In a true SHTF disaster, it doesn’t matter if you’re a hardened combat vet with an entire battery of weapons and enough food and water to sustain a small army. A small cut, not properly taken care of, can take you out just as easily as a well-placed gun shot. Infections are the #1 killer in any disaster situation. It is estimated that 2 out of every 3 deaths in a disaster scenario are caused by some kind of infectious disease.
Every prepper knows that stockpiling medical supplies, especially antibiotics, is extremely important. When the grid goes down, medical supplies are going to be just as valuable as food. It’s also not as easy to stockpile antibiotics as it is to store most other medical supplies as most antibiotics are prescription only and have a limited shelf life. Fish and animal antibiotics are a good alternative for prescription medications because they are easily available without a prescription, but in a long term SHTF scenario, there will come a time when the antibiotics run out and finding more will be next to impossible.
Today we’re going to go over a few common scenarios that you could come across in a disaster situation that deals with infections. We’ll outline some basic remedies and tips you can use to make sure you don’t become a victim.
Cuts, Scrapes and Other Boo-Boos Can Become Big Problems Really Quickly
We’re very privileged with modern society that if we get a cut or bad scrape we can either treat them ourselves with anti-bacterial medications or seek medical attention if it’s really bad. We won’t have that luxury if the SHTF. Here are a few tips for treating cuts and scrapes in a disaster scenario.
- Disinfection prevents things from going from bad to worse – Cuts and scrapes don’t just immediately become infected. Some sort of bacteria has to form inside the wound to cause the infection. Keeping a wound and the area around it clean and covered will prevent most topical infections. An equal-parts mixture of water, vinegar and salt makes an extremely effective disinfectant for any kind of topical cut or scrape.
- Cover any and all cuts and scrapes immediately – In a disaster scenario, personal hygiene is going to suffer. As a modern society, we rely on running water to keep ourselves clean on a daily basis. When you have to ration your water, walk it in from a stream, treat the water and store it, that daily shower is going to get put pretty far down on the priority list. This is what will cause the majority of infections in cuts and scrapes. ALWAYS keep new cuts or scrapes completely covered at least until a hard scab has formed on it.
- Use natural ingredients to cure infections – The following is a list of plants that are natural infection-fighters. Most can be simply applied to the wound directly under your bandage. It would be a very good idea to learn how to identify these plants in case you ever need to use them. Planting these plants in your garden or around your property would also be very advantageous in a disaster scenario or even just as an alternative to modern medications.
Plantain (no… not the banana)
Don’t Drink the Water!
Most infections in a disaster situation come from tainted water. This section is pretty cut and dry. If you’re in a disaster scenario, assume that any water you find is tainted with bacteria and will cause an infection. Not all of it will be…in fact a lot of water in the wild and especially in an urban or suburban setting will probably be just fine….probably. In a disaster scenario, I wouldn’t be satisfied with probably and neither should you. Infections stemming from tainted water can lay you out for days or even weeks; the risk just isn’t worth it. We’ll go deeper into water purification methods in a future article, but for now, here is a link to a useful article: 24 ways to purify water.
Foodborne Infections and Proper Food Sanitation
Foodborne infections are serious business. Even outside of a disaster scenario, 76 million people are hospitalized every year because of foodborne infections. In a disaster scenario, you’re not going to be able to call an ambulance or check into the hospital if you get a case of food poisoning. You’ll have to deal with it yourself. Here are a few tips to help you deal with food poisoning in a disaster scenario.
- Overcook all your meat – In a normal situation, an overcooked steak has the potential to send this admin into fits of rage. However, in a disaster situation, your meat is going to come from your long-term preps or harvested from the wild. Undercooked meats cause the majority of food poisoning issues, some of which can be fatal. In a disaster situation, over cook your meat… that is the only way you can be absolutely sure it won’t be contaminated.
- Cleanliness is the key – Even outside of a disaster scenario, food sanitation is vitally important. Make sure your cooking area is clean and sanitized. A simple solution of water and vinegar or (even better) bleach will kill any bacteria that could contaminate your food. Also make sure to clean your cooking utensils thoroughly after every use. If you don’t have any (or have ran out of) sanitation supplies, cleaning the solids off your utensils with water and then putting them in your fire will kill all the bacteria on them…just make sure to clean off any soot that builds up on them.
In today’s modern society we have developed a false sense of security that we have somehow become more immune to a lot of the infections and other diseases that plagued past generations. In the majority of instances, this isn’t true. It is important to remember that the modern world that we rely on to keep us safe from serious medical complications could be gone tomorrow. There are hundreds of disaster scenarios that could cause medical facilities to close and access to even basic medical supplies to be restricted indefinitely. Start learning more about basic medical skills today so you can be ready when you need them.