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  • Why You Should Use Essential Oils in Emergencies

    A friend of mine carries 10 essential oils in her purse for emergencies. When she travels, she takes a dozen or more.

    Emergency Essentials now sells essential oils. Here are a few that could be useful in a first aid kit.



    Essential Oils LavenderOne day this summer, when my special needs daughter had lost her temper and was screaming on the ground in a full-blown meltdown, Cherylee, another friend who knows essential oils, suggested I try lavender essential oil.

    Lavender was a logical suggestion. Although the evidence is limited, some clinical studies suggest patients waiting for surgery seemed calmer if they inhaled lavender through aromatherapy than those who used other calming methods, according to a 2014 literature review in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

    It may also be good for skin.

    Cherylee said she used some this summer when her daughter went outside without sunscreen. She believes it helped soothe her daughter’s skin irritation.

    “I use it on all my kids’ little scrapes and burns,” she said.

    A few cautions: Lavender essential oil can cause irritation if applied directly to the skin and is poisonous if swallowed, according to Homesteading, a 2009 book edited by Abigail Gehring.

    Also, watch out for products labeled “lavender scented.” They don’t contain real lavender.



    Bottle of Peppermint essential oils

    Peppermint oil is one of the oldest European medicinal herbs. Its main active ingredient is menthol – that nasty-tasting ingredient in mouthwash and throat lozenges. It’s been used for many years as a traditional medicine to treat stomach pain.

    Peppermint oil has some of the most reliable evidence suggesting it could be effective for treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome, according to a 2014 review in the journal Digestion.

    Cherylee uses peppermint to help her muscles cool off after a workout. She also uses it for occasional head pain.

    For tension headaches, patients in a study cited by WebMD applied 10% peppermint oil in ethanol solution across their forehead and temples then repeated the process after 15 and 30 minutes.

    Don’t use too much, though. Peppermint oil is considered fairly safe in small doses but can have side effects of allergic reaction and heartburn, according to Homesteading.


    Tea tree (Melaleuca)

    Melaleuca Essential OilsCherylee said tea tree oil has “limitless applications.”

    The chemicals in tea tree may have antifungal properties. One study mentioned in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found a 10 percent tea tree oil cream worked about as well as over the counter athlete’s foot cream (tolnaftate 1%) to relieve symptoms of athlete’s foot. It didn’t cure the infection, though. Researchers found a 100 percent tea tree solution used twice daily for six months decreased toenail fungus in 60 percent of patients.

    “I’ve used this for occasional ear irritation, for minor skin irritation,” Cherylee said.

    Don’t take tea tree oil by mouth. It’s likely unsafe, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also be mildly irritating to skin and cause an allergic skin reaction in some people.



    Frankincense Essential OilsFrankincense is Cherylee’s favorite oil for emergencies.

    “I’d use this any day over any oil. When in doubt, I use it,” she said. “It will help the body take care of itself at any level.”

    Even though frankincense has been in use for thousands of years, we still don’t have that much information about it or how it works, according to WebMD.

    It’s made from hardened sap of a type of tree from the genus Boswellia. When tested in labs, components from sap extracts might have anti-inflammatory properties, according to an overview in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

    Cherylee also feels frankincense, when mixed with other essential oils, helps enhance their effects.

    Since there’s not that much known about frankincense, WebMD recommends you always follow package directions and talk to a health care professional before using it.


    Essential OilsThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration identifies three ways to use essential oils for the body: internally as a dietary supplement, topically and aromatically.

    Elementa Essentials, the company that makes the oil sold on this site, does not recommend using any of its products internally without a doctor’s approval.

    It advises caution for any type of application if you’re pregnant, on medication or have sensitive skin.

    Don’t apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin. Put 3-10 drops in an ounce of vegetable oil or lotion. Oils need to be as pure as possible.

    Cherylee dilutes her essential oils in fractionated coconut oil, a coconut oil from which one type of fat has been removed.

    “It’s not oily and it help(s) the skin absorb the essential oil better,” she wrote.

    Aromatically means using a diffuser to spray a diluted oil mixture into a room. Diffusers are available at many retailers.

    However you use essential oils, be careful and consult an expert first.

    “Treat essential oils with the same care that you treat medicines,” said an article in AromaWeb.


    - Melissa


    Essential Oils Blog Banner



    Gehring, Abigail R. (2009-11-01). Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (Back to Basics Guides) (Kindle Locations 2-3). Skyhorse Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Trinkley KENahata MC, “Medication management of irritable bowel syndrome.” Digestion. 2014;89(4):253-67. doi: 10.1159/000362405. Epub 2014 Jul 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24992947

    Stea, Susanna, Beraudi, Alina, and De Pasquale, Dalila, “Essential Oils for Complementary Treatment of Surgical Patients: State of the Art,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 726341, 6 pages

  • 3 Reasons Why Water Is Essential for Emergency Storage

    Why WaterWhen we talk of emergency preparations, we think of food and gear and all those other things that will make our lives feel as normal as possible (three cheers for the portable Bluetooth speakers!). However, there is one resource that you will want to secure as soon as you find yourself in an emergency situation. That resource is water.

    According to The Organic Prepper, there is a “Rule of Three” that applies to survival. The Rule of Three reminds you that you can survive with:

    Three minutes without air.

    Three days without water.

    Three weeks without food.

    So, the first step is to check your breathing. Still good? Great. Now make sure you have water. I find it interesting that, although we as humans can last about three weeks without food, we can only last three days without water. Why, then, do we sometimes forget about this all-important fluid? We worry about filling our basement with emergency food storage (which is awesome, by the way), but we might look over our water storage preparations (which isn’t as awesome).

    In truth, your emergency water storage and preparations should be the first thing you start with. Water is an essential part of any emergency plan. Here are three reasons why water is a great idea for your emergency preparations.


    1. Drinking

    Ready.govWhy Water- Drinking recommends keeping at least one gallon per day per person in order to stay sufficiently hydrated. After all, your body is made up of about 60% water, so when an emergency happens, you’ll want to keep it nice and healthy in order to perform the necessary tasks involved with surviving. That being said, children, nursing mothers, and sick people may need more water.

    Don’t forget pets, either. Just like humans, they need to stay hydrated, too. Just as you wouldn’t take your pet goldfish out of its bowl and expect it to survive, you wouldn’t evacuate with your cat or dog and expect them to do well without the necessary water.


    1. Hygiene

    Why water - HygieneI already mentioned that you should have at least one gallon of water per day per person, but did you note the “at least” part? You should have at least that much, because that’s what you need for hydration and light sanitation. If you intend to stay hygienic as well (which we all hope you do), you’re going to want more water than just a gallon. Practical Preppers consultant Scott Hunt suggests having an extra four gallons of water for personal hygiene.


    1. Health and Well-being

    When we become dehydrated, our body tries to warn us that we need to drink more water by giving us warning signs in the form of discomfort. The Prepper Journal listed these symptoms out: headache, irritability, dizziness, weakness, disorientation, thirst, dry skin, and lethargy. So, if you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, chances are your body is screaming at you to drink more water. Drinking plenty of water can also improve your skin completion, so there’s that, too.


    While it’s good to be prepared with food and gear, water should be your first priority. Without it, you’ll be in a heap of trouble. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult to begin stocking up with water. Start with a liter here and a gallon there. Make sure you keep your water in food-grade, plastic containers. Milk cartons aren’t the best idea because the proteins can’t be removed effectively enough. Two-liter pop bottles, however, would be a good place to start. Check out our water storage options for other ideas.

    Water is essential in your emergency preparations. Don’t wait until you know you’ll need it. Go out and start preparing today!


    How do you store your water? Let us know why water is important to you in the comments below!

  • How Good Sanitation Can Save Your Life

    "The conditions are certainly right for cholera to take hold"

    That’s how an aid worker described the sanitation conditions in Kathmandu, as reported by NBC. In the same report, a health professional described cholera bluntly. “It kills you within 10 hours…,” he said, “and it’s a disease that affects the poorest of the poor.”

    Sanitation issues in Nepal Chicago Tribune

    And, with 8 million people effected, “the poorest of the poor” have grown dramatically in number. But if it were just cholera the people had to be concerned about, things wouldn’t be as bad. However, there are threats of e.coli, typhoid, and other illnesses. And with the approaching rainy (monsoon) season, things may only get worse. Nepal really is in the most dire of circumstances.

    Following a major disaster, disease and infections tend to spread quickly. According to Medical News Today,


    “Diseases and infections are not started in rotting bodies that have been killed by the immediate disaster trauma. In fact, survivors are the source of infection, as their own sanitary conditions deteriorate and sources of clean water are disrupted.”


    The Disasters Emergency Committee showed evidence of this from the recent Nepal earthquake: “People are defecating out in the open and there are already reports of diarrheal disease outbreaks and chest infections.”

    Sanitation is a critical part of emergency prep. Without the proper sanitation, not only will you be more likely to get sick, but you’ll be helping to spread that sickness to many others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified five areas of sanitation preparedness that will help you – and others – keep diseases and infections at bay following a disaster.


    Disaster Kit

    Your disaster kit should supply you with the basics to stay sanitary. Items could include moist towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and garbage bags with plastic ties. Fecal matter has a tendency to carry diseases, so be sure to contain it and dispose of it properly (hence the garbage bags with plastic ties). One suggestion for containing your unwanted bodily waste is a portable toilet and privacy shelter. The portable toilet will give you a place to sit and go, and the privacy shelter…well, it will let you do so while still maintaining your dignity.


    Wash Your Hands

    Washing hands is good a sanitation practice.If kids have to wash their hands after they cough and sneeze, then we as adults should, too. Washing our hands can eliminate many of the harmful diseases before they have a chance to spread. Remember to wash your hands with clean water. If your tap water isn’t safe, then be sure to boil or sanitize your water before washing with it. If possible, wash with running water as well.

    You should wash your hands for more than just coughing and sneezing, however. If you have kids, just think about when you tell them to wash. Before eating, after using the toilet…that kind of thing. The CDC website has a long list of when to wash up. Make sure you keep your hands clean!



    Washing your body is a good health practice to follow. Not only does bathing remove dirt and odors, but also protect us from illness and infections. Finding a bathtub with clean water might not be as easy as before a disaster, but there are other options. For example, you can give yourself a nice, hot shower with the Zodi Extreme Portable Hot Shower. Or, you can turn your water filter into a portable shower with a shower adapter. Pretty handy if you can’t use your own home!


    Dental Hygene SanitationDental Hygiene

    Of course, we still need to keep our teeth nice and healthy. When brushing your teeth, make sure you only use water that is safe and clean. Using unclean water will just defeat the purpose.


    Wound Care

    A dirty wound can lead to infection and disease. Make sure wounds are clean and covered to keep other infectious microbes from entering. Wash your wounds with soap and clean water. Seek medical attention if the wound starts to swell or if it starts becoming red.



    Food and water will help you stay alive following a disaster, but if your sanitary situation is sub-par, that food and water can only do so much good. Sickness and disease can be avoided, but it will take planning beforehand to make sure you have the supplies you need to keep you and your family healthy. Are you ready with sanitation?


    How have you prepared to stay healthy and sanitary? Let us know in comments!

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