Personal hygiene after SHTF

(Survival Manual/Prepper articles/ Personal hygiene after SHTF)

A.  Personal Hygiene After SHTF
7 May 2013, SurvivalAndBeyond, by The Maj – Prepper Resources
Pasted from: http://www.survivalandbeyond.net/personal-hygiene-after-shtf/

Staying clean by today’s standards in a post SHTF world will be a task that is close to impossible.  The daily, sometimes twice daily, bath or shower will become a thing of the past and the old joke of  “bath  night Saturday” will no longer be a joke for most people.  The world will be vastly different but the same “bugs” we are so careful to cleanse ourselves of today will be even more relentless.  The only advantage you will have then, that most do not have today, is the fact that contact with other people will be limited to you and the people trying to survive along side of you.  Everyone within that group taking some basic steps in personal hygiene will be a huge benefit to everyone in the group and even the most basic steps by today’s standards will go a long way to making you feel better.

sanitation conditionsThe no brainer here is washing your hands and I am certain that most reading this have an ample supply of hand sanitizer in their stockpile right now.  Since the average person touches their face 2,000 plus times per day and the face (and head) is the most common place where someone will contract a “bug”, it only makes sense that keeping the hands clean will help.  This is especially important to consider when preparing food for yourself and other people.  Hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, disinfectant wipes and bleach will all work to clean or sanitize your hands.  Soap and water is probably the easiest and most common mechanism for keeping the hands clean.  Even washing with clean water is better than not washing your hands at all, so do not let being out of a manufactured product keep you from washing your hands.

Let your body air out.  Whether it is the socks on your feet, your underwear, or the t-shirt you have not had a chance to wash in five days, your undergarments are going to be packing a pretty powerful punch even if you have been sedentary the entire time.  Wearing dirty, sweat soaked clothes constantly next to your skin gives bacteria a place to cling to and given enough time they will create a problem for you.  At every available opportunity, get as naked as possible and give your body a chance to air.  This may not be practical in many instances where mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects will have an open door to your body, but letting your body (especially “the dirty” parts) get some air will help to keep you healthy.  I keep a pair of loose fitting shorts and a loose fitting t-shirt in my bugout bag for this very purpose.  Also, while you are airing out, it is a good time for a “buddy check”.  Have someone else look at the areas that you can not readily see, especially your backside.  They will need to be looking for bites, boils, and insects which might have attached themselves to your nether region.  The time for modesty has long since past by this point, so put aside any apprehension you may have concerning having your buddy take a look at you.

When you are airing yourself out, take the time to take a splash bath.  Clean your feet, crotch, underarms, and face with soap and water or disinfectant/baby wipes.  Taking the time to do this will remove a lot of the bacteria that has built up in the area(s), it will help prevent chaffing, and  it will make you feel better than you did.  In a perfect world, I would try to do this before I went to bed but since the post SHTF world will be far from perfect just make the time for it.  If you have packed body powder or foot powder, dust the clean areas with powder to help keep them fresh longer.  Try to stay away from the scented powders for obvious reasons.

While we are on the subject of rank clothes, you will need to develop a plan to wash your clothes and more than likely this task will have to be done by hand.  If possible, you will want to have a “fresh” set of clothes on hand when you do finally find the chance to get a real bath or shower because I do not know of much worse than finally getting clean and then having to put back on some clothes that could stand up and walk by themselves.  You can easily go a week or longer without washing your outer garments but the undergarments and socks typically will not last as long.  Pack extra socks, underwear (or opt out of underwear), and t-shirts if possible.

As weird as it may sound, grooming will help with cleanliness as well.  Keeping finger nails and toe nails neat, clean and trimmed to proper lengths will keep germs from hiding under them.  If you happen to be a nail biter, you might want to consider breaking that habit now.  You will want to keep head and facial hair trimmed as short as possible and run a comb through it daily.  Believe it or not, your hair will get so dirty that it will actually hurt.  Avoid scratching your scalp and let the comb do the work when possible.  If you have not considered nail clippers/files, scissors, and a razor for your bugout bag, now would be the time to consider it.

Treat every scrape, bump, bite, boil, cut, burn, and hangnail as a life threatening condition.  Sanitize the area as soon as time allows with soap and water or other disinfectant, apply an antibiotic ointment, and cover the area with a bandage.  If possible, avoid tasks which will unnecessarily introduce germs into the affected area, avoid food preparation for the group if the troublesome spot is on your hands, and allow the area to get air when you are resting.  If the affected area begins to swell, change color, or worsens, you will need to take additional first-aid or medical measures.

Brush and floss your teeth at least once daily, twice if your supplies allow it.  Use a good quality toothpaste or baking soda to brush your teeth and make certain to rinse your mouth thoroughly with clean water.  If you have an alcohol based mouthwash in your bugout bag or stockpile use it at least once daily.  Alcohol based breath strips help to “freshen” your mouth, but other than that they do not cleanse very well.  Sans mouth wash, you can rinse your mouth with clean water or a saltwater mix to help keep your mouth clean.  If you find yourself without toothpaste, you can still use your toothbrush to break the build up loose and rinse your mouth.  Some brushing is better than not brushing at all.

Shoot for taking a bath or shower once per week, if time and your water stockpiles allow it.  Over the course of a week you will build up a lot of grime all over your body, especially during the warmer months.  A bath will become a real treat and something that you will look forward to.  Wash with unscented soap from head to toe and make certain to scrub the dirty areas very well.  Of course, if it comes down to a choice between having clean drinking water and taking a bath, opt for the clean drinking water. An example of what I have in my bugout personal hygiene kit:

  • Unscented Soap (2bars)
  • Travel Shampoo
  • Travel Bottle of Listerine
  • Hand Sanitizer (small bottle)
  • Toothpaste (1 full size tube)
  • Dental Floss (2 packages)
  • Toothbrush (2 each)
  • Q-tips (2 travel packages)
  • Tweezers
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment (2 tubes)
  • Baby Wipes (travel package)
  • Band-Aids (travel pack)
  • Safety Razor (with spare blades)
  • Small Scissors
  • Nail Clippers with File
  • Large MicroNet Pack Towel (2 each)
  • MicroNet Pack Wash Cloth (2 each)
  • Needles (one package)
  • Unscented Body/Foot Powder (small container)
  • Travel Washboard
  • Powder Laundry Detergent (small container)
  • Toilet Paper (1 roll)
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Repellant
  • Absorbine Jr. (1 bottle)
  • Travel Mirror
  • Rubbing Alcohol (small bottle)

As with anything else, you can configure your personal hygiene supplies a thousand different ways and there is no absolute “right way” to do it.  I am not female, so I left the feminine hygiene products off of my list and they would have to be incorporated into the supplies for a female.  In a bug-in situation, you can expand this list to include more of the necessary supplies and add many nice to have items that are not very portable for personal hygiene uses.  The important thing is to have personal hygiene supplies on your list and at a minimum have a means of keeping yourself clean post SHTF

 

B.  When the SHTF, you will still have to poop
7 Oct 2012, Prepper-Resources.com, by PJ
Pasted from: http://www.prepper-resources.com/when-the-shtf-you-will-still-have-to-poop/

I have been very close to burning mixtures of fecal matter, urine, and diesel fuel and I can tell you the smell is pretty disgusting.  You never quite get used to it, nor does your appetite fully recover.  Quite often people forget that everybody poops, and should the power go out for an extended period of time in suburbia you will only have a couple options when it comes to dealing with human waste.  You can poop in buckets and bury the contents around your yard, poop buckets and attempt to burn your waste (not a good idea), or you can dig a sanitary pit away from any water supply and hopefully keep your family from getting sick.  Quite often people do not realize just how important it is to stay clean and germ free, especially in a survival environment.  No matter how hard you try to avoid it everyone has to poop.  It would be optimal to find a way to get around the hazards of exposed waste prior to some catastrophe occurring.  I have dug many pits in my day but never a full on functioning pit for an outhouse.  Since I am not the subject matter expert on this topic  I will post is an article from someone who is, take from it what you will and remember that E. Coli can kill you just as easily as a 55 grain FMJ bullet.

Here is the link to the article over on Rogue Turtle: http://www.rogueturtle.com/articles/outhouse.php.
What follows would be some practical potty advice offered up by the author.

sanitation outhousePractical potty advice
If you have small children, be sure you accompany them to the outhouse and help them use the facilities. Since the bottom opening in the potty is considerably larger than a home toilet, the urge to reach in and “play” may be too great for a toddler…with tragic results. Keeping a outside door latch mounted up high will prevent small children from straying inside while you’re not looking. Like a swimming pool, it can be considered an “attractive nuisance”.

In winter, run ropes to and from the shelter and the outhouse. That way, you won’t get lost in the blowing snow when going to the bathroom. Out west, people have died going to potty.

Until you get your first deep pit dug, temporary potties can be made from 5 gallon buckets. The walls can be simple blankets or other coverings to make tent-like walls. Unless you are digging in frozen ground, a hole large enough to use right away can be dug in less than one day. Most military units I have been around use digging latrine holes as a method of punishment. It’s considered a “crappy” job, if you get my drift. If you have an all male outfit, jut run a plank out, cut a few holes, and you are done. It’s not a pretty sight for visitors. Most people prefer walls.

A word about toilet paper: Like ammunition, you can never have too much. I do not recommend you give everyone their own roll of paper, only replace the one in the outhouse when it runs out. Too many people with toilet paper means some gets lost or “borrowed” and I have seen fights break out over this stupid subject. (Remember, I work in a jail in Florida.) One hole, one roll.

If your family is like mine, you need some sort of inside latch so accidental “embarrassing moments” are kept to a minimum. Screaming teenage girls hurt my ears. Make sure the latch can be used by the youngest person in the group who will be using the place without assistance. I’ve seen youngsters accidentally get locked into bathrooms when they don’t know how to unlock the door. It would be even more traumatic in a cold and drafty outhouse in the woods at night. Heck, that would scare me…I have a son named Jason, did you know that? He was born on Friday the 13th, no kidding. I think he owns an axe.

Lighting in an outhouse at night is on a “bring your own” basis. Don’t leave valuable lights laying around in the outhouse. First of all, they may fall into the hole never to be seen again. I’m sure not going after it. Second, someone will leave it on and it will be useless anyway. If I did mount one, the only light I would even consider is one of those “tap lights” advertised on TV. It seems to be about the easiest and cheapest to install. If you lose one of them, you haven’t lost much. Everyone in your shelter should have their own personal flashlight at night anyway.

There are many humorous stories associated with the outhouse. Many people name their outhouses: “Moldy Manor”, “Moon Room”, etc. Name it after someone you hate: “Hitler House” would have been appropriate years ago. How about “Saddam’s Palace”? “Thunder Dome”?

On a practical note, if you bag up all the dirt removed from the hole, you can berm-up the north side of the outhouse to keep the cold winter winds out. Then, when you are ready to cover the hole up, the dirt is right there ready for you. Just a thought. I don’t like doing work twice.

C.  The 4 Most Likely Ways You Can Die If the SHTF
June 2011, Ready Nutrition.com, by Tess Pennington
Pasted from: http://readynutrition.com/resources/the-4-most-likely-ways-you-can-die-if-the-shtf_29062011/

The subject of survival in a long term disaster goes beyond having stockpiles of beans, bullets and band-aids. Those that do survive during a long term emergency will no doubt be tried and tested with a great many things. One of those trying scenarios is dealing with death.

Zombie attacks seem to be a prevalent theme for preppers to prepare for. In fact, the CDC has even posted a preparedness article on how to ward off zombie attacks. See the zombie article at:
http://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2011/05/preparedness-101-zombie-apocalypse/

While I believe these zombies will likely take the form of substance abusers, mental patients, chronically ill or diseased, and desperate individuals whose basic needs have not been met, they will die out in the first few months of an onset of a  major disaster, and there presence will rarely be an issue in a long term situation.

In reality, a majority of those that will die during a long-term disaster will be from illnesses brought on by acute respiratory infections due to cramped living conditions, poor water conditions (or lack of), or bacterial infections from wounds. If we survive a major disaster, America would become a third world country and the aftermath of such a scenario will be similar to those living in Africa, Ethiopia and India.

Illness Due to Poor Water Conditionssanitation germs
Typically, any diseases that are brought on by lack of sanitation and hygiene are controllable and preventable. In a disaster where water sources are compromised, people within a 50 mile radius could be adversely impacted by illness and disease if just one person incorrectly handles water or incorrectly disposes of waste.  Contaminated water, poor sanitation and/or lack of hygiene leads to diseases such as Hepatitis A, viral gastroenteritis, cholera, Shigellosis, typhoid, Diphtheria and polio. If these diseases affect enough people, an epidemic will ensue.

Dehydration and diarrhea are also water-related matters to contend with. Those without adequate water conditions and/or are suffering from disease brought on by poor water conditions could quickly dehydrate. These types of illnesses typically affect at-risk populations such as children, the sick and the elderly. Young children in particular are at high risk for diarrhea and other food- and waterborne illnesses because of limited pre-existing immunity and behavioral factors such as frequent hand-to-mouth contact. The greatest risk to an infant with diarrhea and vomiting is dehydration. In addition, fever or increased ambient temperature increases fluid losses and speeds dehydration. Having knowledge beforehand on how to properly clean drinking water and food, and the symptomatology and treatment of these types of diseases can prevent further outbreaks from occurring.

** Recommended preparedness items: water filtration systems, water purification tablets, chlorine granules, bleach, electrolyte or rehydration powders, anti-diarrhea medicines.

Malnutrition
Malnutrition from either improper water conditions or from lack of nutrients is also a large killer amongst those in impoverished communities.  Medical experts say there is a symbiotic relationship between malnutrition and diarrhea.  Malnutrition increases the severity of diarrhea while diarrhea can cause malnutrition. Either way, prevention for both of these health issues is key.

Those that are malnourished are more susceptible to illness and disease. Individuals who are malnourished will also be vitamin deficient and their health is likely to regress further. Those who survive from malnutrition are permanently affected by this disease and may suffer from recurring sickness, faltering growth, poor brain development, increased tooth decay, reduced strength and work capacity, and increased chance of chronic diseases in adulthood. Adult women with this condition will give birth to underweight babies.

** Recommended preparedness items: dietary supplements, vitamin powders, seeds for sprouting or  seeds for fresh vegetables and fruits, survival bars, knowledge of alternative means to attain vitamins

Acute Respiratory Infections
Upper respiratory infections (URI) will also be a leading cause of death in a long term disaster. Upper respiratory infections include: colds, flu, sore throat, coughs and bronchitis can usually be cured with additional liquids, rest and nourishment. Allowing the illness to exacerbate will lead to secondary infections such as bacterial pneumonia. The germs from pneumonia are easily spread from an infected person to others by coughing or sneezing or through close contact. A major concern about respiratory infections is that there are many drug resistant strands of viruses, bacteria and diseases (including tuberculosis), that regular medicine will not cure.  In a long term disaster situation, many could perish.

To properly prepare for this type of medical situation, learn about the more prevalent viruses and bacteria in your country and how to prevent them in order to provide a healthy living environment in a long term situation.

Not only are URI’s a concern but other air-borne diseases such as tuberculosis will likely fester during a long term scenario. In regular non-SHTF times, treatment for tuberculosis requires 6-12 months of medication.  In a long term emergency, chances of surviving tuberculosis are slim. The best way to prevent tuberculosis is adequate nutrition, vitamin D and living in a properly ventilated shelter.

Survival groups that have multiple people living under one roof will only increase the likelihood of passing air-borne infections and diseases to one another. In addition, those in an at-risk group (elderly, immuno-deficient, infants) are more likely to catch illnesses.  If a survival group is sharing a home, an infirmary or sick room should be prepared for those who have fallen ill.  Isolating the person who is ill will limit exposure to the other members of the group. Adequate nutrition, water, rest, good sanitary practices and ventilation of the home is essential in curbing this.

** Recommended preparedness items: decongestants, expectorants, upper respiratory medicines, antibiotics (for secondary and bacterial infections), knowledge on medicinal herbs, prepare a sick room at your survival homestead

Infections From Wounds
Open injuries have the potential for serious bacterial wound infections, including gas gangrene and tetanus, and these in turn may lead to long term disabilities, chronic wound or bone infection, and death.  Antibiotics will be few and far between and will be more precious than gold.  Without proper medicines, antiseptic and knowledge on proper medical procedures, many will die of bacterial infections.  Learning medical skills, gaining knowledge on natural medicines and alternative medical antiseptic (i.e., Dakin’s Solution) before a disaster occurs could help people survive from wound infections. Also, ensuring the area that you treat medical emergencies is clean and as sterile as possible may also prevent bacterial infections.

** Recommended preparedness items:  stock up on maxi pads for wound absorption, gauze, celox, antibiotics, suture needles and other basic first aid supplies.
**
Additionally, consider developing the following skills: basic first aid class, sign up for EMT classes in your community, an off-grid medical care class such as those offered by onPoint Tactical. Also, consider investing in books such as When There is No Doctor and When There is No Dentist.

Also look into making your own antiseptics utilizing alcohol distillation, such as the custom made units from LNL Protekt.

These illnesses (provided above) have impacted countries all over the world. These illness and conditions, coupled with unsanitary living conditions such as substandard sanitation, inadequate food and water supplies and poor hygiene, make disaster-affected people especially vulnerable to disease. These illnesses will affect us no matter what part of the world we live in, what socio-economic status we currently hold, and no matter how prepared we think we are.

Understanding what can happen and being prepared when it does is absolutely essential. The last thing we want to do when a serious condition arises is to panic. Preparing your supplies, developing your skills and educating the rest of your family and preparedness group on how to prevent, identify and counteract these serious conditions will provide a significant boost to your ability to survive if the worst happens.

[For the maintenance of your health and well being during and in the aftermath of a prolonged period of emergency, consider the topics in each of the following images: sanitation, general medical, OTC drugs, vitamins and key supplements, the ability to attend to temporary fillings, an emergency suture, and eye glass repair. Mr. Larry]

sanitation tools

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