In the world we live today there are as many man-made disasters as natural ones and you need to learn to survive both. If your pantry is full, your health and safety should be a first priority when a disaster strikes. Knowing what to do and having the correct equipment to treat a medical problem should be a must for every prepper since even the smallest infection can bring you down, if left untreated.
I said it before and I will say it again, “Knowledge is Power” and you always have to learn, learn and learn some more. Taking part in as many firs aid trainings as possible will be useful in the long run and having the right medical books can save you a lot of trouble. The more knowledge you have the more SHTF health issues you can deal with.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a complete first aid kit and learning how to use it. Prepping is not only about stockpiling water, food and ammo, it’s also about knowing how to deal with medical situation when the doctor is not around anymore.
This article will present a list of common SHTF health issues and injuries that may occur during a disaster, their symptoms and what to do in order to overcome them.
These are the SHTF health issues you probably have to deal with:
SHTF Health Issues – Diarrhea
We all know the symptoms of diarrhea and they can vary from mild to severe loose and runny stools. This is one of the SHTF health issues that occurs when the patient consumes contaminated water or if it’s the case of food poisoning. The patient should avoid eating solid foods and he should drink re-hydrating drinks. You should have Imodium in your medical kit as it is a good medicine to give in case of diarrhea.
SHTF Health Issues – Dysentery
The symptoms of dysentery are similar to the ones of diarrhea, meaning frequent stools in the form of fluid. The difference is that the stools would also contain blood and mucus. The patient might also vomit case in which Imodium should not be administrated. Give the patient only re-hydrating drinks.
SHTF Health Issues – Dehydration
This is one of the most common health issues you can encounter. When dehydration occurs the patient will have the following symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, dry mouth, fatigue and reduced urine. The patient should avoid solid foods and he must drink re-hydrating beverages in small sips. Having a constant water source is important for every prepper, especially during a medical emergency.
SHTF Health Issues – Fainting
During a disaster some people might faint and if that’s the case you will have to lay the person on a flat surface with his face facing upwards. Raise the legs to increase blood circulation to the head. Loosen tight clothing and shake the person vigorously to revive him.
SHTF Health Issues – Fever
A person is considered feverish if oral temperature is above 100 F (37.8 C) or rectal temperature is above 100.7 F (38.2 C). In case of high fever, give the patient re-hydrating drinks. You should also have Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen in your medical kit as they are good fever medicine. Give the medicine according to the indications from the box. You should also make the patient wear light clothing to let the body breath and lower its temperature. Bathing or sponging in lukewarm water may bring the temperature down.
SHTF Health Issues – Earache
Although it’s not one of the worst SHTF health issues, an earache can still give you a lot to deal with. The symptoms of earache are redness and swelling behind the ear as well as loss of hearing and pain. Apply heat to the ear, which may help with pain. Use a warm washcloth. If the patient is in pain you can give pain relievers such as Advil, Motrin or Tylenol. The patient should rest to help the body fight off any infections.
SHTF Health Issues – Blisters
A blister is irritated red skin with fluid trapped inside and it generally looks more swollen than normal skin. If the blister has not popped do not pop or drain it. Cover it with a loosely bandage. If the blister has popped wash the area with warm water and soap. Apply antibiotic ointment or honey and cover loosely with a sterile bandage or gauze. Change the bandage daily and whenever it gets dirty or wet.
Recommended reading: Honey a survival food with medicinal proprieties.
SHTF Health Issues – Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
Symptoms associated with CO poisoning are nausea, vomiting, headache and fatigue. The first thing you have to do is to take the patient to an open area with fresh air. The patient might be confuse so try to calm him down and check for injuries. You do not need to give any medicine to the person. A mild exposure can be treated with oxygen while a severe exposure can require a prolonged oxygen therapy and professional medical aid.
SHTF Health Issues – Hyperventilation
The symptoms of hyperventilation are a tingling sensation or numbness around the mouth, hands and feet. These SHTF health issues occur when people are panicking or there is a high level of stress, so the first thing you have to do is calm the person to reduce anxiety. The patient should breathe through pursed lips as if blowing out a candle. Breathing should be done slowly, taking 1 breath every 5 seconds.
SHTF Health Issues – Seizure
Sudden jerking and shuddering of body, elevated or dropping heart rates and collapse are the symptoms of a seizure. Prevent the patient from injuring himself by keeping him or her from falling. Try to guide the person gently to the floor and if you can, turn the person onto his or her side during the seizure. If the person has trouble breathing use your finger to clear the mouth of any vomit or saliva. Loosen the tight clothes to allow a more relaxed breathing. Do not give the patient food or water until the person is fully awake and alert.
SHTF Health Issues – Bleeding management
During SHTF most bleeding wounds will be caused by bullets or sharp weapons/objects. Of course that you should prevent these wounds by keeping your loved ones safe, but in case of a wound with large amounts of bleeding here is what you have to do. Apply direct pressure to the wound immediately using a clean dressing to control and stop the bleeding. The bleeding part, once secured, should be raised above the rest of the body to reduce blood supply to that area. Keep applying pressure to the dressing with gauze padding if the bleeding doesn’t stop by reducing the circulation. Even if the blood goes through the dressing, do not remove it and apply another one on top of it. If the bleeding persists for more than 10 minutes regardless all your efforts you should seek professional medical aid.
SHTF Health Issues – Mild or severe burns
Wash the burnt area with cold running water and apply aloe vera gel or honey. Apply a non-sticky sterile dressing over the rest of the area. The article from the link below covers the complete treatment for burns.
Related reading: How to treat burns when medical aid is not available.
SHTF Health Issues – Fractures
A fracture can be identified if the patient presents a swelling and loss of mobility of the limb or part of the body. Fractured bones must be set in their proper place and held there in order to heal properly. After setting, most fractures are immobilized with a cast, splint, or, occasionally, traction to reduce pain and help healing. The immobilization techniques require the following:
- Remove the clothing and accessories as soon as possible before the swelling sets in
- Tape any stiff object to the fractured body part like a board or a tree branch
- In case of fractured fingers the unaffected finger must be taped along with the fractured finger to keep it in place
- For joints, the bone above and below the joint must be immobilized as well
In most cases, medication is limited to painkillers to reduce pain. In open fractures, antibiotics are administered to prevent infection. Once you remove the cast or splint, it may take four to six weeks for the bone to regain past strength. SHTF health issues like fractures can incapacitate you and leave you helpless.
SHTF Health Issues – Concussion
Concussions occur when a patient hits his head or receives a powerful blow to the head. It can happen at any time and you have to make sure the patient stays awake for at least 2 hours. This is a safe measure to be sure the patient doesn’t slip into a comma. The symptoms generally include momentary loss of consciousness and headache. If nothing has happened for 12 hours the patient might recover just fine. However further medical investigation is recommended and you should seek professional medical help when possible.
SHTF Health Issues – Frostbite
When frostbite sets in you will notice a redness in the affected area followed by a white coloration of the affected part. Numbness, pale skin and hardening of the area will be observed as time passes. Frostbite can lead to the loss of the affected body part. Frostbite is caused by stating in the cold or snow for over 30 minutes without any proper protection. It can also lead to hypothermia.
In order to prevent further heat loss to the affected part you should move to a warm area. Remove all constrictive clothes and accessories and give the person, warm, non-alcoholic fluids or drinks. Do not rub the area as it will cause tissue damage. Apply a dry sterile bandage to prevent rubbing and keep the area warm. In case hypothermia sets in you have to deal with it first as saving the life of the patient is more important tan saving a limb.
SHTF Health Issues – Hypothermia
Hypothermia is one of the SHTF health issues that can prove fatal if not treated immediately. A person with hypothermia will have the following symptoms: confusion or slurred speech, a drop in body temperature below 95 F, exhaustion or drowsiness, shivering, shallow breathing and numb hands or feet. It is important to restore warmth slowly and here is what you have to do: get the person indoors and remove wet clothing. Warm the person’s trunk first because if you warm the feet or hands first, it may cause a shock for the patent. Wrap the person with blankets or put dry clothes on the patient. Do not immerse the person in hot or warm water as the rapid warming can cause heart arrhythmia. Make sure you keep the temperature up once the body temperature begins to rise. Provide warm drinks if the person is conscious.
SHTF Health Issues – Hearth attack
The most common symptoms of heart attacks start with a heaviness and pain in the chest, followed by a pain in his left arm. These symptoms will be topped by heavy breathing and abundant sweating. Give the patient an aspiring to reduce clotting activity and beta-adrenergic blocker drugs (Acebutolol, Bisoprolol, Nadolol) to calm the heart. You will have to perform CPR if the patient collapses and call 911. Unfortunately this is one of the SHTF health issues you can’t deal with at home and you will require medical assistance. However, you can prevent this medical condition if you have a healthy lifestyle.
This is a list with the most common SHTF health issues that can occur during a disaster and in order to deal with it you should practice CPR beforehand and take help from a professional to make sure you are ready to do it when situation requires it. You should always seek professional medical assistance if it’s too much for you and you can’t handle the situation.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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