It is ideal and important to seek out medical care from qualified professionals. However, preppers are concerned about scenarios that can prevent access, such as weather extremes (hurricanes, ice storms, blizzards), civil unrest (riots, curfews), EMP, TEOTWAWKI, or pandemics/disasters, which can swamp the medical system. When illness or injury strikes, you will not have the time or inclination to read books or articles. I, therefore, propose the use of medical action sheets, and I want to share a few of those that I have written. In truth, I have given binders of these to my loved ones with the caveat that they use them only in a genuine situation as listed above and if I am unavailable to help them. As you read these lists, remember that I am not prescribing and urge you to review any plans with your medical professional who will tailor medical action sheets to your specific medical needs, conditions, allergies, and abilities.
Abscess and New Shingles Treatment (Herpes Simplex 2)
In Part 1, we will cover abscesses, which will happen more frequently under less sanitary situations and outdoor work, and shingles, which will occur more often under extreme stress. As with most medical problems, deal with them as soon as possible.
An abscess is a localized collection of pus due to infection. This may occur as a result of puncture or abrasion of the skin allowing bacteria to enter or may be secondary to obstruction of a hair follicle or oil or sweat gland.
In more difficult times, there will be more dirt on the skin and more opportunities for injury, which may lead to abscess formation. Those with weakened immune systems will be susceptible to more frequent abscesses. A collection of pus may come to a point and rupture on its own or may require hot soaks to promote formation of a head. At that time, incision and drainage may be performed under sterile conditions. Keep in mind that the pus pocket may have more than one chamber, necessitating the breaking down of interior walls to permit adequate emptying of the abscess. The pocket must then be irrigated/flushed with a syringe until the contents are thoroughly removed and only pink-tinged water returns. Warning signs of a more serious situation include fever, red streaks leading away from the abscess, or an abscess on the face. As always, seek help from a medical professional, if at all possible.
Medical Access Sheet- Abscess
The following is the medical access sheet for dealing with an abscess.
Examine to see if there’s a red, swollen, warm, painful mass, a yellow head/point or fluctuant surface, sometimes accompanied with fever. If not, apply hot soaks/cloth for 15 minutes every 2 hours to bring it to a head or “ripen” the abscess.
Do not squeeze. It may force the infection into deeper tissues or into the bloodstream causing dangerous sepsis (blood infection). For treatment, incise (cut) and drain the ripe abscess.
Steps to Incise and Drain the Ripe Abscess:
- Ice to numb (or lidocaine), cleanse skin, insert sterile blade perpendicular to skin, and use sterile hemostat to open any pus chambers. Can be multi-chambered.
- Irrigate with clean water in syringe until pus is gone.
- If medium or large abscess, very loosely pack it with betadine moistened gauze strips, leaving end(s) outside of skin. (Consider having a jar or two of ready-made iodoform gauze on hand. Grab the end of the gauze with a sterile hemostat and stuff it loosely into abscess chamber inch by inch. Cut the gauze near jar top with sterile scissors when cavity is nearly full.)
- Apply antibiotic ointment (if unavailable use raw honey) to bandage and cover wound. (Raw honey is only for people over age 1 year, due to risk of botulism.)
- Change gauze packing once or twice daily. Remember: Pack loosely so the chamber will collapse and heal and also be comfortable.
- If the wound won’t heal, begin oral antibiotics (e.g. amoxicillin or cephalexin) or if there is fever, red streaks, or other warning signs.Note 1: If it is a dental abscess with swollen face, use oral antibiotics and do not apply hot packs. Instead, use a hot saline mouth rise (1 tsp salt to glass of very warm water) to ripen the abscess. Read further on dental abscess— a more complicated situation. Treatment is incision, drainage, and tooth extraction.Note 2: If it is a finger pad abscess (felon), it’s more serious. You can lose a finger!
Shingles is a very painful condition caused by the reactivation of chicken pox virus (varicella zoster) in a previously healthy immune system now weakened by aging, chemotherapy, or extreme stress. It normally remains dormant in the nervous system. An outbreak begins with a band of pain, often unilateral on the chest, with the appearance of a rash a couple of days later. The rash is so miserable that even the light touch of clothing is intolerable. The problem is, time is ticking!
Without adequate treatment, you are at a higher risk of more severe and longer lasting pain for months. The standard treatment is with prescription drug Zovirax, started within 72 hours of the beginning rash, but what if you can’t reach the doctor? Use over-the-counter cimetidine (anti-gi ulcer H2 blocker aka Tagamet). It is effective in suppressing not only herpes zoster (chicken pox virus) but also herpes simplex (lip and genital blisters). It decreases not only the severity/pain of the outbreak but also the duration. That’s great to know in a disaster. In one study, cimetidine decreased the duration of shingles active lesions from 35+ days to 10 days!
Medical Action Sheet- Shingles
Below is your medical action sheet for adults with shingles:
In the exam, is there a band-like area of tingling, stinging, burning, stabbing pain often unilateral in chest, fever or headache? A few days later a painful rash with blisters that crust over in 7 to 10 days, a history of chicken pox long-ago aged, physical trauma, on chemotherapy, or extreme stress suppressing immune system? Beware: Face/nose shingles can result in eye damage, and vision problems shingles near ear can cause hearing related damage.
Within 72 hours, maximum, it is time to begin effective treatment once rash appears.
Contact with skin lesions transmits virus to those not immune to it. Use gloves, and properly dispose of all bandages, et cetera.
Prescription antiviral medication, such as Zovirax (Acyclovir), or over-the-counter cimetidine (Tagamet) 200mg three times daily and 400mg at bedtime. Continue cimetidine for 1 to 2 weeks until outbreak symptoms have lessened. Anti-inflammatory for pain control. (These include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen.)
Remember to see your doctor ASAP, if possible!
Join us tomorrow for Part 2, which will contain medical action sheets on “New Influenza Treatment, Colds, and Pneumonia”.
- 2- Medical Action Sheets, by K.B., M.D. – Part 2 (Active on 12/27/18)
- 3- Medical Action Sheets, by K.B., M.D. – Part 3 (Active on 12/28/18)
- 4- Medical Action Sheets, by K.B., M.D. – Part 4 (Active on 12/27/18)
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been part one of a four part entry for Round 80 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,
- 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 Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- 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).
- An assortment of products along with a one hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).
- 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.
Round 80 ends on January 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.