Bring Your Own Bandaids- Part 1, by A. & J. R.

Disclaimer: The following is for informational and entertainment purposes only. You should always consult your physician for any questions regarding your health or that of a family member. The authors are merely discussing items you may wish to have on hand to care for a family or group, for when a licensed healthcare provider is available but supplies are hard or impossible to come by. We write from the perspective of patients (a Type 1 diabetic with hypothyroidism and his wife who has had her spleen, gall bladder, most of her pancreas, and half a pinkie removed) and parents of …

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Sniffle Detective: 5 Ways to Tell Colds from Allergies

With spring upon us many will be suffering with allergies. But you may also be suffering from a spring cold.  Seasonal allergies and colds share some common symptoms, so it may be hard to tell the two apart.  Both conditions typically involve sneezing, a runny nose and congestion. There are some differences, though. Additionally, colds usually include coughing and a sore throat, but these symptoms can also occur in people with hay fever who have post-nasal drip. Itchy eyes are common for seasonal allergies, but rare for colds.

Colds and seasonal allergies seem very similar in many ways.  It’s the duration [length] and chronicity [frequency] of symptoms that might help tell the difference. It’s not unusual for parents and even doctors to confuse cold and seasonal allergy symptoms. Young children frequently get colds, and their parents may not always think of seasonal allergies as the reason for kids’ constantly drippy noses. Seasonal allergies may first show up in a child at around ages 4 to 6, but they can also begin at any age after that. And genetics play a role: People with one parent who has any type of allergy have a 1 in 3 chance of developing an allergy.  When both parents have allergies, their children have a 7 in 10 chance of developing allergies, too.

Here are five signs to look for to determine whether symptoms are due to seasonal allergies or a cold.

Consider the time of year.  Colds tend to occur in the winter, and they often take several days to show up after exposure to a virus. With seasonal allergies, the onset of symptoms — the sneezing, stuffy nose and itchy eyes — occur immediately after exposure to pollens in spring, summer or fall. If symptoms tend to show up the same time every year, it may well be seasonal allergies rather than a cold.

Duration of symptoms matters.  The symptoms of a cold typically last three to 14 days, but allergy symptoms last longer, usually for weeks, as long as the person is exposed to pollen, Rachid said.

Color of nasal discharge offers clues.  When she sees a patient with green or yellow mucus, Rachid said, she tends to think the person has a cold or infection. Seasonal allergies usually produce clear nasal secretions, she said, although sinus infections may confuse the picture. Sometimes allergy sufferers develop sinus infections, which can result in yellow-colored nasal discharge.

Any temperature or muscle aches?  Despite the name “hay fever,” seasonal allergies don’t usually cause fever or body aches, whereas people with a cold often have these symptoms.

Notice “the allergic salute.”   Parents may notice children frequently pushing their noses up with the palms of their hands to wipe or relieve itchiness — this could be a telltale sign of seasonal allergies. When trying to determine if a child’s symptoms are due to a cold or seasonal allergies,  ask about the allergic salute. You can also observes the skin on the child’s nose, since the “salute,” when done frequently, tends to cause a small crease at the bridge.

Anyone with a cold may do the allergic salute, but children with allergies tend to do this a lot. It means something is bothering them, and could indicate their allergies are getting worse.

 

 

 

 

Bleeding Control and First Aid Training, by Doctor Dan

For a little background, I teach ATLS (Advanced Trauma Life Support) and BCON (Bleeding Control) training courses frequently. I’m an anesthesiologist in a rural community hospital. I also completed a year of residency training in General and Trauma Surgery during my journey to becoming a physician. Additionally, my family and I are advocates for personal and community preparedness. SHTF Life-Threatening Scenarios Many topics on this forum deal with “WTSHTF” scenarios. Of course, these emergencies, whether short-term or long-term are certainly not outside the realm of possibility. However, I’d also like to challenge all who read this to become better prepared …

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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.

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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!

 

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Doctors Explain How Hiking Actually Changes Our Brains

hiiking

While it may seem obvious that a good hike through a forest or up a mountain can cleanse your mind, body, and soul, science is now discovering that hiking can actually change your brain… for the better!

Hiking In Nature Can Stop Negative, Obsessive Thoughts

Aside from the almost instant feeling of calm and contentment that accompanies time outdoors, hiking in nature can reduce rumination. Many of us often find ourselves consumed by negative thoughts, which takes us out of the enjoyment of the moment at best and leads us down a path to depression and anxiety at worst. But a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spending time in nature decreases these obsessive, negative thoughts by a significant margin.

To conduct this study, researchers compared the reported rumination of participants who hiked through either an urban or a natural environment. They found those who walked for 90 minutes in a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination and they also had reduced neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain related to mental illness. Those who walked through the urban environment, however, did not report decreased rumination.

The researchers noted that increased urbanization closely correlates with increased instances of depression and other mental illness. Taking the time to regularly remove ourselves from urban settings and spend more time in nature can greatly benefit our psychological (and physical) well-being.

Hiking While Disconnected From Technology Boosts Creative Problem Solving

A study conducted by psychologists Ruth Ann Atchley and David L. Strayer found that creative problem solving can be drastically improved by both disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature. Participants in this study went backpacking through nature for about 4 days, during which time they were not allowed to use any technology whatsoever. They were asked to perform tasks which required creative thinking and complex problem solving, and researchers found that performance on problem solving tasks improved by 50% for those who took part in this tech-free hiking excursion.

The researchers of this study noted that both technology and urban noise are incredibly disruptive, constantly demanding our attention and preventing us from focusing, all of which can be taxing to our cognitive functions. A nice long hike, sans technology, can reduce mental fatigue, soothe the mind, and boost creative thinking.

Hiking Outdoors Can Improve ADHD In Children

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is becoming more and more common among children. Children who have ADHD have a difficult time with impulse control and staying focused, they get distracted easily, and exhibit excessive hyperactivity.

Hiking In Nature Is Great Exercise And Therefore Boosts Brainpower

We already know that exercising is fantastic for our overall well-being. Hiking is an excellent way to burn between 400 – 700 calories per hour, depending on your size and the hike difficulty, and it is easier on the joints than other activities like running. It has also been proven that people who exercise outside are more likely to keep at it and stick to their programs, making hiking an excellent choice for those wishing to become more active on a regular basis.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise increases hippocampal volume — the part of the brain associated with spatial and episodic memory — in women over the age of 70. Such exercise not only improves memory loss, but helps prevent it as well. Researchers also found that it can also reduce stress and anxiety, boost self esteem, and release endorphins. Many people take medication to solve each and every one of these issues, but the solution to these ills may be a lot simpler than you think!

How Can You Begin To Start Hiking?

Luckily, hiking is one of the easiest and least expensive sports to get involved in, and it can have great benefits for the whole family, including grandma! Start out small and test your abilities. Do what works for you — if that means just walking through trails in a park, that’s fine. Any exercise outdoors is better than none. You can easily find maps of trails around your home online, and there are plenty of smartphone apps to map them out, too. I recommend turning off your signal and your phone while hiking though, so you can reap the most benefits of the hike (though it may be wise to at least carry it with you in case of emergency).

Make sure you have some good sturdy hiking shoes, a hat, and a water bottle, and be sure to layer your clothing so you can take things on or off easily as you warm up and cool down. You may want to consider using trekking poles as well, which can increase your speed and take some of the pressure off your knees. Now, can you just do one thing for me?

Go take a hike!

Linked from: http://www.cosmicscientist.com/doctors-explain-how-hiking-actually-changes-our-brains/

Survival Basics – Controling your Core Temperature

A core concept of survival in just about any situation is the rule of threes. If you don’t know this rule it is that you can generally live:

  • Three minutes without air
  • Three hours without shelter
  • Three days without water
  • Three weeks without food.

 

For this post we are going to be looking at shelter or more specifically how your body reacts when we don’t have sufficient shelter to help us regulate our body temperature. Along with making sure you have plenty of food stored for your family and a sufficient source of water, you need to ensure that lack of shelter is not going to be a killer for your group.

The optimal environment for a human to maintain their core body temperature is between 79° and 86°F. The science of keeping your body in “the zone” of this ideal temperature is Thermoregulation. Thermoregulation can be the difference between living and dying and is the practice of controlling your core temperature. Every year people die from power outages during heat waves or winter weather.   Simple variations in environmental temperatures between 30° and 50° have wreaked havoc worldwide and many die from hypothermia or hyperthermia.

Minimal fluctuations to core temperatures can stress the human body and throw its vital systems into chaos.  In the event of stress, things can get pretty ugly and actually break down at the cellular level.  If your temperature suddenly plummets, the proteins in your cells clump together leaving behind areas of water that can potentially freeze and shred the delicate cell membranes.  If your body overheats, the cells can become too warm and essentially melt.  Any stress at the cellular level will cause immense damage to all the body’s organs and systems needed for survival.

Hypothermia is the condition when your core temperature plummets below approximately 96° F. There are variables in the exact temperature, of course, when considering age, sex, percentage of body fat, or even time of day.  Suffering from even mild hypothermia can cause your body to burn through a ton of calories trying to keep your body and the vital organs heated, and this in turn will cut into your body’s food stores. Your body will also limit the amount of blood flowing to your extremities making them more susceptible to damage and impairment.  Shivering is another way for your body to create heat to keep you warm.  While shivering, your body is creating tiny muscle contractions, thereby using energy and heating up the body.  Unfortunately, shivering also burns through food stores in the process.

Hyperthermia is when your core temperature soars above approximately 100°F.  Again, this can vary, but this gives you a good guideline for sustaining a healthy condition when exposed to less than ideal temperatures.  Generally, in the case of hyperthermia, your body will succumb to dehydration.  Your body’s first line of defense is to circulate more than four quarts of blood per minute, dilate the blood vessels, and open the skin up to let the excess heat out.  That is why being dehydrated is so deadly.  Dehydration thickens your blood making it more difficult to circulate and do its job.  Your body also perspires, leaving your skin wet and cooling the outer core.

Thankfully, your body has a built-in alarm system to alert you or someone close to you that your body is stressed by either hypothermia or hyperthermia.

Stages of Hypothermia:

First signs and symptoms – Core temperature 95-96° F

  • Shivering
  • Decreased alertness
  • Unable to think clearly
  • Minor loss of function in fingers and toes
  • Stinging pain in extremities
  • Confusion

Simply put, you have to maintain your core temperature. People with mild hypothermia can warm themselves with additional dry layers or by stomping their feet. Simple physical exertion is a wonderful cure when you are cold. The old saying with a wood fire is that it warms you twice. Once, when the fire is burning and another time while you are chopping and hauling the wood.

Advances signs and symptoms – Core temperature 93-94 ° F

  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Lack of stability
  • Increased lack of clarity

 

Get the affected person in doors if possible and rub cold areas. You can use the buddy system and have the warmth from one person help another person. In the Army they say that if your buddy has cold feet he should take off his socks and stick them on your belly or in your arm pits.

Serious signs and symptoms – Core temperature critical – 91-92° F

  • Gray skin
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased lack of stability
  • Speech affected
  • Spasmodic shivering

For more serious signs of Hypothermia, internal heating methods should be tried. Along with external warmth, warm (not hot) fluids should be consumed also.

Mortal signs and symptoms – Core temperature 87-90 ° F

  • Inability to walk
  • Incoherent speech
  • Shivering decreased

 

As with hyperthermia, if the body temperature gets this low medical help is almost always needed.

Stages of Hyperthermia

Early signs and symptoms – Core temperature between 99-100 ° F

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Thirst
  • Lack of appetite
  • Muscle spasms
  • Feeling weak
  • Profuse sweatingTo treat mild cases of hyperthermia, we need to first remove the underlying source of the heat. If the symptoms are caused by exertion on a hot day we can treat the person with increased water consumption and rest in a cool space.

    Advance signs of hyperthermia – Core temperature 101-102 ° F

    • Dizziness
    • Headache
    • Profuse sweating
    • Thirst
    • Disorientation
    • Cramps
    • Pale moist skin
    • Possible unconsciousness
    • Weak
    • Rapid pulse and/or breathing
    • Lack of appetite
    • Nausea and/or vomiting

To treat advanced hyperthermia, we can additionally use rest in a cool, shady area. Removing some articles of clothing and sponging down the head, neck and trunk area will reduce body temperature. Additional water consumption is mandatory. Immersion in a cool bath or body of water can help also.

Mortal signs and symptoms – Core temperature 103-106 ° F

  • Disorientation
  • Delirium
  • Unresponsive
  • Skin hot to the touch and can be dry
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Coma

 

When the body temperature is this elevated medical assistance is almost always needed, but in a survival situation this may not be possible. The body must be cooled as quickly as possible and methods such as iced IV solutions aren’t uncommon. It’s crucial we don’t get to this point so maintain close watch over your group in heat situations.

Clothing Options

Wearing the proper clothing is vital so as not to inhibit, but to aid the body’s natural defenses against hypothermia and hyperthermia.  Wearing the proper clothing will help you adapt to any weather situation

Simple three layer system:

  1. A Base layer should be wicking to keep you dry and non-restrictive when keeping you warm to allow blood to flow freely.
  2. An Insulation layer should be next and can be removed or added as temperatures rise or fall
  3. The last layer is the environmental layer which should be loose fitting, water-resistant and breathable to allow moisture to flow through the fabric so it is not trapped.  To test whether a fabric is water-resistant and breathable, you should put your hand on the inside and breathe onto it from the outside.  If you feel the warmth of your breath, then it is water-resistant.

Remember that the layering system should be used in a hot climate as well.  Some people feel that a tank top and shorts are the best clothing system, but unprotected skin only exposes your skin to the radiation of the sun.  Save the skimpy clothes for the beach when you are on vacation and not in a survival situation.

Hats are another important part of clothing and give the body added protection.  It is good to have a wide-brimmed, water resistant hat that will block out the sun’s rays in a warmer climate and a snug warm hat made of fleece or wool for colder temperatures to keep the heat in your head.

Fabric Choices

There are a myriad of fabrics to choose from for all the essential pieces listed.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Cotton and linen are best suited for hot climates.  As you sweat the fabric absorbs the moisture and lays on your skin like a wet washcloth which is exactly what you want in scorching sunny conditions because it acts as an air conditioner for your skin.

Polypropylene is as unnatural as they come, but has incredible whicking capabilities and it lightweight.  The downside is that if a spark from your campfire will cause the fabric to melt.  It also holds the stench of sweat so well that you will never get the odor out.  Not a good base layer to wear if you are trying to repopulate the world; the ladies won’t be impressed.

Wool is a natural fabric that has the ability to absorb water (up to 50% of its weight) and distribute it throughout the fabric without feeling wet. It even has the ability to keep you toasty warm even when wet, making it a natural choice in the winter where weight isn’t a factor. There are differing qualities of wool so be thoughtful in your purchase.  My mom bought a wool sweater for me as a child and I hated it because it was “itchy”.  I found out later that better quality wools do not feel scratchy.  The downside to wool is that it is bulky and takes longer to dry.

Polyester is completely man-made but offers the widest range of clothing choices.  It can absorb a good deal of water, is somewhat water resistant, versatile.

Nylon is a super tough synthetic fabric.  Most of the waterproof fabrics are made from nylon with a special coating.  Try to avoid completely waterproof fabrics though, unless you are a sailor because it lacks breath-ability.  Nylon dries almost instantaneously.

Down is lightweight and very warm, however it is much like cotton and will weigh you down and freeze you to death if it gets wet.  It is very slow to dry.

With proper clothing layers it is possible to beat the elements and stay warm enough or cool enough to survive any situation.  If you are prepping for a family, be sure to have the basic layers for every member of your family.  Study the warning signs of hypothermia and hyperthermia because rarely does the individual suffering have the ability to recognize when they are in trouble.  These lifesaving tips should keep your body from stressing until you can build or find adequate shelter.

Natural First Aid For Kids That Preppers Should Know

Survivopedia-first-aid-for-kids

Do you have an alternative medicine cabinet ready for your kids? Would you be able to fix up their wounds and heal their common sicknesses if you couldn’t make it to the doctor?

If you have kids, this is an essential area for emergency preparedness. The day may come when you can’t just head to the store and pick up another bottle of acetaminophen.

You’ll have to have a plan in place, because kids get hurt frequently. They’re also prone to sickness. To help them feel better, there are plenty of natural remedies to use.

But first, let’s take care of some precautionary information:

A Child’s Dosage

Unlike those bottles at the pharmacy, natural remedies don’t always feature a dosage chart for children. Overdosing on any medication, even a natural one, can be dangerous. Don’t give your child an adult-sized dose.

Instead, you’ll need to calculate the percentage of the adult dose to give to your child. It’s based on age. Here’s a simple way to do the calculations using long division and multiplication:

  1. How old will your child be at his next birthday?
  2. Divide that number by 24.
  3. Round to the first decimal place
  4. Multiply that number by the adult dose.

Here’s an example:

  1. 7
  2. 7/24=.291
  3. .291 rounded to the first decimal place is .3
  4. That means a 7 year old would get 30% of an adult dose. If the adult dose was 5ml (1 tsp) this child would need 1.5ml.

The older your child is, the closer to an adult dose he’ll need. If you’re treating a baby and you’re breastfeeding, you can take the remedy yourself and pass it through your milk.

Storage of Natural Remedies

Light and heat should be kept away from your remedy supply. A dark glass bottle, stored in a cool part of the home is a great storage solution.

You’ll also want to make sure your remedies are inaccessible to children. If you don’t have a high shelf ready, consider using a lock-box. That way curious little hands can’t accidentally overdose.

Honey & Babies

Some of these remedies use honey. Honey isn’t appropriate to give to a child younger than a year old, so avoid these treatments with babies.

essential-oils

Natural First Aid for Children: Wound Care

Since they’re bodies are constantly growing and changing, children tend to be a bit clumsy. They bang into things and fall frequently. Bruises, cuts, and scrapes are common wounds you’ll have to tend.

With open wounds, infection is a primary concern. Keep the wound clean and dry. Bandages or strips of cloth help. Rather than using store-bought antibiotic ointment, try these natural alternatives before you cover the wound.

Witch Hazel

Take time to stock up on witch hazel. It’s typically found by the hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol at the store. Store-bought witch hazel contains isoproply alcohol, helping it to clean wounds completely.

It also forms a protective barrier, which promotes healing. It will sting though, so you might want to warn your little one before you squirt it on.

Sage Honey

Raw honey has antibacterial properties. It’s beneficial all on its own, but when combined with sage and left to age, you’ll have an even stronger antibacterial ointment. This treatment is also simple to prepare, especially if you grow your own sage. It’ll also last in your cupboard for a long time.

To prepare the sage honey:

  • Take a small glass canning jar, and loosely add chopped sage leaves. You want to fill the jar, but not pack the leaves down.
  • Next, pour raw honey over the top. It’ll cover the leaves and fill up the jar completely.
  • Then, put a lid on the jar and leave it to rest. You’ll want it to sit at room temperature for at least 24 hours before you use it. Over time, it’ll become even stronger.

If desired, you can remove the leaves in 4 weeks. It’ll make it a bit easier to rub onto wounds, and a bit more child friendly.

Sage honey is easy to use, and safe for children. You just apply a small amount to the top of the wound.

Lavender Oil Rub

Lavender oil helps reduce pain and prevent infection, making it the perfect go-to flower for small cuts. If you already have essential oil, you’ll want to dilute it with a carrier oil. Olive oil and coconut oil both work well.

A ratio of 10 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil is appropriate. For children, it’s important to ensure essential oils are properly diluted before use. Never apply them full-strength.

To prepare the lavender oil rub:

  • Measure your carrier oil into a dark container.
  • Add your essential oil.
  • Mix thoroughly.

You can either rub a small amount of the lavender oil rub directly onto the wound, or you can soak a cloth in the prepared oil. You can then use the soaked cloth as a compress, wrapping it around the sore.
Plantain

Plantain is common in many parts of the world. It’s also an astringent, which helps slow and stop bleeding. If you’re out in the woods and need an immediate remedy, chew on a few plantain leaves. Then, use those chewed leaves to cover the wound.

It’ll help the bleeding stop while you get back to the rest of your medical supplies. Teach your children to recognize this important plant, and how to chew it. If they’re on their own and injured, it’s a safe first-aid remedy they can use on their own.

Arnica

Arnica helps reduce swelling. It’s a helpful herb for bruises and bumps. If you’re able to stock up on homeopathic arnica pellets, you’ll help get your natural first-aid kit ready. You can also create your own cream to use topically.

This is how to make an arnica cream:

  • After harvesting arnica, you’ll want to dry the plant completely.  Then, it’s time to turn it into an infused oil.
  • You’ll need a carrier oil to use for your base. Coconut oil, olive oil, and almond oil are common base oils.
  • Fill a clean jar loosely with chopped, dried arnica. Then, cover the arnica with carrier oil, and put a lid on the jar.
  • You’ll want this oil to sit in a warm, sunny spot for two weeks. After the time passes, strain out the arnica using cheese cloth. Throw out the used herbs.
  • Your oil isn’t yet ready to turn into cream. It needs another batch of dried arnica added. Just add it directly to the oil in the jar. Leave this covered for another two weeks, and then strain out the herbs for a second time.
  • Once you’ve finished the oil, you can measure it into a sauce pan. For every cup of oil, you’ll want to add ¼ cup of grated beeswax.
  • Heat this mixture over low heat until the beeswax completely melts. Take it off the heat, and transfer it to a small jar for storage.

Rub a small amount on bumps and bruises to promote healing.

bug-spray

Natural Remedies for Coughs & Colds & Earaches

In addition to bumps and bruises, children are prone to colds and upper respiratory infections. Ear infections are also common. There are natural remedies for all of these ailments.

Peppermint Tea

A cup of hot tea helps loosen congestion. The peppermint also contains menthol, which helps decongest the sinuses. If your child is too young for tea, simply smelling the steam from a cup of your tea will provide some relief.

Warm Honey Lemonade

Honey and lemon both help soothe the throat. This is an excellent treatment for a child with a cough.

This is how to prepare the honey lemonade:

  • Place ½ cup of honey and ½ cup of lemon juice in a saucepan, and gently stir as you warm over low heat.
  • Once the honey and lemon have completely combined, add ½ gallon of warm water.
  • Continue stirring until the lemonade is as warm as you’d like it to be. Then, remove from heat.

Encourage your child to drink a mug of the hot lemonade every few hours. Not only will this help with a cough, it’ll also keep your little one hydrated.

Garlic

Garlic is a powerful medicinal herb with many health benefits. If your child is getting a cough or a cold, chop up a clove of garlic finely. Your child can either eat this plain, add it to a glass of water, or you can mix it with butter and spread it on toast. My kids prefer that method, as the butter and bread help cut some of the garlicy taste.

cough

You can also make garlic oil that helps with earaches. Garlic oil doesn’t last long without refrigeration, which means you might not want to mix up large quantities all at once. The good news is it’s simple to prepare, so you can make a fresh batch each day you need it.

Here is how to make garlic oil.

  • Crush a clove of fresh garlic and add it to a saucepan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Slowly heat the oil over low heat for twenty minutes.
  • Strain out the garlic.

Add 2-3 drops of oil to the hurting ear. You can repeat this treatment every few hours to provide maximum pain relief.

However, if your child has a perforated ear drum, this is not an appropriate treatment. If you aren’t sure if the ear drum has ruptured, use a garlic compress instead.

To make a garlic compress, soak a small piece of cloth in your garlic oil. Squeeze out the excess liquid before use. Have your child hold the garlic compress to her ear. This will provide relief, though not as quickly as the garlic oil.

In addition to earaches, you can also use a garlic compress on top of a wound to help prevent infection.

Do you heal your child naturally?

There are many other natural treatments for common ailments. Share your favorite natural remedies for kids with the rest of our readers in the comments below, and click on the banner for more knowledge about surviving where is no doctor around!

 

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/

25 Survival Uses for Coconut Oil

25-survival-uses-for-coconut-oil-wide-1

Coconut oil is one of the most popular multipurpose foods in the world. It goes great in countless recipes, it’s good for your health, good for your body, good for your skin, good for cleaning, and so much more. But what most people don’t know is that coconut oil also has many uses in a survival scenario where supplies are hard to come by.

If you’re prepper, I highly recommend storing at least a few containers of coconut oil. When searching for coconut oil, it’s best to stick with virgin or unrefined oil. It has more nutritional qualities and will last longer. My personal favorite is Carrington Farms Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Now let’s get to the list. Here are 25 survival uses for coconut oil.

1. Apply a thin coating of coconut oil to a cut or wound to speed healing and prevent infection. The layer of coconut oil also acts as a bandage of sorts and will keep the wound fairly clean.

2. In dry heat, warm a bit of coconut oil and gently apply it to the inside of your nose to prevent nose bleeds.

3. Apply a thin coat of oil to your lips to keep them from getting chapped when you’re battling dehydration and working outside in the elements.

4. Rub coconut oil on burns, including sunburns, for soothing and healing. You can even add a little lavender to make it more effective.

5. Rub the coconut oil on any bug bites or bee stings for immediate relief of pain and itching.

6. Prevent athlete’s foot by giving your feet a good rubdown with coconut oil everyday. It will help protect and soothe your skin after a long day of hiking as well as kill any fungus and bacteria on your feet.

7. Use a little coconut oil to help condition leather gloves, shoes or knife sheaths. It can also be used to make leather working a little easier.

8. Protect the wooden handles on your knives, axes and saws by rubbing a little coconut oil on them. The oil will help prevent the wood from cracking and splitting.

9. Remove rust from knife blades and ax heads by applying a coat of coconut oil. Let the oil sit for about an hour and then wipe away.

10. Deep bruises will heal quicker with regular massaging in of coconut oil. The coconut oil helps heal the damaged tissue.

11. A little coconut oil can be used to season cast iron skillets that you’ll be using to cook over open fires.

12. Coconut oil can be applied to aching joints that hurt because of overuse or arthritis. If you have some peppermint, add that in for even more relief.

13. Coconut oil is an excellent carrier oil for essential oils that will be applied to the skin. Homemade salves and balms made from essential oils that have been stockpiled will be the best medicine after a collapse.

14. Coconut oil can be stored long term, which means you can use it as a cooking oil substitute. Unlike vegetable oil that goes rancid in a short time, coconut oil will last for years when stored properly.

15. Post-collapse baking from scratch will be the norm. Using coconut oil in place of butter will be a viable option. It will also be much healthier!

16. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to a cup of warm water each morning for a boost of energy. When coffee and soda are not available, this is going to come in handy.

17. Shaving in a post-collapse world may not be absolutely necessary, but if you want to do so, you can use a little coconut oil instead of shaving cream. It will leave the skin smooth and reduce the risk of irritation and burning from a dry shave.

18. Make candles with coconut oil. Melt the coconut oil until it is liquid. Place a wick in a clean jar and pour the melted coconut oil into the jar, making sure the wick stays up. Allow the oil to cool and harden.

19. Use a coconut oil salve on skin rashes and eczema. It will soothe the itching and redness and promote healing.

20. A tablespoon of coconut oil taken internally for several days can help you get rid of a nasty tapeworm.

21. If you feel a cold coming on or the flu virus is present, take several tablespoons of coconut oil throughout the day in a hot cup of water or tea. The coconut oil helps kill the virus while boosting your immune system.

22. Relieve constipation with a couple tablespoons of coconut oil.

23. If you or someone in your group has diabetes, coconut oil everyday can help regulate the blood sugar. It is also a safe cooking and flavoring substitute in meals for diabetics.

24. Warm coconut oil and apply it to the scalp and hair to kill head lice. With poor sanitation and hygiene, head lice after a disaster will be very common. Add a little tea tree oil to the coconut oil for even more killing power without hurting the scalp.

25. Use a little coconut oil to cure pink eye. Adding a little coconut oil to a cotton ball and rubbing across closed eyes will help clear up the pink eye. Making a warm compress with the coconut oil will help decrease the swelling and speed healing.

 

Linked from: http://urbansurvivalsite.com/25-survival-uses-coconut-oil/

GOT CHARCOAL?

I think every prepper with a bug out bag should have at least 1 bottle of Activated Charcoal capsules, or powder for making tonic drinks.  For those who already have their homestead or Bug Out location, I advise MAKING charcoal and having as much as possible on hand (ground up) ready to use.

In the times ahead, I see lots of people eating lots of things that under “normal” circumstances they would not, or indulging in food a little too old.  You may even have to trade for food you are not 100% certain of quality or origin.  After the first sign of food poisoning or any poisoning/bowel distress, get the charcoal in you as fast as you can! It draws toxins like flies to honey saving you from hours or DAYS of serious distress, maybe even possibly save your life.

Uses for charcoal

Uses and benefits: upset stomach, colic, nausea, vomiting, acid indigestion, gas, and more.  Another great use for your quality homemade charcoal is as BIO CHAR. You would want to smash it into a chunky powder leaving no piece bigger than a golf ball.  Mix your charcoal with your compost and manure and let if sit.  Just as it absorbs poisons, it also provides the perfect home for beneficial bacteria for your garden.  Once the charcoal is infused with all the good stuff, TILL it into your soil with the compost and manure normally. The cool thing about  your little bio-char / bacteria  houses that you’ve mix up, is that they can release the beneficial nutrients for 100 years.  Thus turning poor soil into prime farm land and makes prime farmland even better. Try it!  You’ll thank me.

There are a lot of other uses for your charcoal such as homemade water filters that you can use to purify rainwater or whatever water source you want.  Some of you may also recall that episode of  ‘preppers’ where that guy was using charcoal between two filter masks.  He covered the inner layer with charcoal and then duct taped the two face masks together.  The charcoal will act as the filter in this method.  I have not tried it myself but the idea seems sound to me.

I also just learned that high-end speakers use activated charcoal to filter sound.  I know it does something as far as frequency in the soil, beneficially, but I just learned of this myself and don’t know enough to speak on it.  I’m including it here in hopes that someone out there smarter than me might comment as to what it’s all about or for those that want to research this on your own.

4 WILD TEAS EVERY SURVIVALIST SHOULD KNOW

Besides the medicinal and nutritional aspects of many teas, a warm beverage in a dire situation can be the perfect pick me up to boost your mood when times get rough. While it can be pretty difficult to find earl grey leaves to make yourself a nice cup of tea in a survival scenario, the ingredients for these four teas can be found relatively frequently in the wilderness.

Great for relieving headaches, boosting your immune system, and relaxing dry coughs, these really are four wild teas every survivalist should know about.

The value of a warm beverage in a survival scenario is nothing to laugh at. What could be dismissed as a luxury is actually a valuable asset. The drink provides you with vital hydration in any climate or situation. In cold weather, the warm drink can bolster you against hypothermia. And if there is a medicinal or nutritional element to the tea, that’s even better. Any survivalist worth his or her salt should be able to identify and brew up these prospective panaceas. Get ready for tea time.

Pine Needle Tea (Pinus spp.)
This tea is a Vitamin C powerhouse. Positively identify pine, chop up a tablespoon of needles, and soak them in scalding hot water for 10 minutes to get 4-5 times your daily requirement of C. Just make sure you skip the loblolly and ponderosa pines, as their needles may be a little toxic, according to recent research. And don’t consume pine needle tea if you are pregnant, as it may cause premature birth.

Mint Tea (Mentha spp.)
There are few better remedies for digestive troubles than a cool glass of mint tea. It can certainly be drunk while hot, but a cool beverage seems to be as soothing as a slug of pink Pepto. It’s good for indigestion, colic, and hangover. Mint is also used in aromatherapy to allegedly improve your concentration and diminish depression. There’s just one problem with this elixir. Pregnant or nursing women aren’t supposed to consume strong, fresh mint food or drink; and anyone with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may find their condition temporarily worsened as the valve at the top of the stomach can be relaxed by menthol (the oily compound in mint).

Black Willow Tea (Salix nigra)
Bark from several species in the willow family, including the black willow, has been used since 400 B.C. to treat inflammation and pain. Black willow bark contains salicin, a predecessor to aspirin. It was once common for people to chew directly on the shaved bark for pain and fever relief, but a better effect is gained through the tea. Steep a tablespoon of twig bark shavings in a cup of water for 15 minutes, and drink until your headache is gone. Not all willows can be used in the same ways, so consult a local plant expert to find out what your local willows can provide.

Slippery Elm Tea (Ulmus rubra)
The bark shavings of twigs from slippery elm can be steeped just like the black willow, but instead of curing a headache, this tea cures a cough. The natural mucilage in the slimy bark will coat and relax your dry cough, and it is much safer than other natural cough remedies (like colt’s foot, which can be toxic to the liver).

If you’re not sure about all this plant eating and foraging, don’t let a few bad plants scare you away from gathering wild foods. Take a respectable field guide with you, and use it.  My top recommendation is “Peterson’s Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants.” Although it is advertised as an eastern plant book, it works well on the west coast, too. In fact, many of the plants in this book are non-native to America, and are scattered around the globe.

Do you have a favorite wild tea? Tell us about it in the comments. Good luck and safe foraging.

Survival Skills | Guide to Venomous Spiders

Bugging out in natural disasters or SHTF situations means you have to try to survive out in the wilderness. You may find safety in a bug out cabin or decide to simply set up a camp. However, being out there exposes you to a different set of problems, such as potentially deadly spiders and other critters.

Survival Skills | Guide to Venomous Spiders

With shelter, food, clothing and water secured, you also have to be ready for the creatures in the forests, mountains and woods. Spiders might not seem to pose any threat but in reality, there are species of the eight legged arachnid that are dangerous.

The sight of spiders is good enough to scare most people but a survivalist has to be rational enough to try and determine what kind of arachnid he is faced with. Hence it is important to know how to identify a venomous spider in order to protect one’s life.

Here is a guide to the most dangerous spiders to help you out. We also added a chart to make identifying them easier. It’s important to know that some venomous spiders can also come into your home and hide there, so just don’t assume you’re safe just because you’re in familiar territory.

Fringed Ornamental Tarantula (Poecilotheria)

Tarantulas – the archetypal big hairy spiders that have been the terror of arachnophobes since time began. The name comes from a Spanish dance, which apparently is how people jumped around when bitten by one of these critters. Unlike the smaller spiders on this list tarantulas are mygalomorphs, which means their twin fangs point downwards and have to be stabbed into the prey, rather than the pincer like action of most smaller species.
But everybody knows that despite their terrifying demeanor, tarantula bites aren’t so bad, right? Well it may be true that most tarantula bites are no worse than a bee sting, however the Poecilotheria genus of spiders are renown for having a particularly nasty bite, none more so than Poecilotheria ornata – the fringed ornamental tarantula. The bite from one of these is reported to have caused excruciating pain, and extreme muscle cramping in some cases. One bite victim ended up in the emergency room after experiencing severe spasm and chest pains.
So whilst there have been no confirmed fatalities from this tarantula it certainly carries a potent venom and injects it by the bucket load.

Red Widow (Latrodectus bishopi)

This is a rather uncommon spider, it is a member of the black widow family and is highly venomous. According to all literature, this spider is indigenous to south and central Florida. Survive Outdoors strongly speculates that this spider is increasing its range. We have also found in the last 10 years an increase in bites from venomous spiders and venomous snakes that are not indigenous to the area. This is due to the buying and selling of venomous species over the Internet. As well as importing from other countries. This is a dangerous practice and hopefully soon stopped.
The venom of all lactrodectus species ranges from 10-25% more potent than a rattle snake. However, the amount of venom that it delivers is much less. Its venom is a neurotoxin which causes sustained muscle spasm rather than local tissue injury. Usually outcomes are very good, however there are reported deaths in the very young and very old with this bite.

Hobo Spider (Tegenaria agrestis)

No, this little guy doesn’t ride the trains, eat cans of beans or ask people for spare change. In fact, there is a lot which remains unknown about this particular species of spider and debates over its threat to humans are ongoing. That said, some studies have suggested that most of the bites attributed to Brown Recluses in the United States are actually from Hobo Spiders. This is because it is believed the bite of this particular spider can cause necrosis (breaking down of skin and tissue) although on a lesser scale than that of the Brown Recluse. Other reported symptoms include headaches, tiredness and vision problems.

Mouse Spider (Missulena bradleyi)

Even though the Black Widow may have a better known name, the Mouse Spider is actually quite venomous. Also, these spiders are in nearly every country and environment imaginable. The female is black and the male is dark brown or black with a red head area. The venom of the Mouse Spider is similar to the venom in a Funnel-Web spider. This spider is highly aggressive and will attack when it feels threatened.

Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti)

Location: All across Australia. It has spread via exports from Australia to New Zealand. It’s also been spotted across Southeast Asia and Japan.
Body size: Females 0.4 inches (1 centimeter), males 0.1 inches (3 to 4 millimeters)
About 250 people receive antivenom for redback bites each year. About 80 percent of bites have little to no effect, and most of the other 20 percent are painful for about a day but are not serious. The rare serious cases can include symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, headache, vomiting, and insomnia.
No fatalities have been recorded since an antivenom was introduced in the 1950s.
Redbacks don’t stray far from their webs, and most bites have occurred when people came into direct contact with the webs.

Brown Widow Spider (Latrodectus geometricus)

The Brown Widow spider, like its cousins the Black Widow, Red Back Spider, and Katipo are spiders that carry a neurotoxic venom which can cause a set of symptoms known as Latrodectism. Like many spiders, widows have very poor vision, and they move with difficulty when not on their web. The Brown Widow spiders have relatively spindly legs and deep, globular abdomens. The abdomen has one or several red spots, either above or below. The spots may take the form of an hourglass, or several dots in a row. The male widows, like most spider species, are much smaller than the females and may have a variety of streaks and spots on a browner, less globular abdomen. The males are generally less dangerous than the females, but will bite if the web is disturbed and the spider feels threatened.

Yellow Sac Spider (Cheiracanthium inclusum)

Length: 0.25 to 0.5 inches
Locations: throughout North America
The Yellow Sac Spider enjoys living inside homes and outdoors under logs or thick leaves. They are called “sac” spiders because they do not weave webs. Their young are created in silken tubes or sacs in the corners of walls and ceilings. The Yellow Sac Spider’s venom can leave human victims with lesions and dead skin tissues. Their prey includes other spiders — no matter their size— insects, and insects. They also sometimes eat their own eggs

Brown Recluse Spider (Loxosceles reclusa)

This highly venomous spider is thought to be the most dangerous Recluse Spider. It is found in the USA, from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast, and mainly in the south, in an area with radius of 2000 km measured from the center of Arkansas: south-eastern Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, northern Georgia, southern portions of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa.
This species measures 6 to 18 mm (1/4 to 3/4 inch) in body length. A dark violin shape is located on the top of the leg attachment region with the neck of the violin pointing backward toward the abdomen. When most spiders have 8 eyes, Recluse Spiders has only 6 arranged in pairs – one pair in front and a pair on either side.
The Brown Recluse Spider’s venom can cause significant cutaneous injury with tissue loss and necrosis, and can be deadly to humans. However, though it is very dangerous to people, it is not an aggressive species and it only bites when threatened.

Black Widow (Latrodectus mactans)

Latrodectus mactans, or Southern black widow or simply black widow, is a highly venomous species of spider. They are well known for the distinctive black and red coloring of the female of the species and for the fact that she will occasionally eat her mate after reproduction (hence the name – Black widow). The species is native to North America. The venom might be fatal to humans.
Although these spiders are not especially large, their venom is extremely potent. They are capable to inject the venom to a point where it can be harmful. The males, being much smaller, inject far less venom. The actual amount injected, even by a mature female, is very small in physical volume.

Wolf spider (family Lycosidae)

Wolf spiders belong to the family Lycosidae, a large and widespread group that is found throughout the world. They are named for their wolflike habit of chasing and pouncing upon prey. About 125 species occur in North America, whereas there are about 50 in Europe. Numerous species occur north of the Arctic Circle. Most are small to medium-sized. The largest has a body about 2.5 cm (1 inch) long and legs about the same length. Most wolf spiders are dark brown, and their hairy bodies are long and broad, with stout, long legs. They are noted for their running speed and commonly occur in grass or under stones, logs, or leaf litter, though they may invade human dwellings that harbor insects. Most species build silk-lined, tubular nests in the ground. Some conceal the entrance with rubbish, whereas others build a turretlike structure above it. A few species spin webs. Wolf spider eggs are contained in a gray silk sac attached to the female’s spinnerets, or silk-producing organs, so that she appears to be dragging a large ball. After hatching, the young spiders ride on the mother’s back for several days

Six-eyed Sand Spider (Sicarius hahni)

This is a spider that is highly dangerous, but lives in such a remote region that few recorded cases of death are known. Sadly, the people it kills are rarely in a position to call home and tell #people. It lives in the driest regions of Africa and South Asia. Just a tiny amount of venom will clot your blood which increases your blood pressure to the point where you sweat blood (it comes out of nastier areas too) before dying from cardiovascular failure

Sydney Funnel Web Spider (Atrax robustus)

The deadly Australian funnel web spiders owe their name to the conical webs these creatures use as burrows or prey traps. In fact, there are three different families of funnel web spiders, only some of which are dangerous to humans. The Hexathelidae family — the dangerous variety — includes about 40 species in Australia, such as the notorious Sydney funnel spider and its tree-dwelling cousins.
These spiders are usually black or brown; sport a shiny, hard, slightly hairy covering called a carapace on the front of their bodies; and range between 0.4 and 2 inches (1 to 5 cm) in body length. Nocturnal creatures, they prefer humid climates. Most live on the ground, but some dwell in trees. The bite can be life-threatening, especially in children, but is usually nonfatal if antivenom is administered

Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria)

When a spider’s scientific name is derived from the Greek for murderess (Phoneutria) you can guess it’s going to be trouble and this is certainly the case for the wandering spiders. According to Guinness World Records the Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria fera) is officially the world’s most venomous spider. It is capable of injecting a powerful neurotoxin which is nearly 20 times more deadly that that of the Black Widow spider if it gets into the blood stream. That is as potent as the venom of many deadly snake species and the effects are similar. The symptoms of envenomation include a loss of muscle control leading to breathing problems which can result in complete respiratory paralysis and eventually asphyxiation.
But there are two other major side effects to the wandering spider’s bite; firstly there is intense pain and secondly, if you happen to be male there is the four hour hard on. Yes, you did read that correctly – the bite of the Brazilian wandering spider can cause an erection that lasts for several hours, unfortunately it is also painful.

Venomous and Harmless Spider Chart

The Swiss Army Tampon: A Life-Saving Wilderness Survival Tool

Do me a favor for the next five minutes. Try to forget everything you know about tampons. I know, it’s hard. But pretend that this is the first time you have ever seen or heard of the item below, and it is a new survival product on the market: the Tactical Adventure Medical Preparedness Outdoors Necessity (T.A.M.P.O.N.).

All kidding aside, a tampon really does have a ton of uses to a survivor. One could even argue for including a couple in your survival kit. Ultimately, I’ll let you be the judge.

Before I get into the details of this post, a brief history of the tampon might surprise you.

The tampon is actually regulated in the US by the Food & Drug Administration as a Class II Medical Device. The word “tampon” is a derivative of the French word tapon which means “a little plug or stopper.” My research indicates that tampons were used as early as the 19th century as battle dressings to plug bullet holes. There are even accounts of tampons being used as wound plugs in modern warfare. A friend of mine told me that it’s not uncommon for Army Medics to carry tampons in their med kits. They are also the perfect product for a bloody nose. There seem to be mixed accounts of whether the tampon was used as a feminine product before or after its use on the battlefield.

Regardless of intended use, the common tampon has many practical survival uses. I’ve highlighted a few survival uses below.

TAMPON Survival Use #1: Medical Bandage

Tampons are sterile, come very well-packaged in their own waterproof sleeves, and are designed to be ultra-absorbent — making them the perfect first aid bandage. They can be opened and then taped or tied over a wound as an improvised dressing. And, as I’ve already mentioned, they can be used to plug a bullet hole until more sophisticated medical attention can be administered. Accounts of this use date back to World War I. Many items in modern society were first developed as a facet of military research – tampons may very well be one of these products.

TAMPON Survival Use #2: Crude Water Filter

Another excellent tampon survival use is as a crude water filter. While it will not filter out biological, chemical, or heavy metal threats, it can certainly be used to filter out sediments and floating particulates. This would be considered a 1st Phase Filter, which can drastically increase the life and efficacy of your main water filter. You can also use a filter like this before boiling to filter out larger particulates. In this example, I’ve pushed a tampon into the neck of an empty water bottle. I poked a small hole in the cap and then poured in dirty water to filter through the tampon and into the container below.

The water dripped out nearly crystal clear.

TAMPON Survival Use #3: Fire Tinder

Nearly everyone knows that cotton makes excellent fire tinder. When the dry cotton fibers of a tampon are pulled apart and hit with a spark or flame, they will burst into a nice steady fire. If you’ve done the right amount of fire prep work, you can easily split 1 tampon into 3 or 4 fire-starting tinder bundles. Add in some chapstick or petroleum jelly, and you’ve got an even better fire-starting tinder.

TAMPON Survival Use #4: Crude Survival Straw Filter

Yes, I have a tampon in my mouth — don’t laugh! As a last ditch water filter, you can make an improvised Survival Straw from the plastic housing and cotton from a tampon. As you can see in the photos below, just tear off a bit of the cotton and stuff it into the plastic housing. I find it better to leave a little bit sticking out to make the housing pieces wedge tightly together.

Again, this filter will not PURIFY your water by removing biological, chemical, or heavy metal threats, but it will filter out sediments and particulates. This would be a last ditch effort if no methods of water purification were available.

TAMPON Survival Use #5: Wick for Improvised Candle

In the photo above I used the string on a tampon as a wick in an improvised candle which I made from rendered animal fat and a fresh water mussel shell I found down by the creek at Willow Haven. After the string soaked up some of the fat, this candle burned solid for 20 minutes while I took the photos and still had plenty of wick left. Pine sap would have also worked as a fuel.

TAMPON Survival Use #6: Cordage

The string attached to a tampon is a cotton twisted cord typically made up of several 4-6″ pieces of twine. Though it’s not much, it is usable cordage. This amount of cordage could easily be used to make a Paiute Deadfall Trap.

I’m sure there are also numerous other uses for small amounts of quality cordage. For example, I also use this cordage in the next Survival Use below…

TAMPON Survival Use #7: Blow Dart Fletching

The blow gun certainly has its place in survival history. From Native Americans to tribes in New Guinea, the Blow Gun and primitive darts have put food on the table for thousands of years. They are silent and deadly hunting tools, especially for small game. Oftentimes, especially here in the US, natural cotton was used as blow dart fletching. Thus, the cotton from a tampon is a perfect candidate to make cotton-fletched blow darts. I used the string on the tampon to lash it into place on this bamboo skewer.

TAMPON Survival Use #8: Blow Tube for Coal Burning Containers

Yes, I have a tampon in my mouth – again. This time, though, I’m blowing instead of sucking. Wow…this section is off to a really weird start. In a survival scenario, a simple container can make the difference between life and death. A water-tight container can be used to carry water, boil water, and cook meals. Natural water-tight containers aren’t easy to make or find. A very practical and useful improvised container can be made by using hot coals to burn out a cavity in a log or stump. A blow-tube (in this case the plastic tampon applicator) can be used to intensify the hot coals to burn the cavity.

Using the tampon applicator blow-tube, it took me about 30 minutes to coal burn a cavity large enough to hold 2 cups of water. If necessary, I could then boil and purify this water by adding in several red hot stones that had been heated in a fire.

TAMPON Survival Use #9: Waterproof Match & Fire Tinder Case

In wet and damp conditions, keeping fire-starting tools such as matches and tinder dry can be a challenge. The waterproof tampon package/sleeve makes an excellent improvised “dry-sack” for any items that are moisture sensitive. Just fold over the top 2-3 times and tie it off with the tampon string and you’ve got a great waterproof match case.

TAMPON Survival Use #10: Survival Fishing Bobber

Fishing with hook and bobber is an incredibly effective method – especially when using live bait such as grubs and worms. A thorn hook, some natural braided line, and a tampon bobber make the perfect combination for a survival fishing rig. Watch out Blue-Gill!

Make the bobber with the tampon package/sleeve by folding over and tying off the top to create a little bubble that will float your bait. If the package isn’t water-tight, just put some of the cotton inside and it will float just fine. Then, simply tie it to your fishing line.

Conclusion

I am a huge fan of multi-functional products that can serve double or even triple survival duty. For the size, weight, and cost, a tampon has an impressive list of survival functions. If nothing else, this post is another lesson in the importance of looking at everyday products through the eyes of a survivalist.Creativity and innovation are critical.

So what did you decide? Are you manly enough to include a tampon or two in your survival kit?

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN.

How to Make Aspirin If You are Lost in the Woods

Here’s a step-by-step video showing you just how you can make the equivalent of aspirin in the middle of the woods.

All you’ll need is to be able to locate a willow tree and you’ll be all set to having your own aspirin equivalent in no time. Natural remedies to the rescue.

How to Disinfect and Sterilize Medical Instruments in a Survival Situation

Remaining whole and healthy in a survival situation is something we all strive for.  But what happens if an accident, or worse, an attack, results in wounds that need tending?  This is a question that every prepper asks themselves.

It is fairly easy to accumulate supplies for first aid and wound control but what about the tools you will use to tend to thehurt or wounded member of your group?  Given an austere setting where traditional medical facilities are not available, how do you ensure that your instruments are clean, sterile, and fit for use?

These are important questions and to provide you with answers, Dr. Joe Alton is back with some advice not only relative to six ways you can sterilize your medical supplies, but also a general discussion of clean versus sterile and the difference between disinfectants, antiseptics, and antibiotics.

Sterilizing Instruments In Austere Settings

A significant factor in the quality of medical care given in a survival situation is the level of cleanliness of the equipment used. You may have heard of the terms “sterile” and “clean”. Certainly, ideal conditions warrant both, but they are actually two different things.

Do you know the difference?

Sterile Vs. Clean

When it comes to medical protection, “sterility” means the complete absence of microbes. Sterilization destroys all microbes on a medical item to prevent disease transmission associated with its use.

To achieve this, we want to practice “sterile technique”, which involves special procedures using special solutions and the use of sterile instruments, towels, and dressings. Sterile technique is especially important when dealing with wounds in which the skin has been broken and soft tissue exposed.

Of course, it may be very difficult to achieve a sterile environment if you are in the field or in an extremely austere setting. In this case, we may only be able to keep things “clean”. Clean techniques concentrate on prevention of infection by reducing the number of microorganisms that could be transferred from one person to another by medical instruments or other supplies. Meticulous hand washing with soap and hot water is the cornerstone of a clean field.

If you are going to be medically responsible for the health of your people in a survival setting, you will have to strike a balance between what is optimal (sterility) and what is, sometimes, achievable (clean).

The “Sterile” Field

When you’re dealing with a wound or a surgical procedure, you must closely guard the work area (the “sterile field”) to prevent contact with anything that could allow micro-organisms to invade it. This area is lined with sterile “drapes” arranged to allow a small window where the medical treatment will occur.

Although there are commercially-prepared drapes with openings already in them (“fenestrated drapes”), using a number of towels will achieve the same purpose, as long as they are sterile.

The first step is to thoroughly wash any item you plan to reuse before you sterilize it. Using a soft plastic brush removes blood, tissue particles, and other contaminants that can make sterilization more difficult. Consider using gloves, aprons, and eye protection to guard against “splatter”.

6 Ways to Disinfect and Sterilize Instruments

Now, the question of how to sterilize your medical supplies: There are a number of ways that you can accomplish this goal. I list them below in approximate order of effectiveness.

1. Simply placing them in gently boiling water for 30 minutes would be a reasonable strategy, but may not eliminate some bacterial “spores” and could cause issues with rusting over time, especially on sharp instruments like scissors or knives.

Note: always sterilize scissors and clamps in the “open” position.

2. Soaking in bleach (Sodium or Calcium Hypochlorite). 15-30 minutes in a 0.1% solution of bleach will disinfect instruments but no longer or rusting will occur. Instruments must be rinsed in sterilized water afterward.

3. Soaking in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 30 minutes is another option. Some will even put instruments in a metal tray with alcohol and ignite them. The flame and alcohol, or even just fire itself (if evenly distributed) will do the job, but eventually causes damage to the instruments.

4. Chemical solutions exist that are specifically made for the purpose of high-level disinfection (not necessarily sterility) in the absence of heat, something very important if you have items that are made of plastic.  A popular brand is Cidex OPA, a trade name for a solution with phthalaldehyde or glutaraldehyde as the active ingredient.

Insert the instruments in a tray with the solution for 20 minutes for basic disinfection. Soaking overnight (10-12 hours) gives an acceptable level of “sterility” for survival purposes. There are test strips which identify when the solution is contaminated. If negative, you can reuse it for up to 14 days. As an alternative, some have recommended using 6-7.5% hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes (household hydrogen peroxide is only 3%, however).

5. Ovens are an option if you have power. For a typical oven, metal instruments are wrapped in aluminum foil or placed in metal trays before putting them in the oven. The oven is then heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or, alternatively, 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours.

6. Although ovens and microwaves have been used to sterilize instruments, probably the best way to guarantee sterility in an austere setting is a pressure cooker. Hospitals use a type of pressure cooker called an autoclave that uses steam to clean instruments, surgical towels, bandages, and other items. All modern medical facilities clean their equipment with this device (I hope).

Having a pressure cooker as part of your supplies will allow you to approach the level of sterility required for minor surgical procedures. As you can imagine, this isn’t easy to lug from place to place, so it’s best for those who plan to stay in place in a disaster scenario.

In most survival settings, “clean” may be as good as it gets, but is that so bad? Modern medical facilities have the ability to provide sterility, so there is very little research that compares clean vs. sterile technique.

In one study, an experiment was conducted in which one group of patients had traumatic wounds that were cleaned with sterile saline solution, another group with tap water. Amazingly, the infection rate was 5.4% in the tap water group as opposed to 10.3% in the sterile saline group. Another study revealed no difference in infection rates in wounds treated in a sterile fashion as opposed to clean technique.

Therefore, clean, drinkable water is acceptable for general wound care in survival scenarios. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use antiseptic solutions if you have them, especially for the first cleaning.

Disinfectants, Antiseptics, Antibiotics

So what’s the difference between a disinfectant, an antiseptic, a decontaminant, and an antibiotic?

To maintain a clean area, certain chemicals are used called “disinfectants”. Disinfectants are substances that are applied to non-living objects to destroy microbes. This would include surfaces where you would treat patients or prepare food. An example of a disinfectant would be bleach.

Disinfection removes bacteria, viruses, and other bugs and is sometimes considered the same as “decontamination”. Decontamination, however, may also include the removal of noxious toxins and could pertain to the elimination of chemicals or radiation. The removal of non-living toxins like radiation from a surface would, therefore, be decontamination but not necessarily disinfection.

While disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses on the surface of non-living tissue, “antiseptics” kill microbes on living tissue surfaces. Examples of antiseptics include Betadine, Chlorhexidine (Hibiclens), Iodine, and Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK).

Antibiotics are able to destroy certain microorganisms that live inside the human body. These include drugs such as Amoxicillin, Doxycycline, Metronidazole, and many others.

Having disinfectants, antiseptics, antibiotics, and clean instruments will give the medic a head start on keeping it together, even if everything else falls apart.

The Final Word

Up until now, I have held off on adding anything but the most basic of medical instruments to my emergency kit.  That has been foolhardy.  Just last week, I spoke with someone whose son had a huge splinter embedded under his fingernail.  In spite of his extreme pain, the 24 hour emergency clinic sent him away telling him to “see a doctor in the morning”.

If something like this happens in a survival situation, having a set of medical instruments along with a means to ensure they are sterilized will be important.  Even without being in a survival situation, they are useful and can be put to good use..

The 9 Best Survival Antibiotics

Survival antibiotics are often overlooked by preppers. One reason is because preppers don’t know which ones to buy or even where to get them. Another reason is because they haven’t needed them before so they forget they might need them in the future. That was the reason I hadn’t stocked up on antibiotics until a long, painful week set me straight.

Last year, on an ordinary evening shortly after dinner, my stomach started bothering me. It wasn’t nausea or a normal stomach cramp. It was a strange type of gnawing pain I’d never felt before. I tried antacids and Pepto Bismol, but nothing worked. I finally took some Tylenol and went to bed.

The next day the pain was still there, but now it had moved over to my lower right abdomen. And as the day continued, it got worse. And worse. Pretty soon it was so bad that I decided to go online and do some research. I thought it might be something like a torn muscle or my appendix, but nothing I found really fit my symptoms. That evening, the pain was so bad I could barely move. I had to walk hunched over and take tiny steps. Any type of sudden movement caused excruciating pain. It was so severe that my wife had to help me take my shirt off before bed. The following morning she took me to urgent care.

It was a long day. The doctor asked a lot of questions and felt my abdomen, but he wasn’t sure what it could be so he ordered blood work and a CAT scan. He thought it might be my gall bladder, in which case I would need emergency surgery. But again, he wasn’t sure if that was the problem because my symptoms just didn’t quite fit. Of course, my wife and I were both afraid it could be something life-threatening.

Eventually a radiologist looked at the scans and identified the problem: I had some type of infectious colitis in my ascending colon (similar to diverticulitis). Basically, my colon was severely inflamed by a bacterial infection. They couldn’t say exactly how it happened, but it’s possible I got it after eating some undercooked meat. That’s rare, but it can happen.

This infection could have killed me if not for the medication he prescribed. And what was this wonderful medicine that saved my life? You guessed it. Antibiotics. Specifically, Ciprofloxacin and Metronidazole. After 10 days of taking those, I was good as new! But I wondered, What if I hadn’t had access to a doctor or antibiotics when this happened? I probably would have died. See how important it is to stock up on antibiotics for survival?

Before we move on, a few disclaimers: First, I am not a doctor and I am not giving you medical advice. I’m just repeating some information I learned. I recommend you ask your doctor if he will write you some prescriptions for antibiotics so you can stock up, just in case. There are other ways you can acquire antibiotics. For example, you could buy the ones that are meant for control of common bacterial infections in fish and/or birds. I’m not saying you should consume them, I’m just pointing out how interesting it is that they’re the exact same as the ones prescribed by doctors.

And please, don’t take antibiotics every time you have pain or a fever. Antibiotics are not good for you and should only be taken in an emergency. You should have a good medical book on hand to help you diagnose the problem. And then, only when you are very certain that antibiotics will help, should you take them. I also want to remind you that if you take antibiotics and develop a rash or any other reaction, you should stop taking them immediately. If there is no reaction and your condition improves, continue taking the antibiotic for two weeks, even if you feel better after a few days. Though you might feel better, you want to make sure the infection is completely eliminated.

There are a lot of antibiotics, but I’ve narrowed it down to what I think are the 9 best. These should cover almost 99% of infections. You don’t need to get every single one on this list (for example, Cephalexin, Amoxicillin, and Erythromycin are all very similar, but you might have trouble finding a couple of them).

Here then, are the 9 Best Survival Antibiotics. I’ll begin the list with the two that helped me.

  1. Ciprofloxacin – Best for things like urinary tract infections, prostate infections, respiratory tract infections (such as bronchitis or pneumonia), bacterial diarrhea, anthrax, and diverticulitis or infectious colitis (when combined with Metronidazole). It should never be used by children, pregnant women or nursing mothers. (Do a web search for “Fish Flox”)
  2. Metronidazole – Usually used for getting rid of anaerobic bacteria which is found in the intestine. Like I said, it can treat diverticulitis or colitis if you take it with Ciprofloxacin. But it can also treat bacterial vaginosis, diabetic foot ulcer, joint or bone infections, lung or brain abscesses, meningitis, and a few other infections. This also shouldn’t be taken by children, pregnant women or nursing mothers. (This one is also sold as “Fish Zole”)
  3. Cephalexin – Great for almost any type of respiratory infection (bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat, etc.) and middle ear infections. It is safe for pregnant women and children and only has a few side effects. (Do a web search for “Fish Flex”)
  4. Amoxicillin – This will handle most of the same types of bactiera as Cephalexin. It’s also safe for pregnant women and children and has very few side effects. However, some people are very allergic to it. In that case, you should try the next one on the list. (This is also sold as Fish Mox”)
  5. Erythromycin – Like the previous two, this one can also treat most respiratory infections and middle ear infections. It’s also good for Syphilis, Lyme Disease and Chlamydia. And it’s safe for women and children. So why not just forget the other two and store this instead? Because it has several potential side effects including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  6. Doxycycline – Treats the same types of infections as Erythromycin. However, Erythromycin can be hard to find whereas this one is often sold as “Bird Biotic.” This is not labeled for human consumption. I’m just pointing it out. This one can also treat sinus infections, Typhus and Malaria. However, it should not be used by children, pregnant women or nursing mothers and there are some side effects including kidney impairment and sensitive skin. (Dixycycline is actually just a newer type of Tetracycline, also sold as “Fish Cycline”)
  7. SMZ-TMP – That is short for Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim. Together, these can treat most respiratory infections, but they’re mainly used for urinary tract infections. But the best thing about SMZ-TMP is it can treat MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), also known as resistant staph. This is a strain of bacteria that spreads easily and is resistant to most antibiotics. (Do a web search for “Bird Sulfa”)
  8. Azitrhomycin – This one is similar to numbers 3 through 6 because it treats respiratory infections and all sorts of things like Chlamydia, Lyme Disease, PID, Syphilis, Typhoid, etc. Side effects include abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea but that is rare. It’s a great antibiotic to have because it treats so many different things. The problem is that it’s hard to find and can be a bit expensive.
  9. Ampicillin – Similar to penicillin, but more effective against things like anthrax and less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Also useful for respiratory tract infections, bacterial meningitis, urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal infections and many other things. (Do a web search for “Fish Cillin”)

If you don’t want to get every one of these, you should at least get the first three on the list. Those three will cover 9 out of 10 infections you might get. As far as storage, just keep them in the refrigerator. You don’t have to, but it will extend their shelf life. Don’t freeze them, though! That can permanently alter their chemical composition and they might not work anymore. They should continue to be effective for years after the expiration date, with one exception: Tetracyclines (which includes doxycycline). These can become toxic if they get too old.

Don’t be caught with a life-threatening infection when it’s too dangerous to go out or after the stores have run out of antibiotics. They don’t cost much and they could save you or a loved one’s life.

Simple Emergency First-Aid: How to Treat a Stab Wound

Although many survival manuals and emergency first-aid guides detail the effects of a gunshot on the human body, stabbing wounds from knives and other sharp objects are often overlooked. However, during an emergency situation it is likely that knives and other implements will be common weapons for many as personal supplies of ammunition become limited. As such, it is important to know how to give first-aid to those in your party who may be stabbed while bugging-out or defending your retreat.

What kind of damage does a stabbing cause?

Before you go into the actual techniques of treating the wound, you should understand the of damage a stabbing wound can cause.

  • Any stabbing causes lots of bleeding, but a sharp blade causes more. When dealing with stabbing wounds, expect a fair amount of blood. Dull blades cause veins and arteries to spasm, opening and closing, while sharp blades just leave the blood vessels open which causes extra bleeding.
  • Stabbing is likely to cause infection. Knives and other stabbing weapons are rarely kept sterile, and the blade puts dirty metal in direct contact with the bloodstream. Larger stab wounds also open the skin, exposing open blood vessels to infection from the air.
  • Stabbing is unlikely to kill instantly, and can even go unnoticed if the subject goes into shock. Even being stabbed in the heart or the throat is unlikely to kill someone immediately. The infamous case of the Austrian Empress Elizabeth demonstrated this clearly when she was stabbed in the heart by an assassin, only to survive a carriage ride and a 100 yard walk to a riverboat before collapsing. She never knew that she had been stabbed at all, and even her nearby courtier merely thought she had taken ill as shock caused her skin to pale. The wound itself was not found until much later, when a small bloody hole was discovered when medical staff pulled the Empress’s clothes aside to determine what was wrong with her.
  • Wounds to the chest and abdomen can be extremely deadly from even a small wound if they go deep. Knives can puncture lungs, slice organs, and cause internal bleeding and swelling that harms organ function. Stab wounds near the intestines can pierce them, and can also cause them to be pushed out of the gut through the hole.
  • Deaths from stabbing are primarily caused by blood loss, infection, shock, and organ failure.

When to offer first-aid

Before you go rushing in to help someone, even a friend or family member, you have to ensure that there isn’t something else you need to deal with first. In a defensive situation you will have to pry your attention away from a person screaming in pain to make sure that no other human threats are present. Only go to help someone once you’re sure that the area is safe and that you can reach the person without becoming injured yourself!

How to treat the wound

Stabbing wounds can be extremely tricky depending on where and how the person is stabbed. If the stab is shallow, a simple cleaning of the wound and a sterile bandage might be all they need. However, a wound that punctures a lung or slices through the liver is immediately life threatening, and is beyond the scope of general first-aid. Therefore, these instructions can help completely treat a minor stab wound, but are limited to merely keeping a seriously stabbed person alive awhile longer until trained medical help arrives, if it is available.

  1. Inspect the patient, and determine the extent of their injuries. Unless the person was caught unawares, they may have multiple stabs and slashes on their body, or clothing may obscure any wounds at all. Part clothing, and look for all wounds before starting your treatment unless there is an obviously serious wound that need immediate treatment (massive amounts of blood, particularly if it is spurting out like a geyser should be treated as quickly as possible!)
  2. Apply a facemask and sterile gloves if possible. At the very least, disinfect your hands. Before the modern world of antibiotics and advanced medicine, battlefields killed men by the thousands through infection. Your hands need to be clean and your mouth should be kept away from the wound to reduce the chances of infection in a world without easy access to antibiotic medicines.
  3. If the person is conscious, begin working but also talk with them. They probably won’t feel much pain to help you know where wounds are, but talking helps keep the person calm and slows heartrate. If any wounds are particularly nasty (say, a knife sticking out of their leg) keep their eyes averted so they don’t focus on it.
  4. If present, leave the weapon in the body. This reduces bleeding and keeps you from accidentally cutting any more vessels when it is removed. Don’t jostle it when helping, and if you move the patient have someone to steady it and keep it from moving. Weapons left in the body should only be removed by knowledgeable medical staff that can immediately perform needed surgery to correct potential damage.
  5. Choose the wound that is bleeding the most and stanch the flow. Any wound where blood is spurting out has priority unless there is serious flow elsewhere, since spurting blood comes from an artery that your body desperately needs. A tourniquet may be needed if there are multiple serious wounds, but it is always better to apply direct pressure instead since that actually stops bleeding rather than cutting off blood flow. Keep a barrier between yourself and the patient’s blood. If you lack gloves, use layers of clean cloth. If you have helpers, clean their hands and let them apply the pressure so you can continue directing things.
  6. Proceed to stanch bloodflow from each major wound, if there are more than one. If possible, have the person sit up and lift limbs above where the heart would be to slow bloodflow. If the wounds are mainly in the legs, lay the patient flat and lift their legs up on a chair or box.
  7. Once you have some control over the bleeding, begin cleaning the wounds in order from most serious to least serious. Remove debris if present, but remember that even a wound without debris has had a dirty sharp implement jab at it, so they all need cleaning. Clean water is the best for sheer irrigation, but in a pinch peroxide or even alcohol will work.As salt is an excellent natural cleanser, a mix of 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 cup of warm clean water is perfect here. Be aware that there will be pain when applying cleaning liquids, so if the person is somewhat conscious give them warning.
  8. Once a wound is clean, close smaller gaping wounds. Butterfly bandages can obviously help here if they are the correct size. Otherwise, glue (on the outside of the wound only!) and duct tape can make an effective placeholder. You want to close the wounds to prevent infectious materials from getting inside, and to keep the wound fairly dry.
  9. If a larger wound refuses to stop bleeding, DO NOT CLOSE IT. Instead, pack it with clean rags and cover with tape. The tape should be reasonably loose: it is primarily a strong covering, not a wound binder, and you want to be able to change out the rags as needed. Some clean spiderwebs can be used over the rags and under the tape, as an extra anti-bacterial layer if you choose.
  10. Keep the person resting, and apply antibiotic ointment if you have it periodically. Check the area furthest away from the heart for each limb that has a bandage on it: check fingers for arm wounds and toes for leg wounds. If a bandage is too tight, it may cut off blood flow to the area below it, and you will need to loosen it immediately.

In many places, the ability to properly treat a knife wound is already invaluable. When disaster strikes and the dredges of society decide to make their move for your supplies, be sure that you can patch up your group of defenders and keep everyone alive.

Survival First-Aid: How to Identify and Treat Internal Bleeding

Even if you can’t treat it, you can probably grasp the danger of broken bones, severe diseases, or stab/gunshot wounds. The dangers of internal bleeding however are typically harder to understand since they’re not as easily seen. Heck, in most movies internal bleeding is code for “the doctor won’t be able to save him”! Fortunately in real life this is not so, but nevertheless is is important for you to know what internal bleeding does and how to identify and treat it properly.

Disclaimer: I’m no doctor, nor did I play one on TV at any point. Internal bleeding can become very serious quickly, so if you suspect that this is an issue please seek immediate medical attention! This post is meant only for situations where no medical help is available, and should only be treated as my opinion and not any kind of sound medical advice.

Internal Bleeding: More common than you might think

As I mentioned most movies tend to treat internal bleeding like some sort of mysterious affliction that can kill anyone regardless of treatment, but in all likelihood you have suffered from it a time or two yourself! If you’ve ever suffered from even the most minor bruise, you have had internal bleeding which discolored the skin and left the area tender to the touch. Of course, more serious cases will be much more dangerous than a mere bruise, but it is important to know that not all cases of internal bleeding are inherently deadly.

Serious cases and the damage they cause

That said, what we’re looking at here are specifically the more dangerous kinds of internal bleeding, which may not be as obvious as a bruise. These are typically caused by trauma in a disaster situation, though some illnesses and conditions (brain aneurysms for example) can also result in internal damage and blood loss. Any kind of trauma, from a gunshot to a stab wound to a fall can cause internal bleeding. The more severe the trauma, the more likely that internal bleeding will show immediate symptoms, while a less severe incident with lesser blood loss might not be apparent until later.

Regardless of the severity of the actual injury, blood seeping from vessels is never a good thing and can cause a great deal of damage depending on which vessels are broken and where the blood pools. The most immediate and obvious issue is the typical symptoms of external blood loss. Unsafe drops in blood pressure, skin clamminess, and even shock can result from blood leaking out into the cavities of the body. Beyond that are symptoms exclusive to internal bleeding:

  • Pressure in the wrong places. It may not seem like much, but leaking blood can pool and put pressure on certain organs and inhibit proper functioning. This is most prominent in brain, chest, and abdominal injuries. Your brain, heart, and other important organs need blood in very specific amounts from very specific locations and are forced to work harder and harder to overcome the crushing pressure of blood. The brain and heart in particular react poorly to excess blood owing to the presence of other fluids (in the brain) or the need to move and pump (in the heart).
  • Stiffness in skin and muscles. A side effect of excess pressure from pooling blood, parts of your skin or even whole muscles can become stiff and difficult to move owing to swelling.
  • Pain in strange places like muscles or joints. Pooling blood can also deny that precious liquid to other areas of the body by pressing on vessels that are still intact and slowing blood flow to extremities of the body. This can result in pain as muscles attempt to move without the proper amount of blood. Joints can also suffer from this, though sometimes swelling is all that is needed to cause joint pain.
  • Abdominal/chest bleeding denies oxygen to parts of the body. Not only does this cause pain, but it can also cause the body to go into shock as the cells that usually use oxygen for fuel switch into emergency anaerobic (without oxygen) modes. This allows your body to survive without proper blood flow for a time, but the body is unable to subsist for long in this mode before it starts to damage organs. The brain generally suffers the most from this, since it can’t really function without oxygen at all.
  • A wide variety of sensory weirdness from internal bleeding around the brain. The brain floats within your skull, cushioned, protected and fed by the cerebrospinal fluid it produces. One key reason why your brain floats is to avoid putting too much pressure on any one spot, since that can destroy or severely alter the functioning of a particular part of the brain. When internal bleeding disrupts this delicate balance, you can experience nausea, hallucinations, or lose vision. In extreme circumstances you can even have a stroke or fall into a seizure since the brain cannot compensate for the increased pressure.

How to identify internal bleeding

Some types of injuries almost always cause internal bleeding. A gunshot to the gut, for example, is definitely going to make you bleed! However other trauma like falling or getting tackled by a crazed lunatic could still cause that blood loss without any obvious external signs, at least initially.

First off, you should pay attention to any signs of bruising in areas that were otherwise unaffected by the injury. This may indicate that loose blood is pooling near the skin and showing through the layers, similarly to a regular surface bruise.

Secondly, you should be extremely careful to watch for sensory problems, a persistent headache, or any other odd symptoms that might be related to blood in the brain. Even if you otherwise appear fine, long-lasting headaches, sudden and frequent migraines where you had none before, or nausea that is persistent long after any sickness should have been cured.

Thirdly, keep an eye out for blood in any bodily excretions. Vomit, urine, and poo all show signs of blood present, and any amount of blood in them is a very bad sign. Any blood in urine or vomit will probably be red to some degree, while the color in feces varies between black, tea, or red. Vomit indicates blood in the stomach or the throat, while urine and feces can both indicate blood in the intestines or digestive organs such as the kidneys.

Finally, look for any signs of the symptoms noted above, particularly pain in joints or muscles or any kind of swelling. You’ll have to use your own best judgement (joint pain isn’t odd to an arthritis sufferer, for example) and be careful to notice any persistent issue that seems strange.

How do you treat it?

First the bad news: certain severe internal bleeding problems require surgery from a competent doctor. No amount of care or medication will save them, and they will suffer the full extent of the damage or death that the pooling blood will cause. Unless you have a surgeon along for the ride with you.

However, there is some good news to counterbalance the bad! Although some injuries require surgery, other cases of internal bleeding are quite capable of healing themselves if the patient is properly cared for until they recover. Proper care in this case largely involves treating someone for shock, giving the body additional time to recover. Unless the head, neck, or back were harmed during the traumatic incident, elevate the patient’s feet about a foot off of the floor and wrap them in a loose, warm blanket. Try to keep the head from moving at all, though if the person is vomiting or has blood coming out of their mouth you should set the head on its side to improve drainage. If they’re still conscious,  try to keep them calm to avoid raising their heartrate and bleeding faster. Assuming a lack of hospitals or medical care, at this point you merely keep them comfortable (don’t give water or food unless dehydration becomes a danger or other factors demand it) and hope that the inner wounds heal.

I should note that unless there is a strong medical reason for it, anticoagulants and blood thinners are very bad for a patient suffering from internal bleeding. This includes many prescription medications, but it also includes Aspirin.  If you take these medications regularly, I would advise you to ask your doctor about the appropriate course of action. For everyone else, don’t take them in that situation unless a trained medical person instructs you to.

Internal bleeding is a nasty business, but it’s not the death sentence many think it to be. Know how to identify it and treat your patients so that their body can heal the damage and hopefully save their life.

DIY: Antiseptic Ointment

For treating minor cuts, scrapes, abrasions and whatnot, most people will reach for the Neosporin or some other antiseptic ointments.

For treating minor cuts, scrapes, abrasions and whatnot, most people will reach for the Neosporin or some other antiseptic ointments.

These are great items to keep in your first aid kit, but hold on just a second before you rush out the the pharmacy to stock up on these…

Did you know that instead of wasting $5 to $10 on ointment, you can make your own DIY antiseptic from scratch?

This homemade antiseptic ointment is packed with germ-killing properties that will help treat those everyday minor cuts, scrapes, and abrasions you might have, and best of all, it’s really easy to make.

Here’s all you need:

    • 1 1/2 ounces beeswax, grated
    • 1 cup olive, almond, or coconut oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon vitamin E oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon tea tree oil
    • 20 drops lavender essential oil
    • 10 drops lemon essential oil

Ointment Recipe Directions:

1. In a small pot, and melt the oils (except the lavender and lemon essential oils) and beeswax using low heat (very low heat).

2. Remove pot from the heat and add Vitamin E oil, lemon, and lavender essential oil. Stir with a chopstick or a small wooden spoon.

3. Pour the mixture into a small sterilized jar(s) (or a mason jar). Then let stand and cool on the counter.

4. Store it in a dark cool place.

When you get a cut, scrape or abrasion, use this ointment as needed on the wound(s).

It should keep for roughly 5 years.

How does it work?

The antiseptic properties include:

    • Tea Tree Oil: antibiotic, anti-fungal, antiviral, antibacterial
    • Lavender: analgesic (pain relief), antibiotic, anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial
    • Lemon: antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial

*For those who don’t like the smell of lavender, you can substitute chamomile essential oils for lavender and fir essential oils for lemon.

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