Activated charcoal has been scientifically proven to treat poisonings, so keep some on hand at home or in your survival backpack. Let’s look more into how you can use activated charcoal during an emergency.
Imagine this; it’s been a few days since you got lost in the wilderness. You’ve been living off the land as much as possible to stretch out your supplies as you await rescue or seek assistance. While your intentions were good, your skill in identifying edible plants was not.
Something you ate is interfering with your inside organs. At best, you may be experiencing severe gas. At worst, you may have unintentionally consumed some sort of poison.
If you’re forced to take care of yourself during a natural disaster, if you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world, or become hopelessly lost in the woods, safe food and drinking water are likely to be scarce.
Consuming contaminated food and liquids can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach discomfort. So what can you do when there isn’t a doctor or a hospital nearby?
Here’s where activated charcoal comes into play.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon or activated coal, is a type of charcoal that has been processed to have a significant volume of pores on its surface.
It is because of these tiny pores that it is able to efficiently adsorb poisons and chemicals and remove them from your body. You may notice that the word used is adsorb and not absorb. Let’s see what’s the difference between adsorption and absorption.
The latter includes a fluid being dissolved by another substance (for example, water being absorbed by a cracker), whereas the former involves molecules of a substance (for example, a toxin) sticking to the surface of another substance (in this case, activated charcoal).
Activated charcoal is used in a variety of fields, including engineering and agriculture. In fact, this material is frequently employed in air and water filters to keep life’s necessities clean enough for us to consume.
It’s probably a good idea to point out that activated charcoal is not the same as what you use to light the grill. Don’t mix up the two since toxins thrive in barbecue charcoal and should never be consumed.
Why you should consider activated charcoal
Using a few activated charcoal pills may be enough to alleviate poisoning symptoms. If you consume activated charcoal while the problematic chemical is still in your stomach, the carbon traps the poison before it is absorbed into your system.
Because the charcoal cannot be absorbed by your system, it (together with the trapped chemical) can be ejected from your body when nature calls before any significant harm is done.
Doctors frequently employ activated charcoal in drug overdose cases. Some preppers promote it for adverse food reactions and “stomach bugs.”
Other benefits claimed by activated-charcoal users include reduced intestinal gas and bile flow during pregnancy, though skeptics say more research is needed to know how beneficial it is in those circumstances.
Activated charcoal should not be used if you consume alcohol since the two can interact and reduce the efficiency of the charcoal.
Furthermore, multiple studies have shown that this form of carbon is ineffective at treating alcohol intoxication — although it purportedly helps eliminate alcohol mixers that contribute to the poisoning, such as artificial sweeteners.
Activated charcoal will adsorb drugs and vitamins taken orally in the same way as it adsorbs toxins from the stomach and intestines. As a result, it is advised to take the charcoal one hour after taking the medication.
How to use activated charcoal
Activated charcoal is most effective before the toxin is absorbed through your gastrointestinal tract, so it should be provided within two hours of consumption.
It is available in tablet, caplet, or powder form and can be taken orally as a pill or mixed with water to make a slurry.
For poisonings and drug overdoses, adults should take 50 to 100 grams at first, followed by smaller 12.5-gram doses every two to four hours. Of course, these are very broad suggestions for adults, and we encourage that you get competent medical guidance for your own or your children’s specific needs.
Does it Have side effects?
Constipation and darkening or complete blackness of stool are possible side effects of activated charcoal; however, it is generally regarded as safe for short-term usage in most adults.
In difficult situations, serious side effects may include intestinal slowdown or obstruction, reflux into the lungs, and dehydration. Again, because everyone reacts differently to different substances, we recommend visiting a physician before using activated charcoal.
Other uses of activated charcoal
Aside from delaying the effects and removing poisons from the body, activated charcoal can be employed in a variety of ways to improve your survival or daily living. As previously stated, it is frequently the primary component in both air and water filtration systems.
Using activated charcoal in conjunction with other spontaneous water filtering methods can significantly improve the effectiveness and taste of water.
Additionally, supporters claim it is an effective teeth whitener.
Proper oral hygiene is vital for your overall health, and, by extension, good physical health will always increase your chances of survival.
According to various reports, activated charcoal can be combined with water and applied as a salve to treat skin irritations or even wounds. It is reported to be useful against spider bites as well as other bug bites and stings.
When applied to the skin, this salve can also serve as camouflage in case you want to conceal your presence.
When you’re in a survival scenario, it’s easy to overlook the finer things in life, such as the unique body odor you’re releasing.
There are numerous ways you give away your location to animals and people, and bad odor is one of them. Odor adsorption is a common application for activated charcoal so learn how to use it if you don’t want to make your presence noticed.
Make pouches out of it to put in your shoes (if you have stinky feet) or your clothing (if laundry isn’t an option in your bug-out scenario).
However, you must be careful because the black powder will stain anything it comes into contact with, so don’t use it like baby powder unless you want to make all your clothes back.
The activated charcoal aids in the removal of musty odors as well as potentially hazardous mold.
Some researchers indicate that activated charcoal has the ability to lower bad cholesterol, while others claim that the findings need to be explored further.
Now back to your scenario where you got lost in the wilderness. After experiencing living off the land and feeling its effects, you take a couple of activated charcoal pills and begin to feel the pain fade away. If your unexpected stay in the woods lasts longer than intended, you’ll not only be able to avoid poisons and some ailments, but you’ll also smell good and keep a positive attitude.
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