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:

  • Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance from diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Respiratory collapse or pneumonia brought on by respiratory infection or flu, and
  • Localized infections leading to sepsis, systemic shock, and collapse.


People in disasters are forced to ingest food and drink that is of questionable quality and purity. Add to that a change in diet and high stress loads, and you find people who may experience severe nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. The few victims in Africa who actually survived the Ebola virus had the common sense to chug down electrolyte drinks between the bouts of vomiting and diarrhea until their bodies could finally develop an immunity to the virus. Remember that even if the patient can’t keep their stomach contents down, you can still use an electrolyte/fluid mixture through an enema to rehydrate them. Realizing that powders generally store longer than liquids, it makes sense to stock up on Gatorade Powder Mix, electrolyte powders, and tablets.

Electrolyte Tabs and More For Your Kit

Medi-Lyte electrolyte tabs are available on amazon and are also great for working in the heat of summer! These have the electrolyte salts in them without all the food coloring, sugar, and flavors that are found in sports drinks. The same company also makes Diotame tabs (generic Peptobismol) and Medi-Meclizine tabs (anti-nausea) in boxes of 100 or more. Sam’s Club and Walmart sell the generic Imodium. All of these should be in your medical kit. You need to stock up on it now, as the FDA is pushing manufacturers to blister pack (severely limiting the amount of generic Imodium available), due to reported cases of overdosing!

Colds and Flu

Winter time is associated with colds and flu. Prior to modern medicines, many common colds went into the lungs and set up infections, resulting in bronchitis, pneumonia, and death. In addition to antibiotics, stock up on expectorant (to remove mucus from lungs and sinuses), decongestant (to dry up runny noses), cough medicine (for dry unproductive coughs), NSAIDS, Tylenol, aspirin for pain/fever reducer.

Skin Irritations and Infections

Working longer in the gardens and fields will cause more allergies, bug bites, skin abrasions, cuts, and infections. In addition to oral antibiotics for serious infections, stock up on triple antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone 1% crème , calamine lotion, ichthammol drawing salve, peroxide, alcohol, betadyne, Benedryl tabs and crème, and bandages. Check at Dollar Tree or other dollar stores for best savings. Unattended local infections can progress to gangrene, sepsis, and death. A little triple antibiotic on a cut may literally save life and limb.

Durable Medical Equipment and Supplies

Preppers know the importance of storing up months supplies of their life-saving prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal remedies, but have they thought of durable medical equipment and supplies. Most preppers have the first aid and military IFAK kits, but what about the equipment and supplies needed for the long-term convalescent period that follows illness and injury? These durable items can be stored in attics and garages, as they are not usually temperature sensitive. While it is prudent to have medicines and herbals in stock, likewise it is prudent to save and put away any splints, braces, crutches, wheelchairs, walkers, even bedside commodes that may come your way in your journeys.

A Velcro back brace available at the home improvement stores is a life saver for when you “pull out” your back. These cost about $20 and are worth every penny. Sure, I look like a Sam’s employee wearing one. But they work wonders in helping my sore back to heal fast! Twenty years ago I badly sprained my wrist. The physician fitted me with a wrist/hand splint. I can’t tell how many times over the years that same splint has saved me another trip back to the doctor.

A few years back I ran across the remnants of an old Civil Defense Hospital. All the medical equipment was gone, save some leg splints and about 17 olive drab stretchers. For the $35 it cost me, I have been able to distribute these items to prepper families to care for and move the wounded in some future disaster. They also can double as cots for extended family to sleep on.

Bedding and Hygiene Items

Remember to stock up on extra bedding and hygiene items as well. If you blew your OPSEC at work or at family gatherings, be prepared to have more family, friends, and coworkers on your porch than you ever thought possible when “it” happens. Pillows, wool blankets, mattresses, good quality sheets, towels, and washcloths will be in short supply as urban refugees (some possibly injured) move out to the countryside and towards your home.

Exotic Items for Your Medical Arsenal

Having covered some basics let’s cover a few of the exotic items preppers should consider for their medical arsenal. We are familiar with the fish antibiotics like “FishMox” and other available antibiotics for infections. But what about other diseases? With modern hygiene and pesticides, America has eliminated the malaria problem that so badly plagues the third world. In a grid down situation where public hygiene is gone and pesticides disappear, there would occur a roaring resurgence of third world diseases here in the U.S. Survivors will create ponds and pools everywhere to collect rainwater for drinking and bathing, and this will cause mosquito populations to soar.

Malaria Outbreak

Of the known diseases, malaria has the distinction of being the largest killer of mankind in history. Billions have died from it. (Some scientists claim that almost half of humanity has died from it.) In 2016, there were 216 million cases worldwide. It currently threatens half of the earth’s population even with modern technology. One solution would be to stock up on tonic water or lemon bitters, which has quinine as a main ingredient. Gin and tonic originated in India, where the “tonic” water with quinine was added to spirits to prevent that dreaded disease.

A liter of tonic water today is limited by the FDA to about 83mg of quinine in it. The daily therapeutic dose of quinine is in the range of 500-1000 mg every eight hours (or 2100 mg daily for a 150-lb man, according to Wikipedia). That is a lot of tonic to drink! While many of you might think that malaria is only found in the tropical jungles, that is not true. Malaria was recently discovered in Fairbanks, Alaska, where it killed the chickadees there. So why it probably won’t be common in the Northern climes, still America has many warm moist climates that would be perfect breeding grounds for this plague.

Quinine for Parasites

Quisulex 250 mg quinine capsules (on ebay and online) are made for eliminating parasites (malaria is a parasitic disease) from fish aquariums. These capsules are not intended for human consumption. But if I had malaria in a grid down situation, believe me, I would take whatever I could to avoid the horrible night sweats, shakes, and fever from that dreaded disease. Just watch some jungle war movies, and it will make a believer of you too. Although other newer and superior antimalarial drugs are available, this one is available easily without prescription. WHO recommends taking quinine with clindamycin for pregnant females, and quinine with doxycycline for non-gravid folks. It’s available for your fish with 50 caps for $25 on ebay.

Again, thinking out of the box, look for inexpensive medical supplies in any good farm and ranch store. There you will find plenty of vet meds, dressings, and supplies available at much lower prices. Elastic wraps, bandages, penicillin, Kaolin Pectin, antiseptics, liniments, DMSO, and the like. Some meds may require a vet script, due to recent government regulations.

Nuclear War

Another exotic topic but rapidly becoming mainstream is prepping for nuclear war. Unthinkable a decade ago, today we are on a razor thin margin of the unthinkable happening. Many Christians, including me, have had dreams of nuclear war. I can even name some of the cities shown in my dreams. Since our beloved Federal government no longer cares for its citizens, what are we to do here in America?

In this article let me center on meds and supplies to have on hand as radiation shielding, sheltering, and air filtering would be another full article. Some of the items needed are:

  • Duct tape and plastic to seal off windows and doors for preventing radioactive fallout contamination from getting into your home.
  • Potassium Iodate tablets or iodine solution to apply to stomach and forearms for slow absorption of good iodine into your system. This blocks radioactive iodine from concentrating and burning out your thyroid. (This is most important for growing children.)
  • Calcium-based antacid tabs, calcium citrate (Citracal) or powdered/canned milk to saturate your body with calcium to block or minimize radioactive strontium-90 uptake in the bones as well as radioactive iodine found in milk from exposed animals.


  • Sauerkraut, cabbage, coleslaw, broccoli, cauliflower should be put up to eat after an attack to minimize radiation damage. I freeze dry coleslaw for that purpose. Please do a Google search on “Georgetown University Lethal Radiation”. Rats and mice subjected to lethal doses of radiation were fed the above food and survived while the control group fed their regular diet, died as expected. They don’t know what compound found in this food group works to help the body heal the radiation damage, but it works. Of course they can’t go and irradiate humans in lethal doses to do a similar study, so this is as good as it gets for now.


Perhaps you laughed at my suggestion to put up a medical bedside commode. Well how would you like to teeter over a plastic 5-gallon bucket to do your business while sheltering in place? Or would you rather put a liner in that bucket and set it under a foldable bedside commode with handrails on it? For seniors, it’s a no brainer. For a grid down situation or home without true septic system, these toilets are great in an emergency. Finally if you have to go outside in nuclear fallout conditions, it would be good to wear a Tyvek suit or rain suit, gas mask, rubber gloves, and disposable or washable boots. These could also double for use in dealing with the dead and properly disposing of their remains.

Tomorrow we will continue to look at health and hygiene tips. We will begin with hygiene and move to the solar shower.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 75 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

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Round 75 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Great reminder to check my list; thanks! The only thing I need is the quinine. I have home made Sauerkraut, but I should make more; other veges are FD and stored. My grand kids think my supply of plastic drop cloths are for them! HAHAHA

  2. Some good points. Regarding the use of electrolyte salts it is my understanding that sugar mixed with the electrolyte makes it easier for the body to assimilate it. Also dehydration is (generally) a bigger problem for children and electrolyte drinks with sugar and perhaps flavoring are more likely to be consumed, especially in the quantities required, by children if it is appealing.

    1. At this house, as a 85-year old a live-alone, I do what my neighbors tell me when dehydration happens or loss of fluids follows incidents of diarrhea which is common for me. The neighbors are two RNs; she, aught nursing for many years and he who also is a paramedic, first responder and ambulance driver. Their counsel was to keep on hand short-term in the ‘fridge a liter of cooled water containing two (2) teaspoons of sugar, one-quarter (1/4) teaspoon of regular baking soda and one-quarter (1/4) teaspoon of salt. Mix thoroughly and drink regularly after dehydration until it is gone, then mix up another liter and keep up drinking it until you feel better. It has worked for me for years of such problems as described above.

  3. Great article! If one reads or watches war movies on Netflix, you see nurses boiling used and bloody white bandages. Sometimes you see volunteers tearing sheets into strips for bandages.

    Once the gauze, bandaids, Kerlix have all been used, plain white sheets may be very useful. It’s easy to find plain sheets at Goodwill. A large cauldron for an outside fire may be harder to find. Do you have a clothesline and clothespins? I got my heirloom quality clothespins from Herrick Kimball of Planet Whizbang. (No relation, don’t know him, just a satisfied customer who appreciates a high quality, American made, built to last item.)

  4. Thanks for sharing, the quinine tablets weren’t on my list, and are now.

    Don’t forget isolation, decontamination and quarantine. In the event of exposure to most of your scenarios, being able to “process” an exposed family/group member matters. Being able to do so as comfortably as possible reduces the stress of it.

    If i have to go “outside” I really don’t want to drag something unintentionally in and expose my family.

  5. Nice, comprehensive article J.M. Good job. Just a few thoughts:

    1. Please, please include Chest Seals in your trauma kits! They’re lightweight, compact, easy to use and effective.

    2. Our family has switched from Gatorade to Vitalyte for a re-hydration / sports drink:

    3. Sorry, I was unable to find anything under “Quisulex” by that spelling. The current treatment standard for infection with Malaria parasites is “artemisinin-based combination therapy” (ACT).

    Of course obtaining the real-deal prescription medicines is preferable, but the “base” of this ACT strategy is an extract of wormwood, a recognized anti-parasitic.

    This page has a dosage: And this page is one of the arteminisinin products that are available:

    “In a study published in December 1994 in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, a treatment schedule of 2 x 500 mg of artemisinin (oral dose) per day for 48 hours was advised.

    This resulted in the necessary antimalarial plasma concentrations, even with poor bioavailability (absorption rate) and rapid elimination half-life of 2.59 plus or minus 0.55 hours.

    As a malaria preventative, the Artemisinin dose would be 100mg to 200mg three times a day.”

    Quinine is still used, but has some nasty side effects in higher dosages. And see: “Qualaquin” appears to be the only pure quinine product, available only as a prescription.

    That said, you can buy the bark from which quinine is extracted: Or a tincture, but I’m not at all sure how much Quinine is actually in it:

    If Quinine and antibiotics are all you’ve got you should read this page. Note the dosages: Note that the Quinine combinations are for actual concentrated prescription-strength Quinine.

    And for Quinine and Doxycycline: (Doxy is frequently taken as a preventative / prophylactic )

    4. Don’t forget Prussian Blue as a treatment for ingested radioactive particles. How might they get ingested? Breathing them or getting them in your mouth/nose/eyes and swallowing the subsequent saliva/mucus. Have a look:

    1. Malaria is very difficult to cure/treat. Quinine does not cure it or prevent it but merely treats some of the symptoms and even the experts don’t agree that it is effective for that. Most people, certainly most people in the 3rd world, who get malaria never cure it and merely suffer the reoccurring bouts of the disease.

  6. I suggest keeping a tube of silver solution. An antimicrobial silver wound gel. It is being used in hospitals and I have had great results using it for superficial wounds. Sold by Curad at my local Walgreen’s Store.

    INVENTED 1899
    I LIKE THE 4 LB 8 0Z

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