This article first appeared at Survival Hygiene.
There are some topics that people maybe sometimes do not want to read or hear about, or other folks just thinking that is not too important when SHTF. Hygiene is something that we all agree is important, but how dirty is gonna be is other thing.
If you look for example to definition of Cholera you can see this: „Cholera is an acute enteric infection caused by the ingestion of bacterium Vibrio cholerae present in faecally contaminated water or food. Primarily linked to insufficient access to safe water and proper sanitation, its impact can be even more dramatic in areas where basic environmental infrastructures are disrupted or have been destroyed.„
I already mentioned that I suffered (together with lot of folks from that time) few serious cases of diarrhea, I mean cases when you can not lift your head up for days, i was so exhausted.
Did I have Cholera? I do not have clue, no hospitals, no labs, no doctors. Probably yes. All what I could do is to take fluids, menthol tea, chamomile tea and „Rosa Canina“ tea.
In normal grown up healthy people, it can be solved with oral re-hydration, and cases of death are not so common. In very young and very old it is harder. When you have some underlying medical condition it is complicated again.
It is hard anyway if SHTF and you get a heavy case of diarrhea, and you are not prepared for it, and you do not know too much about it.
When SHTF small problems lead to bigger problems, later you have a lot of small problems pieced together, and actually you have one big problem.
If you have access to medical facility when you dehydrated and exhausted because diarrhea then in most of the cases all can be solved with IV re-hydration, Ringers Lactate etc.
If you have knowledge and equipment you can try to solve it by yourself. Worst case scenario would be to not have neither available medical help, no knowledge and no equipment.
Of course having no disease is better than treating one.
Try to not get yourself in situation where you need medical help, because medical help can be not available. Also, you can learn some basics about treatment, and store some stuff for it. I am not saying that you need to go to nursing school right now. But knowledge is key, learn how dehydration work, and how you can re-hydrate man.
Having knowledge how to re-hydrate patient who is suffering from diarrhea not going to do you too much good if you did not solve question of proper waste disposal.
Because at the end you gonna find yourself „running in circles“ and getting sick again and again.
So again pay extra attention to proper waste management, your water and your food. Consider the fact that you can control maybe conditions in your home if you plan and prepare everything, but you gonna need to go out for many reasons, and outside world is going to be probably very bad and dirty place.
Protect yourself when you are out, and be sure what you are bringing home with you.
Today when it comes to urban survival I think simple surgical masks and gloves should be part of your preparation.
They are not only meant to be used in operation rooms. I would use it whenever I am out on some „suspicious dirty“ place and these places are all around after normal services do not work anymore. Shoe covers are good idea too…
You can not achieve sterile environment in your home, and that is not point here. But whenever coming home from your trip out (when SHTF) consider yourself dirty, and clean yourself, cloth and equipment on best way that is available for you.
Just use common sense, but much more common sense then in normal time. What makes you sick in such survival situations is usually not visible.
Your first line of defense gonna be your personal hygiene, way how to manage your waste, and way how you keep your self clean. So simple procedures like washing your hands carefully after you done with dirty job get some new meaning. It can be life saving.
Boil your clothing, add some bleach and let it dry in direct sunlight. These little things are all things that increase your chance for survival. You can not shoot these little bacteria and they killed as many people as bullets (or even more) during my time in war.
Store disposable trash bags, as many as you can, for many different reasons, including for human waste disposal. Also many ways to clean yourself, and again use common sense, store it in „small“ containers, so you can carry it with you anywhere and always.
To have pair of disposable medical gloves and small hand sanitizer with you in your pocket make much more sense when SHTF then in normal situation today.
Do you already have masks, surgical gowns (or other throw away clothing for dirty work), shoe covers, hand sanitizers, rubbing alcohol, gloves, disposable cups and plates? What are your most important preparations when it comes to hygiene?
- India: Cholera resurfaces in coastal area (crofsblogs.typepad.com)
- Personal Hygiene (thesurvivalplaceblog.com)
- Uganda: Two dead as cholera, dysentery hit Kibaale (crofsblogs.typepad.com)