Note: This article was contributed by James Smith. Read more in the About The Author section below.
Apart from preparing, planning and thinking for an SHTF situation, have you ever wondered what the most likely threat is for people? As common sense suggests, when people know a SHTF situation is eminent today or sometime soon, they will go mad stocking food and water and prepare survival tools and kits. But there is something more than this – diseases after SHTF. Even the most prepared survivalists can be faced with illness in the aftermath of disaster.
Doctors are the people who first come into our minds when it comes to any condition like this, but in a disaster situation, the doctors would be facing the same survival challenges and after all they won’t be leaving their families.
In the aftermath of disaster, people might fear for starvation the most, which can lead to death, but in actuality the real reason that increases the probability of mass deaths is even worse. Can you imagine a situation where you have prepared enough for your survival and have a very-well planned strategy for defense too? The tools, the stocked food and water, everything is enough to keep you alive – starvation does not seem crucial here. If you have thought over it, the bigger threat is of contracting diseases after SHTF!
It is likely that people might not put much thought into it so here are the details that will help you keep aware of and prepare for disease after SHTF.
Common Sources Of Diseases After SHTF
Water Sanitation And Poor Hygiene
The clean drinking and tap water that we use in our daily lives to fulfill human requirements is taken for granted by everyone. Imagine a situation where public water supplies cease to function – inevitably, there will be a rise in deadly disease then.
When proper sanction becomes no longer a simple thing, here is when you should fear for lives. Water supplies will be contaminated in a SHTF situation causing an outbreak of typhoid, diarrhea, cholera, hepatitis A, gastroenteritis and diphtheria. People might not know what to do then and this is one of the reasons why you are advised to keep a water purifier kit.
Diseases Caused By Insects
The best place to breed for insects is dirty and contaminated water and what can be better for them when you are facing SHTF disasters. I guess they would be the least bothered creatures on Earth then. Sounds funny, but is as dangerous as threatening the people’s lives.
Mosquitos, bugs, fleas, ticks, midges, rats and flies – almost like non-existent creatures could play the role of being the biggest creatures in a SHTF disaster by making you sick and that too, to such a severe extent that if not treated properly, people may die! Malaria, Lyme’s disease, Murine typhus, West Nile Virus and other contagious and life-threatening diseases spread like fire in the woods.
It is important to have the knowledge beforehand and learn to keep clean drinking water and food. An insect repellant, non-prescribed anti-biotic medicines and hygiene accessories are therefore recommended to keep in a kit of emergency survival supplies. In areas of high risk for insect-borne diseases, be sure to include a mosquito net in your bug-out bag.
Respiratory Diseases And Infections
Respiratory infections and diseases are a major concern as they spread really quickly in disastrous situations. Cold, cough, flu and sore throat can still be treated through non-prescribed medicines (recommended to keep in a first-aid kit) however it becomes more threatening as there are certain bacteria and viruses that are drug-resistant. In a situation where all you can do is carry your own self safely; non-prescribed medicines will be of no use and won’t cure them.
These bacteria and viruses cause upper respiratory tract diseases such as bacterial pneumonia. It could be a major reason for massive death –imagine the unlimited food and water you’ve stocked, would it be of any help? Of course not, so is the reason why diseases are a bigger concern in the aftermath of SHTF.
When fighting for their survival, survivalists live in groups with their families that increase the chances of transmission of air-borne diseases and infections from one person to another. Infants, elderly, and immune-deficient people are more susceptible to catching infections. The simplest example can be, you cough and then use the water-bucket that is shared, the other person uses it and here’s how he catches the disease.
Practicing good hygiene, like covering your cough, washing hands frequently, and avoiding shared utensils whenever possible will help reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. If a member of your group becomes ill with a respiratory infection, it is best that they rest and limit interactions with others until they recover.
Wounds And Infections
In a SHTF scenario, it gets extremely crucial to take proper care of wounds and infections as tetanus shots and antibiotic medicines aren’t available. To clean them, you of course won’t be able to rely on other sources of water too being unsure about its contamination. Infections lead to conditions like sepsis and gangrene.
Prevention is better than cure and here would be the time to practically implement it. A simple wound in such a situation can lead to long-term disabilities, chronic wounds, infections in bone and unfortunately Death! Having knowledge and learning medical skills before such disastrous situations can help survivalists save their lives. Learning about medical emergencies, cleaning and sterilization will also help prevent infections.
In order to be able to address wounds and injuries, you will need a well-stocked first aid kit. It should include bandages, antiseptic, and tools to help you quickly tend to injuries and prevent infections. For help with planning your first aid kit, CLICK HERE.
While food plays an important role in your survival, it can also be a source for harmful bacterial infections. It is better to skip a meal and continue to look for food than to consume something that is questionable. Food-borne diseases can be deadly, especially without access to immediate medical intervention.
Foods that come from animal sources, such meat, eggs, and dairy products, may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Also, cross-contamination can occur with other foods, such as produce. In a survival situation where sanitation is compromised, it can be difficult to maintain cleanliness and thoroughness when cooking. Do not consume undercooked meat or eggs! The resulting infection can cause fever, diarrhea, and cramps lasting several days. Depending on the person’s health, this can become very severe.
Another danger may be lurking in your pantry. Food-borne botulism can be contracted from canned foods that are not processed properly. Untreated, botulism can progress into paralysis of the arms, legs, torso, and even respiratory muscles. To help prevent contracting this disease, boil canned foods for ten minutes before consuming. For more information on canning safety, CLICK HERE.
Your strategy for health is a major component of your survival. Dealing with diseases after SHTF requires planning ahead by educating yourself about disease prevention and treatment. Be aware of sources of contamination. Know how to recognize symptoms and do not dismiss them – even mild symptoms can be a sign of a more serious problem, especially when resources are limited. And always pack a first aid kit in your bug-out bag!
About The Author
James Smith is a survivalist, who loves to write about survival skills and techniques. He has extensive knowledge about different survival kits and other survival supplies which he loves to share with others by writing blog. Follow him on twitter @jamessmith1609.
Can you think of any other diseases that may arise post-disaster? Are you taking extra steps to prepare for disease after SHTF? Tell us about them in the Comments section below, thanks!