As the scene opens, you and your immediate family have survived *the end of the world as we knew it* situation. The electricity has been out for the better part of a month and someone you care about has taken ill. It is way too dangerous to venture far from your hiding place, there is no way to find a health care provider this far from town. Are you prepared to handle what you need to do?
Maybe I can help.
The first law is to “Do no harm.” Primum non nocere
All healing practices and it’s practitioners hold this law as sacred. M.Ds, O.D.s, Dentists, Naturopaths, Herbalists, EMTs, Nutritionists and dieticians and even Shamans are bound by this very simple phrase.
This phrase is a promise “to abstain for doing harm.” It reminds the health care provider that they must consider the possible harm that any intervention might do. Another way to consider it; given an existing health condition or complaint, it may be better to not do something or even do nothing at all, than to risk causing more harm. Abiding by this first law of nature is not as easy as one might think. People, given our very nature, want to help, to do something.
Your family physician and related healthcare practitioners most likely took part in this updated oath to receive their shingle.
Hippocratic Oath — Modern Version
I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.
I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.
I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.
Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.
(Any thoughts about this oath and how it does or does not comply with Obamacare in the U.S.?)
The Second rule of Natures Laws for Helping and Healing
When it is only you, your nurturing skills, and a few herbs, Mother nature lends us a second rule;
Give the gift of time.
If the problem does not require first aid, or immediate life or death intervention allow at least three days of treatment or herbal remedy to work it’s magic. Watch, monitor and record the patients response to that treatment. (First aid, immediate treatment, and intense emergency treatment are saved for a another post.)
Herbs have the ability to work with the chemistry of the body directing it to a slower, more natural response. If after three days of teas or treatments, there is no change in an illness or condition, change the treatment. For chronic or long on going health issues give one month of treatment for every year of a problem. Herbal remedies help the body restore balance and nudge it towards a healing state, pharmaceutical medications, which only treat symptoms, change the problem through chemistry.
During an illness, you should limit drinks to an acid such as grape, apple or cranberry. Acidic juices thin the body fluids, which helps keep things moving. Alkaline fluids (vegetable juices) thicken body fluids thus impeding circulation. Never sweeten fruit juice with sugar.
What ever us humans have done to ourselves, plants have been the basic source of health giving properties along an unbroken line far into prehistoric times. The first Chinese herb book, dating from about 2700B.C. lists 365 individual medical plants and their uses.
Three Basic Principles
When considering a remedy, treatment or course of action keep Dr. Pickerings three basic principles of health in mind.
- You are automatically healthy by design, and sick only by default.
- You don’t catch disease; you *earn* it, as it stems from *crud* in the blood from being drunk with junk.
- You get well by what comes *out* of you, not always by what goes into you.
In essence, health is as much based on getting rid of toxins, bacteria and substances as it is based on optimizing nutrition.
Your instincts will be of great value when there is no one but you. Mark Twain made a statement that we can take to heart.
“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
With the above information in mind, let us test your awareness ;
In a previously posted article, https://handygranny.com/2015/11/23/your-skills-will-be-tested-to-their-fullest-extent/ we discussed food and water borne bacteria if you would like to refer back to it.
Returning to the * after the SHTF* scenario; your college age son has traveled the country side making his way home after this nation wide catastrophe.
Summer break came early this year. The power has been out for more than a week with no end in sight. School administrators say they are are running low on food for the cafeteria, most of it having already spoiled. The Dean sent a runner to tell students they are closing the school. Everyone is free to go home or where ever.
Most of your small town has left for other places or have been evacuated. The last text you received from your son before your phone went dead was that he was on his way home. You and your family stay put to wait for him.
It took him 5 days to arrive home on foot and everyone is ecstatic to see him with hugs and kisses. But your dear son is not feeling well. His symptoms are as follows;
This 20 year old young man chalks up his general malaise and nausea to the heat, his long journey and excitement of being home. He has a restless night in his own bed and in the morning he is definitely feeling flu like symptoms, but without a fever. Over the course of the morning dear son has developed severe abdominal cramps, and begins to vomit. Next comes the diarrhea. What do you suspect is going on with him?
- He picked up a bout of Cholera
- He has Typhoid
- He has food poisoning
- He now has Hepatitis A
Is his illness contagious?
How do you know?
What is your first course of action?
What should you have done before you welcomed him into the group?
How does natures laws apply here?
Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals know the answer to these questions, but does the average worried Mom? If it were my son traveling alone across those miles I would be rejoiced to see him safe, but that is the wrong way to approach the safety of the rest of your group. Anyone, and that means everyone, needs time to be isolated and monitored before being allowed into the general group. Please don’t rely on TV programs like the “walking Dead” or “The History Channel” for direction on post apocalyptic survival.
We got lucky with dear son, he has a nasty case of food poisoning. Food poisoning is generally not contagious. Depending on the type of bacteria ingested from contaminated food symptoms could take from 30 minutes to as long as 4 weeks from exposure to onset of symptoms.
Given that our young man is 20 years old, he will recover on his own unaided. He should be monitored for dehydration, however, and given plenty of fresh clean water to drink. An electrolyte, such as Gatoraid, would be helpful. (Home made hydration solution similar to Pedialyte, see page 19 in “How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out.”)
Cholera is usually not contagious, although, handling contaminated feces can get you sick. Symptoms are similar to food poisoning characterized by watery diarrhea, but this contaminated food or water bacteria brings on symptoms abruptly.
Typhoid is communicable disease, characterized by a fever of 103 to 105 degrees, fatigue, no appetite, chills headache, muscle pain and tenderness of the abdomen. Typhoid is a member of the Salmonella bacteria family. It is transferred from person to person by direct contact of body fluids of an active typhoid person. Think typhoid Mary of history.
Hepatitis A is a viral liver infection, highly contagious. Generally, hepatitis viruses are transferred by contaminated food, water and sharing syringes and sexual behavior. General symptoms are fever, weakness, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, drowsiness, headache, abdominal discomfort, and often jaundice.
Hepatitis infections are contagious two weeks before and one week after jaundice appears. Bathrooms should be decontaminated due to fecal matter containing the virus. Isolation is recommended. Signs and symptoms can last from 2 to 6 months.
Now that we are aware of the importance of knowing a little something about post catastrophe diseases, we can use this to protect the rest of the group and from being over whelmed by following some simple procedures.
Isolation– Always isolate newcomers and those of your group showing signs of a fever–undiagnosed or suspicious rash–jaundice or abdominal pain. When in doubt, always isolate. It’s better to be safe.
Sanitation– The removal of waste material and an action to make clean the immediate environment.
Hygiene– Is a system of principles that deals with the preservation of health. Without proper sanitation and hygiene even the healthiest, strongest, biggest fellow will have a tough time. Bacteria is the enemy during a crisis and can kill if let run unchecked.
Nutrition– An act or process of nourishing, supplying nourishment. To nourish, sustain, maintain and support.
The best time to begin is now, before the lights go out. A hard copy library in place when the SHTF will be your very best friend.