Tag Archives: health

  • How Good Sanitation Can Save Your Life

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    "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!

     

    Bathing

    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!

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios, First Aid and Sanitation, Insight, Planning Tagged With: hygene, emergency sanitation, health, Sanitation

  • Can you Recognize the Signs of a Stroke?

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    Can you recognize the signs of a Stroke?

    Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States.  Approximately 800,000 people suffer strokes each year, and almost 130,000 of those victims die. According to the experts at stroke.org, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States will have a stroke and one stroke will take a life every four minutes.

    Strokes can happen to anyone at any time regardless of age, sex or race.  In fact, 34 percent of the 130,000 stroke-related deaths reported each year are to people under the age of 65. Women will suffer about 55,000 more strokes a year than men, and African Americans are twice as likely to suffer a stroke as Caucasians.

    So would you know how to recognize the signs of a stroke?  Here’s what you should know to act F.A.S.T if someone you love (or a stranger, for that matter) experiences a stroke.

    Types of Strokes

    Ischemic strokes occur when arteries are blocked by a small blood clot or as plaque and other fatty deposits build up in the arteries.  Almost 90 percent of all strokes are ischemic

    Hemorrhagic strokes: Happen when a blood vessel in the brain breaks open and starts to leak. Hemorrhagic strokes account for just over 10 percent of all strokes.  However, hemorrhagic strokes account for more than 30 percent of all stroke-related deaths.

     

    Act F.A.S.T.

    Learning to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and getting help immediately are very important.  Over 2,000,000 brain cells die every minute during a stroke, and can quickly cause irreversible brain damage. The faster you can recognize the signs of a stroke and get treatment, the more likely any permanent damage can be reversed.  To recognize the signs of a stroke, remember the acronym F.A.S.T.

    Face drooping: Ask the person to smile. Does their face look uneven?

    Arm weakness: Ask them to raise both arms out in front of them. Does one arm drift downward?

    Speech difficulty: Ask them to repeat a simple phrase. Does their speech sound strange?

    Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms call for help fast. Call 911!

    It’s very important to learn to recognize the symptoms of a stroke and call 911 as soon as possible.  Time saves brain tissue and could even save a life.  Just remember to act F.A.S.T. Always note the time of day you recognize the first symptoms of a stroke.

    For ischemic strokes, if treatment with clot busting medication is given within the first three hours of the first symptom, long term disability can be reduced greatly.

    There are also other stroke treatments available that may help reduce the effects of the stroke.  Hemorrhagic strokes most likely will need surgical intervention to relieve the buildup of blood in the brain and to fix the leak in the blood vessels.

    -Rick

    Sources

    www.stroke.org

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: health, health and wellness, First Aid

  • Salmonella: The Outbreak that Just won't Quit

    Salmonella: The Outbreak that Just won't Quit

    Over the last couple of months, we’ve been warned about possible outbreaks of measles and MERS; norovirus on cruise ships and at resorts; and strains of Ebola spreading through Africa and worrying health officials. So, this headline should make us all feel better:

    U.S. salmonella outbreak widens, 574 now sick from Foster Farms chicken

    Yeah, remember that salmonella scare from last March? Turns out that hasn’t actually ended yet. At the end of May, the outbreak was still rampant. Fortunately, the year-long outbreak hasn’t resulted in any fatalities, but that doesn’t make me any less wary about the disease—especially this particular strain, which is proving resistant to drugs and increasingly leading to blood infections.

    An AP article, “5 Things to Know About Salmonella in Chicken,” outlines the current situation (including an explanation of why the CDC doesn’t seem to be able to get this in hand), describes the symptoms, and reminds us of the number one preventative practice: cook your chicken.

    And, not to pile it on here, but did you know that chicken is not the only carrier of salmonella? According to the CDC, just about any raw dairy, meat, fruit, or veggies can be contaminated; so can water sources that come into contact with human or animal waste, as well as certain domestic animals themselves. In fact, an info sheet from Utah’s Bureau of Epidemiology reports “Utah as well as the rest of the U.S. has seen an increase in Salmonella infection as the result of increased ownerships of exotic animal species such as reptiles.”

    Okay, yuck!

    So, besides sealing myself in an anti-septic bubble for the rest of my life, what can I do? The CDC’s “Salmonella Prevention” page has a comprehensive list of tips to keep from contracting the bug (my favorite: “Don't work with raw poultry or meat, and an infant [e.g., feed, change diaper, etc.] at the same time.” I mean, I know we moms gotta multitask, but really?).

    Another helpful resource is “How to Prevent a Salmonella Infection,” from about-salmonella.com. And if you’re worried about your own water sources (either at home or on the trail), read through our article, “Making Water Drinkable: Ways to Filter and Purify Water You Have on Hand.”

     

    Be prepared to stay healthy, and jump into the discussion here to share your best prevention tips!

     

    -Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: health, health and wellness, Current Events, First Aid