On Your Own. . .
The dreaded disaster everyone had been discussing and feared has happened and like it or not you are the last man standing, so to speak. When that proverbial day arrives and it’s just a matter of time you know, will you recognize a water borne illness? Will you know a highly contagious disease when you are asked to tend a sick person? The answer to those questions for most of us is a resounding “no.”
With the world changing at break neck speed, with out a doubt some of these diseases will find their way into those we love when it all comes to a disastrous sudden stop as it hits the brick wall.
So with that in mind, I offer the following as a brief overview of the most common diseases and bacteria you will likely encounter after any major catastrophe.
One of the first diseases to raise it’s ugly head would be Cholera and dysentery;
Cholera usually begins abruptly when contaminated food or water has been ingested, bringing on watery diarrhea. Dysentery is characterized by inflammation of the large intestine and rectum with frequent and bloody stools, abdominal pain and tenesmus.
Monitor these carefully because it is not always the toxins that cause the injury but in the case of cholera and dysentery it is the dehydration that kills. Treat the dehydration with a salty bouillon soup broth. Do not give the patient sweeteners or fruit juices.
“Disaster scenarios that cause contamination of water supplies can easily cause an outbreak of cholera in a community. Therefore, it makes sense for the medic in the family to know how to identify and treat the disease. Untreated, cholera has a death rate approaching 50-60%; if dealt with quickly, however, mortality goes down to 1%.” Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy
Typhus–Typhus is caused by body lice, ticks and rat fleas from parasitic bacterium. It begins similar to a bad cold, after a few days a rash appears in the arm pits.
Typhoid fever–This is a communicable disease. It is contracted by ingestion of contaminated food which has come in contact with body fluids of an active typhoid person or by a person who is a carrier of the disease. It’s a member of the Salmonella family of bacteria.
Recognizable by fatigue, fever (103 to 105), no appetite, chills, headache, muscle pain and tenderness of the abdomen. Red spots from over the chest and abdomen with the spleen becoming very tender. Clean air and good ventilation are essential treatment. Keep fever under control. High enemas using white bark, red raspberry leaves will greatly relieve the patient and hasten recovery.
Pellagra–Lack of vitamin B3 (niacin). Find a clean source of liver and other organ meats, poultry, fish and peanuts. Milk and eggs are a good source because of their tryptophan content.
Vitamin D and C deficiency– In the northern most climates sunshine and fresh fruit is a limited commodity.
Hantavirus–Flu like symptoms from mouse droppings. This one has a 38% fatality rate.
Leptospirosis–A dangerous bacterial disease with a 10 to 50% fatality rate. Rodent urine found in warm stagnant water is the cause of this disease. The disease is usually short-lived and mild, but severe infections can damage the kidneys and the liver. The patient’s urine should be disposed of carefully to prevent spread of the organism.
Bubonic and Pneumonic plague—These two are caused by a bacillus introduced into the body by a flea that had previously bitten an infected rat.
Emerging diseases—These are diseases that are out there on the horizon such as Ebola, MRSA, H1N1, etc.
Heart attacks and strokes—mostly seen as extreme stress related and over exertion at this time.
Diphtheria—This is a life threatening disease mostly seen in children from about 2 to 6 years of age. It effects the throat and upper air passages. Impure blood, unhygienic conditions, contaminated milk and food, and excessive starchy diet may be a contributor. Untreated disease is often fatal due to heart and kidney failure. Recovery is possible but must be treated by a healthcare professional.
Tuberculosis–This disease is highly contagious. If possible, get help from a healthcare professional. Isolate the person. The care taker must take precautions, wearing a gown and face mask. Mostly strikes people between the ages of 15 and 35.
Food poisoning–depending on the type of bacteria ingested, it can take from 30 minutes to as long as 4 weeks from exposure to onset of symptoms.
Procedures for an illness when the cause is unknown.
Isolate anyone showing signs of a fever–undiagnosed or suspicious rash–Jaundice–abdomen pain–or oozing, pustules within a rash.
Contagion–A contagion is the medium by which a disease is transmitted.
Sanitation–The application of disposal of sewage and waste for the sake of cleanliness and the protection of human health.
Hygiene–The preservation of health and the prevention of disease through cleanliness.
Nutrition–The act or the process of nourishing, also obtaining the dietary requirements for proper health. The process of taking in and utilizing food material thus providing energy and healing.
Social Distancing— During an event or crisis before anyone new is added to your group they should be quarantined for the very least of 10 days. This protects your group as well as theirs. If after 10 to 14 days there is no signs of illness or contagions, they may be added to your groups general population.
Also, isolate anyone at any time that shows signs of a fever or illness. Undiagnosed or suspicious rash, jaundice, abdominal pain or serious infections. A wild animal bite would fit this category also. Unless you know specifically that the animal didn’t have rabies, it’s better to take precautions.
These are but a few diseases for which a crisis or long term power outage may see. Oh, and one more thing before I let you get on with your day. Tetanus (lockjaw) is very rare in the U.S., with only about 50 cases reported in a year. We should get to know the signs of a tetanus infection when society has been under a severe crisis for a long period of time, especially those children being born after the crisis is underway where a vaccination is unavailable.
The most common cause is a puncture wound to the skin. It can be as simple as a bug or animal bite to a splinter or stepping on a rusty nail. And the disease is not just limited to those, any injury to the skin is eligible; burns, crush injuries and lacerations can be entryways for the tetanus bacteria.
An excellent article can be found over at htt://www.doomandbloom.net/2012/10/tetanus-in-times-of-trouble.html
You can find “10 Diseases Seen First After a Disaster” and much, much more in **How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out**
Look for it on this site, Amazonbooks.com or ask for it by name at your favorite book sellers.
An after publication update; This is an excellent article on EMP survival. I just thought it fitting to share here.