Showing posts with label dysentery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dysentery. Show all posts

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sick Household Blues

We are down with a nasty stomach bug. Thankfully this is not the Oregon Trail or kid #6 would be toast for sure. Seriously kids on that show are like the random guys who went to the planet with Kurt and Spoc on Star Trek.

My gratitude for endless clean water as well as waste removal and modern over the counter drugs like knock off Imodium AD and Pepto Bismol as well as the re hydrating power of Gatorade is impossible to express. Unfortunately Wifey is pretty far along in the pregnancy so her medical choices are far more limited. Kiddo puked once and had a mild case of the runs but today is just fine.

Hopefully this clears up pretty quick because both adults down the the count and a crazy 2 year old is a rough combination. Anyway I hope your Saturday is going a lot better than ours is.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Reader Question: SHTF Hygiene and Clothes Washing

Hi,
I have an idea for a blog article-or several- that I think you may be uniquely qualified to expound on. There are a vast majority of us that have never, or are unable to, serve in the military.
You're active duty military; what I and many others would like to know, is how you do your day to day maintenance while out in the field, away from all the comforts of home.
I think it would make a good read if you could tell us the necessities of our life if TSHTF and we are suddenly without water, electricity or heat. We know much about sponge bathing, washing in tubs with a wash board and making our own soap, but how do you do it while trying to stay out of the field of fire/ being discovered?
How do you wash your personal clothing(skivvies, socks, BDU's, etc.) when out in the field?
If you do these things, what do you use to wash them in and what do you use for detergent? How do you clean yourself, and with what?
So please give this some thought and see if it is an idea you would be willing to tackle.
Thanks,
Iron Tom Flint
TOR here, I wrote a couple posts that give us a place to start. This post on field hygiene covers part of the topic pretty decently. Also this post on Dysentery, while a bit light hearted is worth checking out. Also here is one on primative laundry.  Now onto the specific questions.
Q: We know much about sponge bathing, washing in tubs with a wash board and making our own soap, but how do you do it while trying to stay out of the field of fire/ being discovered?
A: Staying out of the field of fire is easy, if people are shooting at you or immenently going to shoot at you it is not the time to do laundry. Sorry if that was a bit short, from here forth I will try to answer the questions as I believe they are intended, not word for word.
For short term stuff I would use my field hygiene advice from above. Typically military operations are short enough in duration that laundry isn't a huge issue; though that is a relative term as I have worn a single uniform for a month without washing it. Another option is that things are so crazy that you have bigger stuff to worry about. Delaying washing is easier when weather is relatively cold. You would be pretty nasty after wearing the same clothes in the South or Middle East in the summer.
As to avoiding being discovered. If I was really worried about someone discovering me I wouldn't be doing laundry. I definitely wouldn't do laundry in some sort of escape and evasion situation, a hide or a patrol base.  That being said a really small fire made of dry wood (especially in the woods or down in some micro terrain) is pretty hard to see from beyond 50-100 meters. All you would really need is enough to heat up some water which doesn't take a bonfire.
However to make it easier lets say you are in a fairly quiet but non permissive enviornment. Maybe you and the spouse are trying to get somewhere on foot or using forest service roads and obviously don't want any attention. Maybe you are some sort of G and folks are sort of passively patroling your area, doing recon patrols to check out movement, signs of people like fires, etc. Whatever, it really doesn't matter. The point is that you aren't imminently worried about people trying to kill you but do want to keep a low profile.
One simple and old school option is to take a bar of soap and your clothes into a body of water and wash them. This has the benefit of washing your body. Obviously your situation would have to be reasonably secure and this is a lot more fun in 80 degree sunshine than 30 degree snow. I have seen socks washed in canteen cups, I suppose the same could be done with underoos. Also the good old bucket or a dedicated water jug (the military ones have pretty big mouths) works.
Q:How do you wash your personal clothing(skivvies, socks, BDU's, etc.) when out in the field?
A: Often the answer is to stash the dirty stuff and wash in after the operation is over. Other times we scrounge up some big tubs or whatnot. I have seen organizations where leaders bought some old school type laundry stuff to fill urgent needs.
Q: If you do these things, what do you use to wash them in and what do you use for detergent?
A: I have seen and used normal commercial detergent and plain old bar soap.
Q:How do you clean yourself, and with what?
A: Baby wipes are a great way to go. If heating up water is practical a washcloth and a bar of soap is nice and makes you feel a bit more human. As to how it is pretty much laid out here.
Anyway I hope that is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions. If you remember one thing take care of your feet.
-Ryan

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oregon Trail series #3 You Have Died of Cholera

This is part two of the Oregon Trail series. Awhile back I talked about dysentery. While dysentery comes from a lack of proper hygiene; cholera comes from unclean water used for drinking or cooking. There are bacteria and or viruses with long names with long Latin names involved but for laymen like me they don't matter.  Cholera is the other half of what could be called the "shit yourself to death" illnesses. Almost unheard of in modern nations but very common in developing countries.

Prevention is fairly easy. Start with a plan to provide your family with clean potable drinking water. Our friends Directive 21 and Our Happy Homestead sell Berkley filters as well as smaller more portable options. I am preferential to them because they keep the blog going. However you can find quality water filters all over the place. Big name brands like Berkley and Katadyn as well as a couple others are the way to go.

Be especially careful when  dealing with or treating people who have cholera. Their butt pee is highly contagious. Wash clothes, bedding and anything that gets messy separately and clean the washer or whatever afterwords. It is prudent to segregate the sick to avoid spreading the problem. If possible only have those treating them interact with the sick. Bleach water and rubber gloves are your friend.

Treatment is largely the same as dysentery with re hydration being the main push. Oral re hydration is followed by IV re hydration in extreme situations if they can't keep fluids down. Antibiotics can shorten the course of the virus.

Have a plan to be able to reliably provide clean water for drinking and cooking so you don't die of cholera.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oregon Trail Series #2 What The Oregon Trail Taught Me About Survival

1. Mr. "I'll take 4 oxen and all the bullets $1600 will buy me" was amusing. At least he was amusing to me, Wifey who played the game as a kid also didn't see the humor, I think that was because every boy went the all bullets route at least once. Our results were invariably unsuccessful. Breaking down or starving to death way before getting anywhere near running out of bullets. You have got to allocate your resources to meet many different needs. All the bullets in the world will not feed you. All the food in the world will not help a sick kid. Medicine doesn't make up for not having a spare jacket or a broken axle. Prudent people allocate their resources diversely to meet their many needs.

2. To capture this significant issue in its own lesson; bullets will not solve every problem or keep you reliably fed. Sure you can hunt but even a great shot might not see game that often. You need to store food.

3. Sanitation and hygiene are important lest you want to die of dysentery. That pretty much speaks for itself.

4. Something will happen so you don't want to spend all of your money. If anything the game under emphasizes this point. You don't know what is going to happen. It could be running low on oxen or the need to replace that extra spare axle. People take cash so you better have some available.

5. People die and not just random strangers but people you know. The game made this almost laughable with like a 30 percent mortality rate but lets not ignore the point. To think that your family will get through a prolonged dangerous period without outside assistance is probably naive. [Especially if that time included multiple violent confrontations it is almost laughable. If you think some guns, maybe a bit of body armor and a day once in a blue moon in the backyard trying to do battle drills will mean you come out heroically and surprisingly and completely unscathed you're more optimistic than I am. Once you consider that these contacts are more likely to be defensive than offensive the odds get even worse.] Getting your medical training and supplies squared away is a darn good start. Being careful and using proper safety equipment is prudent also. Someone truly out in the hinder boonies probably needs to worry a lot more about a slip with an ax then a gunfight. However while I encourage you to prepare as fully as possible for all these situations it is worth squaring yourself up with the fact that someone could die.

6. Whatever the risk don't be afraid to seek opportunities. There are always risks in life. However if you refuse to pursue any opportunities because there is some risk involved you won't get much of anywhere. It could be moving to another state for a new far better paying job with some real potential or deciding to become a single income household. It might be moving to a rural home, into alternate housing or even off grid. All of these possibilities have some risks (though death from dysentery is low on the list) that need to be accepted. Don't be afraid to accept some risk.

7. Be prepared for a long journey. No matter how much you spend or how hard you work the road to preparedness, like the trail from Independence, Missouri to the Willamette Valley, is very long. Some times it is going to seem like it will never end but unless you keep moving the end never comes. Then you just end up in Nebraska or Wyoming which are nice enough places but much harder to farm in than the Willamette Valley.
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