How to deal with diseases in long term survival situations

Picture of Selco


I am Selco and I am from the Balkan region, and as some of you may know it was hell here from 92-95, anyway, for 1 whole year I lived and survived in a city WITHOUT: electricity, fuel, running water, food distribution, without any kind of organized law or government. The city was surrounded for 1 year and it actually was a real SHTF situation. Our allies were our enemies from one day to the next. Today I’m prepared and share my experience on this blog.

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There are great concerns about possible Ebola pandemic spreading outside Africa, media is bombarding us with this information. .

You can read all sorts of information online, like possible reasons for fast spreading in Africa including religious beliefs and rituals there where people handled bodies without proper knowledge, contributing to the fast spreading. They also say that lack of general knowledge about diseases, hygiene and eating bush meat along with lack of training of local medical professionals caused the mess. Interesting to read, no doubt.

They also say that there is no way of some doomsday scenario of sick person getting onto regular flight, contaminating everyone, because it spreads through body fluids only etc.

All good info, but somewhere at the end of article there is one sentence that goes like this: „… so there is clearly no reason for panic…“

As I said few times before, whenever someone from government, law enforcement, or similar says „no reason for panic“ I get strong urge to buy more ammo (food, water, gas masks…).

OK, I’m a burned man and had bad experience from listening to similar statements, if you are member of my course you know what kind of messages we heard even in days before we were surrounded in the city with no way out.

Just use common sense here. Would media really ever say it is time to panic? It is time to prepare? No. This would cause chaos and some people would overreact. Not show up to work anymore, this could lead to collapse itself. People do not think for themselves anymore so media to certain degree has to always calm people down. It is how the system works.

Panic is bad in any case. Reading how scared some preppers are, some people seem to be in constant state or emergency. This makes no sense and just life miserable. We prepare for every possibility to not be in panic mode.
First be prepared, then do not panic. Of course stay alert and use common sense.

Ebola is scary, and it can become big problem for sure, but just like sharks kill just about 10 people every year and elephants kill 10 times more, it is often what we perceive as harmless that can cause biggest problems. Survival is a lot about seeing dangers where they are. In this sense you should make sure your bathroom is not slippery because many people die by slipping in shower. Today I write about the regular killers I experienced during my time in war.

Wound Infections

It does not have to be big wound to get you into the trouble. When SHTF small cut can kill (literally). In world where there is no proper medical care you need to be ready to deal with problems like this.
During my SHTF time there were lots of troubles with wound infections. Everything from minor cuts to bullet wounds had chance to be infected.

We treated infected wounds with what we had, over time with less and less resources it mostly became simple water cleaning, and local mixtures of things for treating infections. Recipes were different, from pine pieces to onions on wounds and similar, and of course local alcohol beverages.

Sometimes we had antibiotics, mostly we did not. Results were very random. What worked for one guy sometimes did not work for someone else. Some people died, others became crippled.

For future SHTF scenarios I suggest to learn as more as you can about wound treatment.

  • How to clean and close wound and how to use antibiotics on proper way.
  • Remember that simply procedures like wound closing with steri strips can save you lot of troubles later, of course as more as you know (suturing, staples) it is better, and do not fall under the influence of movies, for example no, tourniquet is NOT always best choice for bleeding (mostly it is last), and simple covering of the wound with sterile 4×4 can do miracles later for preventing infections.
  • Store normal saline, iodine, peroxide and similar for wound treatment.
  • Learn how to do pain management, I did it many times with simple alcohol drink, it does not work well always. Again forget about movies.
  • Good advice to know how to use what you have, having needle and sutures without knowledge does not make too much sense.
  • Do not blindly follow advertisements about „miracle first aid kit for all SHTF troubles“ you may end up with useless stuff in nice cammo bag. Like in all areas of life today, people try to also sell snake oil and miracle solutions in survival area. Knowledge is king.

Of course there is good stuff around to buy, but be sure to check what you get, good idea is to ask your friend who is in medical field what you actually gonna get in that kit, or even better to assemble your own. I have listed some suggestions what should be in every basic first aid kit here and Cajun who is medical professional like me lists his first aid kit from his bug out bag in our forum.

Food (and water) poisoning

You can be sure that sooner or later you will have to deal with this. It is not only dangerous to be crippled with diarrhoea and vomiting because at the end it can kill you, but also it can make you so weak that you can not perform your duties.

In SHTF that means that you are too weak to defend yourself, or to go out and gather resources and similar, and that is bad. Again, thats why groups are important and lone wolfs have odds against them.

I think that everyone was poisoned with bad food or water at least once during my SHTF time. We dealt with it with teas and simply trying to give the person more water than he is losing it.
There were casualties of course, mostly very old or very young.

First line of defense would be hygiene. Be very serious with it when SHTF. Have plan how to keep yourself and your home (and food and water) clean when SHTF. It is much better to think more about preventing that stuff to happen by how you store your food and handle it instead of having great first aid kit to treat the problems.

Mistake that people often make in case of diarrhoea and vomiting is that they try to consume too much water too fast and that causes more harm than good. Point is to consume fluids very slowly and in small amounts. For example one sip of fluids every 20 minutes or similar, take rest and be careful with water and food intake in next 24 hours.

Already sick people

I know many people think that when we experience breakdown of system and total collapse everything will be about adrenaline, fighting, chaos and blood.

This is part of it, but mostly, especially in first weeks people who lived with small conditions are going to experience them much worse. Think about what small problems you might have at the moment that can become huge if you have to live survival lifestyle with heavy physical work every day, maybe lack of sleep, extreme stress and less hygiene. Problems will be multiplied many times.

For example your uncle had high blood pressure for years, he is on pills, and his family tries to „force“ him to eat healthy, and it is working more or less, but every now and then he ends up in emergency room because his blood pressure goes dangerously up. When SHTF what is the plan to regulate his high BP, and for how long you have stash of pills for him? Or how he is gonna be able to eat healthy or similar when SHTF? From my experience in survival situations, these people are the first to go.

Solution could be to try to regulate his blood pressure today as good as you can, to have stashed good amount of medication for him, and of course to learn everything about alternative means of treating that condition (with herbs for example). Point is to do all this today, because when SHTF you may not have chance or enough time for that.

As heartless as it sounds but also think about what to do with people who are against prepping today and who you know will run into serious problems once normal system is not there to support them anymore. Who will be angry and cause problems in your group if you simply decide to leave that sick uncle to his fate? At some point you have to know when train is full and you are leaving and it makes sense to think about this before.

How do you prepare for diseases? Besides first aid kit(s), what plans do you have? Share in comments below.

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18 Responses

  1. In New England, we face annual snow emergencies. We all know first-hand that the store shelves evaporate of supply once the forecast says “storm.” We know this and it is a great filtering device. Idiots will go years-after-year through these times and never learn to stock-up on regularly used food and fuel – batteries – toilet paper, etc.

    My former in-laws are arrogant about NOT preparing for the annual emergencies. These days, we regularly face 2-weeks without electricity, which means no transactions; gas pumps not working, grocers without replenishment, some water systems failing…and yet they never prepare.

    In one recent severe storm, they had to abandon their $500K suburban home, and venture-out into a blinding storm to find food for their kids. The mini-van had nearly zero fuel, and there were no stations open. We talked to them by cell phone as they wandered the roads with no hope. Eventually, they were able to get to my house on the last drip of fuel, and then spend the next two weeks enjoying the food, warmth, DVDs, lighting…of my preparation efforts.

    But they still live with zero back-up. They still live with no weapons, even though home invasion is skyrocketing in their area.

    Some people simply do not have the most basic survival instinct. I think they walk this earth only from the artificial safety provided by a strong American infrastructure that tolerates and affords such stupidity.

    As soon as someone on the TV News says “out-brake,” we will have empty shelves. Bankers and ATM techs, truck drivers, nurses, store clerks, electric workers ALL not showing-up for work. Then people like my in-laws will be exposed on a grand scale, and I cannot invite them in. MY infrastructure will no longer afford nor suffer fools!

  2. Perhaps you are listening to the wrong people in law enforcement and government. Not everyone is bad in those fields despite popular belief and hype from prepper salesmen.
    Way to many in those fields prepare for you not to listen.
    The one who doesnt care enough to take care if himself in normal conditions will be a self allieviating problem and the group as a whole will be better after he/she is gone.
    I have some serious conditions in my immediate family and will suffer loss soon after. No helping it. It stinks but I will do what I can until the time. We prepare the best we can. Looking at bout 90 days to 6 mths tops. We have openly discussed it.
    Look to the 1800s at what killed and you can find answers to what needs preps. Wound care as stated, flu and fever, dental issues, vitamin deficiencies, BPs and heart stuff and just plain hard living.

  3. This is excerpted from a discussion I had with friends on another forum; if it seems a little “chopped-up” that’s because I edited it so you all wouldn’t have to read pages of text.
    I posted this on a forum, but I decided to share it with the rest of the world also, in
    the hopes that it might prompt even a couple people to consider these things:

    Working the weekend of July 4 made me realize (again) just how spoiled and dependent we really are as a society; even though Friday was a holiday with many stores closed, those same stores were open again on Saturday for business even though they were closed again on Sunday. Mostly feed stores, Tractor Supply, etc., but they were all packed the next day, Saturday, as though the clientele were having to make up for missing Friday. Would it have been disastrous if the stores just closed on Friday, opened on Monday, and gave the employees a 3-day week-end? Just for feed, hay, fence-wire, and maybe a little hardware? Good thing it wasn’t staple foods and water for the shoppers themselves!!
    That made me realize what I already know, and so do you or you wouldn’t be here (but I’m gonna say it anyhow) – If the Supply Train failed for more than a day, how many would panic? Look around your neighborhood stores – the (Grocery store) by my house is not a big one, about medium at best, and there is a “huge” new one only about 3-1/2 miles or so from it, and my house, . . . where everyone now goes for major shopping. This small neighborhood (store) still gets 3 to 5 semi/tractor deliveries PER DAY (that I know of). That’s almost a total roll-over of inventory (by volume of course, not literally) every 3-4 days. WOW. If the Supply Train stopped for a week or more (Simple as a Trucker’s Strike due to fuel prices), the shelves would be 1/3 bare in a day; seeing that could incite public panic to empty the remaining shelves within a couple hours! Once that was in motion, the mentality could easily spread like a B-movie Zombie virus, “infecting” everyone caught in the wave. It wouldn’t have to be NOLA/Katrina/Rita to cause (some) people to turn feral.
    But I’m not Zombie Hunting, nor promoting it. I just want to remind everyone how important it is to have more than the “three days’ food” that the average household has on hand, and hopefully a source of water also. I don’t propose a bunker with 5 years’ food (though if you can . . . ), but just to be aware how fragile our supply-line is, and make prudent preparations.

    My friend that works at that same store I referenced had this to say:
    Hey Chuck! I actually work at the (big) store! . . . . As for deliveries, it is about 7 trucks per day depending on the day. Not counting vendor deliveries! And we have gotten away from having a huge back stock as well. (Store) owns their own fleet and fuel facilities as well so less of a disruption there but the whole system is vulnerable outside of our warehouses. So yes, it would be a bad situation! I was at (other store) when Rita came to TX. It was a madhouse and shelves were bare of many items within 1 day. Pallets of water lasted less than 10 minutes with some fighting over it too! (to Other Member) – it would definitely not last 2 days now!

    Just to reinforce your articles, Selco.
    Chuck B.

  4. most of my relatives would not survive a shtf situation.One relative is overweight,has diabeties,never checks her sugar,eats whatever and says her doctor wont help her lose weight.She will not do anything to better her health.Others,think the economy will bounce back because the economy “always” bounces back.

    1. Some diabetics may do better, once the high carb foods run out…
      But others who cannot regulate low sugar will be in bad shape w/o meds. Type 2 I think this is.

      “Economy gets better” is definitely going to happen, but after the “BIG RESET”!

  5. Glad you mentioned the vitamins C. Also stock up on Lugol’s iodine, colloidal silver or chaga mushroom to work against ebola. It can be stopped in its tracks. Unfortunately society has become so dependant on the drug pushing medical system that they have no idea they can take care of these things themselves, and neither do their doctors.

  6. Clean water and being fanatical about it is very important. Without treatment Legionnaires disease will kill you in a very prolonged and nasty way, but there are other nastiest, Dysentery is bad, but Amoebic Dysentery is incurable and you will die while eating on the toilet as everything will go straight through you.

    Water sources are not just easily contaminated with living pathogens.. Some moron up stream dumps a barrel of used car oil and you don’t know why everyone is puking. A very common herb, Poke weed, if done incorrectly will kill in a horrible way, Pouring liquor on a wound does nothing unless you are drinking 200 proof moonshine, etc…

    Basically education, learn, practice, and learn more. Our great great grandfathers knew this stuff, as they had to live off the land and did not have hospitals or doctors that even knew what to do.

  7. Regarding the Ebola outbreak: WHO just released a revised Infection Prevention and Control document within the past few days. In that document (link below) it states:

    Interim Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for Care of Patients with Suspected
    or Confirmed Filovirus Haemorrhagic Fever in Health-Care Settings, with Focus on Ebola Page 5

    Case identification and detection, contact tracing and patient clinical assessment and management are not the object of this Guidance document and instructions can be found elsewhere. However, regarding IPC measures to be implemented during interviews for contact tracing and case finding in the community, the following principles should be kept in mind: 1) shaking hands should be avoided; 2) a distance of more than one metre (about 3 feet) should be maintained between interviewer and interviewee; 3) PPE is not required if this distance is assured and when interviewing asymptomatic individuals (e.g., neither fever, nor diarrhoea, bleeding or vomiting) and provided there will be no contact with the environment, potentially contaminated with a possible/probable case; 4) it is advisable to provide workers undertaking contact tracing and case finding in the community with alcohol-based hand rub solutions and instructions to appropriately perform hand hygiene.

    Hmmm, distance of a yard between interviewer and interviewee, and no contact with the environment. If the authorities believe it’s only transmitted via extreme contact with copious bodily fluids–a ridiculous statement given the WHO itself repeatedly says the virus is transmitted via the environment (the virus ends up on an inanimate object, another human comes by and touches that virus, then touches eyes, nose, mouth, etc.)–why the warning about staying three feet away from anyone and everyone when interviewing individuals for contact tracking? I can’t say I’ve ever seen that before in an Ebola-specific document, and I tend to keep up with that nasty bug.

    If this new Ebola strain is so difficult to contract, as I constantly hear, and it definitely isn’t aerosolized, why the three-feet spread between individuals?

    I can only imagine standing in a crowded elevator with someone feverish and nauseated from incipient Ebola, yet not ill enough to incapacitate. I couldn’t have gotten three feet of distance in the elevators no matter what I did.

  8. Selco, I appreciate learning about your experiences and perspectives. They help me to focus on real potential problems. Because of things you have said in the past, I have been concerned about how I would handle some of these problems in an emergency. Comments from others led me to a book about Activated Charcoal as a First Aid remedy. It can be given internally for most gastro-intestinal problems such as food poisoning, bad water, ulcers, and diarrhea. Externally, as a poultice, or by submerssion, it is very good for infections, insect bites and stings, and venemous snake bites. You can get Activated Charcoal from most pharmacies or health food stores, and in a pinch, can make it yourself from a wood fire. My mother used to give us activated charcoal for diarrhea, so I know it works for that, but it has a wider range of uses. The book I’m reading is “Charcoal The Complete Handbook of Medicinal Charcoal and Its Applications”. The author, John Dinsley, worked for years in remote health clinics where charcoal was a go-to first aid remedy. He relates anecdotal stories, and also quotes liberally from medical texts. There are a number of books on the topic on Amazon, including by MDs. I chose this one for its readability, although it’s not well-organized. I’ve been making notes in the Index as I go. Hope this can be of help to others..

  9. Selco,
    I wanted to draw your attention to colloidal silver for medical preparedness in everyday use and especially during SHTF. Colloidal silver is a natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral. This is a product that could be very useful in fighting disease when people do not have access to anti-biotics and other medicine. The reason most people do not know about this remedy is because it has been effectively demonized by Big Pharma in collusion with governments. I posted a link to an informative article about colloidal silver below.

  10. Just did 75+ days hiking camping etc here in canada. My second week out my toe was infected, couldnt walk for days. Toe nail had pierced my skin after a trip, or kicking something, not sure what. Long story short I was one step away from antibiotics before i managed to get the puss moving and clean it out. Took over 2 weeks to fully heal, but thankfully i still have my toe, and did not require evac.

    But it could have just as easily have gone the other way. Go to bed one night by myself in the bush, and not wake up the next day because of fever and lack of energy. Dead.

    The actual wound was less than five millimeters long, and hidden under neath skin beside my big toe nail. The pain was the only indication of injury at first. later the big purple swelling lol.

    and here i was worried about bears *click click*.

  11. as far as Ebola is concerned. just write africa off, no one is going to even try to save it. all the people with power have penis envy over blacks and a keen eye on all that delicious wealth they are sitting on.

    i have zero concern about ebola coming to north america. not because it can’t. it certainly will eventually now that we have lost control… never mind the odds of mutation are way better than your odds of winning the lottery.

    i have zero concern because there are already a plethora of diseases here that can kill you ( and me in particular because i have trashed lungs.)

    all you need is common sense enough to not suck face with someone who sucks a lot of face and you will be fine.

    so no one here should be worried either. now all those other dumb shits on the other hand…

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