September 20, 2017

Diet Pop Might be Artificially Sweetened Poison

This article is about preparedness but in a roundabout way.  It’s about changes I’ve made in order to be healthier and better prepared, physically, for my future.  I’m sharing in hopes that it might help some of you.  I’m also hoping you will share with me and others some of the things you have done.  I’m not going to talk about working out or getting in shape.  It’s not that I’m against it but as I mention in Preparing for Physical Limitations , I care more about functional fitness.

A little background is probably in order; I have always been a pop/soda/coke drinker.  I used to drink regular and then switched to diet ten years ago to lose some weight.  My grandmother is a type2 Diabetic, as is my father.  This gave me a 75% chance of becoming a type2 Diabetic as well.  Five years ago I was told I had become just that.

I went through a whirlwind of changes.  Meds were added but I was bound and determined to eventually control my Diabetes with diet and exercise.  Over the last five years, I have tweaked my diet and have eaten healthier than I ever have and healthier than most people I know.  I started working out and took a real world martial arts class called “Haganah”.  I’ve had a few health issues related to my back and left leg that have limited my physical activity the last couple of years.

Through it all, my weight was pretty constant and my A1C, which is the test that measures ones’ glucose level, was always on the high end.  My doctor, however, was never very concerned and added another med to control the blood sugars, saying the higher numbers could be a reaction to the pain I was having in my back and leg.  This is possible, as all kinds of stress can raise glucose levels, but it just didn’t sit right.

I went through a week or two where I was eating a very healthy diabetic diet and my numbers were even higher than usual.  I made an appointment with a diabetic educator at my clinic and brought a food log to prove I was eating a very healthy diet.  There was no reason for my blood sugar to be as high as it was. She agreed and added yet one more med, bringing the total meds to three, to control my ever climbing blood sugars.  This helped some, but they were still a bit higher than they should have been.

I started seeing a chiropractic neurologist to see if she could help with my back and leg pain.  We went over diet, physical activity, pain management and a few other things.  She said I needed to do the following: Start taking two supplements and drastically reduce the amount of diet soda/pop/coke I was drinking (she said I could have one can a day).

She asked if I was up for giving up the diet pop.  I told her I was so tired of being in pain, that if she told me to eat twigs and berries, I would.  She said she just might do that and then told me to take two natural supplements.  One was UltraGlycemX which, in my opinion, would have been the next step DOWN from twigs and berries, as far as taste goes.  This was something to mix in water twice daily.  I needed to take this while the blood sugar numbers came down and leveled off.  UltraGlycemX is a medical food that provides “Nutritional Support for Conditions Associated with Type 2 Diabetes”.

She also started me on a supplement called Protoglysen , which “provides a diverse range of botanicals to help support modulating the insulin response and support blood sugar stability”.  This is in the form of a capsule taken twice a day, and is something I will take for some time.

I had to stop drinking the diet soda/pop/coke.  She called it “poison”.  She said the chemicals, mainly the artificial sweeteners, were causing so much inflammation, which was adding to the pain and keeping any adjustment she made from doing any real good.  She said there was also a very good chance that it was the culprit for my high blood sugar levels.

She asked me to reduce the number of cans I was drinking by one or two a day, that going cold turkey might cause some nasty headaches due to the lack of caffeine, which was another thing she recommended I stop ingesting.  She said the only sweeteners I should use are Stevia or Xylitol, both being natural.  She recommended finding something to drink besides water, as many people get bored with only being able to drink water all day.

I was able to find Stevia in packets at vitamin store and even Walmart carries Stevia in the raw in packets.  We haven’t had much luck finding Xylitol.  Fair warning; Stevia can have a bitter aftertaste.  Trudee also went on the hunt for Lipton Unsweetened Decaf Iced Tea Mix and found it locally.  Another thing I found was True Lemon , which has other flavors as well.  They are an all-natural drink mix that comes in a packet you can pour into a water bottle.  Another thing I found that I enjoy very much is Sobe Lifewater.   It offers a variety of fruity drinks that are sweetened with Stevia in the form of “Pure Via”.  There are also a few soda/pop/coke companies that have started using Stevia.  Unfortunately, they are quite expensive.

I’m not going to get into the effects that Aspartame or any of the other artificial sweeteners can have, but you can find plenty of information with a quick internet search. Here are just two articles on Diet Pop; What’s So Bad About Diet Soda? And Can Diet Drinks Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

So, where has all of this gotten me?  It took me a week to get down to one Diet Dr. Pepper a day, which is what I drink now.  I stopped the UltraGlycemX a couple months after my numbers dropped down to normal ranges.  I continue to take the Protoglysen.  Remember, I said I was taking three different meds to control the diabetes and my numbers were still high?  One month after reducing to one can of Diet Dr. Pepper a day, my numbers dropped down to normal.  Roughly one month later, I saw my doctor and was taken off one Diabetes med.  I had my A1C checked and it has also dropped dramatically.  I just stopped taking a second med and my numbers haven’t risen at all.  I spoke with my doctor and he said I could stop the last med and watch the numbers closely to see if they come up.

I’m not endorsing or recommending the supplements I was put on, but if you have Type 2 Diabetes you might want to see what your doctor thinks about trying them.  I printed out information and brought it to my doctor.  He simply cautioned me to watch for potential lows, which are far more dangerous than highs.  I think the supplements had a hand in my numbers coming down, but not nearly as much as getting rid of the diet pop did.  You might be wondering why I don’t quit it completely.  It might be silly, but Diet Dr. Pepper is one of my favorite things.  I hated that I had to reduce my intake.  I look forward to my one can a day…cold dead hands.  LOL

I’m not sharing any of this for a pat on the back, but to share with you what happened when I reduced the diet soda/pop/coke.  If you drink diet pop, are a diabetic with numbers that are unusually high for no reason, or you have health issues that can’t be explained, look into the effects of the artificial sweeteners and consider reducing or stopping as much as you can.

On a side note, when my numbers were high, I hardly ever “cheated” by eating any sweets or ice cream, as I knew my numbers would skyrocket.  Since they dropped to such normal levels, I have indulged a bit and my numbers stay well within range.

 

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The Flu

Before I get to today’s article I wanted to let you know about a great sale Camping Survival is having on their paracord. with the code “overstock” at checkout. I wrote an article about all the goodness that is paracord called Paracord the King of Cordage.   If paracord is on your list of items to buy, this sale would be a great time to get it.

 

The Flu

Here we are again in the midst of Flu season and it has not yet peaked, according to Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.  In fact, current rates of flu and flu-like activity have not been this high in nearly 10 years.  Because of this, I thought I would share some things with you.  Some of you might be old pro’s at all of this, but it is a good reminder for others of us.

 

What should you do during flu season?

  • If you’re ill, please stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Disinfect frequently touched places when someone is sick.

 

What are the symptoms of the flu?

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

 

When should you seek medical treatment?

Luckily, most people who contract the flu won’t need medical attention.  If you have a chronic illness, you should call your doctor and ask for guidance.  Some will suggest immediate treatment.  If your symptoms are bad or getting worse, call your doctor and ask for guidance as well.  The below symptoms are considered emergency warning signs.  If you or someone in your care has these, you should consider seeking medical attention immediately.

In Children

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking or interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash
  • No tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

In Adults

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but return with fever and worse cough

 

Are there medications available?

There are antiviral medications available that can lessen the symptoms and duration of the flu.  They are most effective when taken in the first 48 hours.  There are several over-the-counter medications to help lessen the symptoms.

There are also herbal treatments that may assist as well, here are just a few.

  • Echinacea is believed to reduce the symptoms of Cold and Flu and helps in the recovery.
  • Licorice contains antiviral compounds that release interferons, the bodys own antivirals.
  • Boneset; according to Clinical herbalist, David Hoffmann, boneset is one of the best herbs for influenza because it relieves aches, fever and mucus congestion.

 

Prepper’s and the flu

I have seen a few good articles on the flu that I would like to share.

I also have a link that you can use to track the flu in your area, the the flu near you site.

 

Closing thoughts

The whole “staying home until you’re not contagious” thing gets blown off by many people, but please do.  You’re not only infecting others, but you are putting yourself at greater risk.  The flu can really take its toll, and it can leave your weakened immune system susceptible to contracting something on top of the flu.

 

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Preparing for Stomach Trouble

Preparing for Stomach Trouble

 

Today’s topic isn’t a pleasant one, but I believe it is an important one.  I’ve written before about making sure you have some meds on hand to deal with stomach problems, but I have recently had some stomach trouble and it drove home what a problem it can be.  Though my trouble was minor, it still had me out of action at times.  I was blessed to have my stomach issues outside of a survival situation.  However, in a survival situation, being taken out by any stomach trouble could have dire consequences.

I’m not a doctor.  You should consult yours if you have questions or want more information.  You are responsible for whatever you consume.  Everything I am recommending is either over-the-counter or medicinal herbs known to aid in various digestive issues.  You should research any wild edible before consuming it.

 

Making Matters Worse

Stress and changes to the diet can cause those who normally don’t suffer from heart burn, nausea, constipation, diarrhea or any other digestive issue to have them.  If you normally suffer from digestive issues, stress and changes to the diet can make matters worse.

My point here is that even if you don’t normally have stomach issues, in a high stress survival situation, you may.  Being prepared ahead of time can keep an already bad situation from getting horribly worse.  Even if you don’t have digestion issues, others around you may, and you’ll be a super hero for helping them out.

 

Common Ailments and Their Home Treatment

 

Diarrhea

Diarrhea kills 1.5 million children worldwide every year.  That’s more than AIDS.   The most common reason is unclean drinking water.   In hurricanes or floods, the water is often contaminated with all kinds of filth.
 

OTC Remedies (Over The Counter)

Here are some OTC remedies that may help stop diarrhea;  Imodium, Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate.
 

Herbal Remedies

Astringent herbs help dry up the mucus membrane of the intestine.  Some herbs with astringent properties are; blackberry leaf or raspberry leaf. Extract of bilberry also has astringent qualities, but do not take it if you’re taking anticoagulants, as it can cause excessive bleeding.

Chamomile is an herb that may help with diarrhea; it is often used in teas.  Goldenseal is another herb.  It contains berberine, which has been shown to help with infectious diarrhea.

 
Dehydration

There are some schools of thought that say you should let diarrhea run its course.  The trouble with this is that leaving it to run its course could lead to dehydration.  To stave off dehydration you can store Pedialyte, Gatorade or mix your own Poor Man’s Gatorade..

 

Nausea

Nausea can be caused by a wide variety of things.  It can cause one to lose their appetite, and in a survival situation there is a good chance you’ll be burning off more calories than you normally do.

 

OTC Remedies (Over The Counter)

Here are some common OTC remedies that can help with nausea; Dramamine Chewable Tablets, Emetrol Cherry Flavored Liquid, Marezine for Motion Sickness Tablets, Triptone for Motion Sickness and Pepto-Bismol.

 

Herbal Remedies

Many of the herbal remedies can be brewed into a tea.  Others you might cook with.  Some of them are: ginger, chamomile, peppermint, clove, anise, basil, cumin, and concentrates of aloe.  These have been shown to sooth the symptoms in many digestive conditions.

 

Constipation

Adding fiber to your diet may help with constipation, but in times of high stress, fiber may not help.  I remember in boot camp, we ate more food than we would have if we were at home.  We were very active and we had at least ten men who suffered from constipation.

 

OTC Remedies (Over The Counter)

There are five different groups of OTC meds.  They are:

Oral osmotics: Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia, Miralax

Bulk formers: Benefiber, Citrucel, Fiber Choice, Metamucil

Oral stimulants; Ex-lax, Senokot

Oral stool softeners; Colace, Kaopectate

Rectal stimulants; Bisacodyl, Pedia-Lax, Dulcolax

 

Herbal Remedies

Again, many of these herbal remedies can be brewed into tea or used in cooking.  Slippery Elm can have laxative effects; Calendula is traditionally used for abdominal cramps and constipation.  Flax, rose hips, and dandelion are a gentle stimulant to digestion and are mild laxatives.

Untreated constipation can lead to an impacted bowel.  Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy recently wrote an article on fecal impaction.

 

Heartburn

Added stress can lead to more acid in the stomach, which can sometimes cause indigestion and heartburn.

 

OTC Remedies (Over The Counter)

Antacids; there are two types, the kind you take at the onset of heartburn, and acid blockers.  Some types of antacids you can take at the onset of heartburn are: Alka-Seltzer, Tums, Milk of Magnesia, Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids and Pepto-Bismol.  Some types of acid blockers are: Axid AR, Pepcid AC, Tagamet HB, Zantac 75.

 

Herbal Remedies

Just a few herbal remedies include: dandelion, fennel, catnip, peppermint and lemon balm.

 

Gas/Bloating

Let’s face it, many Prepper’s have an abundance of beans in their food storage.  Having a way to counteract the magical fruit just makes sense.

 

OTC Remedies (Over The Counter)

Here are some OTC ways to counteract gas: Gas-X, Alka-Seltzer Anti-Gas and Mylicon.  Beano can be taken before you eat to help stop gas from forming.

 

Herbal Remedies

Here are some various herbs that can be brewed into tea or used in cooking that can aide in stopping gas and bloating.  Fennel is a traditional herbal remedy for gas and bloating, as are peppermint, catnip, chamomile and cardamom.

Hopefully, with this info, you can stock up on a few items that can help you “stay in the game” in the future.

 

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Cold Weather Preparedness

It’s that time of year when the temperatures drop and many of us start wearing warmer clothes.  I want to cover a few things to keep in mind just in case you find yourself stranded out in the cold.

Those of you who live in the south may think this isn’t important, but I think it is almost more important that you’re aware.  People who live where it gets cold deal with it every year.  But if you ever travel to where it gets cold, you need to be aware of a few things.

 

Hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can create it.  Normal body temperature is 98.6 and hypothermia sets in when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees.  It is most often caused by exposure to cold air, water or even cold wind.  Many people have a misconception that it needs to be frigidly cold to get hypothermia, but it can happen from long exposure to temperatures of less than 50 degrees as well.  The elderly and infirm are more susceptible to hypothermia indoors at cold temperatures than younger and healthier people.

 

Some of the symptoms of hypothermia are:

  • Shivering ; constant shivering is a key sign of hypothermia
  • Clumsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Apathy; lack of concern for one’s condition
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Drowsiness

The treatment for hypothermia depends on the severity of it.  For mild cases of hypothermia getting out of the cold environment and using blankets and heaters to raise the body’s temperature can be effective.  Moderate to severe hypothermia is best treated in the hospital where special treatments can be used to warm the body’s core temperature.

 

Frostbite

Frostbite is when the skin and tissue just underneath the skin freeze.  It usually affects small exposed areas of skin.  Minor frostbite can be treated at home by slowly warming the skin with warm water.  Severe frostbite requires medical attention as it can damage skin, muscle and bone.  It can also cause nerve damage.

Some of the symptoms of frostbite are:

 

  • A slightly painful or itching sensation
  • A cold or burning sensation
  • Numbness
  • Blistering in severe cases
  • Clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness

The first stage of frostbite is called frost-nip and presents as cold red skin.  Continued exposure can result in a slightly painful or itching sensation.

The second stage of frostbite or superficial frostbite appears as reddened skin that turns white or pale; some ice crystals might form on the skin.  Skin might begin to feel deceptively warm, which is a sign of serious skin involvement.  Warming the skin at this stage might cause stinging, burning or swelling.  The skin might also appear blue or purple.

The third stage of frostbite or severe, deep frostbite will affect all layers of skin including the tissue below.  Deceptive numbness may be experienced, in which all sensation of cold or pain is lost.  Large blisters appear 24-48 hours after warming and, as the tissue dies, it will turn black and hard.

Medical attention should be sought if there are signs or symptoms of superficial or severe frostbite, or if there is increased pain, swelling, redness or discharge in the frostbitten area.

 

Five Ways in Which the Body Loses Heat

 

Conduction

One of the ways in which we lose heat is from contact with something that is colder than we are,  for example, sitting on the cold ground.  The heat from our bodies will transfer into the ground, thus making us cooler.

 

Radiation

Another way we lose heat is by radiating it to the open air.  In the cold our 98.6 body temperature is much warmer than the air around us.  We can trap that heat by wearing clothing and a hat and gloves.

 

Convection

Convection is similar to radiation, in that the air is used to steal heat, but it has to do with air movement.  Think of the wind or a fan.  In cold climates where the wind is blowing, this is called wind chill.  The temperature isn’t any colder, but because of the wind it feels like it is.

 

Respiration

When you breathe in cold air your body warms it, when you exhale you give off some of that warmth.  Trudee’s asthma can be bothered by breathing in cold air; placing a scarf over her mouth to help warm the air seems to help some.

 

Evaporation

When our bodies get too warm, we perspire to help regulate our core temperature.  On a hot day this is a good thing, but sweating on a cold day can be deadly.  Dressing in layers and removing layers as you begin to sweat can help control evaporation.

 

Car Kits

For many of us, where ever we go, our vehicle is not far away.  Every year I read new stories of someone who went off the road and was stranded for an extended time.  If this happens to you, having a Car Kit can ensure that you have the supplies you need to sustain life until you’re rescued.

One last note; I have read stories where someone was stranded and perished after a time.  When they were found, their vehicle was intact.  One of the things that should be in your car kit is a knife, you can use that knife to take the upholstery off and either use it as a blanket, or to use it as insulation over a cold window.  You may hate the idea of destroying your vehicle, but the upholstery can be fixed once you make it home alive.

 

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Review of After Armageddon

Earlier this year, I wrote an article called “How a True Pandemic May Look”.  In it, I explained, at a macro level, what a pandemic might look like.  JP recently sent me an email containing a link to a site hosting a YouTube video of a History Channel special called “After Armageddon”.  First, let me say that I am not posting the link to the video.  I don’t know how the copyright works with it being on YouTube.  If you want to see it, search YouTube for “After Armageddon”.  There are some videos that are broken up in 8-9 minute sections, but I did see one full length one.  I will be going into detail on some of the information covered, so if you want to watch it without me spoiling it, consider this fair warning.

All that being said, the reason I am bringing up this video is that it takes a very micro level look at how a worldwide pandemic will affect the individual.  Their disclaimer is This Program is a theoretical account of the worst case scenario for global disaster.  This is not a real emergency.”  The premise of the show is that a pandemic with high morbidity and mortality is sweeping across Europe, South America, Russia and Southern Africa.  At first the US government doesn’t acknowledge there are any confirmed cases, but just a couple weeks after the first cases are discovered abroad, there are many affected in the US.

They have a panel of experts talking about the different aspects of how a pandemic will affect everyday life.  The fictional story follows a family from Los Angeles from before there are any acknowledged cases on US soil, to years after the pandemic.  The acting was pretty bad, but I didn’t watch it for the acting.  As the shows disclaimer mentions, this is a theoretical account of a worst case scenario.  I have mentioned before that a pandemic is one of the “big ones” that concerns me the most.   We have had them multiple times in human history, and it could take weeks to months to produce a vaccine.  World travel is easier than ever before, so spreading of a pandemic would be faster than at any other time.  That being said, a large-scale, true pandemic, such as the one in 1918, is a very rare thing.

I used this show to play the “what would I do” game.  While some of the decisions the family in the show makes are not decisions I would have made, putting yourself in different scenarios and deciding the best course of action is a great way to practice “survival thinking”.

The show covered a wide range of topics throughout the entire show, touching on such things as security throughout.  I am going to cover some of the general topics instead of going along the timeline the show used.

 

Healthcare

As I mentioned, the show has a pandemic spreading worldwide after only three weeks.  Because a trip that used to take weeks can now be made in less than a day, it is completely possible for someone who is newly infected to travel to another country before they begin to show signs of sickness.  As the pandemic is really taking hold in America they say that many healthcare professionals will not show up for work.  After some time, hospitals may close their doors and not take any new patients in.  This is in part because they are full and have no more room, because they don’t have any way of treating patients and partly due to lack of staffing.  When I went through CERT, the county emergency manager said that it is expected that as many as 30% of first responders and healthcare professionals won’t go in to work.  This could be due to fear of catching the illness or because either a loved one or they, themselves, have gotten sick.

The show said that the number of dead bodies would be overwhelming, with no one to come and remove them.  I think this could be true.  Also, what would you do with them all?  The only thing I can think of is mass graves.  If you live in a town of 10,000 and the pandemic had a morbidity rate of 30% and a mortality rate of 10% that would mean that your town alone would see 300 people die from the pandemic.   It is easy to see how healthcare and those who deal with the deceased could be quickly overwhelmed.

As I mentioned, the show covered a large time frame.  One of the things they said would take place months to years after the pandemic had run its course was that there would be limited healthcare, maybe going back to what it was in the early twentieth century.  People would get sick and die from things they haven’t in ten to twenty years.  A cut that becomes infected could be deadly.

 

Preparedness

In the show, the father is a paramedic and goes to work one day to be told that the hospital has shut down.  He sneaks in and when he sees all the sick people his eyes are opened to how bad the situation is.  He goes to the store and buys whatever supplies he can find.  One of the commentators makes the statement that I am sure many of you have heard, “the average family has roughly around three days of food in their home”.  He then says, “To really go to ground you need three months or more”.  Since most of us are aware of the need to have much more than three days stored, I am going to leave this alone.

The family decides to self-quarantine until the crime rate and loss of electricity pushes them to flee for the wife’s sister in Idaho.  They soon find the major highways out of the city gridlocked and must find an alternate route.  I bring this up because, while I think that in most situations battening down is the better choice, you should know multiple routes to bug out.  These routes, as one of the commentators puts it, “should be the road less traveled.”

Along the way the family is forced to abandon the SUV and carry very little of their supplies.  The commentators talk about only carrying what is needed and that you may be forced to loot the things to keep you alive.   I wrote an article called “Is it ever okay to loot or salvage”.  If you have never considered this subject, I recommend reading that article.

It is also mentioned that you will have to think of non-traditional places to get water.  Hotel pools and water heaters are mentioned and the father gets some water from a car radiator, which is not an option for most of the year in northern states.

I’ll explain this more in the next section, but in the show, the power goes out for good and oil shipments are no more.  Due to this, it is mentioned that we will need to learn the skills our grandparents knew.  This is in relation to growing and harvesting food.  I have no way to prove this, but I imagine that just two generation ago most people either canned or knew someone who did.  I bet today there is maybe one in twenty who does.

 

Infrastructure

As I mentioned above the family decided to self-quarantine and would have stayed home had the rising crime and lack of power not driven them out.  It was said that there are 102 nuclear power plants in the US, and only 5000 people know how to run them.  Due to staff and fuel shortages there are multiple power station failures.  The show didn’t get into this but it is important to be aware of.  Nuclear power plants have large generators on site to keep the pumps running that keep the rods cool.  I have heard that these generators have a two week supply of diesel on site.  If the power doesn’t come back on line before the fuel runs out and if there is no more diesel brought in, we could be looking at a very serious situation at the end of those two weeks.

Related to the power stopping is the Internet going down.  This would impact just about every aspect of life.  I’m not talking just about email and surfing.  So many companies have integrated the internet into their business, from scheduling to inventory management, air traffic control to power management of remote systems.

Because there is no power, the water stops pumping.  This means that the toilets stop working.  The family in the show is forced to bury their waste outside.  One of the commentators says something to the affect “that due to the lack of a working sewage system this adds to the spreading of disease not associated with the pandemic.”

There is also a mention of the lack of oil and power to push water to irrigation systems.  In terms of growing food, we would be back to the 1850’s.  It is said that “without irrigation farms become wastelands.”  Because of the lack of running water for irrigation, famine pushes the death toll even higher after the pandemic has run its course.

 

Society

One commentator remarks on lessons learned from hurricane Katrina (this might have been two different commentators, but the gesture is the same). “Katrina showed us how thin the polite veneer is.  It took four days to descend into anarchy.”  Another comment is made that “we’re only nine meals away from anarchy.”  I think three to four days sounds about right.  Watching your loved ones go hungry for three days or going hungry yourself for that long could drive people to use violence to try and get what they don’t have to survive.

They said that towns might take up arms, shut their borders and not allow anyone to enter or exit.  This will be done to prevent any sick from entering and also to keep Joe Dirtbag out.  In smaller towns, community food would be rationed and a triage would be set up to determine who will get to eat and how much they may get to eat.  Authority is local and can be guaranteed as long as there is a local Sheriff who is effective.  In one scene, bandits break in to steal from a small town.  They are caught and the sheriff executes them in the middle of the street.

One of the commentators, whom I believe was a professor said, “Both in destruction phase and in rebuilding phase, religion will be very popular.”  There will be a lot of apocalyptic sermons and the pandemic blamed on the sins of the past.  I think this is probably true.  I remember hearing how full churches were after 9-11.

 

Security

It is said that violence will become the norm and security becomes the most important aspect.  When the family begins to run out of food, the husband goes in search of some.   He sees just how much things have deteriorated and begins to throw clothes out in the yard,  explaining to his wife how bad it is and that they have to make the house look like its already been looted and vandalized.

One night the son sees people going through their neighbor’s house and they decide to leave the next day for the wife’s sister’s home in Idaho.   As I mentioned above, they find the main route clogged and attempt another route, which ends up having a “road block” with armed men who start firing shots as the SUV turns around to avoid them.  It is said that “the road less traveled is preferred”, and that “not being seen is preferable to trying to fight.”

The commentators talk of “people forming gangs to obtain the resources they need.” And another said “They’ll be looking for food, they’ll be looking for drugs, they’ll be looking for gold or silver or something thing will have value after.”  The husband tried to barter with someone to get some food and finds that cash is worthless.  The people (thugs) with the food were still interested in his watch.

One of the commentators said something I didn’t know, or at least hadn’t thought of this way; “In a famine situation, children are often the most dangerous.  They are the most prone to violence.”

 

Final Thoughts

While I didn’t learn anything new, I think this show is worth watching and I am glad I did.  A pandemic happening in the manner they depict is something I pray we never see.  Those who read this article or visit other preparedness sites might be better prepared for it, but all of humanity will feel the impact.

 

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Shortages of Needed Medications

One of the things I’ve had my eye on for the last couple of years is pharmaceutical shortages.  I have read many reports, both local and national, about shortages on certain medicines.  We have actually been affected by it a few times, with delayed refills or only getting a partial refill and having to go back after a delivery for the rest.

I see two dangers here; not having the medication for people who require them for quality of life or for sustaining life itself.  The other danger happens when people who are mentally ill don’t get the medications they need.  I have, through the years, seen many stories of people who refused to take their medications committing violent crimes that they wouldn’t have committed if they had been on their meds.

The FDA has a webpage called the Current Drug Shortages Index, which lists voluntarily reported shortages.  Pharmaceutical companies can’t require companies to inform them of shortages or any other information about the shortage, so that list is only a list of what the FDA knows about.

 

If you don’t have a good supply of your medication, read the article I wrote called Building a Stockpile of Medicine for some tips on stocking up.

As for people with mental illness not having the meds they require to be productive members of society, let’s pray they don’t commit any crimes they normally wouldn’t.  Practicing your Second Amendment right is recommended as well.

 

Building a Stockpile of Medicine

Stocking up on most items is pretty easy, as long as you have the money, but what about medicine?  Because it can be a bit more difficult, here are some things you can try to build a small stockpile of the meds you take daily.

 

90 Day Supply

Many insurance companies will let you order a 90 day supply of some medications.  If yours will not do it automatically, there may be a form you can fill out to request that they allow it.

 

Slowly Building a Stockpile

I got this tip from a local Emergency Manager.  If you can purchase a 90 day supply, you can often refill it a few days or weeks before it runs out.  For example, let’s say that time is 14 days.  Once you receive the new prescription, take 14 pills out of it and put it in a third container.  Continue to do this until the third bottle is filled.  Use this bottle as your main bottle, letting the new bottle you just received be your reserve.  Now you should have an extra 30-90 day supply.  Remember to keep it in rotation.

 

Auto-refills

We use Walgreens as our pharmacy.  One option they have is auto refills.  They will automatically refill eligible prescriptions every time your insurance company allows it.  This is often sooner than the prescription runs out.  This essentially does the same as the above, but you don’t have to remove pills from the new bottle and add them to the third.  This method has gotten my wife a three month supply of asthma medicine that she needs every day.

 

Lost or Misplaced

If you lose or misplace your medicine, a call to the pharmacy can often get them to contact your insurance company to authorize a refill.

 

Talking to your Physician

Believe it or not there are many physicians around who are open to the idea of you being medically prepared.  Cynthia J. Koelker, MD wrote an article on the SurvivalBlog called “How to Get Your Doctor to Help You Stockpile Medicine”.  This article has some very good advice on how to approach the subject.

 

Walmart

While I’m not a huge fan of Walmart, they do have a pretty good prescription plan.  For $4 you can get a 30 day supply of certain medications, and for $10 you can get a 90 day supply.  If you found a doctor who was sympathetic to your desire to build a small stockpile of medications, they could write you a paper prescription and you could pay for this out of pocket.  This way the insurance company is out of the loop.   Follow the link to see a list of included medicines.

 

Veterinary Medicines

Did you know that many of the medicines given to animals are the exact same medicines given to humans?  Sometimes they change the name, sometimes they don’t.  I’m not saying this is a good or bad option, just giving you the information.  I’ll let you decide.

 

Here are two articles on other blogs on the subject.  I’m sure you can find more with just a few minutes of research.  Guide to Veterinary Drugs for Human Consumption, Post-SHTF and Preparing for Medical Emergencies When There Is No Doctor
 

As I mentioned, building a stockpile of medicines can be more difficult, but hopefully one of these options can help you.  If you have another idea, please list it in the comments.

 

Vision Preparedness

In a survival situation, not being able to see well, or at all, could drastically reduce your chances of making it through unscathed.  With that in mind I am going to give you some things you can do preemptively as well as a couple things you can do if you happen to be caught unprepared.

 

Preemptive Solutions

 

Lasik

While I don’t think that vision preparedness in case “it” hits the fan is the only reason to get Lasik, it was one of the reasons I got it done.  My vision was 25/20 before Lasik.  The day after Lasik, it was 20/15 and at my eye exam yesterday it was 20/20.  I wore contacts and/or glasses for twenty years.  Having Lasik done was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

It’s expensive but some health plans will cover a portion and I believe you can use an HSA as well, if you have one.  I was told that there is a very good chance I would need to use glasses later in life for reading.  I don’t mind that.  It beats wearing glasses and contacts for the next 10-20 years.   Enhancements are covered for life through the facility I used, if there is a need.  If my vision starts to get worse, they’ll do Lasik again for free.

I was told by the doctor who performed my Lasik that all someone needs to do to be certified to do Lasik treatment is attend a weekend seminar.  Make sure you go to someone who has done hundreds, if not thousands of these procedures.

 

“Back Up” Pair of Glasses

Whether you wear glasses or contacts full time, you should have a pair of backup glasses.  I got bit by this before I was a Prepper; I wore contacts and didn’t own a pair of glasses.  I got an eye infection and was told I couldn’t wear contacts for two weeks.  They were able to get me a pair of glasses in a couple of days, but I went a day or two without and paid more to have them rushed.

Zenni Optical is an online store that sells glasses from $6.95 to $49.00.  While I have never purchased from them, I have heard several good things.  I looked through and they have some good looking frames.  Whether you use these as your main glasses or buy a few cheap pairs to put in a hard glasses case and toss them in the glove box, BOB or anywhere else, I think this is a solid idea.  You’ll need to know your prescription and pupillary distance.  There are options available that can raise the price to over $100, but if you’re buying a backup pair, just go bare bones.

 

Goggles

I have a pair of the geeky goggles we had to wear in science class in my car.  My thinking is to keep water out of my eyes if I need to change a tire in the rain or to keep debris out.  They’ll protect my eyes in just about any scenario.

 

Eye Glass Repair Kit

This is a must have item.  In fact, they’re cheap enough; have a couple.  This way you’ll increase the chance of finding one when you need it.  You could also use it as a barter item or just save the day when a neighbors glasses need some tightening.

 

Options in a Pinch

If you don’t have a backup pair of glasses and a lens breaks, you still have a couple options;  one is to use duct tape as my friend, James Hubbard MD The Survival Doctor explains.  There is a video of this on his site.  Essentially, you place duct tape where the lens goes and poke some holes in the tape where your pupil is.  See his article and video for full details.  It is good information to have.

If you break your glasses and don’t have duct tape handy, you can use cardboard or any other item you can poke small pin holes in.

 

As you can see, as with almost everything else in preparedness, there are many more options before the fan, than after it.

 

Preparing for Physical Limitations

Many of us are prepared for a variety of things; from pandemic to economic collapse and a host of other things.  However, the biggest threat to most of us is our poor health, in more ways than one.  We have a much higher risk of heart attack than we do seeing most of the things we prepare for and hope.  I’m not going to scold you and tell you that you should lose weight or exercise more, you know if you should or not.  Instead I’m just going to give my thoughts on health and preparedness; you pick what applies to you.

Another threat that being in poor health plays is how it will impact you in a true survival situation.  If you’re out of shape now and do very little in the form of physical activity, your body probably won’t rise to the occasion in a survival situation, at least not for long.  I’m in this group.  With Information Technology (IT) as a living, I’m at a desk all day, as well as 3-4 hours after work, doing various projects for the website.  By the time I’m done, I just want to relax, both mind and body.  Due to an injury I mention below, my physical activity is a bit limited.  Once healed I am going to make a lot of effort to get back into shape…other than round.  Lol (“I’m in shape!  Round is a shape!”) 

I think most of us probably should be in better shape.  Until then, we’re Prepper’s, we should prepare and mitigate our limitations until we are in better shape and there are no longer limitations.  If you have a permanent physical limitation, you probably have already done this.  If not, I think you should figure out how to mitigate those limitations as well.   A reader commented recently that she was using a suitcase with wheels, until she got stronger.  Fantastic!  She’s working to improve and has a plan for what to do until then. 

 

 

Functional fitness

The same reader asked my thoughts on functional fitness.  I’m not an expert, but here is what I think;  I don’t care about how much weight I can bench press or how many crunches or pushups I can do. I care about being strong enough to get through my day and being able to lift the TV when it’s needed or complete a similar task.  I read an article on functional fitness that said many people who spend hours at the gym aren’t functionally fit.  That they can leg press hundreds of pounds, but can throw out their back reaching for something at an awkward angle.

I did a bit of reading about functional fitness.  The goal in training functional fitness is exercising multiple parts of the body at the same time.  For example, while doing a squat, holding a medicine ball or something similar with your arms extended as you bend your legs.   When you stand, you bring your arms back to your body.  Another example I saw was doing a one legged squat.  You might only be using your leg, but the rest of your muscles are providing stability and balance.  Many articles mentioned the exercise balls and balance boards.  I think these ideas are great and for many people, are a much better idea than spending time at a traditional gym. 

I know of a few people who spent so much time at the gym and while they looked great in their youth, their joints are now shot.  One guy I know was in so much pain he was prescribed pain killers, which he then became addicted to. 

 

Find What Works For You

Many physical therapy clinics are using functional fitness to rehab their patient.  This might be a good option for some.  There are a lot of trainers using other approaches that might be good options.  There are many videos available and you can get balance boards and exercise balls at many retailers or order them on line.

I think walking is great as well.  If you can walk in an area with hills, that’s even better.  Going up a hill uses different muscles than going down a hill. It is something that you can start doing now at any level and can keep doing.

Yoga and Tai Chi both have their roots in some mysticism, but if you can find an Americanized version that has stripped that out, these both have huge benefits.  They both offer a full body workout and will aid in flexibility and strengthening.  I was able to find a digital version of a beginners Tai Chi video on Amazon for just a couple bucks.  There are also plenty of YouTube videos available.

 

Self-Analysis

I think it is very important we all take an honest look at ourselves to find physical limitations.  Sometimes, as we get a bit older, we think we can still do the things we did when we were younger.  The man that teaches my Haganah class told us that he kept having a problem with his neck, so he went to see the doctor and explained he had hurt it a few weeks ago, but it just kept nagging.  The doctor said “That’s because you’re getting older and it takes longer to heal”, to which he replied “I want a second opinion!”

I don’t mean this for a way to get down on yourself.  We just need to be real with ourselves so that we can take steps to mitigate any limitations.

Here is a personal example.  I hurt my good knee a while back and it hasn’t been quite right since.  If my leg is bent for any period the muscles around my knee cramp up, and the knee cap itself feels like it wants to pop off.  There are days when walking is a chore.  I’m in physical therapy and taking steps to get better, but until then, my leg is a possible liability.  If for some reason the car broke down and I had to walk for help, I could muscle up for a while, but for how long?  What if I, for some reason, had to head out on foot for a longer distance?  For these reasons, as I mentioned, I am in physical therapy, I have gotten a couple of braces and I even have a cane.  Will I need them?  I hope not, but one of the prepper motto’s is “I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it”.  I purchased the cane for other reasons, but it is available for this as well.

They say that necessity is the mother of ingenuity and this is often true.  If you found yourself in a survival situation, you might be able to get creative and find a means to get by.  But I’m not one to leave things to chance if I can help it and want to avoid making a bad situation much worse.

 

What Would You Do? Someone Needs CPR

 

You’re at the grocery store and the man stocking the produce grabs his left shoulder and then slumps to the ground, he does not appear to be breathing.

 So, what would you do?

(Check the comments section to see the answers from everyone as well as to add your own.)
 
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