Doom and Bloom: Clindamycin as Medical Storage Item


The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have up an article about the usefulness of the antibiotic clindamycin as a medical storage item.

In any situation where modern medicine is not available, there will be a number of deaths that occur from injury and infection. These may occur as a result of contact with hostile neighbors or from epidemic diseases, but many will happen simply from the performance of activities related to survival. Many minor wounds will become contaminated, leading to infections that could easily have been treated with antibiotics.

Things don’t end well for this family
Years ago, I realized the importance of antibiotics in a family’s medical kit after watching a History Channel program called “After Armageddon”. In it, the Johnson family is caught in a long-term disaster and finds a community that will take them in. The father is a paramedic and has useful medical skills, but simple injuries associated with household chores lead to a soft tissue infection. Without antibiotics, the family is forced to watch their patriarch sicken and die as the infection spreads throughout his body.

In a major disaster, this and many other deaths might be avoided if antibiotics were available. You may be reluctant to treat yourself or family members with these potent drugs. This is understandable: Antibiotics aren’t candy and are best utilized by qualified medical professionals. If there are no trained personnel, however, a layman with a working knowledge of bacterial diseases and their treatments may have no choice but to use antibacterials to save a life.

Note: This is the premise of our book “Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease: A Layman’s Guide to Available Antibacterials in Austere Settings”.

There are many antibiotics, but which antibiotics accessible to the average person would be good additions to your medical storage? When do you use a particular drug? The wrong antibiotic at the wrong time can be as bad as doing nothing at all. You should have both quantity and variety to be effective as a medic in long-term survival settings.

Today we’ll take the example of a drug that is used in the aquarium industry that is identical to a medication used in humans: Clindamycin, aka “Fish-Cin”. It is also known as “Cleocin”.

Clindamycin is part of the Lincosamide family of drugs. It works by preventing the production of bacterial proteins necessary for growth. This particular medication has been used to treat everything from acne to anthrax.

Cute, ain’t it? Ouch!

Clindamycin works best on bacteria that are anaerobic, which means that they don’t require oxygen to multiply. A deep puncture wound like, for example, a cat bite would give rise to favorable environments for anaerobes. Clindamycin is versatile enough to treat or prevent certain bacterial or protozoal causes of:

  • Acne
  • Dental infections
  • Ear Infections
  • Tonsillitis
  • Soft tissue Infections (skin, etc.)
  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdomen seen in appendicitis and other medical issues)
  • Some pneumonias and lung abscesses
  • Uterine infections (such as after miscarriage or childbirth)
  • Blood infections
  • Pelvic infections
  • MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staph. Aureus infections)
  • Parasitic infections (Malaria, Toxoplasmosis)
  • Bone infections
  • Anthrax

It should be noted that although a certain antibiotic may be effective against a certain infection, that it may not always be the most effective. The drug most in favor at the moment is called the “drug of choice”. The drug of choice may change as new antibiotics are developed or new research becomes available about existing medicines…

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom Medical.

Doom and Bloom: Chemical Emergencies

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have started a series on Chemical and Biological emergencies. In this article, they discuss various chemical agents and what to do.

In today’s modern world, it’s difficult to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals. Chemical weapons are largely prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), a treaty that outlaws their production and use. Although almost all nations have signed this treaty, the risk of chemical attacks by terror organizations and industrial accidents still exist…

WHAT TO DO IN CHEMICAL EMERGENCIES

Evacuation may be the best course of action

Chemical accidents or attacks, such as an overturned tanker truck or a terror event, may render an area dangerous. Common sense dictates evacuation as the wisest course of action. This is not only to prevent physical contact but also to avoid noxious fumes that may be carried by the winds. Given the wide range of chemicals, be sure to seek and rapidly act upon the advice of local emergency departments for the specific event.

Evacuation may involve going to an emergency shelter. If so, notify others of your plan of action and take additional supplies and medications that the municipality may not have in sufficient quantities. Know what their policy is regarding pets. The schools your children attend will have their own plan of action for chemical emergencies; be aware of their disaster protocols. It may be more dangerous to try to bring them home.

SHELTER IN PLACE?

Safe rooms for chemical/gas accidents should be in higher floors, not the basement where gas may sink

Some chemical emergencies could make going outdoors risky. Leaving might put you in harm’s way. Sheltering in place is a way to protect yourself until help arrives. Sheltering in a vehicle, however, is a last resort, as vehicles aren’t airtight enough to protect you from noxious fumes.

If you can’t evacuate the area, choose a room with as few windows and doors as possible. A room with a water supply (a connecting bathroom, perhaps) is best. Some gases sink to the floor, so a second-story room is preferable. Notice how different this strategy is from most natural disaster plans, where a basement might be the safest area in the home.

Shut all outside doors and windows as soon as you are aware of the emergency. Locking and taping them will make a better seal against the chemical. Turn off air conditioners, fans, and heaters. Close the fireplace damper, vents, and any place that air can enter from outside.

Go into the designated safe room and shut the door. Turn on the radio and keep a cell phone available. If it is necessary to drink water, drink safely-stored water, not water from the tap. If you run out of water, you can drink from a toilet tank (but not from the bowl)…

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom Medical.

Doom and Bloom: Injuries to the Nail Bed

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article about nail bed injuries and how to treat them. If you’re squeamish, there are a few bloody and/or squished finger photos in the article.

A fractured femur or a gunshot wound to the chest are major injuries that affect your chances of survival in disaster settings, but not all injuries are so extreme. “Minor” injuries can also impact the efficiency of a group member off the grid.  Of these, nailbed injuries are some you’ll commonly see.

You can imagine that nailbed injuries will be more common when untrained (and perhaps careless) people perform tasks to which they’re not accustomed. The failure to use work gloves and boots may also increase the risk of mishaps.

NAIL ANATOMY

Your fingernails and toenails are made up of protein and a tough substance called keratin. They are very similar to the claws of animals.  Any issue relating to nails is referred to as “ungual” ” (from the latin word for claw: unguis).

The nail consists of several parts:

The nail plate:  this is the hard covering of the end of your finger or toe; what you normally consider to be the nail.

The nailbed:    the skin directly under the nail plate.  Made up of dermis and epidermis just like the rest of your skin, the superficial epidermis moves along with the nail plate as it grows. Vertical grooves attach the superficial epidermis to the deep dermis.  In old folks like me, the nail plate thins out and you can see the grooves if you look closely.  Like all skin, blood vessels and nerves run through the nailbed.

The nail (germinal) matrix:  the portion or root at the base of the nail under the cuticle (the cuticle is also called the eponychium) that produces new cells for the nail plate.  You can see a portion of the matrix in the  light half-moon (the “lunula”) visible at the base of the nail plate. This is the germinal matrix (actively makes new nail cells) and determines the shape and thickness of the nail; a curved matrix produces a curved nail, a flat one produces a flat nail.

TYPES OF NAIL INJURIES

There are various types of nail injuries. Amputations and fractures may occur due to trauma, but more commonly you’ll see…

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Doom and Bloom: Medical Uses for Baking Soda

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article on the medical uses for baking soda, which most of us will have around the home in some quantity anyway.

Some folks in the preparedness community consider themselves ready for any disaster if they have some food, water, and a means of personal defense. Being prepared, however, is more than that. You have to be able to treat medical issues. And not just that: Attention to hygiene is equally important in preventing some of those issues.

Those concerned about a long-term event should know that the expenditure of various supplies over time will be a major problem. What will you do when you run out of one item or another? You have to find substitutes that can serve double (and triple) duty. The more versatile the item, the more useful it is to store.

Baking soda is one item you should have in quantity. Yes, baking soda. Many years ago, one of our readers wrote an excellent article on baking soda in survival settings. He opened our eyes to its many uses.

WHAT IS BAKING SODA?

Baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda) is a popular and inexpensive household product. You can actually mine deposits of it if you live in parts of California, Colorado, and Mexico (as well as Botswana). It has been historically used as a leavening agent for baking bread and does a fine job absorbing odors in your refrigerator.

Baking soda is not the same as baking powder. Baking powder contains baking soda, but it also contains an acidifying agent and starch.  Both produce carbon dioxide which causes baked goods to rise and, indeed, you can substitute baking powder in place of baking soda (usually, you’ll need three times more baking powder), but you can’t use baking soda when a recipe calls for baking powder.

MEDICAL USES FOR BAKING SODA

Are there medical uses for baking soda? The answer is yes. So many, in fact, that you might want some around even in normal times.

You can treat insect bites and itchy skin with it. Some find it effective for poison ivy. Make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply like a balm onto the irritated area. You could shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it onto wet skin.

Baking soda can help unblock nasal congestion by adding a teaspoon to some hot water and inhaling the vapors.

For those who suffer from acid reflux (heartburn), eventually the Tums and Rolaids will run out. Baking soda was what they used before these products came into being.  Just add a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water after meals.

Recent medical studies, including one published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, suggest that sodium bicarbonate tablets may help slow progression in those with chronic kidney disease. The researchers concluded, “This study demonstrates that bicarbonate supplementation slows the rate of progression of renal failure to ESRD and improves nutritional status among patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).”

Baking soda has mild antiseptic and drying properties, and helps keep a wound clean. When a wound is healing, repeated cleaning of the area can result in dry skin and a hard, itchy scab. Baking soda can help soften and remove the scab once the wound is no longer painful or draining. One treatment regimen uses 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda with a half cup of water. Leave the paste on the wound for 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly (be aware that it might burn a little).

You’re not medically prepared until you’re dentally prepared. In long-term events, the family medic will have to deal with a number of dental problems that crop up. Baking soda can be a replacement for toothpaste. Add a little 3% hydrogen peroxide to it and use it as a rinse for bad breath…

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom Medical.

Doom and Bloom: Wound Debridement

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up on the skill of wound debridement – the removal of necrotic tissue and foreign objects from a wound which may impede healing. There are some wound photos, so be warned.

Medical professionals like doctors, nurses, and paramedics and the high-tech equipment they work with are the heart of advanced medical care. When highly-trained personnel are unavailable, it becomes the responsibility of the average citizen to obtain medical education and supplies. Lack of knowledge and materials will cost lives in any situation where modern care is not an option.

Few medical pros can handle every medical issue
Knowing how to stop hemorrhage is very important, but the medic in austere settings will be required to do much more with an open wound. Indeed, they will be responsible for it from the time it was inflicted to full recovery. A good start is knowing “prehospital care”.  Few of us, however (including most medical professionals), are prepared to handle the complexities of the entire healing process when there is no hospital.

In today’s medicine, few providers care for every medical issue experienced by a patient. Even generalists send their patients to specialists for specific problems. In a survival setting, this is no longer possible. Therefore, it’s imperative to understand wound healing and the procedures that help a victim make a full recovery. One of these procedures is debridement.

Debridement is the removal of devitalized (“necrotic”) tissue and foreign objects from a wound. Most minor acute wounds heal just fine with cleaning and regular evaluation, but more severe wounds, burns, and bedsores may require intervention. Debridement is a way to eliminate obstacles to good healing.

Debridement speeds the healing process in various ways. Dead tissue inhibits the development of healthy new cells and makes the area susceptible to infection. It can also hide the signs of bacterial invasion.

Debridement is rarely taught in standard first aid courses. Even high-level education meant to deal with emergency trauma can get your victim to the hospital, but little for days or weeks down the road. I would guess that a volunteer stint with Doctors Without Borders might be closest, short of a surgical residency.

A variety of techniques are used to accomplish debridement and more than one type may be used on the same patient…

Click here to continue reading at Doom and Bloom Medical.

Doom and Bloom: Dental Kits Off the Grid

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have a good post covering the items you need to have in an off grid or austere medicine dental kit.

Poor dental health, however, can cause issues that affect the work efficiency of members of your group in survival settings. When your people are not at 100% effectiveness, your chances for survival decrease. Anyone who has experienced a toothache knows how it affects work performance.

When modern dental technology is not an option, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This strategy is especially important when it comes to your teeth. By maintaining good dental hygiene, you will save your loved ones a lot of pain (and yourself a few headaches).

Let’s discuss some procedures that both you and I know are best performed by someone with experience. Unfortunately, you’re probably don’t have a dentist in the family. The information here will at least give you a basis of knowledge that may help you deal with some basic issues.

The Prepared Family’s Dental Kit

dental kit

some components for a dental kit

The prepared medic will have included dental supplies in their storage, but what exactly would make sense in austere settings? You would want the kit to be portable, so dentist chairs and other heavy equipment wouldn’t be practical.

In the past, we’ve mentioned that gloves for medical and dental purposes are one item that you should always have in quantity. Avoid sticking your bare hands in someone’s mouth. Hypoallergenic nitrile gloves are, in my opinion, superior to latex. For additional protection, masks should also be stored and worn by the medic. The simple “earloop” versions will do for dental exams.

dental “elevators” loosen ligaments that hold decayed teeth in place

Other items that are useful to the off-grid “dentist” include:

  • Dental floss, dental picks, toothbrushes, toothpaste (or baking soda)
  • Dental or orthodontic wax as used for braces; even candle wax will do in a pinch. Use it to splint a loose tooth to its neighbors.
  • A Rubber bite block to keep the mouth open. This provides good visualization and protection from getting bitten. A large-sized pink eraser would serve the purpose.
  • Cotton pellets, Cotton rolls, Q tips, gauze sponges (cut into small squares)
  • Commercial temporary filling material, such as Tempanol, Cavit, or Den-temp.
  • Oil of cloves (eugenol), a natural anesthetic.It’s important to know that eugenol might burn the tongue, so be careful when touching anything but teeth with it.  Often found in commercial preparations.
  • Red Cross Toothache Medicine (85% eugenol)
  • DenTemp Toothache Drops (benzocaine )
  • Zinc oxide powder; when mixed with 2 drops of clove oil, it will harden into temporary filling cement.
  • Spatula for mixing (a tongue depressor will do)
  • Oil of oregano, a natural antibacterial.
  • A bulb syringe to blow air and dry teeth for better visualization, and as a diagnostic tool to elicit discomfort in damaged teeth.
  • A 12cc Curved irrigation syringe to clean areas upon which work is being done.
  • Scalpels (#15 or #10) to incise and drain abscesses
  • Dental probes, also called “explorers”.
  • Dental tweezers
  • Dental mirrors
  • Dental scrapers/scalers to remove plaque and probe questionable areas
  • Spoon excavators. These instruments have a flat circular tip that is used to “excavate” decayed material from a tooth. A powered dental drill would be a much better choice, but not likely to be an option off the grid.
  • Elevators. These are thin but solid chisel-like instruments that help with extractions by separating ligaments that hold teeth in their sockets. #301 or #12B are good choices. In a pinch, some parts of a Swiss army knife might work.
  • Extraction forceps. These are like pliers with curved ends. They come in versions specific to upper and lower teeth and, sometimes, left and right.
dental_extraction_forcep

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Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom.

Doom and Bloom: Dengue Fever – A Rising Pandemic

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up on Dengue Fever , its current pandemic status, symptoms, treatment and precautions.

 

  • aedes aegypti mosquito

    Singapore dengue outbreak: Nearly 9000 cases through July – Outbreak News Today

    Nicaragua declares alert over dengue fever – Washington Post

    Bangladesh grapples with country’s worst dengue outbreak – Miami Herald

    Three headlines about Dengue Fever this year? No, actually they’re all headlines just from one day: Aug 1st, 2019. Dengue fever is a true pandemic, with community wide outbreaks in various regions throughout the world. Indeed, rates of Dengue infection are thought to have increased greatly since 1960 due to encroaching civilization and population growth in warmer regions. As a resident of South Florida, I believe that the development of residential air conditioning around that time may have precipitated the explosion in potential victims.

    rash in dengue patient

    What is Dengue fever? It’s an infection caused by a virus that’s transmitted to humans by mosquitoes. If you live between latitude 35 degrees north and 35 degrees south, and lower than 3000 feet elevation, you’re in Dengue territory.

    And you’re not alone. An estimated 400 million people get infected with the Dengue virus every year. Luckily for the grand majority, they don’t even know they have it. 96 million cases, however, aren’t so fortunate and develop sickness.

    The mosquito in question is the Aedes Aegypti, but other species may possibly spread it. A mosquito bites a human with the Dengue virus and becomes infected. It doesn’t get sick, but the virus is now in its saliva for life. The mosquito passes Dengue onto the next human through its next bite.

    Just a few diseases transmitted by mosquitoes

    There are actually four different but related viruses that cause dengue fever, but the symptoms are similar. If you’re in the unlucky minority that gets sick, you can expect to see signs about four to seven days after the infectious bite…

     

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom.

Doom and Bloom: Heat Wave Safety

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up — Heat Wave Safety — on the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Once on an early morning march during AIT at Ft. Benning, I saw a young soldier collapse from heat stroke. He was rushed off in the back of a truck with a drill sergeant performing CPR. I wish that I or someone else would have noticed the signs before it became so serious.

Summer is here and the Midwest and East is experiencing record high temperatures in a major heat wave. Officials predicted a high-risk situation as the heat index surpasses heat indexes in 90s and 100s, and in some case, the 110s. Close to 200 million people might be affected in 32 states, according to the U.S. weather service.

The “heat index”, by the way, is a measure of the effects of air temperature combined with high humidity.  Above 60% relative humidity, loss of heat by perspiration is impaired exposure to full sun increases the reported heat index by as much as 10-15 degrees F. All this increases the chances of heat-related illness.

We can expect the power grid to be challenged by tens of millions of air conditioning units set on “high”, and we can expect to see some major health issues if the electricity goes out and people have to fight the heat with hand fans, like they did in the “good old days”.

You might not consider a heat wave to be a natural disaster, but it most certainly is. Heat waves can cause mass casualties, as it did in Europe when tens of thousands died of exposure (not in the Middle Ages, but in 2003). They’ve already experienced one bad one this year and are predicted to have another in the near future. India, Pakistan, and other underdeveloped tropical countries experience thousands of heat-related deaths yearly.

So how exactly does heat kill a person? Your body core regulates its temperature for optimal organ function. When core body temperature rises excessively (known as “hyperthermia”), toxins leak, inflammation occurs, and cells die. Fatalities can occur very quickly without intervention, even in those who are physically fit. Even in modern times, hyperthermia carries a 10% death rate, mostly in the elderly and infirm.

 

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom.

Doom and Bloom: Snake Bite First Aid

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up – Snakebites: First Aid and Prevention. As rattlesnakes are fairly common, venomous, pit vipers in our area, it behooves us to be prepared to treat and avoid bites.

Rattlesnake
Warm weather wakes humans up from their hibernation, but it also wakes inhabitants of the Great Outdoors as well, such as snakes. Inevitably some hiker, camper, or hunter experiences a face-to-face (or face-to-ankle) encounter with a slithering serpent.

Of the 3000 species of snakes on planet Earth, only about 400 are venomous. In North America, those that inject venom into their victims are either pit vipers or elapids. Pit vipers include species of rattlesnakes, water moccasins (cottonmouths), and copperheads. One species or another exists everywhere in the U.S. except for Maine, Alaska, and Hawaii. Elapids include coral snakes, found mostly in the South.

A word about venom: Notice I don’t say “poison”. Poisons are absorbed in the gut or through the skin, but venom must be injected into tissues or blood via fangs or a stinger. Strangely, it’s usually not dangerous to drink snake venom unless you have a cut or sore in your mouth. Having said that, please don’t try this at home.

U.S. PIT VIPERS

Pit vipers account for most snakebites in North America. The “pit” refers to a heat-sensing organ located between the eye and nostril on each side of a triangular head. The eyes have slit-like pupils. Pit vipers include:

Rattlesnakes: Of all pit vipers, rattlesnakes contribute the most to snake bite statistics in the U.S. They get their name from a structure at the end of their tails which makes a loud rattling noise when shaken. The “rattle” serves as a warning to discourage nearby threats.

Copperheads: The copperhead looks similar to a rattlesnake but without the rattle. As the name suggests, it is often copper-colored or pinkish-tan with darker bands.

Water Moccasins: These snakes are very comfortable in water. This snake has no rattle, so is relatively silent, as if walking in “moccasins”. Its response to threats is opening its mouth wide and exposing its whitish oral cavity before biting. This behavior gives it the nickname “cottonmouth”. The water moccasin may have a pattern when young, but as an adult is almost black in color. Its thick body differentiates it from other water snakes, which tend to be slender.

U.S. ELAPIDS

Coral Snakes are related to the king cobra. They’re brightly-colored but unassuming creatures that are rarely aggressive. Their small fangs are less effective in delivering venom than pit vipers. A coral snake tends to deliver venom by holding on and “chewing” on its victim, unlike vipers, which strike and let go quickly.

The marks left by venomous snake bites have a distinct appearance due to the hollow fangs at the front of the mouth. This differs from non-venomous snakes, where the bites have a more uniform appearance.

Not every bite from a venomous snake transmits toxins to the victim; indeed, 25-30% of these bites will be “dry” and seem no worse than a bee sting.  This could be due to the short duration of time the snake had its fangs in its victim or whether the snake had bitten another animal shortly beforehand…

Coral Snake

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom.

Doom and Bloom: Summer Cryptosporidium Infections

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up describing cryptosporidium parasite infections – symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

Summertime is when you cool off with a dip in the pool, but this year you might be sorry you did. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging citizens to protect themselves against a hardy parasite called Cryptosporidium.

Public and private pools alike are being colonized with the nasty bug, better known as “Crypto”.  The organism lives in the intestines of infected people and animals. Crypto spreads in pool water when someone who is sick with the parasite goes swimming and has a loose bowel movement in the water. Because of their more liquid nature, diarrheal stools spread the microbe faster than formed ones.

Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidium is so tough that it can live for up to ten days in the presence of bleach. This year, there are more outbreaks in recreational waters than usual. The frequency has risen an average of 13% annually since 2009. In the last decade, over 400 incidents were reported in the U.S., leading to sickness in 7,500 people.

Note: Organisms that cause sickness in a population are known as “pathogens”.

Swallowing water from pools, hot tubs, and swimming holes isn’t the only way you can get infected. Day care centers and other venues with a large number of small children can also lead to contamination. Contact with infected animals may also pass the organism.

SYMPTOMS OF CRYPTO INFECTIONS

Crypto lives here

Infection with Crypto leads to a disease called “cryptosporidiosis”. Within two to ten days after exposure, the victim starts to have nausea, vomiting, and watery diarrhea that can last for weeks. Other symptoms of the illness may include fever, stomach cramps, and weight loss…

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom.

Doom and Bloom: Eye Injuries

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up on Eye Injuries. Try to protect your eyes so that you don’t have to do any of this.

The human body is truly a miracle of engineering, from head to toe.  Your skull is just one example. It’s shaped in such a fashion that your eyes are recessed in bony sockets, which helps to protect them from injury. Despite this, there are many different activities of daily living, not to mention daily survival, that can cause traumatic injury to your eyes.

Here are some:

  • Accidents while using tools
  • Splatter from bleach and household chemicals
  • Debris flung while doing yard work
  • Grease splatter from cooking
  • Chopping wood
  • Hot objects near your face, like a curling iron (do people still use curling irons?)

The list goes on and on; heck, you could damage your eye by popping a cork on a bottle of champagne (if you could find champagne off the grid).

The grand majority of eye injuries are avoidable with a little planning but, despite this, it’s likely that the group medic will have to deal with someone’s eye injury at one point or another.

Foreign objects in the eye cause immediate symptoms, especially if they injure the sensitive cornea. You will see the victim complain of:

  • Eye pain or pressure
  • Tearing up
  • Light sensitivity
  • Frequent blinking
  • Redness (a “bloodshot” eye)
basic eye anatomy

The patient will usually tell you that they feel something in their eye. The most common location will be under the upper eyelid…

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom.

Doom and Bloom: New Tourniquet Additions to TCCC Guidelines

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have posted an article about some new tourniquets which have been approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

new tourniquet acceptable for military use
SAM-XT Tourniquet newly added to TCCC list

Tourniquets to control bleeding has been in use for centuries, sometimes praised and sometimes reviled as a tool of the devil. Painful lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, lead us to believe that they save lives that would otherwise be lost to hemorrhage. In civilian life, the rapid and effective use of a tourniquet by those at the scene gives valuable time for emergency medical personnel to arrive. In survival settings, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know having tourniquets in your medical kit is not a bad idea.

For years, the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care (CoTCCC) has approved a small number of commercially available tourniquets, which I’m sure many of you have in your medical kits: They include the combat application tourniquet or CAT and the special operation forces tourniquet SOF-T.

TCCC accepts Gen 6 and Gen 7 CAT tourniquets
Both Gen 6 and Gen 7 CAT Tourniquets are acceptable

These are the tourniquets you’ll find in our medical kits. We also add the non-TCCC SWAT tourniquet as a secondary tourniquet in many of them, mostly due to its versatility to also function as a pressure dressing and splint stabilizer.

Now, the TCCC committee has widened the range of options acceptable for the effective control of bleeding. One of their additions is the SAM-XT (pictured at top of page), produced by the venerable Dr. Sam Scheinberg of SAM medical. SAM is well-known for producing malleable splints useful for a number of orthopedic injuries, and now their tourniquet is considered acceptable for even military use…

Click here to read the rest of the article at Doom and Bloom.

Doom and Bloom: Kissing Bugs and Chagas Disease

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have up an article on Kissing Bugs and Chagas Disease. While I was aware of Chagas Disease and its insect spreader from my wife’s time living in Bolivia, I was unaware that the beetle and disease were now present in the US. People can live with Chagas for many years and only start having problems from it later in life.

Triatoma Sanguisuga
Kissing Bugs transmit Chagas Disease

Recently, my good friend Jack Spirko of the Survival Podcast asked me to produce a special report on Kissing Bugs. No, not kissing bugs, as in how to kiss bugs; I mean THE kissing bug, an invasive species from south of the border that is now found as far north as Pennsylvania and Illinois.

The insect in question is Triatoma sanguisuga. It’s called the kissing bug because it tends to bite human and animal victims around the mouth, although sometimes it might target the eyes or other mucous membranes.

Romana's Sign
Romana’s sign in Chagas Disease

It’s bad enough to have to deal with the redness, itching, and swelling that goes along with insect bites, but there’s more: When the kissing bug sucks your blood, it defecates (poops) on your skin. irritated victims tend to rub the poop into the bite wound while scratching the itchy areas. In kids, a swollen eyelid on one side, also called “Romana’s sign”, is a possible sign of infection.

Even worse, In the excrement lives a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi that lodges itself in heart, intestine, and elsewhere and causes something called Chagas disease. Most people only experience minor symptoms. But a percentage of victims may develop:

  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Enlargement of the liver or spleen
  • An increased chance of having a stroke
  • An enlarged heart
  • Irregular heartbeats that can be fatal
Heart damage in Chagas Disease

Chagas disease is not transmitted from person-to-person or through casual contact with infected people or animals. It can be spread, however, by infected blood products or from mother to baby during pregnancy. Rarely, an extreme allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis can occur…

Click here to continue reading at Doom and Bloom Medical.

 

Doom and Bloom: Important Aspects of Tactical Combat Casualty Care

Dr. Alton at Doom and Bloom Medicine has a short article and video dealing with Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

You may have heard me reference something called “TCCC” in previous articles, podcasts, or videos. TCCC, sometimes called T3C or T triple C, is a term that means Tactical Combat Casualty Care. It represents the recommendations with regards to prehospital care of soldiers who have incurred traumatic injuries on the battlefield. Established in the mid-1990s, TCCC guidelines have become so widely accepted that many law enforcement and civilian medical personnel have adopted them.

And well they should. These protocols were developed at the cost of painful lessons in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is thought that there were 1000 preventable deaths in these conflicts. If you add civilian injuries during the same time period, the number of preventable deaths might number in the hundreds of thousands. The TCCC’s primary goals is to save lives, prevent additional casualties, and, in true military fashion, complete the mission…In survival settings, you can’t duplicate the care given at a field hospital or a trauma center. Your final outcomes won’t always be happy. You might, however, use some of the methods in MARCH/PAWS to possibly save the life of those who would otherwise die during or in the aftermath of a disaster…

 

Doom and Bloom: Which Antibiotics to Have for Survival

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up about Which Antibiotics to Have in Survival Settings. This material is covered in detail in their new book about antibiotics, but they have made a brief summary in this article.

…If a disaster throws you off the grid, your risk of traumatic injury increases but also that of infection. When someone thinks of an infectious disease event, they envision a deadly epidemic. Any catastrophe, however, can increase the number of people with infections. When I say “catastrophe”, I’m not talking losing power from a storm for three days; I’m talking about a true long-term survival scenario.

In these horrific events, dirty wounds, contaminated water, poorly prepared food, and inadequate sanitation will turn previously healthy people into desperately sick ones. With antibiotics in your medical storage, you have a good shot of nipping those infections in the bud. Not having them could lead to tragic consequences.

One of the most frequent questions I receive from readers, listeners, and viewers is which antibiotics to have on hand in survival settings. I have received a flurry of these lately in response to our new book “Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease”: The Layman’s Guide To Available Antibacterials in Austere Settings. In the book, I discuss, well, antibiotics and infectious disease: The infections to be expected in those knocked off the gird and the antibiotics obtainable by the average citizen that help prevent otherwise avoidable deaths.

(NOTE: I don’t sell antibiotics nor own any part of a company that does.)

Certainly, it would be great if you had the financial resources to have all of the medications we talk about in Alton’s Antibiotics and Infectious Disease, but that’s beyond the means of almost everyone. You’ll probably need to pick a limited number to stockpile, but which? Chances are, if you lined up 10 doctors, you’d get 10 different answers.

Your choices would depend on the infections you’re most likely to encounter. Is it wound infections you’re concerned about, or intestinal infections like dysentery or cholera? Does someone in your group have a medical condition that makes them prone to a certain infection? Certainly, one drug doesn’t cure all.

Without knowing your individual situation, I can’t give you specifics.  I can, however, still give you my personal recommendation of a few antibiotics available in aquarium and avian form that would be assets in my survival medicine cabinet…

Click here to read the entire article at Doom and Bloom Medical.