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.
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.
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.
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:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator  from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses , excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper . These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees  in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product  from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses .
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator  provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4  Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of  Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack , a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners , donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections , a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances , and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord  (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
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.