One of the things about situations that are not every-day situations is that things that we take for granted will no longer necessarily be easy or simple to solve. Of the small percentage of the population that actually considers storing food for a disaster situation or who consider shelter for SHTF, they often do not even consider ailments that we commonly deal with even in our modern society.
Take, for example, diarrhea.
Call it the runs or any of a million other names, diarrhea is a miserable experience when you have to deal with it briefly. But what about when it lasts for hours or days days?
Many people haven’t considered that diarrhea still kills hundreds of thousands of children every year worldwide (801,175, to be exact, using statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). That’s just children. When you add in the adults, the number climbs even higher. Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 5, killing 1 in 9 children worldwide, which is more than die from AIDS. malaria, and measles combined.
How can diarrhea be so deadly? Simply because it can cause dehydration, in addition to compromising your immune system.
So, how to prevent diarrhea and how to treat it? Prevention is simple and straightforward. Most diarrhea is caused by people coming into contact with contaminated foods and water that have been contaminated by the stools of someone who has diarrhea. Clean water and wholesome food, along with frequent handwashing with anti-bacterial soap, go a long way to preventing exposure to diarrhea.
How, to treat diarrhea in a survival situation? Dr. Joe Alton has something to say about this:
“With worsening sanitation and hygiene, there will likely be an increase in infectious disease, many of which cause diarrhea. Diarrhea is defined as frequent loose bowel movements.
“If a person has 3 liquid stools in a row, it’s important to watch for signs of dehydration. Diarrhea lasting less than three weeks is usually related to an infection, and is known as Acute Diarrhea.Chronic Diarrhea lasts longer than three weeks and is more likely related to disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.
“In most cases, diarrhea will resolve itself simply by staying hydrated and staying away from solid food for 6-12 hours. However, there are some symptoms that may present in association with diarrhea that can be a sign of something more serious. Those symptoms are:
- Fever equal to or greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Bloody, mucus, or frothy yellow stool
- Black or grey-white stool
- Severe vomiting
- Major abdominal distension and pain
- Moderate to severe dehydration, which is not getting better
- Diarrhea lasting more than 3 days in adults
- Diarrhea lasting more than 1 day in children and the sick or elderly
- In children also, abdominal pain causing crying for over 2 hours
“All of the above may be signs of serious infection, intestinal bleeding, liver dysfunction, or even surgical conditions such as appendicitis. As well, all of the above will increase the likelihood that the person affected won’t be able to regulate their fluid balance.
“Of course, there are medicines that can help and you should stockpile these in quantity. Pepto-Bismol and Imodium (Loperamide) will help stop diarrhea. They don’t cure infections, but they will slow down the number of bowel movements and conserve water. These are over the counter medicines, and are easy to obtain. In tablet form, these medicines will last for years if properly stored. Don’t use medication as a first option; some causes of diarrhea are made worse with these medications.”
“As a last resort to treat dehydration from diarrhea (especially if there is also a high fever), you can try antibiotics or anti-parasitic drugs. Ciprofloxacin, Doxycycline and Metronidazole are good choices, twice a day, until the stools are less watery. Some of these are available in veterinary form without a prescription. These medicines should be used only as a last resort, as the main side effect is usually…diarrhea!”
We know that this isn’t the most appealing topic to discuss, but, considering how many people die world-wide from diarrhea, we need to take into consideration that a SHTF situation could put us in a situation similar to many Third World countries and take appropriate precautions.
What other health and disease concerns do you consider vital to prepare for in a survival situation? Tell us below.