability or distress
  • Symptoms that were improving and then suddenly worsen
  • Fever with a rash

Can I prevent flu or cold symptoms?

The most important prevention measure for preventing colds and flu is frequent hand washing. Hand washing by rubbing the hands with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds helps to slough germs off the skin.

In addition to hand washing to prevent flu or cold symptoms, you can also get a flu vaccine to prevent seasonal influenza. Seasonal flu activity in the United States generally peaks between late December and early March. Within two weeks of getting a flu vaccine, antibodies develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Children receiving the vaccine for the first time need two doses delivered one month apart.

Antiviral medicine may also help prevent flu if you have been exposed to someone with flu symptoms.

Using Essential Oils As Medical Tools

For the person who is concerned about long-term survival scenarios, a hard reality is that stored pharmaceuticals will run out over time. This leaves them with only natural options, such as the plants that grow in their own backyard. These were used with skill by our ancestors, who had little else to treat sickness and injury.

While teas are the simplest way to utilize your medicinal herbs, many swear by essential oils as a storage option with other medical supplies. These items have much more longevity than fresh plants and can include those that don’t naturally grow in the area.

An essential oil is distilled from whole plant material, not a single ingredient; therefore, each one has multiple compounds that might be medically useful. To take an example, English lavender has about 20 different chemicals, including esters, ketones, and terpenes. These combinations make each oil unique. Oils may be produced from leaves, bark, flowers, resin, fruit or roots. For example, Lemon oil comes from the peel, Lavender oil from flowers, and Cinnamon oil from bark.

Although you might not realize it, you’ve been using essential oils all your life in soaps, furniture polishes, perfumes, and ointments. Previous generations of conventional physicians commonly included them in their medical bags. Indeed, many standard medical texts of the past were really instruction manuals on how to use these products.

Essential oils aren’t easy to produce without distillery equipment. Although it only takes a few leaves of peppermint to make a tea, you would need 5 pounds of leaves to make 1 ounce of essential oil. One source states that it takes an entire acre of peppermint to produce just 12 pounds of oil. The same source says that 12,000 rose blossoms are required to produce a tablespoon of rose oil. These concentrated versions are the ones you see marketed in small, dark bottles. Unless you intend to buy distilling materials, you should accumulate essential oils in quantity but use them sparingly.

The strength or quality of the oil is dependent on multiple factors, including soil conditions, season harvested, subspecies of plant, rainfall, and, in some cases, even the time of day. This is akin to the conditions that determine the quality of a particular vintage of wine. It also explains the significant variance you’ll see in the effects of the same oil from year to year.

You might be surprised to learn that the Food and Drug Administration only requires 10% essential oil in the bottle for it to be marketed as “Pure Essential Oil”. Beware of claims of FDA certification; the FDA has no certification or approval process for these products.

Making Essential Oils

The manufacture of essential oils, known as “extraction”, can be achieved by various methods:

Distillation Method: Using a “still” like old-time moonshiners, water is boiled through an amount of plant material to produce a steam that travels through cooled coils. This steam condenses into a “mixture” of oil and water from which the oil can be extracted

Pressing Method: The oils of citrus fruit can be isolated by a technique which involves putting the peels through a “press”. This works well only with the oiliest of plant materials, such as orange skins.

Maceration Method: a fixed oil (sometimes called “carrier” oil) or lard may be combined with the plant part and exposed to the sun over time, causing the fixed oil to become infused with the plant “essence”. Oftentimes, a heat source is used to move the process along. The plant material may be added several times during the process to manufacture stronger versions. This is the method by which you obtain products such as “garlic-infused olive oil”. A similar process using flowers is referred to as “Enfleurage”.

Solvent Method: Alcohol and other solvents may be used on some plant parts, usually flowers, to release the essential oil in a multi-step process.

As each essential oil has different chemical compounds in it, it stands to reason that the medicinal benefits are also different. An entire alternative medical discipline has developed to find the appropriate oil for the condition that needs treatment. The method of treatment may differ, as well. Common methods are:

1) Inhalation Therapy: This method is also known as “aroma- therapy”. The simplest  way to perform direct inhalation therapy involves putting 2 or 3 drops of essential oil on your hands, rubbing them together, and inhaling.

Steam inhalation therapy utilizes the addition of a few drops of the essential oil in a bowl of steaming water (distilled or sterilized), which is then inhaled. This method is most effective when placing a towel over your head to catch the vapors.

Many people will place essential oils in potpourri or use a “diffuser” to spread the aroma throughout the room. This technique probably dilutes any medicinal effects, however.

2) Topical Application: The skin is an amazing absorbent surface, and using essential oils by direct application is a popular method of administration. The oil may be used as part of a massage, or directly placed on the skin to achieve a therapeutic effect on a rash or aching muscle.

It’s wise to always test for allergic reactions before using an essential oil in this manner: Even though the chemical compounds in the oil are natural, you could still exhibit an allergy to it or be irritated by it (case in point: poison ivy).

A simple test involves placing a couple of drops on the inside of your forearm with a cotton applicator. Within 12-24 hours, you’ll notice redness and itching if you’re allergic. Mixing some of the essential oil with a “carrier” oil such as olive oil before use is a safer option for topical use. Another concern, mostly with citrus oils applied to the skin, is “phototoxicity” (an exaggerated burn response to sun exposure).

Although we have seen many sources recommend applying essential oil over the location of an internal organ, some reservations exist about whether such an application will really have an effect on that organ. It is much more likely to work on skin issues or, perhaps, underlying muscle tissue.

3) Ingestion: Direct ingestion is unwise for many essential oils, and this method should be used with caution. Professional guidance is imperative when considering this method, except for a very few instances. A reasonable alternative to consider is a tea made with the dried herb. This is a safer mode of internal use, but the effect may not be as strong.

Hard Data

Essential oils have been used as medical treatment for a very long time, but it’s difficult to provide definitive evidence of their effectiveness for several reasons. Essential oils are difficult to standardize, due to variance in the quality of the product based on soil conditions, time of year, and other factors that we mentioned above.

In addition, there are many subspecies of plants that may differ in their effects. An essential oil of Eucalyptus, for example, may be obtained from Eucalyptus Globulus or Eucalyptus Radiata; these plants may have their own unique properties. These factors combine to make scientific study problematic.

In most university experiments, a major effort is made to be certain that the substance tested caused the results obtained. As essential oils have a number of different compounds and are often marketed as blends, which ingredient was the cause of the effect? If the oil is applied with massage, was the effect related to the oil itself or from the physical therapy?

The majority of studies on essential oils have been conducted by the cosmetics and food industries. Others have been conducted by individuals or small companies with a vested interest in the product.

Definitive studies of possible medicinal benefits are usually performed in universities sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry. Unfortunately, they generally have little interest in herbal products because they are hard to patent. Therefore, serious funding is hard to find because of the limited profit potential.

Commonly Used Essential Oils

Despite the lack of hard data, essential oils have various reported beneficial effects, mainly based on their historical use on thousands of patients by generations of healers. Although there are many essential oils, a number of them are considered mainstays of any herbal medicine cabinet. Here are some of the most popular:

Lavender Oil: An analgesic (pain reliever), antiseptic, and immune stimulant. It is thought to be good for skin care and to pro- mote healing, especially in burns, bruises, scrapes, acne, rashes and bug bites. Lavender has a calming effect and is used for insomnia, stress and depression. It has been reported effective as a decongestant through steam inhalation. Lavender oil may have benefit as an antifungal agent, and has been used for athlete’s foot or other related conditions.

Eucalyptus Oil: An antiseptic, antiviral, and decongestant (also an excellent insect repellent), Eucalyptus oil has a “cooling” effect on skin. It aids with respiratory issues and is thought to boost the immune system. Consider its use for flus, colds, sore throats, coughs, sinusitis, bronchitis, and hay fever. Eucalyptus may be used in massages, steam inhalation, and as a bath additive. Although eucalyptus oil has been used in cough medicine, it is likely greatly diluted and should not be ingested in pure form.

Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil: Diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut, Tea Tree oil may be good for athlete’s foot, acne, skin wounds, and even insect bites. In the garden, Tea Tree oil is a reasonable organic method of pest control. In inhalation therapy, it is reported to help relieve respiratory congestion. Studies have been performed which find it effective against both Staphylococcus and fungal infections. Some even recommend a few drops in a pint of water for use as a vaginal douche to treat yeast. Tea Tree oil may be toxic if ingested or used in high concentrations, around sensitive areas like the eyes.

Peppermint Oil: This oil is said to have various therapeutic effects: antiseptic, antibacterial, decongestant, and anti-emetic (stops vomiting). Peppermint oil is claimed to help for digestive disorders when applied directly to the abdomen. Some herbalists prescribe Peppermint for headache; massage a drop or two to the temples as needed. For achy muscles or painful joints, massage the diluted oil externally onto the affected area. As mentioned previously, definitive proof of topical application effects on deep organs is difficult to find.

Lemon Oil: Used for many years as a surface disinfectant, it is often found in furniture cleaners. Many seem to think that this disinfecting action makes it good for sterilizing water, but there is no evidence that it is as effective as any of the standard methods, such as boiling. Lemon oil is thought to have a calming effect; some businesses claim to have better results from their employees when they use it as aromatherapy. Don’t apply this oil on the skin if you will be exposed to the sun that day, due to increased likelihood of burns.

Clove Oil: Although thought to have multiple uses as an anti-fungal, antiseptic, antiviral, analgesic, and sedative, Clove oil particularly shines as an anesthetic and antimicrobial. It is marketed as “Eugenol” to dentists throughout the world as a natural painkiller for toothaches. A toothpaste can be made by combining clove oil and baking soda. When mixed with zinc oxide powder, it makes a temporary cement for lost fillings and loose crowns. Use Clove oil with caution, however, as it may have an irritant effect on the gums if too much is applied.

Arnica Oil: Arnica oil is used as a topical agent for muscle injuries and aches. Thought to be analgesic and anti-inflammatory, it is found in a number of sports ointments. As a personal aside, we have tested this oil on ourselves and found it to be effective, though not very long lasting. Frequent application would be needed for long term relief. Although some essential oils are used as aromatherapy, Arnica oil is toxic if inhaled.

Chamomile Oil: There are at least two versions of Chamomile oil, Roman and German. Roman Chamomile is a watery oil, while German Chamomile seems more viscous. Both are used to treat skin conditions such as eczema as well as irritations due to allergies. Chamomile oil is thought to decrease gastrointestinal inflammation and irritation, and is thought have a calming effect as aromatherapy, especially in children.

Geranium Oil: Although variable in its effects based on the species of plant used, Geranium oil is reported to inhibit the production of sebum in the skin, and may be helpful in controlling acne. Some believe that it also may have hemostatic (blood-clotting) properties, and is often recommended for bleeding from small cuts and bruising. When a small amount of oil is diluted in shampoo, it may be considered a treatment for head lice.

Helichrysum Oil: Thought to be a strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory, Helichrysum is used to treat arthritis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia as part of massage therapy. It has also been offered as a treatment for chronic skin irritation

Rosemary Oil: Represented as having multiple uses as an antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic, Rosemary oil is proven to control spider mites in gardens. Use a few drops with water for a disinfectant mouthwash. Inhalation, either cold or steamed, may relieve congested or constricted respiration. Mixed with a carrier oil, it is used to treat tension headaches and muscle aches

Clary Sage Oil: One of the various chemical constituents of Clary Sage has a composition similar to estrogen. It has been used to treat menstrual irregularities, premenstrual syndrome, and other hormonal issues. Sage is also believed to have a mild anticoagulant effect, and may have some use as a blood thinner. Clary Sage also is thought to have some sedative effect, and has been used as a sleep aid.

Neem Oil: With over 150 chemical ingredients, the Neem tree is called “the village pharmacy” in its native India. Many Ayurvedic alternative remedies have some form of Neem oil in them. Proven as a natural organic pesticide, we personally use Neem Oil in our garden. Reported medicinal benefits are too numerous to list here and seem to cover just about every organ system. It should be noted, however, that it may be toxic when the oil is taken internally.

Wintergreen Oil: A source of natural salicylates, Wintergreen oil is a proven anticoagulant and analgesic. About 1 fluid ounce of Wintergreen Oil is the equivalent of 171 aspirin tablets if ingested, so use extreme caution. It may also have beneficial effects on intestinal spasms and might reduce elevated blood pressures.

Frankincense Oil: One of the earliest documented essential oils, evidence of its use goes back 5000 years to ancient Egypt. Catholics will recognize it as the incense used during religious ceremonies. Studies from Johns Hopkins and Hebrew Universities state that Frankincense relieves anxiety and depression in mice (we’re unsure how, exactly, this was determined, but it probably involved a cat). Direct application of the oil may have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is thought to be helpful for wound healing. As a cold or steam inhalant, it is some- times used for lung and nasal congestion.

Blue Tansy Oil: Helpful in the garden as a companion plant for organic pest control, Blue Tansy is sometimes planted along with potatoes and other vegetables. The oil has been used for years to treat intestinal worms and other parasites. One of its constituents, Camphor, is used in medicinal chest rubs and ointments. In the past, it has been used in certain dental procedures as an antibacterial.

Oregano Oil: An antiseptic, oregano oil has been used in the past as an antibacterial agent. It should be noted that Oregano oil is derived from a different species of the plant than the Oregano used in cooking. One of the minority of essential oils that are safe to ingest, it is thought to be helpful in calming stomach upset, and may help relieve sore throats. Its antibacterial action leads some to use the oil in topical applications on skin infections when diluted with a carrier oil. Oregano Oil may reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron, so consider an iron supplement if you use this regularly.

Thyme Oil: Reported to have significant antimicrobial action, diluted Thyme oil is used to cure skin infections, and may be helpful for ringworm and athlete’s foot. Thyme is sometimes used to reduce intestinal cramps in massage therapy. As inhalation therapy, it may loosen congestion from upper respiratory infections.

“Thieves’ Oil”: Many essential oils are marketed as blends, such as “Thieves’ Oil”. This is a combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils. Touted to treat a broad variety of ailments, studies at Weber State University indicate a good success rate in killing airborne viruses and bacteria. Of course, the more elements in the mixture, the higher chance for adverse reactions, such as phototoxicity.

I’m sure I missed some of your favorites. There are as many oils as there are species of plants.

Some important caveats to the above list should be stated here. Many of the essential oils listed are unsafe to use in pregnancy, and some may even cause miscarriage. Also, allergic reactions to essential oils, especially on the skin, are not uncommon; use the allergy test we described earlier before starting regular topical applications.

Even though essential oils are natural substances, they may interact with medicines that you may regularly take or have adverse effects on chronic illness such as liver disease, epilepsy, or high blood pressure. Thorough research is required to determine whether a particular essential oil is safe to use.

Having said that, essential oils are a viable option for many conditions. Anyone interested in maintaining their family’s well-being, especially off the grid, should regard them as another weapon in the medical arsenal. Learn about them with an open mind, but maintain a healthy skepticism especially about “cure-all” claims.

Essential Oils As Medical Tools

12 First Aid Tricks That Really Work

12 First Aid Tricks That Really Work

12 First Aid Tricks That Really Work

In today’s age, we’ve grown pretty accustomed to 21st century medicine and all of the convenient solutions that it offers. However, there could come a day when the medicines, technologies, and medical professionals that comprise modern medicine are no longer so easily accessible. When and if that time comes, you can rely on these first aid tricks that really work:

1. Run a Burn Under Warm Water

It may sound counterintuitive to run a burn under warm water, but it turns out that this is one of the best ways to stop the pain. Even minor burns can be agonizing, but warm water works to relieve the pain and increase circulation to damaged tissue by expanding your blood vessels – as opposed to cold water which restricts them.

2. Treat a Nosebleed

Severe nosebleeds can lead to a serious amount of blood loss. To treat a nosebleed, most people lean their heads back. But instead, you should start by leaning forward so that the blood doesn’t run down your throat. Next, use a tissue or cloth to gently squeeze your nostrils shut. Continue leaning forward and applying pressure until the bleeding has stopped.

3. Remove an Insect Stinger with a Credit Card

Some insects such as bees will leave their stinger inside your skin when they sting you. It needs to be removed, but you have to be careful doing so. Squeezing the stinger with tweezers can cause more of the insect’s venom to be injected into your skin. Instead, use the edge of a credit card or a dull knife to gently scrape out the stinger. Just be careful to ensure that you are pushing it in the right direction; you don’t want to be pushing it further into your skin.

4. Soothe a Sore Throat with Salt Water

Without any kind of medicinal treatment, sore throats can be a real annoyance. One easy, medicine-free method of soothing a sore throat, though, is to gargle salt water. I highly recommend you try this before taking medicine or sore throat lozenges. You’ll be surprised at how well it works.

5. Use Baking Soda to Stop the Itching from Insect Bites

Bites from mosquitos, chiggers, and other pesky insects often itch so bad it’s almost unbearable. This is especially a problem if the situation requires you to spend a lot more time in the woods than you might have before. In lieu of anti-itch cream, though, you can use a paste made from baking soda and water to stop the itching from insect bites. Just put one tablespoon of baking soda in a bowl and slowly add a little bit of water while stirring until a paste is formed.

6. Elevate a Sprain or Strain to Reduce Swelling

If you have suffered a sprained or strained ankle, it’s important to elevate it above your heart. Elevating a sprain above your heart reduces blood flow to the injury, which in turn prevents swelling. This is part of the RICE method.  Which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

7. Splint a Snake Bite

There are a lot of first aid myths centered around treating snake bites. One of the most persistent ones is the idea that shocking a snake bite will neutralize the venom. Before you hook yourself up to a car battery, though, you should know that this has been proven false.

Even slicing open the fang marks and sucking out the venom – once standard procedure for treating snake bites – is now thought to do more harm than good. The unfortunate truth is that venomous snakes are efficient killers, and short of antivenom, there is no proven way to neutralize the venom they inject.

One thing you can do, though, is to splint the limb that was bitten to restrict movement. Moving can cause the venom to spread further into the body. From there, though, you should always seek medical treatment if it is available. In a world where medical treatment is not available, avoid venomous snakes like the plague.

8. Treat a Heart Attack with Aspirin

If you find yourself suffering from a heart attack, one of the best things you can do short of seeking immediate medical help is to chew up an aspirin tablet. Taking aspirin within thirty minutes of the initial symptoms of a heart attack has been shown to greatly reduce the damage to the heart, prevent future problems that often develop after a heart attack, and, in many cases, actually save the patient’s life. If you have a history of heart problems, it’s a good idea to carry some aspirin with you everywhere you go.

9. Roll a Seizure Victim onto their Side

One of the dangers of seizures is the risk that the victim will choke to death on their vomit. To prevent this, standard procedure is to always roll a seizure victim onto their side and hold them there for the duration of the seizure. Here is some more information on how to help someone having a seizure.

10. Avoid Removing a Foreign Object that has Punctured Your Body

If you’ve seen all of the action movies where the unphased hero nonchalantly jerks an arrow or a knife from their body, you may think that removing the object from the puncture wound is the best course of action. In reality, though, it only speeds up blood loss.

It’s important to wait to remove a knife (or another penetrating object) from the body until you are ready to immediately commence other procedures that will stop the bleeding. It’s equally important though, that they remain still while the object is still inside them. In the case of knives, arrows, and other objects with sharp edges, moving can cause the blade to rub against tissue and blood vessels, leading to further damage.

11. Ease Nausea With Peppermint Tea

Nausea can come from a wide variety of causes, but no matter the source it is rarely ever enjoyable. One great and easy way to treat nausea, though, is with peppermint tea. To make peppermint tea, simply take peppermint leaves and boil them in water. Drink the tea warm and it will help ease nausea, sometimes making it go away entirely.

12. Treat Frostbite with Warm Water

If you or someone you know is suffering from the symptoms of frostbite – tingling, numbness, swelling, and blisters – it’s important to treat it right away by running the affected area under warm water.

It’s a natural reaction for people to try and rub their hands together to warm them up from the friction, but this should be avoided in the case of frostbite, where rubbing can damage sensitive skin and tissue.

http://www.prepperwebsite.com/

Free Educational Survival Classes – Come and get educated! Plan, Prepare, Protect!

Summer Classes for 2017 – SHTFandGO

There are two classes that charge a small fee, but the rest are all free and provide great information for you!

Take advantage of this these free educational survival classes. Each of these instructors put a lot of work into these classes to provide for all of you! You never know what could happen, so don’t be the last person to be prepared!

You can get more information on each class by visiting our website and going to our events page or click on the link below.

Events

June 3rd – Conceal Carry Class with Chief Joseph Balog, Genoa City Police Department. Lunch is provided and a fee charge of $50.00. 9AM – 2PM.

June 10th – Be Prepared with Essential Oils – Know the basics with Laura Zielinski. FREE EVENT! 10AM-12PM

June 17th – Learn about Raising Rabbits with Mike France. FREE EVENT! 10AM-12PM.

July 1st – Wilderness First Aid with Nick of the Woods. FREE EVENT! 10AM

July 15th – Fire Starting Techniques with SHTFandGO. FREE EVENT! 10AM-12PM.

Juy 22nd – Building an Emergency Shelter with SHTFandGO. FREE EVENT! 10AM-12PM.

August 5th – DIY Survival Gear with Jim Cobb. A fee of $10.00. 10AM-12PM.

August 26th – How to Build Trap/Snare Class with SHTFandGO. FREE EVENT! 10AM-12PM.

Medical Aspects of Camping and Other Tips You Need to Know About

As the weather begins to warm up, it is time to think about outdoor activities we can pursue not only for pleasure but to hone and practice our outdoor survival skills.  Speaking for myself, camping is high on my list of summer activities, including a first-time adventure using a tent.

Most of us plan to hunker down and shelter in place in the event of a disruptive event. That said, if our homes are no longer safe, either due to location or to physical destruction, we must have a plan to evacuate.  In some cases, the answer will be short term camping.

Dr. Joe Alton is here to today to weigh in on what we need to know about the medical aspect of camping plus some other tips to make the overall experience both pleasurable and educational.

Medical Aspects of Camping | Backdoor Survival

Safe Camping Tips for Preppers

School will be out soon and a great way to teach your family survival basics is by taking them camping. The skills needed for successful camping are akin to those required for the activities of daily survival. Once learned, these lessons last a lifetime. There’s no greater gift that you can give young people than the ability to be self-reliant.

Camping trips create bonds and memories that will last a lifetime.  A poorly planned campout, however, can become memorable in a way you don’t want, especially if someone gets injured. Luckily, a few preparations and an evaluation of your party’s limitations will help you enjoy a terrific outing with the people you care about, and maybe impart some skills that would serve them well in dark times.

Start Small

If you haven’t been camping much, don’t start by attempting to hike the Donner Trail. Begin by taking day trips to National Parks or a nearby lake.   Set up your tent and campfire, and see how it goes when you don’t have to stay in the woods overnight.  Once you have that under your belt, start planning your overnight outings.

Whatever type of camping you do, always assess the capabilities and general health of the people in your party. Children and elderly family members will determine the limits of your activities. The more ambitious you are, the more likely the kids and oldsters won’t be able to handle it.  Disappointment and injuries are the end result.

Important Considerations

An important first step to a safe camping trip is knowledge about the weather and terrain you’ll be encountering. Talk with park rangers, consult guidebooks, and check out online sources. Some specific issues you’ll want to know about:

· Temperature Ranges
· Rain or Snowfall
· Trails and Campsite Facilities
· Plant, Insect, or Animal Issues
· Availability of Clean Water
· How to Get Help in an Emergency

Medical Aspects of Camping

A very common error campers (and survivalists) make is not bringing the right clothing and equipment for the weather and terrain. If you haven’t planned for the environment you’ll be camping in, you have made it your enemy, and believe me, it’s a formidable one.

Although Spring and Fall have the most uncertainty with regards to temperatures and weather, you could encounter storms in any season. Always take enough clothing to allow layering to deal with the unpredictability of the season.

Conditions in high elevations lead to wind chill factors that could cause hypothermia. If the temperature is 50 degrees, but the windchill factor is 30 degrees, you lose heat from your body as if it were below freezing. Be aware that temperatures at night may be surprisingly cold.

In cold weather, you’ll want your family clothed in tightly woven, water-repellent material for protection against the wind. Wool holds body heat better than cotton does. Some synthetic materials work well, also, such as Gore-Tex. Add or remove layers as needed.

If you’re at the seashore or lakefront in summer, your main problem will be heat exhaustion and burns. Have your family members wear sunscreen, as well as hats and light cotton fabrics. Plan your strenuous activities for mornings, when it’s cooler. In any type of weather, keep everyone well-hydrated.  Dehydration causes more rapid deterioration in physical condition in any type of stressful circumstance. Allow a pint of fluids an hour for strenuous activities.

The most important item of clothing is, perhaps, your shoes. If you’ve got the wrong shoes for the outing, you will most likely regret it. If you’re in the woods, high tops that you can fit your pant legs into are most appropriate. If you go with a lighter shoe in hot weather, Vibram soles are your best bet.

Special Tips: Choosing the right clothing isn’t just for weather protection.  If you have the kids wear bright colors, you’ll have an easier time keeping track of their whereabouts. Long sleeves and pants offer added protection against insect bites that can transmit disease, such as Lyme disease caused by ticks.

Location, Location, Location

A real estate agent’s motto is “location, location, location” and it’s also true when it comes to camping.   Scout prospective campsites by looking for broken glass and other garbage that can pose a hazard.  Sadly, you can’t depend on other campers to pick up after themselves.

Look for evidence of animals/insects nearby, such as large droppings or wasp nests/bee hives.    Advise the children to stay away from any animals, even the cute little fuzzy ones. If there are berry bushes nearby, you can bet it’s on the menu for bears. Despite this, things that birds and animals can eat aren’t always safe for humans.

Learn to identify the plants in your environment that should be avoided. This especially includes poison ivy, oak, and sumac.  Show your kids pictures of the plants so that they can steer clear of them. The old adage is “leaves of three, let it be”. Fels-Naptha soap is especially effective in removing toxic resin from skin and clothes if you suspect exposure.

Build your fire in established fire pits and away from dry brush. In drought conditions, consider using a portable stove instead.  Children are fascinated by fires, so watch them closely or you’ll be dealing with burn injuries. Food (especially cooked food) should be hung in trees in such a way that animals can’t access it. Animals are drawn to food odors, so use resealable plastic containers.

If you camp near a water source, realize that even the clearest mountain stream may harbor parasites that cause diarrheal disease and dehydration.  Water sterilization is basic to any outdoor outing.  There are iodine tablets that serve this purpose, and portable filters like the “Lifestraw™” which are light and effective.  Although time-consuming, boiling local water is a good idea to avoid trouble.

Get Your Bearings

Few people can look back to their childhood and not remember a time when they lost their bearings. Your kids should always be aware of landmarks near the camp or on trails.  A great skill to teach the youngsters is how to use a compass; make sure they have one on them at all times.

A great item to give each child (and adult) is a loud whistle that they can blow if you get separated.  Three blasts are the universal signal for “help!” If lost, kids should stay put in a secure spot.  Of course, if you have cell phone service where you are, consider that option as well.

Bug Bites

Even kids in protective clothing can still wind up with insect bites.  Important supplies to carry are antihistamines like Benadryl, sting relief pads, and calamine lotion to deal with allergic reactions.  Asking your doctor for a prescription “Epi-Pen” is a good idea, as they’re meant to be used by the average person. They’re effective for severe reactions to toxins from insect bites or poison ivy.

Citronella-based products are helpful to repel insects; put it on clothing instead of skin (absorbs too easily) whenever possible. Repellents containing DEET also can be used, but not on children less than 2 years old.

Don’t forget to inspect daily for ticks or the bulls-eye pattern rash you might see in Lyme disease. I mean it when I say daily: If you remove the tick in the first 24 hours, you will rarely contract the disease.

Of course, you’ll need a medical kit as part of your supplies. Consider some of the items in our compact, lightweight personal IFAK kit, specifically meant to deal with mishaps on the trail. You might have your own favorite items to bring with you; if so, feel free to post them in the comments section below.

The Final Word

Now that I live adjacent to the forest, I want to get a tent.  The plan is to get something easy to set up because, after all, I am not a young as I used to be and want to save my energy for things like hiking and doing a bit of wood chopping.  Then, as Joe suggests, I plan to camp in my own one-acre backyard before venturing further.

One thing is certain, it is a lot more fun to practice survival skills when you couple the experience with a family adventure!

 

Backdoor Survival Featured Articles

Are You Ready For The Next Influenza Epidemic? How Will You Survive The Next Pandemic?

In doing some research about influenza, I came across the great Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919. This happened during World War I and affected everyone on both sides of the ocean as well as across the world. It affected soldiers as well as citizens. It is estimated that 50 million people died during this epidemic. That is compared to the 16 million people who died during World War I.

One of the things that was missing from this epidemic was antibiotics. They simply did not exist as a medicine during this time. Antibiotics in an usable form was discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming. However, antibiotics are rarely used for any influenza viruses. We do have some medications now that will treat influenza.

It is unlikely though that antibiotics would have been effective anyway during the epidemic of 1918. The influenza epidemic came in two phases. The first phase was less severe and most people recovered from it. It came in back a few months later and killed people within hours to a few days. Most people died from the fever and fluid filling their lungs which suffocated them. The disease affected people ages 20-40 the most.

Doctors and scientists were at a loss at how to treat this influenza. They could not control or stop the disease. Remember, there was no Center for Disease Control at the time. That was not established until 1946.

Don’t remember learning this in history class? I didn’t remember learning it either. However, what can we take away from this?

1. It was not treatable. They believe the strain during this epidemic was the H1N1. Influenza strains can be mild or develop a variant that can make them deadly. Since very little was known about influenza then, it was almost impossible to treat. Today’s influenza strains are proving harder to treat. Flu shots do not cover all strains of influenza. A strain or a variant in the strain of influenza could be strong enough to not be treatable or controllable.

2. It affected strong, healthy adults the most. The age group that was affected the most was 20-40 years old. This is a group of people who are at the peak of life in terms of health and vitality. The problem with that is this is also the group of people who would be the most social group especially in 1918. Even today, people in that age range rarely stay home. The disease would be able to spread very quickly because people are constantly going. They go to work, kids’ activities, social gatherings, and college.

3. It was not controllable. This influenza strain spread very, very quickly. People were given poor advice on how to not catch the disease and how to treat the disease. We now have the Center for Disease Control who would hopefully be on top of the disease. We also now know the best way to treat the symptoms of influenza. We also know that we need rest and to stay home to keep influenza from other people.

Do you think this could happen again? Many people do. Are you ready for the next influenza epidemic? An influenza epidemic of the proportions that occurred in 1918 would be considered a pandemic now.  We hear threats of pandemics now that could happen. How would you survive the next pandemic? What do you need to do to get ready?

1. Get a sick room ready. You should have a room, preferably a bedroom, ready to be a sick room. You should have some medical supplies ready in that room like a thermometer, ibuprofen, hot water bottle, instant cold packs, face tissues, disinfectant spray cleaner, trash bags, face masks, and disposable gloves. You may also want a pandemic flu kit in that room for the people treating the sick.

2. Have white towels, wash cloths, and white bedding ready to use. You want linens you can wash in very hot water or even put in boiling water to disinfect. You can also use bleach on white linens without issues. You want to have extra linens so you can change the sick beds quickly and wash the infected bodies without worry.

3. Have rolls of heavy plastic to cover surfaces like the bed, the floor, the windows,and the doorways. You have to think about disease control going in and out of the house. You are trying just as hard to keep the disease out as well as keeping it controlled in your home.

4. Keep some chem suits on hand. You may want to completely cover up to deal with a sick patient or having to go into infected areas. A chem suit with boots and gloves would be the ideal solution. You will also want a face mask and eye protection to keep safe.

5. Have one person who would be dedicated to taking care of the sick. The less people exposed to the sick person, the better the chances for everyone to stay healthy. Having one person designated to taking of the sick will keep everyone healthier. Having a designated respite person for the caretaker would be a good idea too.

6. Have a plan in place for death. In a pandemic, death is inevitable. What will you do if someone dies? As morbid as it seems, you may want to have a body bag on hand. You also want to have a plan for disposal of the body. Where will it be buried? Will you bury the body? Those are your decisions alone, but having a plan will make those decisions easier.

7. Do not go anywhere if you don’t have to. During a pandemic, being a homebody is your best bet for not catching the disease. Having a good food storage, water storage, and a disinfected home will be wise.

No one wants to think about getting sick much less think about a lot of people getting sick. We like to think with all the technological and medical advances we have now, another influenza pandemic will not happen again. However, new strains of diseases are being developed all the time in nature and in labs. We can not be sure this will not happen again. In fact, it is likely to happen again.

What will you do to protect yourself during a pandemic? Do you think we could have another influenza pandemic?

 

http://www.livinglifeinruraliowa.com

Some Unusual Items to Have in Your First Aid Kit

The first thing to know about first aid kits is don’t buy one at the local department store or pharmacy. Those first aid kits are mostly for minor injuries: band-aids, ointments, and not much else. If you want a real SHTF first aid kit, buy one from a specialty company that sells prepping and survival supplies, or build one yourself.  I’d like to focus on items that are not commonly found in most first aid kits, and which might be useful if the S really hits the F.

1. Celox Gauze (Z-Fold)

This gauze is used by the U.S. military for treating severe wounds. The gauze is folded like an accordion, so it can be divided into a few thick sections, to pack a large open wound. Or you can cut off smaller segments for smaller/shallower wounds. The gauze is impregnated with kaolin (a type of clay) to aid in clotting. The gauze also has an x-ray detectible strip so that doctors at the ER will not overlook a section of this gauze in a deep wound.

If your wound only needs a band-aid, that’s nice for you. But if you have a serious injury and can’t get to medical care right away, this is the stuff you want. It’s vacuum packed, for compact storage. And unlike most gauze you might buy, it’s sterile.

2. HALO Chest Seal

This device seals a chest wound in cases of severe trauma. The dressing sticks despite blood or water around the wound, and works in a wide range of temperatures. It provides a completely water-proof seal, preventing contamination of the wound by dirt or bacteria.

Another option in this category of wound care is the SAM Vented Chest Seal. It seals the wound like the HALO, but it also has a one-way valve. Remove the cap and air can exit the wound, but it cannot enter. This type of device is used for chest wounds which have penetrated the lungs. Again, it takes some first aid training to know when to use it.

3. CPR Mask

Speaking of one-way valves, if you ever have to perform CPR someone, a “pocket resuscitator” is invaluable. It allows you to give breaths to the patient who is no longer breathing with some protection from bacterial/viral contamination. The valve allows your breath into the patient, but prevents flow in the reverse direction.

More importantly, if you have to do CPR with chest compressions on someone, and they have eaten recently, they may vomit. I’ve been told by more than one EMT that vomiting is not at all unusual when giving CPR. You will be happy you chose to use the one-way valve mask, if that happens. Inexpensive and worth every penny.

4. Suture Kit

This is one of those first aid kit items that preppers and survivalists favor, despite the fact that these kits are only intended for use by medical professionals. So, I can’t tell you to go out and buy a suture kit, and then learn how to use it. Non-medical personnel shouldn’t be suturing wounds. But in extraordinary circumstances, sometimes extraordinary measures are called for.

No wound should be sutured, unless it has first been debrided (remove dirt and debris) and washed with copious amounts of clean (preferably sterile) water. You don’t want to seal bacteria and debris inside a wound. And if you really don’t know how to use a suture kit, you really shouldn’t guess. Bandaging the wound without closing it is better than harming someone by playing doctor. Learn what to do, before the SHTF.

5. Butterfly Bandages

The best example of which is the 3M Steri-Strip “reinforced skin closures”. This type of bandage is for closing a wound, without sutures. It is not for covering the wound. They look like thin plastic strips. Sometimes the middle part is even thinner than both ends, giving rise to the term “butterfly” bandage. In some cases, butterfly bandages can be used instead of sutures if the wound is not particularly deep or wide. After closing the wound, you can place gauze and then medical tape over it all, to protect the wound further.

6. An N95 mask

Surgical masks are soft with a loop to go around each ear. They protect the patient from germs on your breath. They do little or nothing to protect you from a patient who might have an infectious airborne disease. The N95 surgical mask is a hard cup that fits over the nose and mouth. It protect you from the patient and the patient from you. In other words, it intercepts viruses and bacteria going in either direction. They are less comfortable and more difficult to wear for long periods. But the protection is invaluable.

Finally and I can’t stress this enough take an advanced first aid course, so that you have the knowledge needed to use whatever first aid supplies you have on-hand. Knowledge is the number one resource that you can store up so as to be well-prepared.

House Plants That Heal

As the seasons change, we spend significantly less time outdoors, which means we are significantly more likely to experience poor air quality. Although we may not realize it as we go about our daily lives, indoor toxins can have a drastic impact on our health, potentially leading to Asthma, allergies, inflammation, and even cancer. Thankfully, there are natural ways to bring the benefits of the outdoors inside, in a cost effective way. Try these fantastic house plants for improved indoor health.

Jasmine: helps promote sleep quality

Jasmine is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family that is commonly found outdoors, but can live indoors as well. It emits scents that have shown to make for better sleep, as well as increase your levels of alertness.

Lavender: reduce anxiety and stress

Lavender is a genus of 39 known species of flowering plants in the mint family and a commonly used essential oil. It not only smells wonderful, but can also reduce anxiety and stress, slow heart rate, improve your sleep, and calm restless babies.

Rosemary: improve your memory

Rosemary is also a member of the mint family. A perennial herb, native to the Mediterranean region. It has been proven to be effective at increasing your memory as well as the overall air quality in the room.

Aloe Vera: improve overall air quality

Aloe Vera is a succulent plant species that has been commonly used in herbal medicine since the beginning of the first century AD. Use these plants for their superior ability to increase the overall quality of air with fresh oxygen.

Green ivy in flowerpot isolated on white background

English Ivy Plant: reduce mold count

English Ivy is a species of flowering plant native to Europe and Western Asia. This plant has been proven to reduce airborne mold by 94%, which can have a significant benefit for those who suffer from allergies or lung irritation.

Snake Plant: prevent headaches

Snake Plant is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae native to West Africa. It has been proven to be extremely effective in treating headaches, eye irritation, and respiratory problems. It can also help to increase your overall energy levels.

 

 

8 Oils you should keep in your survival kit!

These essential oils should be kept in your survival kit for many uses:

Lavender :

For cuts, scrapes, burns, eliminates sting from bug bites, relieves pain and soreness from sprains and muscle aches.

Peppermint:

Relieves Headache pain and allergies, digestion such as heartburn, bloating, constipation and indigestion.

Repels ants, spiders, mice and other pest.

Melateuca (Tea Tree Oil):

Used for antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, fungicide it kills germs and help eliminate infections.  Helps with mold and mildew.  Treats wounds of many sorts.

RoseMary:

Helps with stress it is very calming.  Reduces itching, dryness and irritation.  Sooth many skin disorders also helps improve your concentration so you can move on.

Frankicense:

Reduces inflammation, and pain that are present.  Heals wounds, cuts, scrapes and burns.  Helps with feeling hopeless and depressed.  Gives a bit of a supercharge so you can go on.  You can layer with many other oils.

Clove:

Helps with toothaches, sore gums and canker sores.  Helps treat wounds, cuts, scabies, athletes foot, fungal infections, prickly heat, insect bites and stings.

Lemongrass:

Relief knotted tendons and muscles, reduces fevers, eliminates body odor and foul smells.  Reduces bacteria.

Roman Chamomile:

Promotes sound sleep, reduces stress and fearfulness.  Heals skin condition like eczema.  Treats vomiting, nausea, heartburn, gas.

We carry these and many other essential oils in our store. So come get your oils to put into your survival kit. You can also call and order them as well.

 

5 Natural Ways to Fight a Cold or the Flu

cold-and-flu

5 NATURAL WAYS TO FIGHT A COLD OR THE FLU

It is that time of year again, the beginning of cold and flu season. Yuck! Although many of us would love to stay inside and avoid all those nasty germs lurking about in public, it is not always feasible.
So, let’s look at a few ways to fight off and relieve the symptoms of a cold or the flu, Naturally:
1. Herbs:
One of the best herbs to stimulate immune supporting white blood cells, T cells, macrophage and interferon activity is Echinacea. This can be taken at the first signs of a cold and will help to ease the symptoms. Boneset is another herb that will help to stimulant the immune system and is one of the most effective herbs to fight a cold or the flu. It promotes sweating and helps your body to release toxins. Although you could steep it and drink as a tea it is best to take it in pill form if possible, as it can be quite bitter tasting. Yarrow leaf is another highly effective herb that helps to reduce fever and is also an antiseptic. It can be steeped and drank as a tea. Peppermint leaf has antiviral properties, promotes sweating to release toxins and is gentle enough to use on children. This is found in pill form or raw leaves for steeping and making a tea as well. Ginger root is a terrific herb that helps to warm chills and fight infection. It is known as the warming herb that helps to also alleviate stomach distress that is sometimes associated with a cold or the flu.
2. Vitamins:
When it comes to taking vitamins, there are two that are a must have. These include Vitamin C and Zinc. Taking 1000 mg three times a day will help to shorten the length of a cold. Zinc helps to stimulate T cell response and helps to prevent a cold virus from replicating. Note that it is not recommended to take more than 50 mg of Zinc daily.
3. Homeopathic Remedies:
Anas Barbariae also called Oscillococcinum, is a wonderful remedy used for onset symptoms of the flu. Some of these symptoms include ear pain, congestion, chills, frontal sinus pain and nasal discharge. It is recommended to take 3-4 pellets three times a day under the tongue.
4. Foods to Help:
If you find yourself fallen ill, many foods have beneficial affects. To break up congestion try chicken soup or miso vegetable soup with plenty of garlic and onion. Garlic and onions both have antimicrobial properties that will help fight infection. Another terrific antimicrobial item is cinnamon. Add cinnamon to applesauce, sweet potatoes, or tea. Foods that are rich in beta-carotene such as sweet potatoes, help to strengthen mucus membranes in the lungs. Other helpful antioxidant foods that help are carrots, cabbage, mustard greens, turnips and broccoli.  One always helpful favorite of mine, is hot tea with honey which helps to soothe a sore throat and helps to reduce coughing.
5. Essential Oils:

It is commonly known that essential oils have multiple health benefits. Using an essential oil diffuser can help prevent other family members from getting sick. Some of the best oils to use are juniper, tea tree, lavender, peppermint, and rosemary. A personal favorite and very effective essential oil for treating cold and flu symptoms is called thieves oil.  Thieves oil is generally a blend of Clove, Lemon, Rosemary, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus.  

Remember if you do come down with a cold or the flu, getting enough rest is vital. It is during this time that that your body heals itself. Also don’t forget to drink plenty of clear liquids to help flush out your system. Be sure to avoid caffeine and milk products as these can actually increase mucus production. This will only prolong your illness and make you feel worse.

Linked from: http://thetrailerparkhomesteader.blogspot.com/2016/10/5-natural-ways-to-fight-cold-or-flu.html

ANTI-HISTAMINE MEDICATION: A MUST MUST MUST-HAVE ITEM

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Not having at least one box of anti-histamines in the house at all times is a huge mistake. Not having a large supply in store for emergency use is a massively huge mistake.

First the science:

Histamine is present in most cells, it’s biologically active and is released in response to a foreign pathogen that irritates the body causing it to be released. It isn’t just released by irritants. Infection, physical damage and allergies all cause the substance to move from our cells and course around our body. A great deal goes on within the body before the hives that we associate with an allergy appear, and more still goes on before tissues start to swell and distort, a sign that an alleged is severely affecting the victim. You can find a full description of the sequence of events here.

Anti-histamines can relieve many of the symptoms associated with allergies. They can’t cure them but they can and do make life more comfortable for millions of people everyday.

Sensitivities to drugs, stings and foods are rarely life-threatening in the first instance unless the reaction is overwhelming tor the person is extremely sensitive to the substance in question. A good example is multiple bee or wasp stings that cause such a massive reaction that tissues swell and anaphylaxis occurs.

Usually anaphylaxis occurs after one or more previous exposures to the allergen, each reaction is worse than the previous one until the point is reached where exposure to the allergen causes a massive histamine release and anaphylaxis occurs within minutes of the exposure.

Antihistamines can slow down a reaction to an allergen, it buys you a little time in cases of severe allergies, time to call an ambulance or get to a hospital where airway and respiratory management is available.

An Epipen containing adrenalin should be high on your priority list if you can get one…here in the UK that’s impossible to do unless you are already known to be likely to suffer from, or have previously suffered from anaphylaxis.

So what happens though in times when help isn’t coming? In any kind of societal collapse hospitals may not be functioning in any normal sense of the word, what would you do then?

Airway management requires specialist equipment that is usually only available to those in the medical profession who are allowed to procure things such as endotracheal tubes and nano-pharyngeal tubes, then there’s the laryngoscope that you would need to visualise the larynx in order to site the tube. On top of this you need to have enough knowledge of anatomy to site the tube correctly so that oxygen actually ends up in the lung not the stomach. In a case of anaphylaxis shock where tissues are swelling and distorting it’s highly unlikely someone who doesn’t place tubes on a very regular basis would be able to do it. It’s at least a weekly occurrence to have a patient with a difficult airway that tries the patience of the most experienced airway management technician and even qualified anaesthetists that conduct laryngoscopy on a multi-times daily basis get the odd case they will struggle with.

In a collapse situation it’s safe to say that intubation isn’t an option for 99.99% of the population outside of the hospital environment.

This is why you need a huge stock of antihistamine medication.

If someone presents with anaphalaxis and their airways are swelling and closing they are in dire straights. Other internal changes are taking place and the situation will worsen very quickly, in short, unless something is done they will most likely die. ANYTHING you can do to possibly save them is on the table and giving them a large dose (two-three tablets) of antihistamine medication whilst they can still swallow is possibly the only hope they have.

Antihistamines can cause problems taken in large doses or if taken long-term as a preventative measure. The incidence of problems however is low and a life-threatening emergency has to be the priority.

At the FIRST sign of severe allergy get those drugs in, crush them up in a small amount of water and get it into them, they will get into the victims system faster if they don’t have to dissolve first so crushing them into powder makes them more easily soluble.

Ignore the one a day rule: Any numbness of the nose and mouth, swelling of the nose, lips and eyelids says it’s severe and if you know you cannot get to medical help within minutes give at least two crushed antihistamine tablets immediately.

In the short term you are not causing any damage to your patient. Enough of the drug needs to be given to start to counteract the effects of the allergen…and we have no idea how much that is because we can’t see what’s going on inside the patient.

Yes, if you have medical knowledge and the outside of a ball-point pen you can do a tracheostomy on the kitchen table but most people would be unable to cut a hole in their loved ones throat!

If you decide to take that option please make sure they have taken their last breath first – that way you won’y bear the unbearable responsibility of feeling you have killed them if it doesn’t work.

The human brain can go a full minute without oxygen before the effects start to become apparent.

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include:

  • generalised flushing of the skin
  • nettle rash (hives) anywhere on the body
  • sense of impending doom
  • swelling of throat and mouth
  • difficulty in swallowing or speaking
  • alterations in heart rate
  • severe asthma
  • abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
  • sudden feeling of weakness (drop in blood pressure)
  • collapse and unconsciousness

Note that not all of these things will be present in every person suffering from a severe allergy.

On a less dramatic note having a large supply of antihistamines available can make life more bearable generally by easing itching and congestion in a variety of conditions from hay fever to mosquito bites.

Try and have some of the “may cause drowsiness” for the little ones, an itchy miserable child won’t sleep well and this has a knock on effect for the entire family. Getting them to drift off is no easy task when they are fractious. Most antihistamine medications are safe for youngsters and sleep provides relief for them primarily but also respite for everyone else.

Linked from: http://undergroundmedic.com/2016/11/anti-histamine-medication-a-must-must-must-have-item/

Why Store Fish Antibiotics For Survival

why-store-fish-antibiotics-for-survival

I first learned about fish antibiotics in 2012 when I struggled with a tooth abscess while on vacation in the middle of nowhere.  I was totally unprepared for a bacterial infection and going forward, was determined to stockpile antibiotics for emergency purposes down the road.

As a layman and not a healthcare professional, this was not casual research.  I went to many sources, looked at bottles, and asked a lot of questions.  I came away confident that lacking proper medical facilities, the judicious use of fish and veterinary antibiotics would be safe in a SHTF situation.  And the best part about it?  Fish antibiotics are readily available online at reasonable prices without a prescription.

It was an epiphany.

But as I said, I am not a health care professional and am hesitant to offer even a modicum of advice on this subject.  On the other hand, contributing author Dr. Joe Alton is a medical doctor and is well versed in survival medicine.  In another exclusive article for Backdoor Survival, he is here today to share his knowledge of fish antibiotics and why peppers should include them as part of their long-term survival plan.

Why Store “Fish” Antibiotics?

By Joe Alton, MD

Years ago, I wrote the first article by a physician on the utility of certain antibiotics used in the aquarium and bird hobbies. Since then, fish antibiotics have become a part of many medical kits for those concerned about long-term survival. Indeed, a cottage industry has arisen to provide these products.

In my, perhaps, unique position as a doctor and a fish/bird keeper (everything from raising tilapia in ponds, breeding show bettas, and T.D. Bird, our 30 year old African Grey parrot), I’ve had the opportunity to treat both humans and animals that have bacterial infections.

When a human patient had a bacterial infection that required antibiotics, I might give them, say, amoxicillin. When a fish developed fin rot, I might use a product called Fish-Mox. For many years, I never gave it another thought.

Over time, however, I began to realize that there were avoidable deaths in long-term survival. With a large number of people performing activities they were unaccustomed to, such as chopping wood, injuries would occur. Some of these would get infected and could enter the bloodstream, a condition called septicemia, leading to life-threatening consequences. Having antibiotics in the survival medic’s kit could save lives otherwise lost.

This was illustrated in the 2010 History Channel offering “After Armageddon”. In the program, the Johnson family has survived a pandemic and was “bugging out”. They eventually joined a community of survivors. The father injures himself doing activities of daily survival, and incurs a cut that becomes infected. The community has run out of antibiotics and he, a paramedic himself, slowly dies as a result of the spreading infection. See it here (go to 1 hour 21 minutes to see the tragic outcome):

Here is a direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtP80Z08lfg

But how to get a reasonable supply of antibiotics? A sympathetic doctor may give you a prescription for 20 pills, but that would run out very quickly in a survival setting. You’d need to stockpile enough for long-term survival settings.

So I took a second look at some of my fish antibiotics. I examined a product called Fish Mox Forte. This fish medication contained only one ingredient: Amoxicillin 500mg. Nothing there that made your scales shinier or your fins longer.

Investigating further, I found that Fish Mox is produced in two dosages: 250mg and 500mg, the same dosages used in humans. Why would a guppy need the same amount of antibiotic as an adult human (no instructions for fish bowls compared to 200 gallon aquariums)?

I decided to compare samples of human Amoxicillin 500mg produced by Dava Pharmaceuticals and Fish Mox Forte (the 500mg version). The human version was a red and pink capsule with the numbers and letters WC 731 on it; Fish Mox Forte was a red and pink capsule with the numbers and letters WC 731 on it. In other words: Identical.

Why would companies use the same appearance and identification numbers if they are producing a different, lower grade product for veterinary use? First, it’s likely illegal to do so; second, It’s simple enough to just use a different colored capsule.

I found a number of fish and bird antibiotics that met my criteria, purchasable in quantity and without a prescription. They:

  • Had only 1 ingredient, the antibiotic itself
  • Were only produced in human dosages
  • Were identical in appearance to antibiotics produced by at least one human pharmaceutical company.

It was clear to me (and verified by readers who worked in the pharmacy and veterinary industries over the years) that they are the exact same products, taken from the same batches produced for humans.

This wasn’t true of all veterinary products. Some had additional ingredients that gave benefits to specific animals, others were in larger dosages that are not advisable in humans (for example, equine meds).

So let’s go back to the important question: Are the fish and bird antibiotics I write about useful additions to your survival medical storage? Some deaths may be unavoidable in a situation without rule of law, but does it make any sense not to have medicines that could possibly prevent an unnecessary death?

Of course, you’ll need to study antibiotics in detail to be effective as the medic for a survival group. Antibiotics are not something to use injudiciously; veterinary antibiotics are no different. Indeed, the overuse of antibiotics is the cause for the epidemic of antibiotic resistance we see today. 80% of these meds are used in livestock, mostly to speed growth rather than to treat disease. The CDC is starting to control the use of antibiotics, but are starting with livestock like cows, pigs, and chickens.

If you can obtain antibiotics in quantity now, you should consider it for use in survival settings. Having said this, don’t use them when doctors exist to prescribe standard medications for bacterial disease. You’ll need to be able to recognize bacterial infections (antibiotics don’t kill viruses) to use them effectively. This isn’t always easy. Learn what infections look like and get needed supplies; you just might save the life of a loved one in times of trouble.

 

The Final Word

I don’t believe in popping antibiotics every time I get a sniffle. And, for that matter, antibiotics do nothing at all to fight virus infections.  On the other hand, being prepared for a bacterial infection is just one more step toward surviving a major disruptive event were there is a likelihood of injury or disease.

Linked from: http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/why-store-fish-antibiotics-for-survival/

10 Ways to Use Epsom Salts Now and During a Major Crisis

10-ways-to-use-epsom-salts

Over the years, I have learned that superstars of preparedness are those items that serve multiple purposes.  In many cases, these are common, everyday items that we already have on hand.  Not only that, many of these multi-taskers are budget friendly and available everywhere.  Some good examples include vinegar, salt, honey, duct tape, coffee filters, and even microfiber cloths.

There is one preparedness multi-tasker whose list of uses is so diverse that you will wonder why you had not thought of stockpiling it previously.  I am referring to old fashioned Epsom salts.

Let’s start with a bit of history.  According to this article on PubMed, the purgative effect of the waters of the town of Epsom UK were first discovered in the early seventeenth century. Epsom, the town, was subsequently developed as a great English spa where high society flocked to take the medicinal waters.  Eventually, Dr. Nehemiah Grew, a distinguished physician, botanist and early Fellow of the Royal Society, extracted Epsom salts from the spa, and the rest is history.

Since then, Epsom salts have been used for a multitude of beneficial purposes—from fertilizing gardens worldwide to easing muscle aches and other ailments.  But what about specific uses to the prepper and survivalist?

With the able assistance of Carmella Tyrell, here are 10 ways to use Epsom Salts both now and during a major disruptive event.

What are Epsom Salts?

Did you know that Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) have many medicinal, household, and garden uses? If not, then you probably dismissed them as an important part of your prepper stockpile. Nevertheless, in a pinch, Epsom salts can be used in place of more expensive items and perhaps even work better than expected. If you are looking to save money, create a smaller cache of diverse bug out gear supplies, or just want to make it easier to manage your home, it is well worth looking into Epsom salts.

Epsom Salt or Magnesium Sulfate is a common mineral found throughout the world. You can obtain your own Epsom Salt by boiling down ocean water (you can also get table salt from the same source), or pick up the crystals from around mines, hot springs, or other areas where magnesium sulfate can leach from the rocks and bind with water. Since Epsom Salt is so common in the environment, you can be assured of a steady supply of it when other items in your stockpile run out.

Controversies and Precautions When Using Epsom Salts

Many people believe that when Epsom salts are mixed with warm water, it becomes possible for the salts to pass through the skin as magnesium and sulfate. Even though magnesium is very important for maintaining good health and is necessary for many bodily functions, too much can be dangerous. For example, if you use too many laxatives with magnesium in them, they can cause kidney damage. While there is considerable debate over whether or not magnesium from Epsom salts can get past the skin and into other parts of the body, it is still best to exercise caution. By the same token, if you take Epsom salts internally, or even use them for other applications, handle them with care so that you do not cause permanent damage to your body.

10 Ways to Use Epsom Salts

1.  Relax Muscles

When it comes to relaxing muscles, Epsom salts work best when dissolved in warm water. They do not dissolve or work as well when mixed with oil or lotion, so it is best not to combine them with these carriers. There are many ways to use Epsom salts as a muscle relaxer. My two favorites are:

Take 1 ½ cups of Epsom salt and mix them in 4 – 6 cups of hot water (you can speed this up by getting hot water from the coffee maker) and then adding the Epsom salts into a bowl of hot water. Next, run enough water into the bathtub for soaking. The water should be warm and comfortable long enough so that you can stay in the water for about 15 minutes. Add the Epsom salt solution to the tub, get in, and soak for no more than 15 minutes. If you have arthritis or other long-term pain, you may have to soak once a day for a few days. Follow manufacturer instructions so that you do not use Epsom salts longer than what might be safe.

Take 1 cup of Epsom salts and add them to a foot bath full of warm water. Soak for about 15 minutes to ½ hour.

2.  Reduce Inflammation

To reduce inflammation in swollen or sore muscles, you can soak in an Epsom salt bath, or simply use a moist compress over the affected muscles. To make an Epsom salt compress, mix 2 cups of Epsom salts to one gallon of warm water, and then let it get cold. Soak a towel in the cold water, and then loosely wrap the region with the moist towel for 15 minutes.

3.  Relieve Constipation

As noted above, you need to be very careful when taking Epsom salts internally. That being said, the magnesium in these salts is well known for relieving constipation. You can use Epsom salts in two ways to resolve this problem:

If you do not want to ingest Epsom salts, try soaking in a mixture of warm water and Epsom salts. Just use 5 cups of salt in the water instead of just 1 ½ cups as you would to relieve sore muscles.

When ingesting Epsom salts to treat constipation, try dissolving 2 – 4 level teaspoons of Epsom salt in 8 ounces of water. If you are treating someone between the ages of 6 and 12, drop the Epsom salt amount down to 1 – 2 level teaspoons in 8 ounces of water. If you do not have a bowel movement after 4 hours, you can try a second dose. Do not take more than two doses in a 24 hour period, and do not use Epsom salts for more than 5 days.

4.  Soothe Insect Bites

Epsom salts can be used to relieve redness, itching, and irritation associated with mosquito and other insect bites. You can bathe in Epsom salts as you would for relieving sore muscles, use a cold compress, or apply an Epsom salt paste. To make the paste, just dissolve one teaspoon of Epsom salts into 1 cup of hot water, and then put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to speed up the process. Apply the paste to insect bite once you clean it and pat the area dry. You can also use these three solutions for poison ivy, poison oak, rashes, and sunburn.

5.  Emergency Battery Electrolyte

As with other uses for Epsom salts, there is a considerable amount of controversy surrounding their usage in enhancing or restoring automobile batteries. You can try adding a mixture and Epsom salt and hot water to old or weak batteries to see if it will help. Just be aware that if the plates inside the battery are excessively worn, or the contacts that join the cells together are in bad condition, it is not likely the Epsom salts will be of much help. Do not forget to wear goggles, acid-proof clothing and shoes, and work in a well-ventilated area for the sake of safety. Never underestimate what battery acid can do, especially if you don’t have much experience with batteries and how to make repairs to them.

6.  Garden Fertilizer

Plants are no different from other living things in the sense that they need magnesium in order to remain healthy and carry out many functions necessary for life. Unfortunately, many soils and old garden plots do not have enough magnesium. You can correct this problem by adding Epsom salts at a rate of 1 cup per 100 feet when you turn the soil over prior to planting.

You can also fertilize plants with Epsom salts during the growing season by drenching them. Use a mixture of 1 – 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt to 1 gallon of water. Just pour the mixture at the base of the plant so that it goes straight to the roots. This is especially useful for tomatoes, and peppers which always need more magnesium. For these plants, apply the mixture every two weeks. You can also use Epsom salts for roses. Instead of using a liquid mixture, apply one teaspoon of Epsom salts per foot of plant growth to the soil, and then water the plants.

Fruit trees, your lawn, and flower beds will also do better if you apply Epsom salts to them. Be sure to look up each species of plant or tree so that you know how much Epsom salt to use. Typically, if you see yellow or curled leaves and don’t have anything else on hand, you can try to revive the plant with Epsom salt.

7.  Improve Seed Germination

No matter whether you are starting seeds that have low viability, or you often find that seedlings are weak and tend to die off, Epsom salts may just be the cure to your problems. Gardeners have noted for decades that Epsom salts improve germination and that the seedlings tend to be much sturdier once they emerge.

Aside from providing magnesium, the Epsom salts also provide extra sulfur, which seedlings also tend to need in greater quantities as they emerge and start to grow. Take one tablespoon of Epsom salt and add it to a gallon of water. Use this mixture to water the seeds when you first plant them.

8.  Reduce Transplant Shock

Seedlings, trees, rose bushes, and just about everything else in your garden will have to be transplanted at one time or another. While losing some plants is always to be expected, you can reduce the number of losses and accelerate growth by using Epsom salts. Here are a few methods to try:

If you are planting new trees or bushes, soak the root ball in ½ cup of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water

For moving plants from containers to soil, water them with 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water as soon as you are done planting them. This will ease shock to the roots and also improve the ability of the leaves to provide nutrients for the rest of the plant.

You can also try adding one tablespoon of Epsom salts to each hole, cover it with a thin layer of soil, and then place the new plant in the hole. As the plant grows, the roots will reach the Epsom salts later in the growing season when they need it most.

When using Epsom salts for transplanting, do not forget that too much can also be harmful to the plants. Always test the soil for nutrient content before adding Epsom salts or other fertilizer so that you create an optimal balance instead of creating harmful disruptions.

9.  Deter Raccoons

To many people, raccoons are cute creatures that are admired for their cleverness and pretty fur patterns. On the other hand, they can be quite a nuisance in the garden and around your home. Epsom salts can be used to keep raccoons away from the trash can, the hen house, and even out of your garden. Simply sprinkle Epsom salts around the area that you want to keep raccoons out of. You will need to sprinkle more Epsom salts after it rains because it is the smell and taste of the salts that deter the raccoons. If you are sprinkling Epsom salts around the border of the garden, you may need to replace the salts after watering the garden if the salts become moist.

Do not forget that raccoons are also very clever. If they are deterred from reaching their goal via a ground route, they can just as easily climb or find some other way in. You may need to use other deterrents (this includes removing or eliminating things that attract them) in combination with the Epsom salts in order to keep the raccoons at bay. Always study where you see signs of the animals and their possible paths so that you can succeed in outwitting them. Unfortunately, if you cannot deter the raccoons, then you may need professional help in order to trap and remove them.

10.  Easily Clean Pots and Pans

Have you ever baked or fried something and wound up with a mess at the bottom of the cooking vessel? If so, then you also know that soaking, scrubbing, and scouring can be frustrating tasks.

Epsom salts can help with loosening grease and grime so that it is easier to clean heavily soiled pots and pans. Start off by mixing ¼ tablespoon of Epsom salt and ¼ tablespoon of dish detergent in warm water. Let them sit and soak in the pot or pan that needs to be cleaned. When you are ready to start scrubbing, you can also add some Epsom salt onto troublesome areas, as it will release the grime faster. If the pots or pans are not heavily covered in grime, grease, or burnt food, you can simply add the Epsom salts directly to the soiled surface and scrub.

Linked from: http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/10-ways-to-use-epsom-salts/

What You Need to Know About Expired Prescription Drugs

what-you-need-to-know-about-expired-prescription-drugs

The topic of using expired prescription drugs comes up frequently in survival and preparedness circles.  Although there are many articles detailing with the efficacy of outdated meds, one question I get over and over again is “what do I do when the meds run out?”

Whereas there is no single clear answer, one thing we can all start to do now is hang on to our old, unused meds.  For the most part and with very few exceptions, they will be viable for two to twelve years beyond their expiration date.  The secret is to keep them in a cool, dark, location that is not too dissimilar from your food storage.

In another exclusive article for Backdoor Survival, Dr. Joe Alton, a medical doctor who is well versed in survival medicine, is here today to give us an update on the use of expired drugs in a survival setting. In addition, for those of you that have asked, he is providing us with links you can use to initiate your own research on this important topic.

Of course, as with anything preparedness related, let your own good judgement prevail.

An Update on Expired Drugs in Survival Settings

By Joe Alton, MD

In normal times, replacing expired medicines isn’t a major issue. You call your physician and get a refill for “fresh” meds. Medicine bottle descriptions and those in print and online sources tell you to discard any drug that has gone expired, a recommendation so common that it’s considered standard.

You might be surprised to know, however, that expiration dates have only been government-mandated since 1979. The expiration date is simply the last day that the pharmaceutical company will guarantee 100% potency of the product. In other words, you won’t grow a horn in the middle of your forehead or other ill effect if you take the drug the week after it expires. Indeed, it is rare for expired drugs, especially in pill or capsule form, to be any more risky than the non-expired versions.

This is an important issue to those preparing medically for survival scenarios. If you believe that some disaster will take society to the brink, then you should also understand that such a scenario also means that it’s unlikely that pharmaceutical companies will be functioning to manufacture drugs. Therefore, at one point or another, a well-supplied survival medic will have to make a decision regarding the use of an expired medication.

This is a decision that also must be made by government agencies such as FEMA and the Department of Defense. Federal warehouses store tens of millions of dollars’ worth of drugs meant for use in peacetime disasters. When these drugs expired, the forklifts came out and huge quantities of life-saving medicines were discarded.

Over time, even the government began to think, “Wow. This is getting expensive. I wonder if these drugs are still good?”. And with that thought, the Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP) was developed.  The SLEP tested over a hundred drugs in their possession and found that the vast majority were 100% potent 2 to 12 years beyond their listed expiration dates.

These findings led the government to put out extensions of expiration dates for certain drugs as needed, such as the 5 year extension given the anti-viral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) during the 2009 swine flu epidemic. These are referred to as “emergency use authorizations”.

Despite this research, you’ll see opinions from those in academia or elsewhere that state all medications are dangerous when expired and should be discarded. These opinions are fine in normal times, but members of the preparedness community should at least consider holding on to medications that might no longer be available in times of trouble.

Think about this situation:  Let’s say that a true catastrophe has occurred that has taken out the grid and modern medical facilities for the foreseeable future. Your daughter is fading from a bacterial infection. You have an expired bottle of antibiotics. She’s dying. Are you going to use the expired drug or not. You decide.

Medicines, expired or not, should be stored in cool, dry, dark conditions. Their potency will fade twice as fast if stored at 90 degrees than if stored at 50 degrees. Freezing them, however, is rarely necessary. Even if stored in suboptimal conditions, a capsule or tablet that hasn’t changed color, smell, or consistency is probably still worth keeping for austere settings. Of course, in normal times, seek out qualified medical professionals whenever and wherever they are available.

Note: You may have read about kidney and liver toxicity in expired tetracycline products. The majority of these occurred before the formulation was changed some years ago. Having said that, Tetracycline is not on my list of top ten antibiotics to have in your medical storage. It is a first generation drug with reports of widespread resistance, and I would prefer you have doxycycline instead. It’s important to know that all drugs have side effects or restrictions in children, pregnant women, and patients with certain medical conditions. Take time to learn indications, dosage, and side effects of all medicines you keep in your medical supplies.

For more information on the Shelf Life Extension Program, click the links below:

Federal Shelf Life Extension Program
Shelf Life Extension Program (FDA)
Stability profiles of drug products extended beyond labeled expiration dates

 

The Final Word

Although I have shared information on the use of expired prescription drugs in the past, naysayers still comment and chide, quick to criticize the practice of saving old meds.  To that I say: do you own research and decide for yourself.  If faced with a dire medical condition where normal sources of medical and drug supplies are limited or non-existent, wouldn’t it be worth the risk to reach for an expired drug?

The ultimate decision is up to you but I, for one, know what I would do.

Linked from: http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/expired-prescription-drugs/

Fast Acting Sore Throat Remedy (using natural antibiotics)

sore-throat-remedy

During cold and flu season, an effective sore throat remedy is crucial to have on hand to use when symptoms appear. Speed of treatment is of importance when it comes to this particular type of ailment so that symptoms don’t worsen into laryngitis or something more serious. This is especially true when the condition presents as probable strep throat!

There are many natural remedies for sore throats that are promoted within the alternative health community. Depending on whether the sore throat is caused by a virus or bacterial infection, how to know which one(s) to try first?

First of all, it’s important to understand which remedies alleviate symptoms only versus those that will destroy the virus or bacteria at the root of the problem.

For example, gargling with salt water is a much touted sore throat remedy. While it will indeed make your throat feel better temporarily, it isn’t going to provide ammo to your immune system to fight off the infection.

This is why gargling with salt water is a great remedy for post-oral surgery care to keep a wound clean for complication-free healing. It won’t help so much when your sinuses are draining infected mucous onto your throat while you sleep or your throat has white spots on it, however!

When the sore throat is caused by a virus or bacteria, natural antibiotics are your best bet. And yes, some natural antibiotics are even effective against viruses too, unlike drug based antibiotics which only work for bacterial infections.

Running to the doctor for drug based antibiotics or anti-virals should be a last resort. Even using Tylenol for the pain is a bad idea. Pharmaceuticals even if over the counter have side effects and a single round of antibiotics can negatively impact gut health for up to 4 years and maybe longer.

No worries though! In my experience, Mother Nature will come through for you with flying colors when it comes to sore throats.

Powerful Sore Throat Remedy using Natural Antibiotics

I keep the most effective natural antibiotics available at all times in my medicine cabinet. Which to use when time is of the essence? For sore throats, three of these work extremely well synergistically:

  1. Cayenne pepper
  2. Garlic
  3. Manuka honey

Cayenne Pepper for Sore Throats

Cayenne pepper, also called red hot chili pepper or capsicum, is part of the nightshade family of plants. It has been part of the human diet since about 7500 BC.

Cayenne is dried, ground and then sifted to make the powdered spice we are so familiar with. In cooking, cayenne is used for spicy dishes or for making hot sauces from a variety of cuisines around the world.

Medicinally, cayenne has been noted through the centuries to be helpful to digestion, as it stimulates gastric juices. It increases heat in the tissues, helping improve blood flow and the pain of arthritis, muscle cramps, and even toothache.

As a sore throat remedy, cayenne pepper is helpful due to the high amounts of capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) effects when used topically. It triggers a burning sensation on contact, which is why only small amounts are needed in the remedy below.

Cayenne pepper’s unique ability to increase blood flow has a twofold benefit when it comes to sore throats. First, it increases nutrient flow to the infected throat tissue. Second, it speeds removal of toxins from the area as well. Finally, cayenne promotes the health of the mucous membranes which is why it is included in this sore throat remedy.

Garlic: Antibiotic Powerhouse

Garlic is unique among the natural antibiotics because of its ability to destroy a wide variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, and fungus. All this is accomplished without harming beneficial gut flora (unlike colloidal silver). In fact, garlic promotes intestinal health by acting as a prebiotic for the beneficial flora present in the gut.

The sulfur compounds in garlic along with the phytochemical allicin have such powerful antibiotic properties that they even combat the superbug known as MRSA.

If garlic can fight superbugs, it will definitely help resolve a sore throat!

Raw Manuka Honey

While any raw honey is helpful as a sore throat remedy, Manuka honey is especially effective.

Of all the honey on the planet, Manuka honey is the most powerful when it comes to resolving infections that are skin based. Just be sure it is completely raw and unheated. Most brands of Manuka honey that I’ve examined have been heated so be very careful what you buy.

Honey loses all of its antibiotic properties and even becomes toxic when heated!

The FDA recognizes the antibiotic properties of Manuka honey when used on the skin. In 2007, Manuka honey based wound dressings were approved by the FDA.

Now let’s see how the benefits of these three natural antibiotics are used synergistically for an effective sore throat remedy that will heal and not just relieve symptoms.

Sore Throat Remedy Ingredients

Fresh garlic cloves, preferably organic

Ground cayenne pepper (preferably organic and do not substitute the essential oil as it would be too burning)

Raw Manuka honey

Remedy Usage Instructions

Using a mortar & pestle, mash up 3 cloves of fresh garlic.

Mix in half a teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper.

Mix in only raw Manuka honey to taste. If the Manuka honey is not raw, it will be worthless in this remedy!

Taste a tiny amount of the mixture to ensure that it isn’t too hot but comfortably warm on the throat.

Consume 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture every 30 minutes to an hour.

Make more as needed. As rapid improvement is noted, you can back off to using the mixture every 2-3 hours. Continue using a few times a day until you are certain the condition is resolved.

*If you already are forward thinking enough to have some of the powerful Master Tonic on hand, feel free to use instead of this remedy.

If you don’t see improvement quickly, reach out to your physician.

Want to Supercharge this Sore Throat Remedy?

If you would like to supercharge this remedy, gargle with raw apple cider vinegar diluted 50-50 with water three times a day.

If raw apple cider packed in glass bottles is not available in your area, you can make it easily with this ACV recipe.

I can attest to the effectiveness of using natural antibiotics for sore throats of all kinds. In our home, we have never resorted to drug based meds for any sore throats in over 25 years. This includes the raising of 3 children!

Just Need a Mild Sore Throat Remedy?

What if you really don’t need the big guns – cayenne pepper, manuka honey and garlic – as a natural way to cure your sore throat?

If you just need a mild sore throat soother, I use a cinnamon and raw honey paste.

I grate about a teaspoon of fresh cinnamon into a cup and mix with a similar amount of raw honey. Any raw honey will do, but the sweeter the better especially if you use fiery Saigon cinnamon. Note: using fresh cinnamon is very important. Don’t use supermarket sticks either as they are years old in most cases! Another thing not to get hung up about are the arguments about cassia versus ceylon cinnamon. Both types are true cinnamon (just from different parts of the world) and both work great!

Mix the two together well and have your child lick it slowly off a small spoon.  My kids typically ask for this when their throat is sore perhaps after a sporting event or other activity out in the winter air or when they are getting over a mild cold.

Prevention Strategy: Getting Sore Throats A LOT?

If your family is experiencing more than its fair share of sore throats, oral probiotics can help. There are specific strains of beneficial microbes that thrive in the ear, nose and throat (ENT). When they are missing or too few in number, a person is predisposed to infections like tonsillitis or pharyngitis.

I’ve examined several of the oral probiotics on the market, and this chewable tablet has the best ingredients (not perfect but the best I could find as of this writing). It contains two oral probiotic strains of Streptococcus salivarius (K12 and M18) scientifically shown to support ENT health when used regularly.

In one study published by International Journal of Internal Medicine, administration of Streptococcus salivariusK12 to children with a history of recurrent oral infections experienced reduced episodes of pharyngeal infections and/or tonsillitis as well as episodes of acute otitis media (middle ear infections).

Linked from: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/sore-throat-remedy-fast-acting/

17 NATURAL ANTIBIOTICS OUR GRANDPARENTS USED INSTEAD OF PILLS

17-natural-antibiotics-our-grandparents-used-instead-of-pills

For hundreds of years, maybe even longer, our grannies and grandfathers relied on simple household items to heal. For that purpose, they picked different natural antibiotics, which they mostly found in home, gardens or meadows and woods nearby.

Much of this came out of necessity. Rather than using an antibacterial facial scrub, our Nanas massaged honey deep into their pores. By using proven old home remedies, we can treat and cure various health problems and do a lot for our health avoiding unpleasant medications side effects, too.

Some of these remedies even date back thousands of years, as far back as the tribes of Central and South America. Now, perhaps with the advent of slow-living, these products are slipping back into style. Many appreciate the remedies for their simplicity, price, or their low-impact on the earth. Rather than spend $8 on sea salt spray, you can simple mix some salt with water and spritz it into your hair. You save money as well as a package.

In honor of our ancestors, we’ve gathered some of our favorite time-honored traditions. These timeless products have earned a permanent place in our pantries.

Garlic

Raw garlic when crushed or chewed contains a compound called allicin – which has similar properties to penicillin.

This superfood member of the onion family is antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, and antioxidant (mopping up free radicals that have been proven to cause cancer).

For more than seven millennia, it has been used internally and externally to treat mild illness to serious diseases.

Everything from inflammation to colds to serious infections is minimized and/or obliterated with the addition of garlic and for those who don’t enjoy the taste, there are supplements as well. Check into “aged” garlic supplements for the best results.

Garlic is not only potent, it contains a host of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that are beneficial to total body wellness. Not to mention the cost is pennies in comparison to doctor visits and prescriptions!

Unlike chemical antibiotics that kill millions of friendly bacteria your body needs, its only goal is bacteria and microorganisms. Garlic also encourages and increases the level of healthy bacteria. It is a powerful antifungal agent and destroys any antigen, pathogen, and harmful disease-causing microorganisms.

  • Garlic packs a punch with phytochemicals and healing sulfur components. These sulfur compounds even chelate toxic heavy metals (like lead & cadmium), binding with them for excretion out of the body.
  • It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, and even antiviral qualities.
  • It promotes the growth of healthy intestinal microflora by acting as a prebiotic (food for probiotics).
  • Garlic helps keep fats from oxidizing.
  • Garlic acts as a strong antioxidant and guards against DNA damage.
  • It protects against radiation & sunlight damage.
  • Garlic fights worms and parasites.
  • It benefits digestion, which is good for the whole body.
  • It contains many nutrients such as vitamins (C, B1, B2, B3), minerals (calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, and phytochemicals (Allicin, beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, diallyl-disulfide, ferulic acid, geraniol, kaempferol, linalool, oleanolic acid, p-coumaric acid, phloroglucinol, phytic acid, quercetin, rutin, s-allyl-cysteine, saponin, sinapic acid, & stigmasterol).

Honey

Herbalists consider honey as one of the best natural antibiotics. It also contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. A 2014 study presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society found that honey has the ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance to it.

Ancient Romans used honey on the battlefield to treat wounds and prevent infection.

Civilizations all over the world continue to consider honey one of the best natural antibiotics, antimicrobials, anti-inflammatories, and antiseptics known to man after thousands of years.

Its unique combination of hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols help kill bacterial cells. To get the antibiotic benefit of honey, always use raw, organic honey.

Olive leaf extract

This substance has been used for a number of centuries to battle bacterial infections and is now currently being used as well to fight MRSA infections in some European hospitals. It provides immune system support while fighting antibiotic-resistant infections. Olive leaf extract also has anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, it exhibits free-radical scavenging abilities.

  • You can make olive leaf extract for external use at home. Put a handful of finely chopped fresh olive leaves into a glass jar with a lid. Pour vodka over the leaves until they are completely covered. Close the lid and keep the jar in a dark place for 4 to 5 weeks. Using a cheesecloth, strain the liquid into another glass jar and your homemade olive leaf extract is ready to use.
  • Another option is to take olive leaf extract in supplement form. 250 to 500 mg capsules twice daily is the standard dosage. However, consult a doctor before taking the supplement.

Turmeric

This herb has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for many thousands of years to treat a wide range of infections. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities have been known to be highly effective in the treatment of bacterial infections. The antimicrobial activity of curcumin against helicobacter pylori showed positive results. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric.

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder and 5 to 6 tablespoons of honey. Store it in an airtight jar. Have ½ teaspoon of this mixture twice daily.
  • You can also take turmeric supplements of 400 to 600 mg, twice daily. However, consult your doctor first.

Echinacea

With similar effects to garlic, it was traditionally used to treat open wounds, as well as blood poisoning, diphtheria and other bacteria-related illnesses. Echinacea is well tolerated and able to stimulate the immune system by naturally boosting infection fighters in your blood stream. Native to North America, Echinacea has been used for centuries in tribal medicine to treat pain and sickness.

Unlike garlic, this antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral solution is generally used at the first signs of illness and should not be taken for more than ten days. It is available in liquid and capsule form.

Echinacea is also used against many other infections including the urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections (septicemia), gum disease, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections, syphilis, typhoid, malaria, and diphtheria.

Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers are the most powerful circulation stimulators. They just send their antibiotic properties to fight the disease where it is mostly needed.

Onion

Onion is garlic’s closest relative and it has a similar but milder action. Together they create a strong fighting duo.

Raw apple cider vinegar

The far-reaching benefits of daily doses of apple cider vinegar (ACV) include antibiotic and antiseptic properties, naturally alkalizing your system, and can aid you in everything from managing your weight to lowering cholesterol and your risk of cancer.

A chemical-free astringent, ACV can be used topically to disinfect and sterilize.

Oregano oil

Oil of oregano is considered anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal.

It can be used internally and externally in the treatment of wounds, respiratory problems, digestive upset, and even the common cold.

  • For treating foot or nail infections, add a few teaspoons of oregano oil to a tub filled with warm water. Soak your feet in it for a few minutes daily for a week.
  • For sinus and other upper respiratory infections, put a few drops of the oil of oregano in a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam. Do this once daily until you get rid of the infection.

Colloidal Silver

While colloidal silver is highly antibiotic in nature, I suggest only using it for external uses such as gargling, ear infections like swimmers’ ear and skin.  The reason is that ingestion of colloidal silver does damage the delicate gut microbiome by killing beneficial bacteria though not as extensively as drug based antibiotics. If you need the assistance of natural antibiotics to consume internally, choose another one on this list, not colloidal silver.

Grapefriut seed extract(GSE)

Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) effective against more than 800 forms of viruses and bacteria, more than a hundred strains of fungus, and many parasites.

High in many antioxidants, GSE boosts immunity, alkalizes the body naturally, and aids in digestion by improving your beneficial gut flora.

Ginger

Ginger’s natural antibiotic property helps prevent and treat many health problems caused by bacteria. Fresh ginger has an antibiotic effect against food-borne pathogens like salmonella. It also has an antibacterial effect on respiratory and periodontal infections.

So, if you are going to eat something that has the potential for food borne illness such as sushi or raw oysters, always best to eat some fresh ginger (raw and pickled is most potent) too in order to make use of its natural antibiotic properties.

  • Ginger tea is a great preventive measure against bacterial infections. To make the tea, grate 1 inch of fresh ginger and boil it in about 1½ cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and lemon juice for taste and drink it.
  • Also, include dry or fresh ginger in your cooking. You can also take ginger capsules, after consulting your doctor.

Manuca Honey

What would this list of natural antibiotics be without raw honey which has been used as an infection fighter since ancient times?  Of all the raw honey on the planet, Manuka honey from New Zealand is the best when it comes to resolving infections. An enzyme found in honey releases hydrogen peroxide. This process helps your body fight infection and prevents the growth of bacteria. Soothing to the digestive system, honey removes toxins from the blood and helps your liver operate more efficiently.

A great boost to the immune system, consider combining honey with cinnamon to strengthen your white blood cells! Raw, organic honey is the best option since most pasteurization methods kills the antioxidant effects.

Cabbage

What many people don’t realize is how much vitamin C is found in cabbage. One cup provides 75% of what you need every day.

Naturally antibacterial, eating shredded raw cabbage in your salad, as a side dish in the form of slaw, or drinking fresh cabbage juice (with honey added to sweeten) is an excellent way to improve digestion, prevent disease, and even manage your weight!

Extra virgin coconut oil

There is not enough that can be said for the benefits of coconut oil. It has naturally occurring anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties and is packed with antioxidants you can’t find anywhere else in nature.

Use it to boost your immune system, balance thyroid, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and even improve brain function. Safe to use internally and externally, coconut oil is one of the most versatile and unique gifts from Mother Nature.

Goldenseal

Goldenseal’s natural antibiotic property works well for both topical and internal bacterial infections. Goldenseal contains a compound called berberine that helps kill many types of bacteria that cause many health problems.

Berberine also activates white blood cells, making them better at fighting infection and strengthening the immune system.

  • For internal use, prepare a cup of herbal tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of goldenseal powder in 1 cup of hot water. Strain and drink it while it is still warm. Drink this tea once daily.
  • For external use, prepare a mixture with 1 teaspoon of goldenseal powder and the oil of a few vitamin E capsules. Apply it to the affected area 3 times a day.

Note: Do not take this herb internally for more than a few weeks at a time.

Indian lilac or neem

Neem, also known as Indian lilac, is another natural antibiotic. In addition, due to its antibacterial nature, neem keeps different types of oral problems like cavities, plaque, gingivitis and other gum diseases at bay.

  • To prevent skin infections, use cosmetics and skin care products that have neem as one of the main ingredients.
  • Take neem tablets to help remove accumulated toxins in the body and any parasitic organisms. Consult your doctor for the correct dosage.

Linked from:http://www.backdoorprepper.com/2016/10/23/17-natural-antibiotics-grandparents-used-instead-pills/

Parasites And Foodborne Illness

Parasites-and-Foodborne-Illness

Safe food handling is an essential aspect of good health.

And improper food handling can lead to a variety of sicknesses, even deaths. This is illustrated in the news frequently as restaurants and manufacturers sell unsafe food.

And as preppers, we need to be concerned.

During emergency situations, one of the first things to go is proper sanitary conditions. And that increases the risk of contracting a foodborne illness.

Today we will look at foodborne illness caused by parasite contamination.

Lets start with some definitions.

What is a parasite?

A parasite is an organism that derives its nourishment and protection from other living organisms known as hosts. Parasites may be transmitted from animals to humans, from humans to humans, or from humans to animals.

How are they transmitted?

Parasites may be transmitted from host to host through consumption of contaminated food and water, or by putting anything into your mouth that has touched the stool (feces) of an infected person or animal.

How do they vary?

Parasites are of different types and range in size from tiny, single-celled, microscopic organisms ( protozoa) to larger, multi-cellular worms ( helminths) that may be seen without a microscope. The size ranges from 1 to 2 µm (micrometers) to 2 meters long.

What parasites are discussed in this article?

  • Giardia duodenalis
  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Cyclospora cayetanensis
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Trichinella spiralis
  • Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm)
  • Taenia solium (pork tapeworm)

Giardia duodenalis or intestinalis (formerly called G. lamblia)

Giardia duodenalis, cause of giardiasis (GEE-are-DYE-uh-sis), is a one-celled, microscopic parasite that can live in the intestines of animals and people. It is found in every region throughout the world and has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne (and occasionally foodborne) illness in the United States.

How do people get giardiasis?

People get giardiasis the following ways:

  • Giardiasis is frequently associated with drinking contaminated water, but some people might get infected by consuming uncooked meat also contaminated with G. duodenalis cysts (the infective stage of the organism).
  • By putting anything into your mouth that has touched contaminated surfaces or the stool of a person or animal with giardiasis.

Symptoms of giardiasis

Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, gas, and nausea are the most common symptoms. Chronic infection might lead to dehydration and severe weight loss. Some cases may be without symptoms.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Symptoms will usually appear 1 to 2 weeks after ingestion of a G. duodenalis cyst. They may last 2 to 6 weeks in otherwise healthy persons, but there are cases of chronic illnesses lasting months or even years.

Who is at risk for contracting giardiasis?

Those at risk include:

  • Day care providers and children attending daycare centers;
  • International travelers (traveler’s diarrhea);
  • Hikers, campers, or any other persons who may drink from untreated or contaminated water supplies, including while swimming in lakes or rivers; and
  • Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and persons with weakened immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy.

How to prevent giardiasis

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap before handling foods and eating, and after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling animals.
  • Make sure infected individuals wash their hands frequently to reduce the spread of infection.
  • Drink water only from treated municipal water supplies.
  • When hiking, camping, or traveling to countries where the water supply may be unsafe to drink, either avoid drinking the water or boil it for 1 minute to kill the parasite. Drinking bottled beverages can be a safe alternative.
  • Do not swallow water while swimming.
  • Do not swim in community pools if you or your child has giardiasis.
  • Always cook your food to a safe internal temperature.
  • Drink only pasteurized milk, juices, or cider.
  • Wash, peel, or cook raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Do not use untreated manure to fertilize fruits and vegetables. Watering untreated manure can spread the organism.

Cryptosporidium parvum

Cryptosporidium parvum, cause of the disease cryptosporidiosis (KRIP-toe-spo-RID-e-O-sis) also called “Crypto”, is a one-celled, microscopic shelled parasite and a significant cause of waterborne and foodborne illness worldwide. It is found in the intestines of many herd animals including cows, sheep, goats, deer, and elk. The illness could be intestinal, tracheal, or pulmonary.

How do people get cryptosporidiosis?

This parasite can be found in soil, food, water or surfaces that have been contaminated with feces from infected humans or animals.

People get cryptosporidiosis the following ways:

  • By consuming food or water contaminated with C. parvum oocysts (infective stage of the parasite). The oocysts are the environmentally resistant stage of the organism and are shed in the feces of a host (human or animal).
  • By putting anything into your mouth that has touched the stool of a person or animal with cryptosporidiosis.

Symptoms of intestinal cryptosporidiosis

Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, upset stomach, and slight fever. Some cases may be without symptoms.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Symptoms appear 2 to 10 days after ingestion of C. parvum oocysts. The illness usually goes away without medical intervention in 3 to 4 days. For healthy people, symptoms may last up to 2 weeks. For individuals with weakened immune systems, cryptosporidiosis can be serious, long-lasting, and sometimes fatal.

Who is at risk for contracting cryptosporidiosis?

Those at risk include:

  • Day care providers and children attending daycare centers;
  • Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and persons with weakened immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy.
  • International travelers (traveler’s diarrhea); and
  • Hikers, campers, or any other persons who may drink from untreated water supplies.

How to prevent cryptosporidiosis

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap before handling foods and eating, and after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling animals.
  • Drink water only from treated municipal water supplies.
  • When hiking, camping, or traveling to countries where the water supply may be unsafe to drink, either avoid drinking the water or boil it for 1 minute to kill the parasite. Drinking bottled beverages can be a safe alternative.
  • Do not swallow water while swimming.
  • Do not swim in community swimming pools if you or your child has cryptosporidiosis.
  • Drink only pasteurized milk, juices, or cider.
  • Wash, peel, or cook raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Do not use untreated manure to fertilize fruits and vegetables. Watering untreated manure can spread the organism.

Cyclospora cayetanensis

Cyclospora cayetanensis (SIGH-clo-SPOR-uh KYE-uh-tuh-NEN-sis), cause of cyclosporiasis, is a one-celled, microscopic parasite. Currently little is known about this organism, although cases of cyclosporiasis are being reported from various countries with increasing frequency.

How do people get cyclosporiasis?

People get cyclosporiasis the following ways:

  • By consuming food or water contaminated with C. cayetanensis oocysts (the infective stage of the organism).
  • By putting anything into your mouth that has touched the stool of a person or animal with cyclosporiasis.

Symptoms of cyclosporiasis

Symptoms include watery diarrhea (sometimes explosive), loss of appetite, bloating, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, low-grade fever, and fatigue. Some cases are without symptoms. Symptoms are more severe in persons with weakened immune systems.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Symptoms typically appear about 1 week after ingestion of C. cayetanensis oocysts. If untreated, the symptoms may last a week to more than a month. Symptoms may return.

Who is at risk for contracting cyclosporiasis?

Persons of all ages are at risk for infection.

Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy may be at greater risk for infection.

How to prevent cyclosporiasis

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap before handling foods and eating, and after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling animals.
  • Make sure infected individuals wash their hands frequently to reduce the spread of infection.
  • Drink water only from treated municipal water supplies.
  • When hiking, camping, or traveling to countries where the water supply may be unsafe to drink, either avoid drinking the water or boil the water for 1 minute to kill the parasite. Drinking bottled beverages can be a safe alternative.
  • Do not swim in community swimming pools if you or your child has cyclosporiasis.
  • Wash, peel, or cook raw fruits and vegetables before eating.

Toxoplasma gondii

Toxoplasma gondii, cause of the disease toxoplasmosis (TOX-o-plaz-MO-sis), is a single-celled, microscopic parasite found throughout the world. It is the third leading cause of death from foodborne disease. It is interesting to note that these organisms can only carry out their reproductive cycle within members of the cat family. In this parasite-host relationship, the cat is the definitive host. The infective stage (oocyst) develops in the gut of the cat. The oocysts are then shed into the environment with cat feces.

How do people get toxoplasmosis?

People get toxoplasmosis the following ways:

  • By consuming foods (such as raw or undercooked meats, especially pork, lamb, or wild game) or drinking untreated water (from rivers or ponds) that may contain the parasite.
  • Fecal-oral: Touching your hands to your mouth after gardening, handling cats, cleaning a cat’s litter box, or anything that has come into contact with cat feces.
  • Mother-to-fetus (if mother is pregnant when first infected with T. gondii).
  • Through organ transplants or blood transfusions, although these modes are rare.

Symptoms of toxoplasmosis and severe toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is relatively harmless to most people, although some may develop “flu-like” symptoms such as swollen lymph glands and/or muscle aches and pains. In otherwise healthy individuals, the disease is usually mild and goes away without medical treatment. However, dormant non-infective parasites can remain in the infected individual for life. An unborn child may contract the parasite congenitally resulting in severe outcomes including miscarriage or stillbirth.

However, persons with weakened immune systems such as those with HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant recipients, individuals undergoing chemotherapy, and infants may develop severe toxoplasmosis. Severe toxoplasmosis may result in damage to the eyes or brain. Infants becoming infected before birth can be born retarded or with other mental or physical problems.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

The time that symptoms appear varies, but generally symptoms will appear 1 week to 1 month after consuming the parasite.

Infants infected while still in the womb may show no symptoms at birth, but develop symptoms later in life.

The duration of the illness depends on the health and immune status of the host. Persons with weakened immune systems may experience illnesses of long duration, possibly resulting in death.

Who is at risk for contracting severe toxoplasmosis?

Those at risk include:

  • Persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant recipients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Infants born to mothers who become infected with T. gondii shortly before becoming pregnant or during pregnancy. Those mothers exposed to T. gondii longer than 6 months before becoming pregnant rarely transmit toxoplasmosis to their infants.

How to prevent toxoplasmosis

  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you have a weakened immune system, you should discuss your risk of contracting toxoplasmosis with your health care provider.
  • Wear clean latex gloves when handling raw meats, or have someone who is healthy, and not pregnant, handle the meats for you.
  • Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
  • Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Cook all poultry to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer.
  • Wash hands, cutting boards, and other utensils thoroughly with hot, soapy water after handling raw meats.
  • Clean cat litter boxes daily because cat feces more than a day old can contain mature parasites.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap after handling cats, cleaning cat litter boxes, especially before you handle or eat food.
  • Wear gloves when you handle garden soil or sandboxes. Cats may use gardens or sandboxes as litter boxes. (Cover sandboxes to prevent cats from using them as litter boxes.)
  • Help prevent cats from becoming infected with T. gondii by discouraging them from hunting and scavenging.
  • Feed cats commercially made cat foods or cook their food.

Trichinella spiralis

Trichinella spiralis, cause of trichinellosis (also known as trichinosis) (TRICK-a-NO-sis) is an intestinal roundworm whose larvae may migrate from the digestive tract and form cysts in various muscles of the body. Infections occur worldwide, but are most prevalent in regions where pork or wild game is consumed raw or undercooked. The incidence of trichinosis has declined in the United States due to changes in hog feeding practices. Presently, most cases in this country are caused by consumption of raw or undercooked wild game.

How do people get trichinellosis?

People get trichinellosis (trichinosis) by consuming raw or undercooked meats such as pork, wild boar, bear, bobcat, cougar, fox, wolf, dog, horse, seal, or walrus infected with Trichinella larvae.

The illness is not spread directly from person to person.

Symptoms of trichinellosis

The first symptoms are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, fatigue, and abdominal pain, followed by headaches, eye swelling, aching joints and muscles, weakness, and itchy skin. In severe infections, persons may experience difficulty with coordination and have heart and breathing problems. Death may occur in severe cases.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Abdominal symptoms may appear within 1 to 2 days after eating contaminated meat. Further symptoms (eye swelling and aching muscles and joints) may begin 2 to 8 weeks after infection. Mild cases may assumed to be flu. Symptoms may last for months.

Who is at risk for contracting trichinellosis?

Persons consuming raw or under cooked pork or wild game.

Persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant recipients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy may be at a greater risk for infection.

How to prevent trichinellosis

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling raw meat.
  • Cook all raw pork steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
  • Clean meat grinders thoroughly each time you grind meat at home.

Taenia saginata/Taenia solium (Tapeworms)

Taenia saginata (beef tapeworm) and Taenia solium (pork tapeworm) are parasitic worms (helminths). Taeniasis is the name of the intestinal infection caused by adult-stage tapeworms (beef or pork tapeworms). Cysticercosis is the name of the tissue (other than intestinal) infection caused by the larval-stage of the pork tapeworm only.

It is interesting to note that humans are the definitive hosts of both organisms. This means that the reproductive cycle, and thus egg production by the organisms, occurs only within humans. Eggs are passed in human feces and they may be shed into the environment for as long as the worms remain in the intestines (for as long as 30 years). In addition, the eggs may remain viable in the environment for many months.

These diseases are more prevalent in underdeveloped countries where sanitation practices may be substandard and in areas where pork and beef are consumed raw or undercooked. They are relatively uncommon in the U.S., although travelers and immigrants are occasionally infected.

How do people get Taeniasis?

People get Taeniasis by consuming raw or undercooked infected beef or pork.

Symptoms of Taeniasis

Most cases of infection with adult worms are without symptoms. Some persons may experience abdominal pain, weight loss, digestive disturbances, and possible intestinal obstruction.

Irritation of the peri-anal area can occur, caused by worms or worm segments exiting the anus.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

T. saginata (beef tapeworm) infections appear within 10 to 14 weeks. T. solium (pork tapeworm) infections appear within 8 to 12 weeks.

Taeniasis may last many years without medical treatment.

Who is at risk for contracting Taeniasis?

Anyone consuming infected beef or pork (raw or undercooked).

Persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, organ transplant recipients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy may be at a greater risk for infection.

How to prevent Taeniasis

Cook all raw beef and pork steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.

How do people get cysticercosis?

People get cysticercosis the following ways:

  • By consuming food or water contaminated with the eggs of T. solium (pork tapeworm). Worm eggs hatch and the larvae then migrate to various parts of the body and form cysts called cysticerci. This can be a serious or fatal disease if it involves organs such as the central nervous system, heart, or eyes.
    By putting anything into your mouth that has touched the stool of a person infected with T. solium.
  • Some persons with intestinal tapeworms may infect themselves with eggs from their own feces as a result of poor personal hygiene.

Symptoms of cysticercosis

Symptoms may vary depending on the organ or organ system involved. For example, in muscles, lumps under the skin may result. Cysticercosis can cause blurred vision in the eyes. An individual with cysticercosis involving the central nervous system (neurocysticercosis) may exhibit neurological symptoms such as psychiatric problems or epileptic seizures. Death is common.

When will symptoms appear? What is the duration?

Symptoms usually appear from several weeks to several years after becoming infected with the eggs of the pork tapeworm ( T. solium). Symptoms may last for many years if medical treatment is not received.

Who is at risk for contracting cysticercosis?

Persons traveling to countries where sanitation may be substandard and the water supply may be unsafe.

Young children, pregnant women, older adults, and persons with weakened immune systems including those with HIV/AIDS infection, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and transplant patients, or those individuals undergoing chemotherapy may be at greater risk for infection.

How to prevent cysticercosis

  • Drink water only from treated municipal water supplies.
  • Do not eat undercooked pork or meat.
  • When traveling to countries where the water supply may be unsafe, either avoid the water or boil it for 1 minute to kill parasite eggs. Avoid ice in those same areas. Drinking bottled beverages or hot coffee and tea are safe alternatives.
  • Do not swallow water while swimming.
  • Do not swim in community swimming pools if you or your child are infected with tapeworms.
  • Wash, peel, or cook raw fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Make sure that infected individuals wash their hands frequently to reduce the spread of infection

Linked from: http://theweekendprepper.com/food-storage/parasites-foodborne-illness/

How To Grow Your Own Antibacterial Bandages

How-To-Grow-Your-Own-Antibacterial-Bandages (1)

As I work on turning this one acre homestead into a self-sustaining Garden of Eden, I have two requirements for every single plant I consider putting in the ground: they must be either edible or medicinal. Preferably both.

Why? Because frankly I don’t have money or space to waste on frivolous landscaping. Everything from the plants to the animals must have a purpose.

More and more people are beginning to see the benefit of having a garden and growing your own food, but growing your own medicine could be equally as vital to your well being. What would you do if you couldn’t get the medical supplies or help you needed for a very long time? How would you manage?

As I plan my medicinal garden, I choose what to grow by studying different medical emergency scenarios and learning which plants I would be able to use if it ever came down to that.

One day as I was doctoring up one of my kiddos, the thought crossed my mind, “What if I couldn’t get any more of these band-aids? What could I use?” This question prompted me to delve into my herbal books and scour the internet for an answer. And I found a good one.

Young Wooly Lamb's Ear settling down for the winter.

Young Wooly Lamb’s Ear settling down for the winter.

Wooly Lamb’s Ear.

It’s one of my favorites because it’s medicinal AND edible.

A Natural Antibacterial Bandage

Wooly Lamb’s Ear, botanical name Stachys byzantina, has been used for centuries as a wound dressing on battlefields. Not only do the soft, fuzzy leaves absorb blood and help it to clot more quickly, they also contain antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. All of these factors make this plant a really great alternative to store-bought bandages (especially since many of them are made in China!).

Other Medicinal Uses

Wooly Lamb’s Ear actually has many medicinal uses. You can heat a few bruised leaves in a pot of simmering water, and use the cooled infusion as an eyewash to treat pinkeye and sties.

Drink a tea made from young, dried Wooly Lamb’s Ear leaves to help with fevers, diarrhea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart.

You can bruise the leaves so that the juices are released, and put them on bee stings or other insect bites to help reduce the swelling. The same effect can be seen when used for treating hemorrhoids, or for postpartum recovery.

Wooly Lamb's Ear

 

Still More Uses

As if Wooly Lamb’s Ear isn’t awesome enough, the list of uses continues.

Being soft and super absorbent, Lamb’s Ear leaves can be used as menstrual pads, or in place of cotton balls. It can even be used as toilet paper!

You can eat it as well. Enjoy young, tender leaves fresh in a salad, or gently steamed as greens.

 Are you growing Lamb’s Ear yet?

If you don’t have any of this important medicinal plant growing around your home yet,get some. If you can’t find any plants locally, buy some seeds and grow them yourself. It’s super easy, and much cheaper that way anyways. Lamb’s Ear make a gorgeous landscaping border, and grows well in containers. Plant as much as you have room for, ’cause it’ll come in handy when your stash of tp runs out!

Wooly Lamb's Ear leaves

How To Grow Your Own Antibacterial Bandages (Wooly Lamb’s Ear) From Seed

Starting your own plants from seed really is easy. Here’s how…

1. Fill a well-draining container with Seed Starting Mix.  A yogurt cup with holes poked in the bottom works nicely.

2. Wet the soil thoroughly. If you’re on city water, use filtered water for your plants.The chemicals in treated water can inhibit plant growth.

3. Plant 1-2 seeds per small container (thinning out the weakest seedling), or plant seeds about 6″ apart in a larger pot, burying them 1/4″ deep.

4. Keep the soil moist and the containers out of direct light until the seedlings germinate. As soon as you see the tops of the plants emerging, put them somewhere where they can get at least 6 hours of sunlight daily, or under a grow light. It helps to set the cups/pots in a shallow tray of water to keep the soil from drying out.

5. When the plants have at least three sets of leaves, they’re ready to be transplanted to a semi-shady place in your yard. Space them 12″ apart. They will multiply readily in good soil.

If you haven’t started thinking about growing some medicinal herbs, Wooly Lamb’s Ear is a perfect one to begin with. And in my opinion, you can never have enough!

Linked from: http://theprepperproject.com/grow-antibacterial-bandages/