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…
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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?
Daisy at The Organic Prepper has an article up about the Wuhan Coronavirus and what you can do now to prepare. From what is currently known, this coronavirus has approximately a 2% mortality rate. That is considerably lower than some other viruses that have made the news over the years, but while it is low it is about the same as the Spanish Flu pandemic that killed millions around 1918. Should you be worrying? It’s too early to tell right now. We don’t know if containment will be achieved or how easily it may spread. But if not this one, at some point another pandemic will sweep the world causing mass casualties, so it is good to have some preparation for the event.
…In Wuhan, supermarket shelves were empty and local markets sold out of produce as residents hoarded supplies and isolated themselves at home. Petrol stations were overwhelmed as drivers stocked up on fuel, exacerbated by rumours that reserves had run out. Local residents said pharmacies had sold out of face masks.
“When I saw the news when I woke up, I felt like I was going to go crazy. This is a little too late now. The government’s measures are not enough,” said Xiao, 26, a primary schoolteacher in Wuhan, who asked not to give her full name.
Few pedestrians were out and families cancelled plans to get together for the new year holiday. Special police forces were seen patrolling railway stations. Residents and all government workers are now required to wear face masks while in public spaces. Most outbound flights from the city’s Tianhe airport were cancelled. (source)
Those who wish to be prepared should note the speed at which quarantines were put in place in China. Don’t delay placing orders for supplies, fueling up your vehicle, and adding last-minute preps to your stockpile. You may already have many of the supplies you need, so be sure to do an inventory before panic-buying.
However, if you discover you do need supplies, get them now. If you wait until a quarantine is announced, you’ve waited too long and you’ll be out there fighting for resources with everyone else in your area.
Read this article for more information about pandemic preparedness. Order any personal protection supplies you need.
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…
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…
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…
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…
If a disaster knocks you off the grid for long enough, the medicines eventually run out no matter how well you’ve prepared. This is especially true for drugs which you can only stockpile in limited quantities, simply because they’re too expensive. One item that isn’t too expensive is fish oil, commonly available in supplements or in FDA-approved prescription items. The scientific data shows that they can reduce triglycerides in your blood, a factor in coronary artery disease, and perhaps help in other ways.
First, what is fish oil? Fish oil is the fat or oil that’s extracted from fish tissue. Squeeze a fish, get some oil. Most of it comes from “oily” fish, such as herring, tuna, anchovies, salmon, and mackerel. It’s sometimes produced from the livers of other fish, an example being the time-honored cod liver oil.
The World Health Organization (WHO) doesn’t recommend fish oil supplements, but it does recommend eating 1–2 portions of fish per week. This is because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish are thought to provide many health benefits, including a level of protection against a number of diseases. The FDA has approved fish oil products like Lovaza and Vascepa as a good way to fight high triglycerides and total cholesterol levels, especially in those who don’t incorporate fish in their diet.
Back to that in a minute. It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about triglycerides and cholesterol, so let’s take a moment to discuss them…
We’ve all heard about bad cholesterol, but cholesterol is made by all animal cells and is an essential structural component of cell membranes. It is also a prerequisite for all steroid hormones, bile, and even vitamin D. That means you can’t produce them without cholesterol as a building block. Cholesterol was first discovered in gallstones in the 18th century, we called it “cholesterine” then…
Bottom line about fish oil in survival scenarios? Instead of squeezing fish to get oil, you’re probably a lot better off just cooking and eating them. Believe me, you could do worse than incorporating fish into your diet. By the way, you can also get your omega-3s from other natural sources, especially ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil. Alternate sources of omega-3s also include chia seeds, walnuts, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, and soy oil. If you’re off the grid, though, and can’t access any other source of omega-3s, fish oil supplements might be useful if you could store them appropriately.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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)
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…
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
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?
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)…
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…
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.
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…
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…
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!
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
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.
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.