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Zika Virus: 10 Things to Worry/Relax About

Zika-Virus-Infographic-740

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

1.

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

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

2.

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

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

3.

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

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

4.

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

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

 5.

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

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

6.

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

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

7.

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

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

8.

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

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

9.

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

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

10.

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

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

 

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

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DIY Mosquito Trap That Really Works

DIY-Mosquito-Trap-That-Really-Works

DIY Mosquito Trap That Really Works!

In summer time, one of the main things that keeps people from enjoying their outdoor spaces is mosquitoes. Nothing ruins a backyard barbeque or even just a relaxing evening outside faster than a swarm of mosquitoes attacking your skin. While there are some solutions for a mosquito problem, most of them are pricey, made from possibly toxic chemicals, and require frequent reapplication.

If you’re looking for a chemical free and cheap solution to a mosquito problem, look no further!

You can make your own mosquito trap from less than $5 worth of ingredients.

There may be a lot of traps out there, but this one uses the mosquito’s natural behavior to trap them.

Just like the pitcher plant, which lures bugs into its belly, this trap uses a bait liquid that attracts the flying pests into a plastic bottle with a funnel top that keeps them stuck inside. The best part? It only takes minimal DIY skills to make.

Materials for the trap:

  • A 2 litre plastic soda bottle
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Duct tape
  • Black paper or other opaque materialMaterials needed DIY MosquitoTrap

How to make the mosquito trap:

To make the trap, you first wash out your plastic bottle and remove the label. You can use any type of plastic bottle, but we found that a 2 litre works best. Using your craft knife, cut around the top of the bottle just under where it starts to narrow into the neck. It can be helpful to draw a line with a permanent marker.DIY Mosquito Trap 1

Be careful with your craft knife! If you don’t have one, you can always cut a small hole with a regular knife, then cut around the bottle using scissors.DIY Mosquito Trap 2

Take off the top. Turn the top of the bottle upside down and put it inside the body of the plastic bottle so it makes a funnel, then tape in place with your duct tape.DIY Mosquito TrapThe top of the bottle funnels the mosquitoes into the body of the bottle. Once in the bottle, they aren’t equipped to turn around and fly back out.DIY Mosquito Trap

Cover your bottle with something opaque such as black or kraft paper, vinyl sheets, or even duct tape.DIY Mosquito TrapYou can wrap it after you add the liquid to check the level of the liquid in the bottle.DIY Mosquito Trap

The bottle needs to be covered because mosquitoes like dark places, and they will be more drawn to the bottle.DIY Mosquito Trap

DIY Mosquito Trap

Ingredients for the bait liquid:

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 packet “active dry yeast” (about 2 teaspoons)

How to make the mosquito bait liquid

Boil one cup of water, and then add your ¾ cup of sugar to make a simple syrup. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, pour it into a heat-safe bowl. Then add your cup of cold water and allow it to cool.

Following the directions on the package, add one packet of active dry yeast, or two teaspoons if you don’t have the premeasured packets. This is the kind of yeast used for baking, not brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast. You add it to lukewarm water (no hotter than 90 degrees F) to encourage growth without killing off the yeast, as it will die at higher temperatures.

Pour this liquid into the container, making sure that it doesn’t reach the neck of the bottle, so the bugs have a space to fly all the way in.

Why does this mosquito trap work so well?

This trap uses the natural instincts of these airborne pests to draw them into a place they can’t escape. Mosquitoes are attracted by carbon dioxide, and the combination of yeast and sugar water releases this carbon dioxide.DIY Mosquito Trap

The carbon dioxide rises from the opening in the bottle to attract the mosquitoes. They fly into the cloud of gas and then down into the bottle to check out the sugar water as well, guided by the funnel. The black covering on the trap draws them as well, especially the female mosquitoes, who like a dark place to breed. Once inside the bottle, the mosquitoes can’t turn around and fly back out.

The key to these traps is to put more than one out and combine them with other control methods. While they will attract and trap some mosquitoes, there are just so many of the flying pests that they can’t completely clear an area. So while your DIY mosquito trap will catch some bugs for you, always remember to also pour out any standing water, plant mosquito repellent plants like lavender, or burn citronella candles. These DIY traps are a great addition to a natural mosquito control arsenal.

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10 Remedies for Itchy Mosquito Bites

mosquito

As I have shared previously, our area has been having a lot of rain these past two months. While I am grateful for an end to the drought, the enormous amounts of rain has resulted in flooding, and one other unwelcome effect: an explosion in the mosquito population.

Everywhere I look there are puddles and other forms of standing water: breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Just taking a half hour walk in the morning, I ended up with multiple mosquito bites on my arms.  Now I apply natural repellant before I walk out the door.

If you’ve ever had a mosquito bite, you know how itchy they can get. Scratching provides momentary relief, but spread the itch even more.

Here are 10 easy remedies for itchy mosquito bites:

  1. Miracle Salve  I have found that the Miracle Healing Salve, (originally found on Backdoor Survival), works to relieve mosquito bite itching, among many other uses.  I have made several batches of this salve.
  2. Deodorant  My son’s science teacher swears by deodorant to relieve itching. I’ve tried both scented and unscented, they seem to work equally well for a short time.
  3. Adhesive bandage Mr. Apartment Prepper just places a band-aid over the bite. It prevents further irritation from brushing up against surfaces and you eventually forget that it’s there.
  4. Alcohol   Place a dab of rubbing alcohol directly on the bite – it does help.
  5. Baking soda and water   Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply directly on the itch.
  6. Ammonia and water  Mix equal parts of plain ammonia and water and apply on the itchy area with a cotton ball.
  7. Vick’s Vapor Rub  My grandmother swore by this remedy.  When we were kids, she would dab a small amount of Vick’s Vapor Rub on the itchy bite.
  8. Tea tree oil   Mix five to six drops of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of olive oil. Apply with a cotton ball directly on the bite.
  9. Apple cider vinegar   I already use apple cider vinegar to ward off colds; it works to relieve itch as well. Place apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and rub directly on the bite.   The smell goes away after a few minutes.
  10. X marks the spot   If you find yourself without any of these home remedies, use a clean fingernail and make an “X” right on the bite. This seems to relieve the itch for a short time.

These are just some of the remedies that I have tried myself. For more ideas, check out these articles from our friends over at Prepared Bloggers:

Home Remedies for Bug Bites and Stings from Commonsense Home

How to Make Lucky Sherpa Plaintain Salve from The Survival Sherpa

Mosquitos are not only annoying, they also cause a number of diseases such as Chikungunya.  Get to the bottom of the problem:  Mom with a Prep shows how to Combat Mosquitos Naturally

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Living Outdoors Can and Will Hurt You.

Following some simple rules can save your life.

In an emergency survival situation the very first priority is clean drinking water. One can impractically, but survive for weeks without food, but 3 days in a warm climate is just about the human body’s limit without water. When collecting water in your environment always assume the water is NOT drinkable until either, boiled, filtered, or chemically treated. Here’s a small list of just some of the water borne diseases and pathogens you can contract by drinking untreated water. The best course of action is to  always choose caution and avoiding health concerns.   Avoid contracting the disease in the first place.

 Water Borne Diseases

water

Adenovirus Infection (Adenoviridae virus)

  • Vary depending on which part of the body is infected
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Incubation 5-8 days

water-2

Amebiasis (Entamoeba histolytica parasite)

  • Diarrhea, stomach pain, and stomach cramping
  • Fecal matter of an infected person (usually ingested from a pool or an infected water supply)
  • Incubation 2 to 4 weeks

water3

Campylobacteriosis (Campylobacter jejuni bacteria)

  • Diarrhea, stomach pain, and stomach cramping
  • Chicken, unpasteurized milk, water
  • Incubation 2 to 10 days

Cryptosporidiosis (Cryptosporidiumparasite)

  • Stomach cramps, dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever, weight loss
  • Fecal matter of an infected person (can survive for days in chlorinated pools)
  • Incubation 2 to 10 days

Cholera (Vibrio choleraebacteria)

  • Watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps
  • Contaminated drinking water, rivers and coastal waters
  • Incubation 2 hours to 5 days

E. Coli 0157:H7 (Escherichia colibacteria)

  • Diarrhea (may be bloody), abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, HUS
  • Undercooked ground beef, imported cheeses, unpasteurized milk or juice, cider, alfalfa sprouts
  • Incubation 1 to 8 days

Giardiasis (Giardia lambliaparasite)

  • Diarrhea, excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, and upset stomach or nausea
  • Swallowing recreational water contaminated with Giardia
  • Incubation 1 to 2 weeks

Hepatitis A (Hepatitis A virus)

  • Fever, fatigue, stomach pain, nausea, dark urine, jaundice
  • Ready-to-eat foods, fruit and juice, milk products, shellfish, salads, vegetables, sandwiches, water
  • Incubation 28 days

Legionellosis (Legionella pneumophilabacteria)

  • Fever, chills, pneumonia, anorexia, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting
  • Contaminated water
  • Incubation 2-10 days

Salmonellosis (Salmonellabacteria)

  • Abdominal pain, headache, fever, nausea, diarrhea, chills, cramps
  • Poultry, eggs, meat, meat products, milk, smoked fish, protein foods, juice
  • Incubation 1-3 days

Vibrio Infection (Vibrio parahaemolyticus,Vibrio vulnificusbacteria)

  • Nausea, vomiting, headache (a quarter of patients experience dysentery-like symptoms)
  • Raw shellfish, oysters
  • Incubation 1 to 7+ days

Viral Gastroenteritis (Calicivirus virus)

  • Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, cramps, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, slight fever
  • Water, ready-to-eat foods (salad, sandwiches, bread) shellfish
  • Incubation 24 to 48 hours

If you don’t want any of these diseases it’s best that you plan for emergencies by having a way to either sterilized or filter your water sources. Boiling water, using a filtering system that removes particles down to .5 microns, or chemically treating water with 3-4 drops of bleach per gallon of water will provide protection. Obviously none of these processes will allow you to drink salt water. The only way to process and sterilize salt water is to distill it. This process through boiling and condensing will both kill any pathogens and remove minerals.

Ok we’ve got water now.

What else can make you sick? Well the answer is more annoying and dangerous than any lion, tiger, or bear. They outnumber us billions to one and they are relentless….Insects

From the annoying buzzing of mosquitoes to the sting of the creepy scorpion. Through out history, insects have been responsible for the collapse of entire societies.

Protections from insects can include a number of solutions.

  • Long sleeve clothing
  • Long pants
  • Hats and Head Nets
  • Netting covering opening in shelters
  • Chemical Sprays (Deet, Paricardin, Eucalyptus, Gamma CyhalothrinSprays)
  • Fire

If you are bitten or stung by any insect. To reduce the possibility of allergic reaction one should either take an antihistamine such as Benadryl or some other brand. If you know you have a severe reaction to stings such as bees or wasps an epipen is definitely something you’re going to want to pack in you bug out.

Fleas

Yersinia pestis:plague

Lice

Lice Infestation

Mosquitos

  • Arboviral Encephalitides
  • Mosquito-transmitted viral diseases causing brain inflammation/encephalitis
  • Eastern equine encephalitis
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • La Crosse encephalitis
  • St. Louis encephalitis
  • West Nile virus
  • Western equine encephalitis
  • dengue fever
  • malaria
  • Rift Valley fever
  • West Nile encephalitis (West Nile virus infection)
  • yellow fever

Ticks

  • babesiosis
  • Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
  • ehrlichiosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Southern tick-associated rash illness
  • tick-borne relapsing fever
  • tularemia

Scorpion

Stings result in numbness or tingling, blurry vision and twitching muscles. For children, hyperactivity and erratic eye movement can manifest.

Spider Bites

Mild stinging, followed by local redness and severe pain that usually develops within eight hours. Necrosis of tissue is common among some species and poisonous spiders. Some spiders such as the Brown Recluse and Black Widow are poisonous and can result in severe illness and/or death. Anti-Venom treatments in some cases may be the only way to survive.

Bee and Wasp Stings

Sharp pain or burning at the sting site. Redness, minor swelling, and itching. Those with severe allergic reactions need medical attention immediately or self-administered epipen treatment (strong antihistamine)

Ants

Sharp pain or burning at the sting site. Redness, minor swelling, and itching. Those with severe allergic reactions need medical attention immediately or strong antihistamine treatments.

Wild Animals, especially the Human kind can harm you and your family

It’s an unfortunate reality that in emergency and survival situations we are sometimes forcibly placed in predicaments that we would have never imagined. Animals have innate instinct to survive by hunting for food. If you are prepared for an emergency and have food, animals will try to take it from you.

Bears

  • They will eat your unprotected food.
  • Do not climb a tree to get away, they are excellent climbers.
  • Pepper Spray or Firearm can/will deter them.
  • Be loud.
  • Do not run away. They will consider you prey.
  • Bears are good to eat.

Mountain Lion

  • They will lay in wait for hours.
  • Make a lot of noise.
  • Firearm can/will deter them.
  • Do not run away. They will consider you prey.
  • Can be eaten for emergency food

Racoons

  • They will steal your food
  • Can’t harm you.
  • Lock down or hang food stores
  • Be loud
  • Can be eaten

Alligators

  • Do not camp right on water sources they frequent
  • Be aware of surrounding
  • If chased, run at 45 degree angle from them.
  • Excellent food source.

Poisonous Snakes

  • Wear long pants and boots if you walking through tall grass.
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Crawling around larger rocks and or logs may upset snakes
  • If bitten:
  • Stay calm. Apply a compression wrap to area.
  • Do not try to suck out venom. This does absolutely nothing. You may end up causing more necrosis of the tissue and at best you’ll remove 1/1000th of the venom injected.
  • Receiving professional medical attention and the proper anti-venom is the best option.
  • If no medical support is available, there really isn’t anything to do but wait. Healthy and strong individuals have a much better chance of survival.
  • Can be eaten

Humans

  • The most dangerous of all animals
  • They will eat your food
  • They will steal everything valuable
  • They will hunt you
  • They will kill you and your family (or worse)
  • In Survival situation trust no one other than family and people you know well.
  • Protect yourself with firearms, pepper spray, knives.
  • Be prepared to pack up and run. (avoidance is the safest option)

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