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Summer Series on Neglected Tropical Diseases: Shedding Light on NTDs

 

The chances are that if you turn on your television or scan your local news sources, you will hear about infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Measles. Now, can you say the same for Buruli ulcers? How about Guinea Worm disease? Chagas disease? Yaws or Schistosomiasis? Your response might not be as certain.

 

This is not because the diseases only infect a few people each year or are not as dangerous. Actually, combined, these diseases categorized as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) impact more than one billion people every year [1]. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NTDs include communicable diseases that exist in tropical and subtropical climates of nearly 150 countries, and mostly impact those living in poverty with close proximity to infectious vectors [1]. The WHO has created a roadmap to treat, prevent and eliminate the burden of NTDs, which includes five strategies of control: Preventative chemotherapy; Vector and intermediate host control; Veterinary public health; Intensified disease management; and Procurement of safe water, sanitation and hygiene [2]. The goal of incorporating these strategies is to reduce disease burden and eradicate at least two NTDs by 2020 [1].

 

As of 2017, WHO recognized 17 diseases as neglected tropical diseases [1,2], including:

  • Dengue and Chikungunya
  • Rabies
  • Blinding Trachoma
  • Buruli Ulcer
  • Endemic Treponematoses (Yaws)
  • Leprosy (Hansen Disease)
  • Chagas Disease
  • Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Cysticercosis
  • Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease)
  • Echinococcosis
  • Foodborne Trematode Infections
  • Lymphatic Filariasis
  • Onchocerciasis (River Blindness)
  • Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis)
  • Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (including Ascariasis, Hookworm and Whipworm)

 

“Neglected” is a powerful word. Most of these diseases occur in areas of economic hardship, strife, and are just a small part of the challenges faced by the affected communities. Those most affected by NTDs have insecurities far beyond what we can effectively grasp in the majority of the United States. While the threat of disease is high, it is miniscule to the challenges of poverty, food insecurity, lack of medical care and poor sanitation. This summer, the Disease Daily will be hosting a Neglected Tropical Disease Series, where it is my goal to introduce you to these lesser-known diseases. The series hopes to raise awareness to their global impact. While NTDs might not be running rampant in your community, our global community is in need. Addressing NTDs requires awareness, policy changes, medical access and community support to provide the tools necessary for treatment and hopefully one day, eradication.

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/diseases/en/

[2] http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/70809/WHO_HTM_NTD_2012.1_eng.pdf;jsessionid=C79D57A92E69F28C8657CB3B311E0B5D?sequence=1

Neglected Tropical Diseases NTDs WHO Outbreak News CC Image Courtesy of RTI Fights NTDs on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/rtifightsntds/34949843103/in/photolist-Vfp5HM-26tiqDw-nxM4gF-nghuyJ-fkoX9y-22Dyscq-26wQ9Dp-XyD2eZ-qD9GYg-JMxg7K-nxws3Q-nghrSZ-nghBdJ-26tinbQ-nghAQw-nghmEr-nghy1m-nghNNE-nghiEX-nghsXB-nghSWQ-E5eqcF-WdYcpQ-nghQuf-23FtfgE-WtYu1Z

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Unexpected Hepatitis A Outbreaks Spread Throughout the U.S.

 

In 2017, several states have experienced acute outbreaks of Hepatitis A, namely Michigan, Kentucky, Utah, Colorado, and California. Each state varies in regards to outbreak onset and population affected, but one similarity has emerged among these states where those experiencing homeless and people who inject drugs (PWID) have been the largely affected population.

 

Hepatitis A

 

Hepatitis A is an infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus, and is typically transmitted through the fecal-oral route or consuming contaminated food or water [1]. Symptoms of the infection include fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and jaundice; symptoms can last up to two months after the initial infection. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. These outbreaks have been severe, with over 80% of cases requiring hospitalization [2]. The specific strain of Hepatitis A virus (genotype IB) is not commonly seen in the U.S., but is rather common in the Mediterranean, Turkey and South Africa [10]. The initial source of the outbreaks among these states is unknown, but several states have linked cases serologically.

 

PWID are at increased risk of contracting hepatitis (A, B, or C), as it can be spread percutaneously [12]. Thus, it is impossible to ignore the role that the current opioid epidemic has played in the rise in Hepatitis A cases among PWID. In addition, those experiencing homelessness often have less access to clean toilets and handwashing facilities, and can be hard to reach when attempting to vaccinate [10], increasing likelihood of transmission.

 

 

State Outbreaks

 

Michigan

 

Michigan began to see an unexpected number of Hepatitis A cases since August of 2016, and the outbreak has continued to present day. Almost 600 cases have been recorded, including 20 deaths [2]. This outbreak is nearly 10 times the amount of cases typically seen over this time period. No link to common sources of food or beverages has been found between cases, but a pattern has emerged where homeless people and PWID are at greatest risk for infection [3].

 

Kentucky

 

As of late November, 31 cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in Kentucky, a 50% increase from the average annual number of cases seen in the past decade [4]. No deaths have occurred due to this outbreak. 19 of the 31 cases have come from Jefferson County, which contains the city Louisville, and have also shown a pattern of homelessness and IV drug use among cases [4].

 

Utah

 

Since the beginning of 2017, Utah has reported 112 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A, 102 of which are associated with the current outbreak. The areas affected in this outbreak have reported around a 70% hospitalization rate for cases; however, no deaths have been reported [5]. Again, the populations largely affected in this outbreak are those experiencing homelessness and PWID.

 

Colorado

 

The outbreak in Colorado has reached double the number of expected cases in 2017 [6], with a total reported case count of 62 [7], and one death [8]. Fifteen counties in total have been affected, with the greatest number of cases coming from the Denver and El Paso counties. Many of the Colorado cases have occurred among men who have sex with men (MSM) and homeless individuals, and two cases have been linked to the outbreak in California [9].

 

California

 

San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles counties have reported an outbreak of Hepatitis A within California. Within these three counties, there has been a total of 672 cases reported, 430 hospitalizations (64.0% hospitalization rate), and 21 deaths [10]. The California Department of Public Health reported that the majority of patients in this outbreak are experiencingare homeless ness or IV drug users. The outbreak in California is the largest Hepatitis A outbreak in the U.S. since the introduction of the vaccine in 1996 [10].

 

The Hepatitis A virus infection is easily preventable through vaccination, however,though many adults remain unvaccinated as the vaccine was introduced in 1996. As of 2016, the reported rate of hepatitis A vaccination among adults aged 19 or greater was just 9.0% [14].  It is possible for the vaccine to be effective after exposure to the virus, if administered within 2 weeks of the exposure [1]. Due to the current outbreak, there has been a large increase in demand for the vaccine in order to prevent further transmission. However, this has caused a shortage of the Hepatitis A vaccine, leaving it difficult for public health departments to combat the outbreak effectively [11]. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are supporting efforts to increase vaccine supply and vaccine policy development [13]. Education campaigns regarding proper sanitation, Iin addition to vaccination, education campaigns regarding proper sanitation are being used to put an end to the outbreak that is now affecting several U.S. states.

 

 

 

Sources:

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm

[2] http://outbreaknewstoday.com/southeast-michigan-hepatitis-outbreak-nears-500-cases-20-deaths-89056/

[3] http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/12/11/hep-outbreak-southeast-michigan-extremely-unusual/925112001/

[4] https://healthalerts.ky.gov/Pages/AlertItem.aspx?alertID=43060

[5] http://health.utah.gov/epi/diseases/hepatitisA/HAVoutbreak_2017

[6] http://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/30/colorado-hepatitis-a-cases-spike/

[7] https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2017

[8] http://outbreaknewstoday.com/colorado-reports-doubling-hepatitis-cases-2017/

[9] http://www.denverpost.com/2017/10/30/two-colorado-hepatitis-a-cases-linked-california-outbreak-killed-19-people/

[10] https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/Hepatitis-A-Outbreak.aspx

[11] https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/clinical-resources/shortages.html#note1

[12] https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/populations/idu.htm

[13] https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/outbreaks/2017March-HepatitisA.htm

[14] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/ss6501a1.htm

 

hepatitis a United States hepatitis genotype IB injection drug users outbreak Outbreak News CC Image Courtesy of the World Bank on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldbank/6442287941/

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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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Guess What? We Grow Up, by The Autistic Prepper

It was good to read about dealing with autistic children and their special needs in survival situations, and I’d like to thank Grey Woman for her article. There have been articles about the elderly, the physically handicapped, those with dementia, but we on the autistic spectrum have been largely ignored. Our differences are too bizarre for most people to understand. Adult With Autism; We Grow Up Let me introduce myself. I’m an adult with autism, and I’m also a fervent SurvivalBlog reader and occasional contributor. I also like to watch water going down a drain, insist that my egg be …

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Medical Supplies, Principles of Use and Purpose, by J.V.

Today’s world climate seems to reinforce more and more the need to be prepared for various situations that might arise. Everything from terrorism to tensions with whatever country it is this week. We all need to do our part to be prepared. This includes the medical side of things. Knowledge and Practice Nothing beats knowledge and practice of a particular skill set. Even without the proper tools, if you understand the principle inside and out, you can think of ways to adapt and use what supplies you have on hand. This is the true meaning of survival– making due with …

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Birth- Part 2, by A.E.

According to the CDC, about 11,000 babies are born in the U.S. every day. If anyone in your family or group is of childbearing age, you might want to think about preparing for an out-of-hospital birth. Most people have never witnessed a “natural” or med-free birth. Therefore, they have no idea what natural birth looks like or how to prepare for it. In Part 1, I spoke about the importance of the mother’s psyche in childbirth and also about the sphincter law that applies to childbirth. We began the topic of Preparing for Birth with suggestion for books, such as …

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Birth- Part 1, by A.E.

Typically, when we think about a survival situation, like TEOTWAWKI or SHTF, our minds race to food storage, defense, clean water, growing gardens, and raising livestock; often times, we forget other necessities, like good medical care and childbirth. According to the CDC, about 11,000 babies are born in the U.S. every day. If anyone in your family or group is of childbearing age, you might want to think about preparing for an out-of-hospital birth. Most people have never witnessed a “natural” or med-free birth. Therefore, they have no idea what natural birth looks like or how to prepare for it. …

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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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Prepper’s Pain Protocol- Part 2, by ShepherdFarmerGeek

If you’re like most preppers, you don’t have a prescription bottle of Morphine on hand to deal with pain. And you don’t think dosing your friend or child with a big swig of whiskey (or two) is all that good of an idea. Over-the-Counter “Pain Pack™” Well, one option is the non-narcotic, over-the-counter “Pain Pack™” concept described at and promoted by Next Generation Combat Medic as “just as good for moderate pain as oxycodone, hydrocodone and even codeine.” Please read all their original information. What follows is but a small tweak of the “Pain Pack™” plan that I’d like to …

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Prepper’s Pain Protocol- Part 1, by ShepherdFarmerGeek

We are talking about a pain protocol for preppers. However, the editor’s have an important message before we get started. Editor’s Introductory Proviso: I’m not a doctor, and I don’t give medical advice. Mentions of any medicine or medical treatment is for informational purposes only and are in no way endorsed or accredited by SurvivalBlog.com, or its principals. SurvivalBlog.com is not responsible for the use or misuse of any product advertised or mentioned on the SurvivalBlog site. – JWR What Do We Do? What do we do when someone has been shot, survived a grizzly mauling, has been significantly burned, …

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Health and Hygiene Tips for the Homestead- Part 2, by J.M.

On our homesteads when dealing with health and hygiene, we try to prepare for gunshot wounds or severe lacerations/cuts. But in so doing, let us not overlook the more mundane killers of mankind while specializing on medical conditions that would prove very difficult to deal with in a grid down situation without medical professionals. I am talking through what is necessary, particularly as we face some of the challenges that confront third world countries now. Let’s move forward.

Hygiene

Yes, Grandma was mostly right in her words about hygiene– “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Keeping one’s body and home clean and pest free preserves health! Do you remember the big porcelain pitchers and bowls found in the bedrooms of old farm houses? A daily “sponge bath” is much more practical in a grid down situation then lugging heated buckets of water to pour in a tub for bathing. If warm … Continue reading

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Health and Hygiene Tips for the Homestead- Part 1, by J.M.

Health and hygiene as a subject is not nearly as glamorous as the “shoot and scoot” topics often discussed. However, these practices have saved untold millions of lives in a very uneventful way, year after year. Prevention beats cure every time!

Most prepper’s medical kits now include such items as Quik Clot or Celox Bandages, suture or staple kits, Israeli gauzes, and tourniquets. We try to prepare for gunshot wounds or severe lacerations/cuts, but in so doing let us not overlook the more mundane killers of mankind while specializing on medical conditions that would prove very difficult to deal with in a grid down situation without medical professionals.

Biggest Killers in the Third World

History shows us that the three biggest killers of mankind in the third world are:

Continue reading

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Diseases Caused By Food And Water Contamination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Basics (Science is Awesome)

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

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

Viruses More Likely to Cause a Pandemic

Why are these viruses more likely to cause a pandemic?

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

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Colds vs. Flus

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

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

What are common cold symptoms?

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

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

Several hundred different viruses may cause your cold symptoms.

How long do cold symptoms last?

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

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

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

What are common flu symptoms?

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

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

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

Is it flu or cold symptoms?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In children, additional signs of an emergency are:

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

Can I prevent flu or cold symptoms?

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

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

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

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Using Essential Oils As Medical Tools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making Essential Oils

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hard Data

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

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

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

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

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

Commonly Used Essential Oils

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essential Oils As Medical Tools

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

Summer Classes for 2017 – SHTFandGO

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

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

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

Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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