Doom and Bloom Webinar: Viral Health Threats Facing America, Jan. 30

Join us this Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 9 PM EDT

LIVE Webinar

Viral Health Threats Facing America

with
Dr. Joe Alton and Amy Alton, ARNP

Aka. Dr. Bones & Nurse Amy

Signup:
https://preppernet.com/bones/
An email will be sent out on Wednesday with the details

A must listen to podcast on the Coronaviruses!
Prepping Academy’s Podcast
Coronaviruses
https://www.buzzsprout.com/794960/2574682-coronaviruses-alert-alert-alert

Practical Self Reliance: Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Ashley of Practical Self Reliance has a nice, detailed article on making immune-boosting elderberry syrup at home. My family has made and used elderberry at home for a few years now. We’ve used elderberry syrup, elderberry rob, and elderflower syrup. If you don’t have elderberries at home, you can purchase commercial Sambucol – an over the counter elderberry syrup. Our young children like taking the syrups, but not the rob which has a more medicinal taste. Nonetheless I’ll include an elderberry rob recipe after the Practical Self Reliance excerpt.

Elderberry syrup is a common immune-boosting home remedy for colds and flus.  It can be expensive to purchase, but homemade elderberry syrup is easier than you think…

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Benefits of Elderberry Syrup

While elderberry has been a folk remedy for centuries, modern science is validating these age-old uses.  Studies have found that elderberry syrup can reduce the duration of flus, as well as boost the immune system in both the healthy and sick.

Elderberry Syrup Cold & Flu Treatments

A placebo-controlled study on flu patients found that with a tablespoon (15 ml) of elderberry syrup taken 4x per day,  “Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.”

Another influenza study cooked elderberry syrup into slow-release lozenges, but administered a similar dosage 4x a day.  The effects were dramatic…

“The extract-treated group showed significant improvement in most of the symptoms except 24 hours after the onset of the treatment, whereas the placebo group showed no improvement or an increase in severity of the symptoms at the same time point. By 48 hours, 9 patients (28%) in the extract-treated group were void of all symptoms, 19 patients (60%) showed relief from some symptoms… In contrast, complete recovery was not achieved by a single patient in the placebo group [during the 48 hour monitoring period].”

They concluded that elderberry extract is safe and highly effective in treating flu‐like symptoms.”

Elderberry Syrup For the Immune System

After several studies confirmed that elderberry syrup can shorten the duration of the flu, another study tried to determine the effects of elderberry syrup on a healthy immune system.  They found that a commercially available elderberry syrup (Sambucol) substantially increased immune activity, even in healthy people.

“We conclude from this study that, in addition to its antiviral properties, Sambucol Elderberry Extract and its formulations activate the healthy immune system by increasing inflammatory cytokine production. Sambucol might, therefore, be beneficial to the immune system activation and in the inflammatory process in healthy individuals or in patients with various diseases. Sambucol could also have an immunoprotective or immunostimulatory effect when administered to cancer or AIDS patients, in conjunction with chemotherapeutic or other treatments.”

Jar of homemade elderberry syrup with raw honey

Click here to read the entire article with recipe at Practical Self Reliance.

Click here to download a pdf of only Ashley’s Elderberry Syrup recipe.

Elderberry Rob

The following elderberry rob recipe comes from The Joys of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich.

In a saucepan combine equal volumes of elderberry juice and sugar or honey. Heat the contents over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium-high and boil the mixture to a thick syrup.

Pour the rob into sterilized bottles, and cap or cork them tightly. Store the bottles in a cool, dark, dry place, where the rob should keep for at least a year.

To use, mix a tablespoon or two in a cup of hot water and drink.

We water bath can our rob when we make it. If you use honey, the high heat of both boiling and canning probably does lose some of the health benefit of honey, in which case it is mostly just adding sweetness.

Doom and Bloom: Coronavirus

The Altons at Doom and Bloom medical have a short article up on what is a coronavirus and basic prophylaxis. The article was published on Jan. 22nd, so the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths have risen.

Masks Mandatory in Wuhan

Last week, we reported on a mysterious ailment first reported Dec. 8th, 2019, in Wuhan, China. Wuhan is the seventh most populous city in China with 11 million people. The previously unknown disease is now identified as a type of coronavirus. Medical officials are currently classifying it as a “class B” disease, which puts it in the same category as HIV/AIDS and Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The rapidity and spread of the disease is impressive: When I began writing this article earlier in the day, there were 440 cases and 9 deaths, up from 200 cases last week. Later in the day, 555 cases and 17 deaths have been verified and other provinces in China are beginning to report cases.

(Note: I first reported on Ebola in early 2014, when 86 cases were reported. The epidemic eventually reached a total of 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths.)

Chinese authorities have taken the drastic measure of placing the entire city of Wuhan under quarantine, including the suspension of train and airline service, a step that suggests that many more cases are still unreported.

(1/23 update: Several U.S. airports are now conducting health screenings)

Although little is known at this point about the virus, it is certain that the disease is respiratory in nature and that human-to-human transmission (including medical personnel) is likely. For most respiratory infections, contagion is usually by airborne particles.

The first U.S. case has just been identified in a 30-year-old man from the state of Washington who recently arrived from China. Similar coronavirus victims have been found in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea, almost all traced to an origin in Wuhan.

ABOUT CORONAVIRUSES

Fever may not be present in all patients including: young, elderly, immunosuppressed or taking fever-reducing medications; many only have respiratory symptoms

The Wuhan virus is from the same family of coronaviruses as SARS, which killed over 800 people worldwide in an outbreak toward the end of 2002. It is also similar to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), another epidemic disease. Although not officially named, the new virus is designated 2019-nCOV.

Coronaviruses are viruses made from RNA genetic material. One of the larger RNA viruses, coronavirus is so named from the Latin “corona” (crown or halo), from projections on the virus which give the appearance of a crown.

Coronaviruses are thought to be responsible for a large number of common colds in humans. Coronavirus colds seem to be associated with more major symptoms like fever or sore throat than colds caused by rhinoviruses, another common cause. 2019-nCOV seems to cause even worse respiratory symptoms than the typical coronavirus. Coronaviruses can also lead to pneumonia, either directly or through a secondary bacterial infection due to a weakened immune system.

ABILITY TO CONTAIN THE VIRUS

Coronavirus has crown-like projections

Chinese officials are probably wise to enact quarantine orders, as there is only one lab (called a Biosafety Level 4 lab or BSL-4) in their entire country with the capability of handling severe outbreaks. Luckily for them, it is located in Wuhan. The facility can care for victims of highly contagious diseases like SARS, Ebola, etc.

Personnel in a BSL-4 lab are subject to the strictest protocols: They must change their clothing on entering and shower upon exiting. Full-body hazmat suits must be worn while working in the lab and decontaminated afterwards. The facility is required to be a separate building or a wing properly isolated with separate air filtration systems.

The chances of spread of the new coronavirus is increased by the upcoming Chinese New Year, when it is thought that millions of Chinese citizens will be traveling throughout the world.

(1/22 Update: China has just issued a travel ban for the city of Wuhan; public transportation in the city is also suspended)

Having learned lessons from our experience with Ebola, the United States is better prepared to deal with highly contagious outbreaks of infection.

HISTORY OF RECENT VIRAL OUTBREAKS IN CHINA

masks

The presence of any biosafety 4 lab (BSL-4) inside China at all is due to the 2003 viral SARS outbreak. SARS reached epidemic proportions quickly, with 8000 cases leading to 750 deaths worldwide. Chinese authorities hope to have 7 such units built by 2025, but only the Wuhan lab is operational.

Although the use of face masks is common (and wise) in China, Wuhan has declared their use manadatory while in crowded locations. This requirement is causing a shortage of masks in the area, which could eventually lead to the same worldwide.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT CORONAVIRUS AND OTHER VIRUS OUTBREAKS

As of yet, no cure nor vaccine is available to combat coronavirus. Treatment at present focuses on treating symptoms and supporting a victim through the infection, while protecting the healthy from the disease.

Contagious illnesses like coronavirus, however, may morph into epidemics, or is widely distributed enough, pandemics. If you are preparedness-minded, you might consider a personal protection “pandemic kit” (or several) and plan out how you would care for a person with a contagious disease if the hospitals were full. Have you thought about what goes into putting together an effective epidemic sick room?

The CDC recommends:

  •  Washing your hands with soap and water frequently
  •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands
  • Avoid close contact with sick people

If you are sick, you can protect others by:

  • Staying home until fully recovered
  •  Avoiding close contact with others
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
  • Keep objects and surfaces in your home or workspace clean and disinfected (bleach mixed 1:10 with water will do)

Alhough the CDC isn’t recommending this as of yet, having a supply of N95 face masks isn’t a bad idea.

By the way, while I was writing this, I received a notice sent to all physicians in the state of Florida, warning about….coronoavirus.

Doom and Bloom Medical: Coronavirus: The Next Pandemic?

Doom and Bloom: Blunt Trauma, Part I

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have an article up on Blunt Trauma. This first part is an overview of the trauma itself and a later post will discuss treatment.

Blunt trauma is damage caused to the body by a blunt object, such as a club or baseball bat. Blunt trauma can cause bruising, scrapes, fractures, or organ ruptures. It can, in some circumstances, break the skin although a projectile that enters the body and stays there or passes through is considered “penetrating trauma”.

How does blunt trauma cause injury? According to the excellent textbook “Trauma” by Mattox, Moore, and Feliciano: The strain on an area due to trauma is related to the amount of deformation caused, factored with the amount (length) of tissue involved.

Types of Strain in Blunt Trauma

Let’s put “Strain” in four categories: Tensile strain, Shear strain, Compressive strain, and Overpressure.

Tensile Strain: Tensile strain occurs as opposing forces are applied to the same point, something like pulling apart a wishbone at Thanksgiving or, perhaps, a tug of war.

Shear Strain: Shear strain also involves two forces applied to a structure, but not at the same point. Think of a circus strong man tearing apart a telephone book.

Compressive Strain: Compressive strain is directly related to the deformation of an area of impact, similar to what would happen if I struck you in the ribs with a baseball bat or the jack collapsed while you were working under your car.

Overpressure: Overpressure is not unlike compressive strain, but applied to a fluid or gas-filled organ, crushing and, perhaps, rupturing it. An example might be sitting down abruptly on a balloon…

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

Doom and Bloom: A New Pneumonia

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical report that a previously unknown viral pneumonia has broken out in China, hospitalizing dozens there. They discuss what pneumonia is, treatment and prevention.

Health authorities in China are reporting 60 cases or more of a previously unknown viral pneumonia that has put dozens in the hospital. Officials note that victims exhibit fever up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, difficulty breathing, and abnormal findings on chest X-rays.

Nothing gets my attention like a mysterious, probably viral, pneumonia showing up in some foreign land. In the last decade or so, killers like Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have entered the scene. The current infection doesn’t seem to be either of these, and lab studies have already eliminated influenza, avian flu, most bacteria, and other possible culprits. A number of victims were found to have attended a seafood market in the area.

The word “pneumonia” is defined as a lung inflammation usually caused by bacterial or viral infection. Occasionally, fungi or parasites may give rise to it. It’s a very general term and doesn’t identify the specific microbe that’s causing the problem.

It’s important to know that inflammation of the lungs may occur as a result of reasons other than infection, such as inhaling food, drink, or vomit into the lungs. This is called “aspiration pneumonia” and can be life-threatening.

Although pneumonia kills about 50,000 people annually in the United States, most of these cases are in the elderly, the very young, or those with poor immune systems. One infection that is clearly passed from one human to another is influenza. This year’s flu season is becoming one of the worst in recent memory, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The last serious viral influenza outbreak in the U.S.  was 2017…

Read the entire article at Doom and Bloom Medical.

 

Wilderness Doc: New Guidelines for Spinal Protection

In Spinal Protection in the Wilderness: What We’ve Been Doing Wrong for Decades the Wilderness Doc talks about the new (Dec. 2019) Wilderness Medical Society Guidelines for spinal cord protection and what it means for wilderness/remote care. Reprinted below is an excerpt, be sure to go and read the whole article so that you aren’t misled into doing something dangerous by the sample.

…If you have been a victim of a traumatic injury over the past 50 years, you have been quickly placed in a cervical collar and strapped to a backboard to “protect your spine”. Countless patients have been tortured (ok, maybe a little overly dramatic but…) for hours on end as they waited for their spines to be “cleared”.

This practice guideline simplifies the use of rigid cervical collars and immobilization all the way down to–don’t use them

You and a friend find yourselves in the mountains of Georgia hiking along a moderate to difficult trail with some steep terrain. Your friend turns to look at an interesting bird flying through the forest canopy and loses his footing sliding off and down the steep embankment. You rush to the edge of the trail to watch as he turns over and over, falling head over heels down the 100-foot slope. Quickly, you slide down the embankment and find yourself at your partner’s side. He is awake and alert, cursing vigorously at his misstep.

You ask, “Are you alright?”

Sitting up, he replies, “Yes.” As he carefully bends his neck to the left, right, back, and front with no indication of pain of any type.

Throughout the last half-century, any physician or provider with the slightest knowledge of emergency medicine would have fainted at the thought of letting a patient go through the maneuvers described above. If asked about what should have taken place, they would tell you the patient had to be immobilized. Immediately upon arriving on the scene, the uninjured party should have counseled their companion to remain still, lie completely flat on the ground, and not move their neck.

After all, there could be an unnoticed and unidentified spinal cord injury.

We must protect the spinal cord. 

Given the guidelines as presented in this paper, the patient above has cleared himself. Being alert and able to safely and without pain mobilize the neck in a full range of motion (without distracting injury) rules out a spinal cord injury. In some instances, it may be desired to provide some form of non-rigid cervical spine motion restriction. However, the rigid cervical collar has been shown to cause more harm than good…

Click here to read the entire article at Wilderness Doc.

Doom and Bloom: Stab Wounds

The Altons at Doom and Bloom Medical have another good article up, this one on stab wounds. There are pictures with stab wounds on the page, so that’s a warning if you have a light stomach.

Any disaster puts your people at risk for injury. Wounds caused by sharp objects can be life-threatening, depending on the organs and blood vessels damaged.

Stab wounds are a type of penetrating trauma, which is further divided into perforating and non-perforating injuries.  A perforating wound is one in which the object causing the damage goes into one side of the body and then exits through the other side.  A wound from .223 or NATO .556 would, commonly, be an example of perforating trauma.

Bullets and other high-speed projectiles cause damage not only from the act of penetration, but also the shock wave produced as the bullet passes through the body. Luckily, low speed projectiles such as knives will not do this. Your concerns are related specifically to the area of entry and the structures located directly in the path of the offending instrument.

Stab wounds are an example of a non-perforating wound:  the projectile causing the damage enters the body and either stays there or exits where it entered. Some sharp instruments could possibly do this, say a crossbow bolt or a spearhead, but let’s assume that you’ll be unlikely to see these.

With stab wounds, blood loss and failure of damaged organs will be the major issue. A little about blood: Blood carries oxygen to the tissues and organs and removes waste products. It is made up of several components, including:

  • Red blood cells: These cells carry oxygen to body tissues.
  • White blood cells: These cells work to, among other things, fight infection and disease.
  • Platelets and other clotting factors: These allow blood to coagulate and lessen blood loss.
  • Plasma: A yellowish liquid in which the above are suspended.

Your immediate action upon encountering a victim of a wound with a sharp instrument may save their life. The heart takes less than one minute to pump blood to the entire body; if the circulatory system is breached, blood loss becomes life-threatening very quickly.

180 lb. (about 70 kg.) adult males have approximately 9-10 pints (about 5 liters) of blood in their body. Athletes and those living at very high altitudes may have more. You can’t afford to lose more than 40% of total blood volume without needing major resuscitation.  To get an idea of how much blood this is, empty a 2 liter bottle of fruit punch or cranberry juice on the floor.  You’ll be surprised at how much fluid that represents…

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

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.

Wilderness Doc: Hydration and Rehydration

While hydration may seem more like a summer topic, cold, dry weather can cause a decrease in thirst, making it easier to become dehydrated. Here’s an article from Wilderness Doc on Hydration and Rehydration, including using a nasogastric tube for severely dehydrated patients. While Doc doesn’t discuss it in this article, there is also the option of emergency rectal hydration for patients who are unconscious, suffering nausea, or in shock.

Hydration aka water…essential for life. We take for granted this vital substance which we cannot live without. In much of the world, however, clean drinking water is a luxury. In a previous post, I have discussed how to make this water safe to drink. In this post, I want to examine what you might be able to do for yourself or a companion should you become dehydrated.

Oral rehydration is the standard way to rehydrate. This can be accomplished with small sips of water, Gatorade or, in dire circumstances, whatever you have at hand. If you have more resources, making an oral rehydration solution is even better. There are several options to make this. The two most common start with a quart of clean water to which the following is added:

Option 1: One teaspoon of salt, 8 teaspoons of sugar. Mix, then add 0.5 cup orange juice or half a banana (mashed).

Option 2: One-fourth teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey. Mix again. Add 0.5 cup orange juice or half a banana (mashed).

Ideally, the dehydrated patient will drink at least 3 quarts of this solution daily until the diarrhea or other source of dehydration ceases.

Unfortunately, the severely dehydrated patient may refuse or be physically unable to drink the solution. In those cases, consider a nasogastric tube feeding for these patients. Most people are able to easily place such a tube with some lubrication either through KY or other water soluble lubricants applied either to a standard NG tube or to IV tubing or any relatively clean piece of small caliber, flexible tubing. Be sure to test placement by listening over the stomach while blowing into the mouth end (proximal end) of the tube and hearing bubbles in the stomach. You should also start out with a very small (less than 5 ml) test infusion. If coughing occurs, check placement again as you do not want to introduce the solution into the lungs and potentially produce a pneumonitis. The amount of fluid to administer for adults is calculated by adding the patient’s weight in kg’s to 40. An 80 kg patient would need 80+40=120 ml/hr of the oral rehydration fluid. This would be continued until the patient is able to drink the solution on their own, without aid of the tubing.

While there are examples of WWII POW’s utilizing sharpened bamboo sticks and rubber tubing to fashion IV’s, the risk of infection from this would be very high. Further, the art of finding a vein in such a severely dehydrated patient is one most, even with modern and sterile equipment do not possess. If things are so bad as to even consider such a situation, it is likely natural processes will not be stopped. So, while an interesting thought experiment, I would recommend you think more about and ensure adequate knowledge of the above skills instead…

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…

Click here for the rest of the article.

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.

Basic Pistol and Trauma First Aid Classes Coming in NOV and DEC

Stealth Defense is teaching a few Basic Pistol classes in November and a Trauma First Aid class in December of 2019.

Ladies Basic Pistol Shooting

Tue Nov 5, 5:00 PM – Sat Nov 9, 12:00 PM (PST)
Stealth Defense Firearms Training, 2732 Katie Rd, Kennewick, WA

This course includes a FREE Initiative 1639 required firearms safety training lesson and certificate

Topics covered in this class include: gun safety rules, proper operation of semi-automatic and revolver pistols, ammunition knowledge and selection, selecting and storing a pistol specific to you (the user), safe and correct storage of firearms when not in use, the fundamentals of shooting, the three (3) secrets of accurate shooting, pistol inspection and maintenance, stoppage clearances, shooting positions, and a qualification marksmanship shooting test. A light snack is provided, but you will need to bring a lunch.

This course meets the pistol safety requirements for obtaining an Oregon Concealed Handgun License, and an Idaho Standard Concealed Weapons License. WA has reciprocity in ID, but having a non-resident ID license gives a person reciprocity in the same states as Utah at a lower cost. Students will be responsible for following the state’s requirements for obtaining their concealed carry licenses.

Course fee includes all student materials – NRA Book, Exam, NRA Associate Membership, downloadable exam prep materials, range fees, targets, and certification fees.

Co-Ed Basic Pistol Shooting

Thu Nov 7, 5:00 PM – Sat Nov 9, 5:00 PM (PST)
Fredricks Arms and Smiths, 1904 Airport Way, Richland, WA, USA

This course includes a FREE Initiative 1639 required firearms safety training lesson and certificate

Topics covered in this class include: gun safety rules, proper operation of semi-automatic and revolver pistols, ammunition knowledge and selection, selecting and storing a pistol specific to you (the user), safe and correct storage of firearms when not in use, the fundamentals of shooting, the three (3) secrets of accurate shooting, pistol inspection and maintenance, stoppage clearances, shooting positions, and a qualification marksmanship shooting test. A light snack is provided, but you will need to bring a lunch.

This course meets the pistol safety requirements for obtaining an Oregon Concealed Handgun License, and an Idaho Standard Concealed Weapons License. WA has reciprocity in ID, but having a non-resident ID license gives a person reciprocity in the same states as Utah at a lower cost. Students will be responsible for following the state’s requirements for obtaining their concealed carry licenses.

Course fee includes all student materials – NRA Book, Exam, NRA Associate Membership, downloadable exam prep materials, range fees, targets, and certification fees.

Trauma First Aid (part 1)

Tue Dec 10, 5:30 – 9:00 PM (PST)

Prosser, WA

  1. Performing a patient assessment.
  2. Traumatic emergencies.

Trauma First Aid (part 2)

Thu Dec 12, 5:30 – 8:30 PM (PST)

Prosser, WA

  1. Medical and environmental emergencies.
  2. Creating your own emergency first aid kit.

Pioneer Thinking: Medicinal Uses of Garlic

Autumn has fallen upon us once again. The garden is largely put to bed, but one of the things I’m out planting at this time of year is garlic. Garlic is, of course, a delicious food staple. In addition to being a food source for thousands of years, garlic has been used as a medicinal plant for nearly as long. It’s medicinal uses have been recorded by the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, ancient China and Japan, and in India’s two thousand year old Charaka Samhita medical text. So, if you weren’t think about garlic already, get out and plant some!

The following excerpt is from an older article by Pioneer Thinking: 14 Medicinal Uses of Garlic

Garlic and Health

Garlic (allium sativum) is a member of the onion family which has been used for culinary purposes for millennia and in recent years has been labelled a super food.

Unsurprisingly in the four thousand year history of this little vegetable or herb, it has been found to have numerous uses for medicinal purposes.

Open Wounds and Infections

Wounds and infections can be cleansed and treated with a garlic solution. After the wound has been cleaned, grate or pound twenty or so cloves of garlic, being careful to use only clean utensils. Mix it with a little water to make a paste which can be spread over a sterile gauze dressing and applied to the wound. Keep in place with a bandage and leave for two days when the process should be carefully repeated. During World War II, when antibiotics were scarce, garlic was often used in this way to treat wounded soldiers and protect against gangrene and septic poisoning. During the first war, garlic was also widely used to treat dysentery and typhus.

Throat and Ear Infections

Because garlic kills bacteria it works both externally and internally and many people use it to treat throat infections, colds etc. More often than not nowadays, garlic is taken as a supplement in capsule form, but making your own linctus could not be easier. Simply boil a head of garlic gently in water for 2 hours to make a light tea, adding syrup or honey to sweeten if necessary. Strain this and allow it to cool slightly before sipping. Garlic is also soothing and beneficial in ear infections if garlic infused oil is gently massaged around the ear area.

Oral Thrush and Digestive Tract Disorders

For a more palatable flavor, garlic can be mixed with apple cider vinegar and sweetened with honey. This can be sipped, used as a gargle or administered with a teaspoon like cough medicine. The combined properties of garlic and vinegar help to destroy harmful bacteria in the mouth and digestive tract. It can therefore be used to cure mouth ulcers and oral thrush.

Boosting the Immune System

Taken little and often, garlic can help to boost the immune system. The allicin in garlic is similar to penicillin, though not as strong. It is produced when the garlic is finely chopped or crushed, which increases its strength. For internal problems, chewing on a clove of garlic can release the antibiotic properties. However it is important to use only white cloves as the green thread which is sometimes found in the center of a clove of garlic is not only indigestible but is also what causes the notorious and lingering garlic ‘pong’ on the breath.

Athletes Foot and other Fungal Infections

For external fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, a garlic foot bath is both refreshing and effective. You can make this by crushing 4 cloves of garlic with salt or rubbing alcohol into a foot spa or bowl large enough to hold the feet and soaking the feet in this for half an hour. After thoroughly drying the feet, you can rub the infected area with cotton wool swabs soaked in little garlic oil. A twice daily application should help to clear up the fungal infection.

Counteracting ‘Bad’ Cholesterol

The other ingredient of garlic is diallyl sulphide. This is widely believed to be beneficial in combating LDL (low density lipoprotein) or ‘bad cholesterol’ – that scourge of modern society. The phytochemicals in garlic appear to work in the same way as statin drugs which are often prescribed to lower cholesterol. The benefit of using garlic is that, being completely natural, it has no side effects. Studies have shown that garlic can be as beneficial as a low fat diet in reducing cholesterol and by combining both, levels can be reduced by 20%. 800 mgs of dried garlic or 5-10 cloves of fresh garlic should be consumed daily for best results.

High Blood Pressure

There has also been a lot of scientific interest recently in using garlic to lower high blood pressure. Whilst studies are inconclusive, early signs seem to suggest that garlic can help to bring down blood pressure levels. Garlic can be taken as a supplement along with your normal anti-hypertensive medications or as an extract or distilled garlic oil; 600-900 mg daily is the normal recommended dose, which may sound high, but is relatively small in terms of raw garlic. Fortunately, unlike allicin, the health benefits of the diallyl sulphides are not destroyed by cooking, so including garlic in recipes is the easiest way to help lower your cholesterol and your blood pressure

Stroke

Another worrying lifestyle disease these days, which is often linked to cholesterol and blood pressure, is stroke and once again garlic has been found to be beneficial. This is because garlic is rich in anti-coagulant or blood thinning properties, similar to aspirin. Studies have shown that garlic reduces platelet stickiness which is responsible for hindering the circulation of blood around the body. Increasing your dietary garlic intake or taking garlic supplements (500 mg three times a day) can thin the blood and help prevent the onset of stroke.

Why Garlic Benefits Sufferers of Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis, or the build up of plaque in the walls of the arteries, is known to be alleviated by garlic. It works directly by reducing the lipid content in cells of the arteries and thus preventing their dangerous accumulation. Recent studies show that women may benefit more than men by increasing their intake of garlic to prevent thrombosis.

An Essential Role in Diabetes

Diabetes is a frightening disease which is growing in number in the United States. It currently affects between thirteen and fourteen million people. It is a metabolic disorder caused when the body is unable to break down foods properly, causing more sugar to enter the blood stream than the pancreas (which produces a hormone called insulin) can deal with. For diabetics, consuming garlic is invaluable as it reduces blood sugar levels, either by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin or by making existing insulin more available or more effective at its job.

The Kidneys and Bladder

The function of the kidneys is to filter the blood and help remove toxins from the body. When they become damaged due to diabetes, hypertension or other medical conditions, they become severely strained and serious problems can kick in. The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of garlic promote kidney health by eliminating free radical damage and purifying the blood. Garlic is a natural diuretic which means it helps to eliminate excess salt and water through the urine. Garlic therefore is an internal cleanser, helping to flush harmful toxins out of the body.

Respiratory Problems and Lung Disease

The combination of garlic’s antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties, not to mention is high concentration of sulphur makes it extremely effective in combating all manner of respiratory ailments, from bronchitis to pneumonia. Because it acts as an expectorant and a decongestant to clear the lungs, sufferers of chronic bronchitis can benefit considerably from adding garlic to their daily diet.

Anti-Cancer Effects of Garlic

It has been observed for decades that in countries where garlic and onions form a regular part of the diet, the incidence of cancer is much lower, causing scientists to study the link between cancer and nutrition. The ability of garlic to stimulate the gastric juices and restore the intestinal flora is what accounts for its success as a detoxifier and cancer-preventing agent. In the most extreme cases, the best results seen from using garlic to prevent or treat cancer have been from drinking garlic juice or chewing fresh garlic cloves. Stomach cancers have responded particularly well to garlic medications but occasional successes with other forms of cancer, even in the advanced stages, have been claimed.

Worm Infestation

Intestinal parasites are relatively common but extremely distressing and potentially dangerous if left untreated in toddlers and children. Parasites like tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms and pinworms are tiny creatures that find their way into the gastrointestinal tract and sometimes burrow into the muscles. They can cause a whole host of distressing symptoms of varying severity and need to be eliminated. The natural sulphur in garlic helps to expel and eradicate them.

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.