Who is Your Grid-Down Alternative Health Provider?

acupunctureIgnoring other services such as food, water, and electricity in this post, we all understand that if the grid goes down for any extended period of time then it’s basically “every man for himself” with respect to your healthcare since the doctors, hospitals, and drug providers are NOT anticipated to provide their normal services whatsoever in a grid-down scenario. This is a major problem for many people, especially for those with chronic health conditions and that’s not even taking into account problems that could occur after the grid goes down.

So, what’s a concerned prepper to do?

Most people would suggest that you first work to stockpile any necessary prescription medications now but the obvious problem is that they’re going to run out eventually so that’s not a long-term solution, just a stop-gap. With regards to medical services, it might be possible to find a local doctor that lives nearby but they’re certainly not going to have access to the vast array of diagnostic tests and equipment that they’re accustomed to relying upon. Likewise, the wide assortment of prescription drugs they often prescribe would be hard to procure or more likely nonexistent. Perhaps eventually you could get some prescription medications on a black market, but would you trust that? Maybe… if I had to. But I’m not betting on that or even suggest it’s a good idea.

So, not only are you “up a creek” when it comes to useful healthcare advice and services but even if you can find a nearby doctor then they’re seriously hand-tied with what they can diagnose and prescribe. In fact, I would suspect that most doctors would need to seriously re-consider how they diagnose and treat their patients and probably learn to make plenty of “educated guesses” as opposed to pinpoint diagnoses. It will be a new learning curve for them for sure.

Of course, there’s are a wide assortment of alternative healthcare providers who are accustomed to diagnosing and treating a wide variety of ailments without all the fancy diagnostic equipment, blood tests, and prescription drugs. Now, I’m sure there are some of you who would never, ever, ever in a million years go to anyone without an M.D. next to their name but there is certainly a growing movement of people who do. Could they all be wrong?

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that alternative healthcare provides are THE way to go for you and your situation, but I’m willing to bet that in a grid-down life such alternative healthcare provides WILL take on a much more prominent role in our everyday healthcare… like it or not. That said, our modern healthcare system does many things right, including and specifically emergency care. For example, I would be the first one to say that if I had my arm half cut off then by all means get me to the emergency room ASAP and sew it back on!

So, what good are alternative healthcare providers if they can’t sew my arm back on? Well, I would suggest that they’re a great option for many non-life-threatening ailments, perhaps some chronic conditions, and who knows what else. No doubt there are many choices, from chiropractic (are they considered alternative any more?) to acupunture, homeopathy, and even disciplines with funny names like ayurveda, reflexology, and reiki. There are certainly many others. Some focus on the use of herbs or homeopathic remedies, others attempt to manipulate nerve and energy pathways, still others work with the body’s energy systems and all sorts of things I don’t understand.

No doubt one could be skeptical of such disciplines, after all, if you don’t believe in or even understand what’s going on, how can you expect it to work? I know I’ve had a hard time in my personal life with regards to many alternative therapies as they have always been another “crazy” thing my wife wanted to try and usually I go into it begrudgingly either for my own benefit or perhaps that of my children. And, of course, there’s the money issue… yes, we’ve spent a small fortune (or so it seems) out-of-pocket over the years on a variety of alternative therapies. Sometimes they were successful and sometimes not.

Like I said, it’s not like these alternative therapies are a panacea that some people like some people indicate they are. Not at all. I will, however, share one example from our life that changed my general disbelief in alternative therapies for good. I won’t go into details, but when my youngest child was a baby (he’s now almost 8) he suffered from pretty serious eczema. So much so that my wife was literally desperate and looking for a cure. After multiple doctor visits (with a real M.D.) who simply wanted to put my child on lifelong medication my wife began to seek other options. She tried a variety of possibilities including an elimination diet and various topical treatments I can no longer remember.

Then, one day she stumbled upon something called N.A.E.T. which is basically an alternative therapy that “re-trains” the body’s energy pathways to no longer react to whatever the allergen is. My child actually turned out to be allergic to many, many things, from airborne pathogens to food, and most especially animals. For quite a while I was skeptical, after all, I figured maybe he was just getting better because he was getting older? I didn’t know. But, I can say that the one event that changed my mind was what I saw with my own eyes within a mere week…

Longer story short, we had gone to visit my in-laws one weekend where my child broke out in ridiculous bumps and eczema that weekend because he was very allergic to the individual animals (mostly cats) that were in the house. It was so bad that my wife ended up taking him to sleep at a place that had no animals and we came home early the next day. Before leaving, however, we took “samples” of fur from each and every animal in that house, had my son treated with N.A.E.T. during the week, and wound up returning to my in-laws the very next week. Guess what happened? He didn’t break out at all.

I thought to myself, is that possible? Could it be THAT simple? I didn’t know but I surely couldn’t suggest a better explanation. And, so, my mind was changed from that day forward. My child subsequently received many more treatments and eventually got over his eczema. Other family members have been treated for other problems using N.A.E.T. with varied success since then. Again, I’m not suggesting it’s a cure-all, not at all, but this experience did change my mind about the potential for alternative therapies to treat some ailments.

So, the question is: who is your alternative care provider? Who can you turn to if/when the grid goes down and our traditional healthcare system is nonexistent? Do you take the chance and trust diagnoses from an ill-equipped traditional medical doctor or not? Or, do you trust an alternative healthcare provider that may or may not have a clue? In my opinion, that’s why it’s vitally important that you begin to find someone now who might be able to help you rather than to turn to just anyone who suggests they can help… at least this way you KNOW that who you’re turning to has some skills and knowledge.

21 Home Remedies for a Toothache

impacted-teeth-x-rayPlease note: This article is written by ‘Above Average Joe’ and was originally seen on SurvivalLife.com.

This week I had to write my article a little ahead of time as I will be out of the office for a few days.

I went for an annual cleaning at my dentist and a routine X-ray showed that my lower wisdom teeth had turned sideways and were now completely impacted.

I had put it off long enough and it was finally time to schedule in to get them removed. I was lucky this time that they hadn’t caused me any pain and have not started to damage my other teeth, but I really started to think and I realized one very important thing…

You can’t schedule a toothache and it never fails that a major toothache hits when it’s late at night and your dentist’s office is closed, or you’re somewhere remote and getting to a dentist any time soon is just not an option.

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of a toothache knows that it is not just your mouth that hurts.

A toothache can be felt in just about every part of your body. I have had a few so bad that they made me sick to my stomach from the pain alone.

Although in most cases only a doctor can cure the source of the problem, this list of treatments & pain relief remedies should get you through until you can visit the dentist.

It is important to note: If you have a toothache, there is a reason for it and it’s best to have it taken care of by a professional as soon as possible, rather than having it treated at home in hopes that the underlying issue will go away on its own. If it’s infected (if your gum area is swollen), don’t delay in getting professional medical care.

Directions: Apply the below remedies directly to both the problem tooth and surrounding gums unless otherwise directed.

For items that direct you to chew, or for liquids that are to be swished around inside mouth, direct the liquid on and around the sore tooth as much as possible.

Do not swallow liquids. Rinse your mouth and spit them out when done.

  1.  Salt Water: Mix a heaping tablespoon full of salt in a small glass of warm water; swirl around inside your mouth for as long as you can, spit out. Repeat as needed.
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide: Swoosh a bit of hydrogen peroxide. If the taste is too horrid for you, try diluting with a bit of water.
  3. Alcohol: Swoosh a bit of whiskey, scotch, brandy or vodka. A strong mouthwash that contains alcohol will do the trick too.
  4. Vanilla Extract: Saturate a cotton ball with vanilla and hold in place. Can also use a cotton swab dipped in extract.
    Other extracts that have the same effect are:
    Almond Extract
    Peppermint Extract
    & Lemon Extract
  5. Tea Tree Oil: Just a drop or two will do the trick. You can also add some to a cotton swab and hold in place or add a few drops of tea tree oil to a small glass of lukewarm to warm water and rinse your mouth with it.
  6. Oil Of Oregano: Mix a few drops with a bit of olive oil, then saturate a cotton ball with mixture. Can replace the olive oil with lukewarm water if preferred.
  7. Apple Cider Vinegar: Soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and hold it in place. Can also try regular household vinegar.
  8. Ginger Root: Take a fresh piece of ginger and chew it a bit.
  9. Garlic: Take a clove of garlic, smash it and apply (settle it inside cheek). You can also mash some garlic with salt.
  10. Peppermint Leaves: Chew on fresh peppermint leaves. You can also dried leaves, just hold them in place.
  11. Potato: Cut a fresh piece of potato (raw, skin off) and hold in place. Can also pound a piece of raw potato, mix in a bit of salt and use the mash.
  12. Lime: Cut a slice or wedge of lime and apply, bite into it if you can to release some of the juice.
  13. Onion: Slice a piece of fresh onion and hold it inside your mouth. The onion needs to be freshly cut (so it provides a bit of onion juice).
  14. Plantain: Chew up a fresh plantain leaf. If you’re too sore to chew, use the other side of your mouth. Once the leaf is macerated a bit apply it to the problem area and hold in place.
  15. Cucumber: Slice a fresh piece of cucumber and hold it over the sore area. If refrigerated, you might want to bring the cucumber to room temperature before using (if sensitive to cold) otherwise a cool piece can be soothing.You can also mash a piece with a bit of salt and pack it around the sore tooth.
  16. Cayenne Pepper: Make a paste with cayenne pepper and water.
  17. Black Pepper: You can use this full strength or make a mix of pepper and salt.
  18. Baking Soda: Take a cotton swab and moisten it with a bit of water, dip it in baking soda (coat the swab really well with baking soda) then apply. You can also make a mouth rinse by mixing a heaping spoonful of baking soda in a small glass of lukewarm to warm water, dissolve the soda then swish the mixture in your mouth.
  19. Cloves: This is remedy from the old timers (my great grandparents), rest a clove against the sore area until pain goes away. You can also use a drop or two of clove oil (BE CAREFUL: too much can be toxic) or make a thick paste of ground cloves and water or ground cloves and olive oil.
  20. Tea: Make a fresh cup of tea then take the used tea bag (still warm) and stick it in your mouth. Careful not to tear the bag. The tannins that are naturally in tea leaves can help numb things.
  21. Ice Pack: Cover an ice pack with a face cloth or towel then hold over your cheek where the problem is. This will help numb things. Make sure that you have some type of cloth between your skin and the ice, otherwise you can severely damage your skin.If that doesn’t work, try the opposite–a hot compress (making sure that it is not so hot as to scald your skin).


  • If the pain is unbearable and there’s no dentist available, call your local hospital’s emergency room–chances are they have a dentist on call that can treat you (for a fee of course).
  • Try gently brushing your teeth and flossing–this might bring some relief.
  • One old time remedy that you should not follow is to place an aspirin against the sore tooth. You will have just as much if not more of an effect by swallowing the aspirin.Aspirin is actually an acid (acetylsalicylic acid to be exact) and placing it directly against your gums or teeth will cause corrosion of your teeth and acid burns on your gums.
  • If the side of your face is in severe pain and it feels like you’re going to lose your mind (I’ve been there, done that)–it could be a sinus infection or an allergy that affects your sinuses rather than a problem tooth (even though it definitely feels like it).Try taking a decongestant or if that is not available, a shower set on the hottest setting may help clear your sinus cavities.

This might help relieve things until you get to a doctor. Chances are a prescription antibiotic is what you’ll need to clear up the sinus infection.

If it is a sinus infection please don’t wait to get it taken care of! I have permanent damage to my left eardrum from a sinus infection that became so congested it literally burst my eardrum as a pressure relief valve.

Have I missed any of your tried-and-true methods to relieve tooth and gum pain?

Please share it below in the comments section.

Please be aware: These are notes I have collected in my personal life over the years, in my own research as well as tips gathered from my grandparents and great grandparents.

They are not by any means professional medical advice and a trained dentist should always be contacted as soon as possible.

P.S. If you have a toothache it may be in your best interest to go on a soft food diet until you get to the dentist.

Click here to see what I ate for days after my surgery that has earned a permanent spot in my pantry.

Author Bio

The ‘Above Average’ Joe is a guy with an exceptional passion for learning. He has always had an interest in finding uncommon uses for everyday items and believes that if you can’t find at least three uses for a single item it isn’t worth having. Joe started down the path of survival and preparedness several years ago and treats every day as a learning experience.

Joe is excited to share the things he learns from his own personal experiences and research with the Survival Life community, and strives to ensure that every “average Joe” has all of the information they need to be confidently prepared in this unsteady world that we live in.

Survival Life is more than just one man. It is a growing and living community of individuals with the desire to be prepared to survive and thrive, no matter what this world throws at us. You can follow Joe by subscribing to his newsletter on the SurvivalLife.com homepage, or by following him on Facebook.

One Infectious Disease That Could Comback and Seriously Ruin Your Day!

Mycobacterium_tuberculosisI was reading this article titled The Burden of Disease and the Changing Task of Medicine from the New England Journal of Medicine the other day–don’t worry, I rarely read such nerdy medical stuff–and viewed the interactive graph when it became happily apparent that a once leading cause of death (100 years ago) has seemingly vanished in today’s society, that disease being Tuberculosis (TB).

If you’re unaware, tuberculosis “…is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis.[1] Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air.[2] Most infections are asymptomatic and latent, but about one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to active disease which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of those so infected.”

Sadly, the disease hasn’t completely disappeared since there are still millions of estimated cases each year, most of which occur in developing countries. A bit more research indicates that TB is still around here in the U.S. with thousands of cases reported each year but, overall, it’s been on a decline year after year.

The problem for me is that it’s precisely these types of infectious, relatively deadly, declining diseases that could make a devastating comeback in our society and seriously threaten your life! Why? Because, as you likely know, diseases are becoming more drug-resistant and TB is no exception. Dr. Alton of DoomAndBloom.net explains:

“There are now reports of some strains of the TB bacteria popping up in India that do not respond to any of the known antibiotic therapies. These cases are being diagnosed in diverse regions of the country; as such, there is concern about further spread. This new strain (known as Totally Drug Resistant or TDR Tuberculosis – how’s that for a scary name?) seems to affect the poor and malnourished most. With overcrowding and nutritional deficiencies rampant in the country, physicians in India are concerned about a possible epidemic. If TDR TB makes it out of the impoverished classes in India, it won’t be long before Indian businessmen or tourists take it to the rest of the world. Imagine, a mobile disease with absolutely no treatment.”

Now, imagine if something like TDR Tuberculosis spread here (which is certainly possible, maybe even unavoidable) AND we’re in a long term grid-down or economic collapse situation (both probable in our future)? Now, we’re in a situation where:

  • medical help may not be available (doctors or hospitals are not functioning or not regularly)
  • the antibiotics either won’t be affordable (too costly due to hyper-inflation) or just won’t exist (nobody has invented them yet!)
  • people are even less healthy than they are now (due to malnutrition) giving rise to higher infection rates
  • TB spreads because people fail to take appropriate steps for sanitation, hygiene, prevention (e.g., face masks or avoidance)
  • TB spreads even easier that that because people are simply in such close proximity to each other in major cities

What can you do about it? Besides good face masks (N-95 at minimum but N-100 are probably more appropriate), gloves, protocols to treat potential TB cases (including family members), and a general avoidance/seclusion strategy, there’s probably not much else you can do. Stockpiling the currently approved antibiotics treatments in the required amounts (you need several months of treatment at minimum for a single person) might be all but impossible for non-medical people like me. And, besides, this just seems to put the disease into remission.

Beyond that, Dr. Alton poses a few questions for you to consider:

“Where would you put a possibly contagious individual in your home or retreat? What protection against the spread of disease have you provided to the other members of your family/survival community? What would you do with a chronically ill member of your family when highly specialized drugs are no longer available?”

These are tough questions to consider. Ultimately, I’m not saying such an outbreak WILL happen. I have no idea but I would suggest that it certainly can happen. And it’s precisely situations where times are tough and help isn’t readily available when nasty infections and deadly diseases like Tuberculoses raise their ugly head. Best to be prepared!

Top Infectious Disease Epidemics Chart

For some reason I happened upon the following Wikipedia list of epidemics, scrolled through it, and noticed quite a few repeats and began to wonder what epidemics really repeated over and over again throughout history. So, I did the only thing I knew how to do and tallied it all up in Excel (see the chart below).

A few things to know:

  1. I have no idea if the list I tallied from is even remotely complete or not, so take the data only at face value.
  2. The epidemics list ran from essentially 165 AD to present but did include a few data points well before that time so I included them as well because the list did.
  3. I did NOT include any epidemics that were only listed one time in the chart below. There were several notables, including diseases like HIV, Hepatitis B, Mumps, Polio, and more.
  4. There’s probably something to be said for diseases that were more recent in history, so you should review the original list and take note of diseases that were more recent because–I would think–these are more likely to show up again anytime soon.

Here’s the chart (note that I color-coded them to stand out):


A few things stand out to me looking at the above chart:

  1. The plague, cholera, and smallpox seemed to be the top-tier diseases, if you will, that repeat over and over again. In fact, each one individually has doubled up any other lower-tiered disease. Perhaps these are the most critical to pay attention to?
  2. While I’m ignorant of disease history, I was surprised to see that the pluague and smallpox repeated so often. I thought these were one-time things? Guess not.
  3. I also would have imagined that influenza would top the charts by a large margin considering that the flu returns every years. After all, we have a flu season! …must be criteria for being an epidemic.

Fortunately, cholera should be manageable because it’s a disease that stems from unsanitary practices. I’m not sure what to do about the plague or smallpox other than isolation quick and early. As for the other, lower-tier diseases, it’s mostly the same protocol: ISOLATION! That’s why prepping is so critical. If you can afford to isolate your family for a few months without much trouble then you’re better off than 99% of the population who coldn’t do so.

CONTEST POST: Why You Should Always Put Together Your Own First Aid Kit by F.N.

first-aid-kitEverything in life is balance: work and family, work and play, stockpiling and thrift, wariness and a realistic perspective, protein and carbs, whatever. For instance, I’m not the sort of guy who foresees some kind of calamitous, total societal collapse in the near future, particularly in the United States (and comparably developed nations). I am, however, a believer in being prepared for any eventuality- especially more mundane ones like power outages, violent storms, etc. However, if life has taught me one thing it’s that change (and the surprise it brings) is life’s lone constant. Prepping for the unknown should absolutely include balancing the gathering of the bulk of medical supplies you may need but not such a variety of them your first aid kit becomes immobile.

In that spirit of pragmatic preparedness, I should iterate that it’s always a good idea, essential even, to have a first aid kit that you’ve stocked yourself. Prepackaged kits can be useful as a guide for your own kit but they’re far too one-size-fits-all for my taste. Individual people have individual problems, sensitivities, physical quirks, etc. Furthermore, if you happen to get a bad burn and don’t have access to professional medical help you may find yourself with one or two little packets of topical anesthetic, a few little packets of topical antibiotic lotion, 4 aspirin and a whole lot of nothing much else that helps.

At the risk of inspiring hypochondriac-dread in readers and breeching the indelicate, you might be surprised by the variety of health complications that can be totally debilitating: take your bathroom functions for instance. If you’ve ever been backed up with a really bad case of constipation you have an idea how painful, distracting and sometimes even disabling that can be. While constipation’s dehydrating opposite counterpart can be equally debilitating (as anyone who’s been hit by any number of gastrointestinal illnesses can attest). Not to mention how quickly diarrhea can turn deadly. In fact, diarrhea is widely believed to kill more people than any other single symptom on the planet.

Those are the sorts of things you should keep in mind when preparing your med kit as part of your a comprehensive kit-prep motto and mantra: “What do/will I need?” And, if you have a family, “What do/will they need?” Are you and/or members of your family prone to constipation, diarrhea, allergies, upset stomach, aches and pains, a painful or otherwise troublesome menstrual cycle, trouble sleeping, dry or cracked lips (get lip balm), rashes or other skin complaints, head colds, asthma, whatever.

Always have a good supply of loperamide (Immodium) on hand as an anti-diarrheal; stock both a stool softener and laxative, and as is the case with everything here- go with the brand or style you like the best; stock stomach ailment meds like chewable antacid tablets and pink bismuth liquid for more immediate relief and famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), omeprazole (Prilosec) or ranitidine (Zantac) for more long term acid-reflux/heartburn/sensitive stomach issues. I prefer omeprazole personally, but that is just my own preference. Certainly follow your own.

Allergies are a big one to pay attention to. Every good kit should have a supply of several allergy aids for moderate and severe reactions and prevention. It’s a good idea to always stock at least one epinephrine autoinjector (commonly known as an “EpiPen”)- should you or a member of your family have a severe anaphylactic allergic shock reaction the EpiPen that saves their life will prove perhaps the best purchase you ever made.

For less life-threatening but incredibly obnoxious allergy issues definitely stock diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and if the allergy/hay fever sufferer has been bothered by allergies long they should have a good idea if loratadine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec) work better. If you’re not sure, consider stocking up on both. And definitely opt for the behind-the-counter pseudoephedrine as your decongestant. In my opinion at least (and a good chunk of the medical community), it’s far better than the phenylephrine commonly used in its place.

Make sure to have plenty of over the counter pain meds available.

Personally, I’m a proponent of buying those industrial sized, 100/200/500 pill count bottles of acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin and ibuprofen. Aspirin is great for older folks interested in aspirin’s blood-thinning, anticoagulant and coronary disease mitigation properties. Acetaminophen works well for a variety of minor to moderate aches and pains but can be tough on your liver, so watch dosage carefully. Ibuprofen, on the other hand, you can take a good deal of- 800 mgs every 6-8 hours (although I’ve had docs tell me off the record that they’re comfortable taking more). That’s if your stomach can handle it- ibuprofen is harder on the gut than acetaminophen. (If you like naproxen {Aleve}, obviously throw some of that in there too.)

Be sure to have at least one an instant cold compress on hand. Get a good quantity of the following: aloe vera gel for skin-soothing (or a big aloe plant- that works too); a big tube or two of triple antibiotic lotion; a tube of hydrocortisone cream for itching; meclizine (Dramamine) as an anti-nausea aid, sleep aid and even anti-anxiety assist if necessary (diphenhydramine also works well as a sleeping and possible anti-anxiety supplement) and a good supply of multivitamins, consider chewy ones for the kids.

Stock alcohol and or hydrogen peroxide; bandages and or unscented female napkins/Maxi Pads (great for absorption- in my opinion, perhaps the best bandage-like product available); sterile water for irrigation and needleless syringes for doing the irrigating; a blood-clotting powder or solution; a hefty supply of hand sanitizer; alcohol prep pads; latex gloves; burn gel; etc.

I imagine you’ve got the picture at this point- do a cataloguing of your own and your family’s medical needs and stock accordingly. For more general supplies, gather your preferential brand or style of the items commonly found in any first aid kit. Check with medical supply store outlets (brick and mortar or online) for… discounted medical supplies, and bulk stores like Costco for… bulk supplies. I’ll provide a couple sites below that offer good online first aid kit supply lists. And always be prepared. Good luck and good life!

Author Bio

Frank Nielson is a retired medical researcher who now spends his days writing. Through this writing, he is keen on helping consumers find the best medical supplies at an affordable price. When not stationed behind his well-worn keyboard, Frank loves spending time with his grandchildren and vows that someday he will tie the perfect fly.



This guest post contest is officially over! Be ready to vote on your favorites next week. In the mean time…

Please visit these fine sponsors and learn more about the prizes below…

Fortunately, we have some very gracious sponsors who are willing to sponsor this fun contest. Please visit their sites and review the products being donating as they are certainly good people doing good things for our community. Here’s the prizes…

nano-striker-fire-starter CampingSurvival.com is donating an Exotac nanoSTRIKER XL Ferrocerium Fire Starter in Olive Drab.The description says “We created an evolutionary derivative of the original nanoSTRIKER with a larger rod and striker handle. It utilizes the same innovative design as the original, but with just enough extra size and heft to improve its ease of use without making it too big or bulky for key chain carry. The striker handle is 46% bigger, making it easier to grip. The XL version also sports a 33% larger ferrocerium rod, which improves the durability and lifespan of the rod even beyond that of the original nanoSTIKERs. Slowly scrape shavings off the rod into a small pile. Use these shavings on top of your tinder bundle for even better sparks! Use the nanoSTRIKER? to light gas stoves, alcohol stoves, fuel tablets, BBQ grills, etc.”
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15 Survival Medical Supplies You May Have Missed

medical-suppliesWe’re all well aware that medical supplies, equipment, and especially qualified assistance will be tough to get hold of after most any disaster, especially longer term situations. With that in mind, I thought I would be a good idea to list several items that would prove useful to you and yours that you might not have considered stockpiling. I’m not talking about things like bandages, gauze, antiseptic ointments, or even Tylenol and Ibuprofen. It’s the “other” things that you should have but might not. Understand that none of the following is meant to be medical advice whatsoever. With that in mind, here’s my list, add your own as you see fit…

  1. Elastic bandages (ACE bandages in 3″ or 4″ widths) – useful for so many things, including sore muscles, strains, sprains, holding gauze in place, and plenty more. I suggest you have at least a few stockpiled.
  2. Motion sickness pills – not just for those who take frequent cruises, motion sickness pills can be used for times where a person is feeling generally nauseated or otherwise dizzy, including for inner ear problems.
  3. SAM splints – easily moldable splints for everything from your forearms to fingers. Yes, you can tape two twigs together to hold a broken finger in place but a comfortable SAM split will be so much more appreciated even a few days in. 😉
  4. CPR masks (w/one way valve) – even if it’s family and friends you’re treating, diseases can still be spread. With this in mind, consider a CPR mask that includes a one way valve in order to minimize such problems.
  5. Crutches / walker – People with broken feet/legs need to be as mobile as they can be and crutches (or a walker) allow them to do that.
  6. Israeli Bandage a “special” type of bandage that is used to put pressure on a very badly bleeding wound.
  7. Clotting Powders (Quikclot) – in most cases, an Israeli bandage should do the trick, but if for some reason it doesn’t then this may be your next best option to stop the bleeding. I hear that some of the older Quikclot had problems so be sure you buy newer stock.
  8. Tourniquet – if the above don’t work (the Israeli bandage and clotting powders) then a tourniquet IS the last resort. On the other hand, I hear it’s a first resort for many field medics these days.
  9. TempTooth – dental problems are among the more likely of medical concerns for most of us; a broken tooth or loose crown WILL be a huge problem. While something like DenTemp is ok, TempTooth may be a better option for longer term situations.
  10. Ear Oil – anything that can be used to soothe an earache, especially useful for young children.
  11. Benadryl – most of us recognize that Benadryl is used for general allergy concerns. You might not be aware, however, that is can be used for more than allergies, including more severe allergic reactions. Besides an Epipen, about the best that most of us can do is to stock Benadryl to deal with allergies from things like bee stings in a SHTF situation. That said, Benadryl is NOT sufficient to treat acute anaphylaxis (a person needs proper medical treatment). So, if you can seek medical attention then by all means do so.
  12. Oral Airways – among other reasons, oral airways can be used to ensure a person’s airway doesn’t close while waiting for Benadryl to take effect.
  13. Gas X (or similar) – anything that can be used to reduce gas and bloating or other indigestion problems. Remember, you may have a very significant change in your diet that could cause a variety of intestinal problems.
  14. Laxative (or other constipation medications) – again, even a relatively minor change in your diet may cause unwanted side-effects in your bowels. This is equally true in children, even young children. For toddlers and infants consider a suppository instead.
  15. Vaseline – so many uses, look it up!

Let me reiterate, just because you may now purchase and therefore have on-hand any of the aforementioned supplies doesn’t mean that you should use it! For example, if you don’t know when and how to use a clotting powder then you shouldn’t do so. Of course, it behooves you to get proper training with these supplies–and anything else you choose to stock–so that you do no harm.

Now, what would you add?

Dealing With Chronic Pain in SHTF and WROL by Irish-7, Editor-at-Large

Dealing With Chronic Pain in SHTF and WROLThe video posted by Patriot Nurse on March 27, 2013 “Pain Control In Disaster Scenarios” was excellent! [Editor note: here’s the referenced video.] I am grateful that she shared her experience and input. Although I have no formal medical education, I do have some thoughts on this subject. I suffer from chronic, painful spinal conditions from parachute landings early in my career in the military. I take several anti-inflammatory and pain medications every single day. Any long term crisis, disaster, SHTF/WROL situation where these pills become unavailable, will have an adverse effect on me. My mobility will be severely decreased without my medicine.

Of the many items we put aside while preparing for potential crisis or long term disaster, narcotic medicines will be very difficult to stock. The illegal market for pain pills is enormous. I recently watched a television program that stated abuse of prescription medication is the largest area of drug violation in the United States, more than all other controlled substances combined. One county in Florida issued a few million Percocet in a single month! Consequently, medical professionals and law enforcement will be very leery of anyone’s attempt to obtain or stock large quantities of these pills. I am NOT a doctor or a lawyer. I am in no position to give medical or legal advice. I am not recommending or advising anyone to follow any methods or measures listed in this article. I am merely making some suggestions to those Preppers who realize that a long term crisis or disaster situation will prevent them from obtaining medications that they use frequently right now.

The first step would be to speak with your physician. Tell him or her that you are preparing for long term crisis. Dr Cynthia Koelker wrote an excellent article on her website about developing a good relationship with your physician. Anyway, ask your doctor the steps to titrate to a lower dose in event your medication becomes available (like Patriot Nurse explained with skipping doses or skipping days). If you have good rapport with your doctor, he/she may write a prescription for several months of medication. Some insurance companies want you to do this. The military health system, Tricare, advertises this program frequently. The only drawback is, you must use the mail order pharmacy through Express Scripts. But, depending on the date of the crisis or disaster starts, you could have several months of medication already in your possession.

If you are on an extended or sustained release medication (dissolves slowly over a period of hours), but still receive an immediate release pill for “breakthrough pain”, try to save a few of the immediate release pills from each prescription. Now, I am NOT recommending that you suffer with extreme pain. If your medicine stretches exactly from RX to RX, then you won’t be able to do this. There are ways to skip a dose of the immediate release medicines. For example, lay down and take a nap (if time permits), or go to bed early. Perhaps stretch a dose from 4 to 6 hours. You will know what you can get away with. Any of these methods may net you a few pills for your emergency stock.

Those folks that take Schedule III medications (Hydrocodone or Codeine based), that get refills on their prescription, can try to reorder a day or two early. Ask the pharmacist what the drug store and the insurance company allow. Don’t abuse this method! If the pharmacy and insurance company allow you to refill your RX 4 days before it is due, perhaps go in at 2 days. Be honest with the pharmacist. Tell them what you are up to. I went to my pharmacy 2 years ago with a checklist of essential medical supplies to stock. I spent several hundred dollars on bandages and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. When I checked out, I forgot my clipboard that held the checklist. Now, everyone that works there knows I’m a Prepper. However, I take Schedule II medicines, which cannot be refilled. So, I cannot get my pills any earlier than the due date.

If you are unfortunate that a disaster or crisis scenario catches you off guard, and you run out of the narcotic medicine that you take daily for chronic pain, many of Patriot Nurse’s recommendations may bring you some relief. OTC drugs like aspirin or Tylenol, NSAIDS (Motrin, Advil, Aleve, Naproxen), essential oils such as lavender and wintergreen, all have analgesic properties. If you are lucky to have a chiropractor nearby, or a physical or massage therapist, they can bring relief, too. Alcohol is one of the oldest pain killers known to man. You may want to stock some whiskey with your medical supplies. Booze makes for great bartering material. Patriot Nurse was reluctant to mention some things for legality reasons. I am not. Medicinal marijuana is one of the largest growing businesses in the United States. Thousands, maybe millions of people are smoking or eating pot to relieve their aches and pains. The areas where this activity is sanctioned (legal by state laws, still illegal by federal regulations) are mainly out west. Again, I am NOT recommending that anyone violate current laws! If you live in one of the states where marijuana is allowed, you may want to look into this method. I certainly cannot vouch for the pain relieving properties of pot. I am a retired military man and won’t explore any illegal methods of pain relief. My family is preparing for economic collapse. If the nation falls into a Without Rule Of Law (WROL) situation, I don’t believe that we’ll have law enforcement chasing murderers, yet alone arresting pot growers and smokers. Until then, I will obey all local laws. That’s just my opinion. Take it for what it is worth.

Before closing, I want to extend a few warnings. Some folks split their pills to spread them out in order to save money.  NEVER, EVER, CUT, BREAK OR SPLIT EXTENDED OR SUSTAINED RELEASE MEDICINES for any reason! This includes medicines like Oxycontin, Opana, Oramorph or MS Contin. These pills have a coating on them that dissolves over a period of time. Altering the medication will remove this slow release feature and give you all the narcotic at one time. THIS CAN BE FATAL! Some medications such as Avinza and Kadian (morphine sulphate), allow you to open the capsules and sprinkle the contents (beads) on applesauce. AGAIN, DO NOT CRUSH THE BEADS! Talk to your pharmacist. Read the literature that comes with the prescription. Another bit of life saving advice: If you do put aside some narcotic medication, DON’T TELL ANYONE! Your neighbors may laugh at you knowing that you are buying freeze dried food preparing for the Apocalypse. But, if word gets out that you are holding opiates, YOU MAY ATTRACT A RATHER UNSAVORY, CRIMINAL ELEMENT! Although I personally fail to understand what drug abusers like about these pills, I am completely aware of their dangers. People will kill for them. Take precautionary measures when you pick up your medicine at the pharmacy. Good Luck!