So you think you have this prepping thing pretty much down pat by now? Or are you new to this world of prepping? You have your water filters, generators, fuel, guns, ammo, food stores, medical supplies, a bug out vehicle, and heating elements. You have researched, taken courses, practiced drills and you have completed a mock bug out. If you said “yes” to any of this small list, you are already off to a good start. But sometimes we overlook the simple things we need in order to get by day to day. List of Essential Things One of the …
When I relocated to the big city and moved into a shared apartment, I began to simultaneously look at prepping and consider how to make this work– living with others and trying to be prepared for a disaster.
What I’ve Learned From Experience (continued)
I’m writing about what I’ve learned over year’s of experience of living through power outages and disaster, including Hurricane Sandy. In covering topics for apartment dwellers, we have taken a look at storage, food, and water.
When I was moving out from my childhood home, I tried to figure out how I could get my 12 gauge, Mosin-Nagant, revolver, Glock, and accompanying ammo and kit to my new tiny apartment. According to everything I had seen, I needed to cover all of my bases to be well prepared. It wasn’t until I had everything laid out that I realized how ridiculous this was going to … Continue reading →
Precious metals, dehydrated food, bug out cabins, and surplus everything are some of things that may spring to mind, thanks to pop culture and the media, when you mention prepping to someone who isn’t familiar with the topic. Those were the things that I thought of too, when I first began looking into how I could be more prepared for an emergency or disaster I might face back when I was fresh out of college.
When I Moved To A Big City
Back when I was a naive graduate who moved to a big city with student debt on my back, one room in a small shared apartment to call home, and extremely limited resources, a lot of the information I was finding did not apply to me or my living situation. I’m not starting a homestead or prepping a house for a family. I was one guy in his … Continue reading →
If you were to ask the average person who knows nothing about preparedness what A “prepper” is, you are bound to get an off the wall answer. Mainstream society has “taught them” what their definition of prepper should be. The truth is, there isn’t 1 type of prepper. There are so many different aspects that go into preparedness, and everyone chooses to prepare differently.
While there are those that take preparedness to the next level (good or bad), most of us are just trying to do the best we can. Most people think preppers are waiting for the world to end, but this is not the case. We prepared for TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), “as we know it” being the key words in that phrase.
We prepare for survival. This could mean surviving the week until the next paycheck comes in, or surviving a natural disaster. We prepare for the S#it to hit the fan, not a sledgehammer hitting the fan. If the proverbial fan is clogged with doo doo, it might be fixable. If a sledgehammer smashes it, it’s game over for the fan.
SPP207 The Different Types of Prepping (And Preppers)
There are several reasons why you can’t lump all preppers into one category. Every person is different because of their age, finances, location and their abilities, and preppers are no different.
The “Prepper” Label
Because of shows like Doomsday preppers and the mainstream media, the word “prepper” has a negative connotation to some people. If you have any food storage at all, or you are prepared for a disaster scenario, you must be one of those crazy preppers.
We use the term prepper all the time online because it’s a way to find the information we are looking for, but our everyday lives are a little different. Because of operational security, and concerns about how people are going to react, we don’t go out and advertise we are preppers.
In short, you can take the prepper tag or leave it. I personally don’t mind it, but some people who do the very same thing as us, don’t want the prepper label put on them. If you asked someone who lived 100 years ago if they were a prepper, they would laugh at you and say “it’s called life”.
Why We Prepare
Sometimes I wonder what it is that makes us care about preparedness, while some people are happy in their oblivion. I think this is partly to do with how our brains are wired, and not because we are afraid. We choose to be proactive and responsible about life, while others just cross their fingers and take it as it comes.
Why we start to prepare, and why we continue to prepare are 2 completely different things. The reasons we become interested in preparedness are different for everyone. For some people it was living through a disaster, and some people see the writing on the wall.
We continue to prepare because we realize things are not getting better, they are slowly getting worse. Even if nothing large scale happens in my lifetime, eventually it will. If I can pass on even just a little preparedness knowledge to my children, I consider it worthwhile.
Another huge factor is that we choose to question everything coming from the mouth of the MSM. Most people take everything they see on TV as fact, we know better. These days, the “news” is about ratings, propaganda and pushing agendas…on both sides of the isle.
How We Prepare
In the show this week, we also talked about how we prepare. Some of us just can’t do what others can do, but that doesn’t mean we give up. Some people can afford all the cool stuff like years of food storage or a badass bug out vehicle, most of us don’t. Some people have the time and finances to form a prepper group that meets weekly, but again, most of us can’t.
As it is with everything in life, we can only do what we can do. If you live in an urban area, you aren’t going to be raising cattle. This doesn’t mean you are screwed, it just means you need to think about alternatives. Some people set a goal to move to a more rural area, and some people have no desire to do that.
Different Types of Preppers
Another reason you can’t lump all preppers into 1 category is that we are all preparing in different ways, and are at different stages in preparedness. Here are 7 different prepper types that I came up with. If you can think of any others, leave a comment below.
The lifestyle prepper can be broken down into several categories, how far we can go depends on our situation. For some people this means homesteading, and for those in a suburban or urban area it’s food storage and bug out planning.
Each persons situation is different, and the lifestyle prepper does what they can with what they have. Anyone who has been at this for a couple of years is a lifestyle prepper, regardless of their living situation.
To me, the extreme prepper falls into 2 different categories. The first category is people who have the funds to get all the cool toys we wish we could. the second is people who focus solely on 1 disaster scenario.
While I wouldn’t mind having the finances to do (and buy) everything I wanted for preparedness, I would make sure my preparedness plans were well rounded. It drives me crazy when I hear people say “I’m preparing for”. What I hear is “I’m not preparing for this and that”.
At one point or another we have all been the gateway prepper, this is where we all start. The reasons we become interested in preparedness are different, but we all face the same challenges at first.
The gateway prepper is timid, and not sure which direction to go. The best thing for the gateway prepper to do is find some lifestyle preppers to get their information from. Doing this will help them avoid the fear porn and misinformation.
This is where I used to fall before Lisa got me (sort of made me) more interested in preparedness. Quite a few of us have grown up camping hiking and “roughing it” as my mom called it. While I am no Dave Canterbury, I do love the outdoors and learning new skills.
The reason this fits in so well with preparedness is the “roughing it” aspect. Preparedness teaches you how to survive if everything goes away, and wilderness skills teach us the very same.
Stay at Home Prepper
Some families have one parent that goes to work everyday, and one that stays home and takes care of the family. The person who stay at home is the one how does most of the family planning.
Making sure the house runs smoothly and the children are taken care of is the job of the stay at home parent. The same holds true in any disaster scenario, whether that is a personal doomsday or large scale disaster.
The closet prepper is someone who is unsure about prepping, and doesn’t want to let anyone know what they are doing. This could be from fear or ridicule, or or fear of someone finding out what they have.
To some extent we are all (or should be) closet preppers. Operational security is very important because we don’t want everyone in the neighborhood coming over for handouts.
The Wannabe Prepper
Because anyone can say anything they want on the internet these days, it’s tough to figure out how honest anyone is being. These keyboard warriors are always right, and always have something better than you.
This type of person should be ignored, because no matter how much someone else has (or knows) it isn’t going to affect you one bit. This is also a dangerous type of prepper to be because when the S hit the fan, all their talk means nothing.
Every once in a while, it is important to take a back seat to the process of prepping and do a little planning. I say this because things change and life evolves, requiring a re-examination of the who, what, and why of prepping. Let’s face it. You probably remember why you started to set food, water, and supplies aside, and why you began to bone up on off-grid skills. But in the flurry of preparedness activities, have you ever taken a look at your original plan and made circumstantial changes?
If you are saying “what plan”, join the crowd!
An Introduction to the Who, What, and Why of Prepping
We all know about the successful reporter’s rule of thumb: determine the who what where and how for every story. Let us take the “where” out of the equation and begin with the who, what and why of prepping.
1. Who Should Prep?
There is only one right answer: Everyone!
The differentiator is the extent of one person’s preps over those of another person. Person A may define being prepared as having a three day plan to soldier through a winter storm when the power is out. (Of course I will try to encourage that person to prep for a week or two at a minimum, but ultimately, three days is considered a decent starting point.)
On the other hand, Person B may not consider himself adequately prepped until he has the supplies, tools, and skills to manage for a year or more on his own.
It all gets down to a matter of perspective. Like a broken record I will say it again; there is no right and no wrong when it comes to preparedness. If you prepare enough to ally your fear of a disruptive event, you will have done enough.
2. What is Prepping?
Let us get this one out of the way quickly as well. Prepping is being able to survive a disruptive event if not in comfort, then at least with a minimum amount of stress.
3. Who Are You Prepping For?
Now we start to get into the nitty-gritty of your plan. It is important to understand who you are prepping for. Is it just yourself and your partner (if you have one), or an extended family? Are there infants or toddlers involved? What about physically challenged, or elderly members of your family. Don’t forget about the family dog or cat, and your farm animals.
As you prepare a strategy to meet your prepping goals, things can get out of hand quickly. It takes money to prep so even though you may want to take care of everyone, doing so can put a huge strain on the family budget. If you are lucky enough to have family members who are on board with prepping, you can ask them to participate, even if all that means is they clean and repurpose soda bottles so they can be filled with tap water and stored for an emergency.
At the end of the day, though, you must be realistic and remember that having the time and resources to live your life in the here and now is important too. Go slowly as you expand your preps to include others. Do not cannibalize your own life for the sake of something that may or may not happen.
4. What Are You Preparing For?
Are periodic power outages your concern, or is it the the big earthquake that is past due along the Cascadia Fault? Is it a hurricane or is it global economic collapse? If you are a prepper newbie, I tend to recommend that you initially focus on disruptive events that are geographically specific to where you live.
If you are new to an area and even if you are not, your county will have an emergency services department with plenty of information describing the types of disasters and freaks of mother nature that can occur in your community. Take advantage of this information.
5. Where Do I Start?
Getting started when you are at prepping ground zero can be overwhelming. I get that. That being said, the fact you are reading this article is a good start.
Beyond that, get your water, food and first aid supplies in order, as well as a stash of cash for those times when the ATM is not working.
6. How Long Do You Want Your Preps to Last?
This is another reality check. Although it would be nice to say “forever”, unless you have a self-sufficient farm and everything that goes along with it, a forever goal is not realistic.
Why not start with a week, then expand to a month? After you have met that goal,, decide whether you would prefer to prep for more people, or perhaps to extend the period to three months or a year. Have a discussion with yourself and decide what is right for you, your temperament, and your feelings about the likelihood of a major disruptive event. occurring in the near future.
The Final Word
It is easy to say “plan first, prepare second”, but even planning can be overwhelming. I know that when I first started to prep, I armed myself with a 20 page checklist to use to begin the planning process. After an hour, I set it aside and chartered my own course. Thus was the beginning of Backdoor Survival and my own common sense approach to preparedness.
As a call to action, it is time to revisit the basics. The moment is now.
It really is a luxury to have an appliance that makes things very cold (or freezes them) in the heat of summer. But it’s a luxury that many people have become far too reliant upon. What happens to the 100 pounds of meat and fish you stored in the freezer…after the power goes out…when it’s 100 degrees outside? It’s not pretty, I’ll tell you that much. I had a freezer break down in the mid-summer heat a few years ago. It was a freezer full of animal hides, feathers, brain-tanned buckskin in process, and the meat from two whitetail deer. The freezer was in an outbuilding, and I didn’t discover the mess until it had all liquefied and the stench was apparent from outside the building. I don’t want anybody to go through something like that, especially during a summer utility outage. So here are a few ideas about what to keep and what not to keep in your freezer, just in case your power goes out this season.
1. Set Up an Ice Cube Watchdog
Planning a summer vacation or some other exodus? That’s great. But what if your power is out for days while you’re gone, the food in your freezer spoils, then the power comes back and the freezer re-freezes it? Chances are good that eating this food would make you sick, perhaps very sick. But there’s a simple way to see if your freezer was off in your absence. Fill a cup with ice cubes and leave it in your freezer. As long as your ice cubes look like separate ice cubes, your freezer stayed below freezing. But if you open the freezer one day and find a cup of frozen water—your power was off long enough for everything to melt before it re-froze. If that’s the case, the food shouldn’t be considered safe for human consumption.
2. Keep It Full
We’ve all heard that a stuffed freezer is more efficient, but do we really want it stuffed with food that would be wasted in a lengthy power outage? I keep lots of ice in my freezer, a bit of ice cream or some other frozen treats, and not much else. In an outage, I can use the ice to keep the fridge food cold for an extra day and when the ice has melted—use it for drinking water. It’s great to have extra food, but you’ll be better off canning or drying your meat and other foods rather than taking the risk of losing them in the freezer.
3. Consider a Generator
If you already have a freezer full of meat, and aren’t interested in canning it all, then make plans to keep the freezer running with a generator. If you cannot afford to buy one, line up a loan from a friend or family member who has one. I’m usually opposed to generators. The noise, the dangerous fumes, the fire hazard, and the potentially limited fuel supply have turned me away from the standard gas powered generator, but it does still have its uses.
Linked from: http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/3-ways-prep-your-fridge-and-freezer-summer-power-outage
Good things do not come easily. If you want something that is worthwhile and valuable then you will have to work hard at it consistently with patience. In our society we are used to having everything quickly such as microwavable food, fast food and ordering things online. Then when something that we really want becomes hard or takes too long we get frustrated and discouraged.
When I became interested in the preparedness idea it was hard for me to pinpoint how to start or where to begin. Searching on the internet resulted in hundreds of websites and YouTube videos each with differing views and experiences. I became overwhelmed and discouraged. I began to feel it wasn’t worth the time to sift through the information to truly become prepared.
However, everyday I see on the news and read in the papers daily what is happening in our world. Natural disasters are happening more frequently. Violence and hatred is at an all-time high in this world. Then seeing the economy tanking with millions of people out of jobs I realized that it worthwhile to be prepared now.
Ultimately it was a verse of scripture that I came across that made the difference. In Proverbs 22:3 it says“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” Now you may not be a Christian or even believe in a deity but you cannot deny the wisdom of that verse. How many times have we seen societies and even regular people neglect to take heed to warning signs ending in tragedy?
As I continue this prepper journey there are challenges that I face almost daily. It can be easy to let discouragement turn us around and neglect the warning signs that we see every day. It gets hard but I believe that it is worth it to continue on. Our work will not be done in vain.
With that being said I believe there are a few challenges that every prepper will face during their journey. So I have included my suggestions on how to overcome those challenges.
8 Challenges Every New Prepper Will Face
1. Not knowing where to start
As I mentioned when I began my prepper journey I was clueless on whereto start. I didn’t know any dedicated prepper. My family members do not believe in the same way of thinking so I couldn’t ask them for advice.
Therefore, I turned to the wonderful world of the internet where many believe if it is on the internet then it must be true. I spent endless hours studying and sifting through the knowledge available in order to find a foundation to build on top of.
Eventually after much studying of how to get started I was able to put together a plan. This wasn’t a concrete plan but is something that is ever evolving. Either way it is important to have a plan instead of mindlessly wandering buying gear here and there.
In a previous post Must Have Prepper Gear and Where to Start I outlined that plan. It helped me determine what dangers are most likely to happen in comparison to other threats. From there I was able to prioritize those threats by first getting a better understanding of them.
For example, you don’t want to build a fall out bunker because you saw it on Doomsday Preppers but not be prepared for a hurricane if you live in Florida. Yes, a nuclear attack may happen but the likelihood that you will face a hurricane is a lot higher. Therefore you need to identify the threats and prioritize them using that post.
2. Disapproval from friends and family
In our society people call someone who is a prepper crazy because they believe in being prepared for disasters instead of depending on a government to save them. People have become so mindless that they believe something similar to a small pox outbreak could never happen in our time. Then when they meet someone who does it shocks them. The media has painted preppers to be crazy conspiracy enthusiasts which is true to extent but doesn’t apply to everyone who calls themselves a prepper.
As a single person I’m not dependent upon the approval of a wife or kids. That is much more challenging especially if you are a new prepper and your spouse is not on board. Many times they will roll their eyes at you or scold you for spending so much money on supplies.
In a previous post by Dan Sullivan he explains how you can be a prepper without looking crazy. Our goal shouldn’t be to control family members into believing what we believe. Instead we should try to speak their language. For example, they may not believe in the potential of martial law being instituted but they could be concerned about an earthquake in your area. Try finding their fears and speak their language to encourage them about the importance of being prepared.
3. Finding storage for your preps
As an apartment prepper it is extremely challenging to find space to store emergency supplies. You don’t have a garage or able to expand your property to fit everything. Storing food alone is challenging. Then you have to find where to store gear.
This challenge is not only for the apartment prepper. Even if you have a house you could be very limited to space due to having a family with kids. So we have to find creative ways to build storage.
On Pinterest there are tons of articles on prepper storage that you can find to help you to either build your own storage or find small living hacks. Another good option is look into renting off site storage. Now I would recommend having the essentials in your house along with at least a 30 day supply of food. The remainder can be stored in these off-site locations. This is also good if you are raided and your supplies are stolen. Off-site storage will give you a backup solution.
4. Getting caught up in prepper fantasies
A lot of new preppers have seen episodes of Doomsday Prepper and are attracted by what they see. They see these bunkers and weapons thinking that it is all there is too prepping. They are made to believe that they could be a one man army against the world.
I hear it all the time from new preppers when they are just getting started with building a bug out bag first. They think that it is going to be like on the tv shows where they can evade danger to live in the woods without facing any challenges. Of course they don’t realize that bugging out should be the very last option to consider. You should be more focused on bugging in.
5. Too much focus on gear and not survival
Don’t get me wrong, this blog is about prepper gear where I share reviews of what I buy along with DIY survival gear. But the focus should not be on the gear when you first get started. The focus should be on surviving. You can survive without a lot of the gear that is available. Prepper gear just helps make it easier. However, if your gear breaks or fails then you better be able to survive without it.
When it comes to survival you want to follow the rule of 3’s. This rule states that you can survive only 3 seconds without hope, 3 minutes without air or blood, 3 hours in extreme weather conditions, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. So you should learn the survival basics of each. For example you can learn how to filter and purify water so that it is drinkable. You could also practice building a fire to survive extreme weather conditions and so on.
6. Lack of money to purchase gear
A lot of us are feeling the effects of an economy that is suffering. Even if the economy is doing well there will still be a lot of us that will still be suffering. This makes it almost impossible to buy high quality gear because it can get pretty pricey.
This is why I share my experience purchasing prepper gear and testing it on this blog. I can’t afford some of the high end stuff. So I purchase the best possible gear at the most reasonable price. Don’t get me wrong you pay for what you get. Therefore if you buy generic then you are buying generic quality which typically isn’t great. So you will have to sacrifice sometimes.
However, I try to provide you with the best possible price for the gear that I review and why I recommend purchasing from there. Most of my gear is purchased through companies on Amazon because I don’t want to search all over the internet to find gear. But there will be some gear that is not available on Amazon that I will purchase as well.
In my post 7 Great Inexpensive Places to Buy Prepper Gear I include a lot of great places to check out. Some include yard sales, Goodwill, army surplus, etc. Sometimes we may have to start with cheaper gear just to have something there quickly available until you can afford the better quality item.
Being a prepper is a lifestyle. It isn’t something that is done overnight. You will never be finished being prepared because there is always going to be something better to buy and learn.
7. Becoming fearful and overwhelmed
During my prepper journey there was a time that I felt extremely overwhelmed and stressed. I believed that I didn’t have enough gear and didn’t have enough survival skills. I felt like there was an imminent danger.
There is that fear that will be present when it comes to being a prepper. This is especially true if you get caught up in a lot of internet shows and conspiracy theorists who live off of the fears of others. Be very weary of people who constantly keeping you in fear in order to get you to purchase their products. Stuff like that can drive you insane and into poverty.
Eventually you will have to realize that even if you are at least somewhat prepared you are still more prepared than millions of others in this world. For example 53% of Americans do not have 3 days of emergency supplies. So if you even have three days worth of supplies you are more prepared than millions of people in the United States.
8. Meeting other like-minded preppers
One funny thing that I have learned about preppers is that they are very suspicious of other people especially if you are also a prepper. Many of them believe that if they let you know that you are a prepper then you are going to come to their house and raid them when SHTF. So they don’t bother bonding together to build prepper communities. This has been especially challenging for me.
There are few places or things that you can do to meet like-minded people. You can find a local amateur radio club in your area. A lot of the people who are HAM operators are preppers or are like minded.
Another great option to find like-minded people is to visit a gun range frequently. You can also join a local rifle club or gun enthusiasts club. Many of those people are concerned about defending themselves and others in times of a disaster.
One final suggestion is that you can find a local survival or bush craft group. A lot of survivalists and bush crafters are also concerned with preparedness but may not necessarily call themselves a prepper.
The Doomsday Clock Just Struck Midnight: What’s Your First Move?
The word doomsday can be considered Prepper terminology now, because of the show “Doomsday Preppers”, because of the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world, and because some people just love the sound of the word. Doomsday is the final reckoning, the end of the world, and where some people are called to account for their actions in life.
Mostly today, the word is used to define a catastrophe that would change the world, as we know it, change, and never be the same again, so the clock strikes midnight. Are you ready, and if you are decisions must be made, and your survival hinges on those decisions. If you are not ready, then assumedly, you will not live long enough to make any first moves.
1. Do a Medical Check and Render Aid If Needed
Is anyone in the group or family injured? Assess quickly, because injuries can influence all of your decisions from this point forward. Some injured people cannot be moved, and if you had planned to bug-out or feel the need to evacuate, then injuries change the plans. Go to plan “B”, you do have a plan B right?
2. Is Everyone Accounted For
If not, do you have the means to contact them if the grid is down, or for whatever reason the power is disrupted? Is there a staging area, and it does require prior planning. You cannot meet up if there is not a pre-designated area in which to meet. Disasters will occur while people are at work, at school and simply when they are out and about. You need to plan for this.
3. Do I Stay or Do I Go: Good Intel Is Important
The title may be misleading. Once disaster strikes, you usually do not make any moves until you have gathered some intelligence. Rushing headlong into the dark night may create a crisis in and of itself. In other words, do not panic, and then make impulsive decisions until you know what the situation is.
This is where good intelligence gathering skills come into play. There is passive gathering, which is ongoing before the crisis and then active gathering once in the midst of a crisis. The information gathered daily is used to piece together what brought the situation to a head and then you need real time Intel as the disaster unfolds. As stated earlier, communications are important, scanners, Ham radios, two-way radios and person-to-person encounters are just a few Intel gathering methods.
4. Are You Secure
First, you have to know if there is an imminent threat or if there could be. Was there a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack, or are there suicide bombers setting off their explosive vests in various locations. A nuclear, chemical, or biological attack close to your home requires an immediate response by you. You have to either evacuate or get into a protective posture, which would be a bunker or protective clothing and respirators.
You should have a plan for securing your home because now is not the time to wonder about security. You would need to know your battle space, the space where you would have to engage those wishing you and yours harm. You would need to know who walks the perimeter and who stays inside the shelter. This requires planning and practice drills, so everyone knows to go to his or her battle stations if you will, once disaster strikes.
5. Everyone Shoulders Their Bug-Out Bags
You may not have to move, but you have to be ready to move. Everyone needs their own bug-out-bag, or go-bag, action bag or call it what you will, so if someone gets separated they have the means to survive alone.
Everyone must be ready to move to a rallying point, or to evacuate to a bug-out-location, emergency shelters or to some other safe structure. You must always have shelter in mind whether it is your current one or an alternative one.
If you haven’t already, then cache some supplies on your property, so if the home is destroyed, or overrun you can resupply. Assign this task, while others stay on guard. Ideally, you would have supplies already cached, but it is better late than never. The thing about plans is that most of them do not work as intended once the action starts, so you have to adapt on the fly.
Establish contact with neighbors, and others, because they may have information you do not have, and they may have certain skill sets that you can use. Previous articles have talked about the need to network somewhat, so you know who is living next door or in the immediate area, such as doctors, carpenters, retired police or military personnel and others that may have critical skills.
If you haven’t figured it out already planning is important and the above are just a few of the things that have to be done before anything else and Intel gathering, for example, must be ongoing so you have the information at hand to make decisions as to your next move.
It’s That Time of Year Again: Prepping for Cold and Flu Season
What could be more beneficial to you in the advent of the Common Cold/Flu season than knowledge on how to treat and prevent them from occurring in the first place? Except maybe some of JJ’s chicken soup (which is pretty darn good, by the way….I make it with rice and a ton of celery and carrots)? Well, I can’t send all the soup, so this will have to suffice. Take this info along with you as the weather cools and you’re spending more time camping and hiking in the cold weather.
The Cold Hard Facts on the Common Cold
The Common Cold is defined as an acute infection of any and all parts of the respiratory tract from the nasal mucosa to the nasal sinuses, throat, larynx, trachea, and bronchi. Most people come down with a cold at least once per year. School-aged children are most susceptible due to the facts that their immune system is not as highly developed as and adults, and that they are in close proximity to a larger “pool” of sick little minnows. Perhaps that is where the word “school” takes its true meaning! Cigarette smokers also have a higher risk and longer recovery time for the cold.
In terms of etiology, more than 200 different viruses can cause the common cold. Some examples are rhinoviruses, adenoviruses, and coronaviruses. For this reason (size and diversity of the viral origin) it is very difficult to identify the exact cause of the organism. The colds are never really cured; for the most part, the symptoms are addressed and an attempt is made to ameliorate the sufferer’s condition. The common cold causes more lost work time and absence from school than any other ailment.
On average, people in the U.S. spend more than $1 billion each year on nonprescription medicines and treatments for the common cold and its symptoms.The symptoms include (but are not limited to):
- the swelling of nasal mucosa, increased mucus production
- swelling of the throat lining
- sinus pressure with or without watery eyes
- loss of sleep.
The symptoms can last anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. Should the cold run longer than 10 days, be accompanied by fever, or have systemic conditions, this may be an indication that something more serious is underlying. In this case, contact your physician for an appointment immediately.
How to Get Better
The offending organism/virus may be present in nasal secretions for 1 week or even longer past the initial onset of the signs and symptoms. It is important for this reason alone to dispose of all Kleenex and tissue paper used to expel mucous, and to control handkerchiefs so they have no contact with anyone else. As mentioned earlier, patients treat the symptoms and suffer through the cold until it has run its course. There are several over-the-counter (OTC) medications available to the cold-afflicted person.
Analgesics: painkillers for aches, pains, and muscular soreness; some are also fever-reducers; these include Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Aspirin, and Ibuprofen (Motrin). Follow the instructions on the label. Generally they should be taken with food and water.
Antihistamines: these decrease the nasal secretions of mucous by blocking the actions of histamine. One example is Chlorpheniramine.
Cough Medicines: these fall into two general categories – 1. Expectorants: these increase the amount of phlegm and mucous production to make the cough more productive; the secretions gradually remove the organism. An example is Guaifenisin. 2. Antitussives: these reduce the coughing. Dextromethorphan is an example.
Decongestants: they shrink the blood vessels of the nasal passages and help to relieve edema (swelling) and the congestion. An example is Pseudeoephedrine hydrochloride (Sudafed), of which now you have to show your driver’s license to buy it OTC: government approval to insure you’re not using it to make Methamphetamines.
There are also some natural aids that can help in your supportive care and may aid in your recovery. Vitamin C is recommended by Dr. Balch to fight cold viruses, in amounts ranging from 5,000 to 20,000 mg daily.Although citrus fruits and juices are rich in Vitamin C, you’ll have to find a reliable supplement to provide the amounts listed in the above recommendation.
Eucalyyptus oil can be found in your friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart and in your health food stores. The oil is useful in combating congestion. Place 5 drops in your bath, or 6 drops per cup of boiling water as a steam inhalant to loosen the congestion. Read any instructions on the label from the manufacturer.
Tea Tree oil can also be found in the aforementioned sources. The oil is helpful with sore throats. Place 3-6 drops in warm water and gargle with it up to 3 times per day, and remember: do not drink it. Spit it out. Follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s label, as different brands have different concentrations.
Garlic (Allium sativum) is (as usual) the all-around wonder herb. Garlic is effective in preventing the common cold, reducing recovery time, and reducing symptom duration. The herb is available in capsule or tablet form in the aforementioned establishments, and as a solid or aqueous extract in your health food concerns. Daily dosage is 4 grams of fresh garlic per day. A clove can be consumed 1-2 times per day, or up to 8 mg essential oil.
Influenza is another virus to worry about during the colder months. It has plagued man throughout the ages and is only now in the “infancy stages” of being understood, especially in function. The disease (seasonal) is described as being an acute, contagious, respiratory infection with fever, headache, and cough, originating with a virus (influenza A, in 65% of cases, or influenza B, in 35% of cases). Incubation is usually 1-3 days with the illness running its course in about a week. There are more than 400 types of viruses. Current antiviral medications include amantadine and rimantadine.
Over-the-counter medications are for treatment of symptoms while the body is fighting the infection and recovering. Such medications are guaifenisin (an expectorant),acetaminophen (fever and pain), and robitussin (cough), among others. We are all undoubtedly familiar with them. So how do viruses work? What are they? Let us explore some basics to better understand them.
Treating the Influenza Virus
Influenza has plagued man throughout the ages and is only now in the “infancy stages” of being understood, especially in function. The disease (seasonal) is described as being an acute, contagious, respiratory infection with fever, headache, and cough, originating with a virus (influenza A, in 65% of cases, or influenza B, in 35% of cases). Incubation is usually 1-3 days with the illness running its course in about a week. Current antiviral medications include amantadine and rimantadine.
Over-the-counter medications are for treatment of symptoms while the body is fighting the infection and recovering. Such medications are guaifenisin (an expectorant),acetaminophen (fever and pain), and robitussin (cough), among others. We are all undoubtedly familiar with them. So how do viruses work? What are they? Let us explore some basics to better understand them.
There are more than 400 types of viruses. A virus is basically a pathogen with a protein coating containing nucleic acids. They are broken down and classified by several methods pertaining to their physiology: 1. Genome (RNA or DNA), 2. Host/target (bacteria, plant, or animal), 3. Reproduction mode, 4. Mode of transmission, and 5. Disease/illness effected.
The influenza virus is absorbed by its “victim,” or host (either respiration or ingestion usually), and then it attaches itself to the cell wall of one of the host’s cells. The virus then injects its viral-DNA into the cell where it synthesizes with cellular DNA and proteins. Such is its process of reproduction, and its unit is referred to as a phage. The cell’s own machinery is utilized to reproduce more phages. The cell becomes “overcrowded” with phages and the cell wall lyses (or ruptures) to release untold numbers of new individual phages to (each) begin the cycle again.
Sometimes the phages form small “buds” that break off and infect another cell. One of the problems with viruses is that they can have antigens, which are protein markers normally recognizable to our body’s White Blood Cells (WBC’s); the antigens mutate frequently, and this is the problem. The WBC’s cannot recognize the new, mutated antigen as the problem. Immunoglobulins are antibodies, and these are confounded by the change/mutation that prevents them from working effectively against the new form of the virus.
Viruses are very small, requiring (in most cases) an electron microscope to be able to detect them. The field of comparison could be likened in this manner: a bacterial cell can be likened to the size of a bus, and a virus would be likened to a marble on that bus. Provided please find a list of definitions that will help you that you can refer to in the subsequent article:
Virulence – the relative power and degree of pathogenicity possessed by organisms.
Retroviruses – (Retroviridae); these viruses contain reverse transcriptase, an enzyme essential for reverse transcription, i.e., production of a DNA molecule from an RNA model.
Neuraminidase – an enzyme present on the surface of influenza virus particles; enables the virus to separate from the cell.
Cytokine – One of more than 100 distinct proteins produced by WBC’s. Provide signals to stimulate specific immune response during inflammation/infection.
Incubation – The interval between exposure to infection and the appearance of the first symptom.
You may be wondering a few things, but mainly, why all this? You needed a few basics and some notes to help you with your understanding of the mechanics of the virus and how it affects you. In order to provide clear-cut, factual information without continually explaining terms, these basics have been provided. “What about naturopathic cures for seasonal influenza?” may be your next question? You already have heard of standard herbal and natural foods to help with influenza (seasonal), such as Echinacea or Elderberry. Such foods as these, in the case of the Ebola virus, or even the (almost forgotten) H5N1 (Bird flu virus)…these herbs will be detrimental to you.
In the case of the “standard” seasonal flu, however, Echinacea and Elderberry are just fine. Echinacea refers to the Purple Coneflower, primarily (Echinacea purpurea), and this is available in many different forms (capsule, liquid, and other forms). Daily dosage is 900 mg of drug for a maximum duration of 8 weeks.
Echinacea refers to the Purple Coneflower, primarily (Echinacea purpurea), and this is available in many different forms (capsule, liquid, and other forms). Daily dosage is 900 mg of drug for a maximum duration of 8 weeks.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) can shorten the duration and severity of the flu. The daily dosage is 10 – 15 grams. With it and with Echinacea, check the label to see the proper dosage, as each can be found in varying strengths and concentrations as per the manufacturer.
Please keep in mind that all of the aforementioned naturopathic aids are supportive in nature and are an adjunct, not a substitute for a doctor’s care. Consult with your friendly and happy family physician prior to taking any actions regarding any information provided in this article. Be well.
OK, so you’re a little annoyed whenever you buy new preps because some cashiers have clever remarks as to the quantity of food you’re getting and… you find yourself in need of some clever answers.
Not to worry, I’ve got plenty of comebacks for you and I’m sure you’ll love them. Of course, which ones you use depends on what you’re buying and what they are asking so you don’t want to fixate on one or two that you like best. You should know all of them and, even better, you should come up with your own clever lines to say to them,
Before we begin, just remember cashiers are people like you and me and they’re just making small talk, nothing more. So don’t act or be paranoid, you’ve got other people interested in your preps besides them.
#1. Don’t say anything.
Or you can just say “yeah” and leave it at that. if you’re not gonna say anything, they might think you’re prepping but who cares? At least it won’t bother you that much because you ended everything before it began.
#2. “I’m going camping…”
…with my whole family. Which you probably should, anyway. No one can deny that a lot of the stuff you’d buy for stockpiling purposes would be useful when camping. It’s a good excuse and most people will buy it.
#3. “I have a big family event coming up.”
That could mean up to 20 or even 30 people! Of course, this won’t work if you’re getting canned food, MREs or freeze dried. It does work when you’re stocking up on beans, rice, water, pasta, salmon, cooking oil, spices, baking soda, vinegar, tea and coffee.
#4. “I’m prepping for Doomsday.” (sarcastically)
You want to say it sarcastically because then you’re sure they won’t believe you. On the other hand, if you truly don’t care of what others say and think, you probably don’t need to read this article at all.
Of course, you don’t NEED to say this word by word. It doesn’t matter how you phrase it as long as you come across congruent.
#5. Just say “Yes” or “No”
When you give one word answers, the other person just… gives up.
#6. Say something funny.
So they might think you’re a little crazy but at least they won’t know what you’re up to. You can have any number of sarcastic comebacks such as:
- “I’m aiming for high blood pressure.”
- “I’m going back to the dating game and I plan to have a lot of dinner dates right at home.”
- “Just getting ready to watch the Superbowl.”
- “I’ll be placed under house arrest starting midnight for the next month or so.”
- “I’m doing food experiments at home.”
- “I’m giving all of this away to food banks.”
- “Yeah, this is for my pet rhino.”
- “This is exactly the reason they say you should never shop when you’re hungry.”
- “I’m really hungry tonight.”
Just be careful with these. Don’t use the ones that are too cocky unless the cashier is open and friendly, otherwise they’ll end up remembering you, the thing you were trying to avoid all along!
The whole idea about buying preps is to become gray and one of the ways you do that is by not standing out too much (or at all). And humor is a good way to do that, by the way.
#7. “I hate shopping and don’t do it very often.”
Well, it is believable, I guess. Cashiers aren’t supposed to be smart-asses so they’re not gonna say anything back. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with shopping every 3-4 weeks. You don’t have to say you hate it, you can just say it salves time.
#8. “I’m just building up a pantry.”
You can go on and say that it’s always smart to have a well-stocked pantry since food prices are rising and packages are getting smaller. Plus, you can let them know that these foods have a very high shelf life, just to subtly assure them everything’s normal.
#9. “I’m stockpiling for my hunting/fishing cabin.”
Another good comeback which works better when you’re not lying. If you really do have a hunting or a fishing cabin, you should definitely use this comeback. And you should lodge it stocked up, too, you might end up bugging out there.
#10. “I’m just helping out my church.”
Who can argue with that?
#11. “I have a large family.”
Are they gonna come home with you to find out? Nope.
#12. Turn the tables on them
A fantastic way to avoid answering too many questions is to start asking questions yourself. This way, the cashier will end up talk more than you and forget all about how much you’re buying.
What you need is a good hook but it can’t be something unrelated to their comment. For example, if they’re asking why you’re buying so much rice, you can change the subject but you can use “rice” as a hook:
Yeah, I’m not sure which one is better, though, white or brown? White is tastier and has longer shelf life but brown is healthier.
And you take it from there.
#13. “I’m shopping for the restaurant where I work.”
Well, it can happen that a restaurant runs out of food and needs a few quick supplies, right? Another way of looking at it is that SHTF in that restaurant but you probably don’t want to mention this to the cashier.
It just works, particularly if the cashier is cute. And if she’s not, she probably doesn’t get a lot of attention…
Do You Really Need to Do This?
Not really but I found that the less arguments, the more peaceful I feel. Even when you don’t want to admit it, other people’s words, can get to you so the less you hear the better.
Last but not least, don’t forget that a cashier’s job is also to be friendly and make small talk. In the vast majority of cases, they won’t even remember what you told them after two minutes. They make small talk just to be polite and someone buying too much of one thing is always a good excuse.
How can you completely avoid these remarks?
If you’re not comfortable having to explain complete strangers why you’re buying so much of one thing, you can just avoid everything by:
- buying less stuff more frequently;
- noticing when there are different cashiers so they don’t remember you;
- buying in different places;
- sending your wife or kids for you;
- buying online;
- buying directly from farmers.