Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, sponsored by the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course and UrbanSurvivalPlayingCards.com.
This week, I’m going to share a quick personal story and then we’re going to discuss why natural medicine should be an integral part of your survival planning, even if you have no intention of using anything other than traditional “Western” medicine. I am also happy to share a video with you that shows a good friend of mine on the Dr. Oz show this week.
Last week, I talked a little bit about my bout with the flu and secondary upper respiratory infection. When I wrote the article, I was feeling better than I had in almost a week. I thought that I would be 100% within a day or two. Things played out a little differently…
A few hours after I posted the article, I quickly went from having the chills to a 105 degree fever. I chugged a quart of ice water, took a cold shower, took some Tylenol, got my temperature under control and my Naturopath and I decided it was time to take a Z-Pack. Z-Packs are a broad spectrum antibiotic called azithromycin that works particularly well for most upper respiratory infections and pneumonia.
It’s important to note that he had already prescribed the Z-Pack for me and I already had it at home. I didn’t have the traditional lag time of having to schedule an appointment, seeing the doctor, and going to a pharmacy. This is something that I suggest you do with your doctor so that you always have at least one dose of “emergency” medication on hand. That way, if you’re traveling or local pharmacies are sold out or unable to dispense medication, you can still have access to medication if you and your doctor agree that you need it. Antibiotics are serious drugs and are not something to start or stop on a whim. Please make sure that you take them after consulting with your healthcare professional.
I really don’t like taking prescription antibiotics so this was particularly frustrating to me. Over the last few years, I’ve figured out the supplements that my body responds best to so that it can fight sickness without prescription antibiotics. I dedicate most of a lesson to this topic in the SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course, but some of the core items are vitamin C, vitamin D3, zinc, calcium, essential oils, grapefruit seed extract, sambucol (elderberry), and colloidal silver.
Some of them work directly on infections and some of them help strengthen the immune system so it can create antibodies to take out infections. One drawback to some people is how boring and non-sexy these solutions are. They’re all simply old, proven methods of dealing with infection that work without the drawbacks of prescription antibiotics. In the case of essential oils and colloidal silver, they’ve got literally thousands of years of proven usage data.
A combination of one or more of these have had close to a 100% success rate for everyone in our family and SEVERAL of our friends over the last few years. In fact, while I had the flu and secondary infections for almost 10 days, my wife and two young sons only had flu symptoms for a day or so and didn’t get any secondary infections.
Overlaying this illness onto a survival situation, there are several quick and easy lessons we can use:
Very few people have ever died of the flu. When you read news reports saying that ## number of people have died from the flu, what they really mean is that those people had the flu and while their immune systems were compromised, they got a secondary infection, like pneumonia or hemorrhagic fever and the secondary infection killed them.
Neither drugs nor “natural medicine” are necessarily a silver bullet. When I got drug resistant pneumonia after a hospital stay, natural medicine is what saved me and what has kept our family healthy for years since then. Our 3 ½ year old has never needed antibiotics, despite getting all sorts of bugs. Our youngest got over croup in less than 24 hours instead of having to make a midnight visit to the ER like most of our friends’ kids. This time, I had to go back to prescription antibiotics for the first time in years when natural medicine didn’t work.
Next time you get ill, consider working with your healthcare professional to figure out multiple ways that you can attack the illness. You might need to shop around for a healthcare professional who will take the time to help you with such a “non-traditional” quest. It’s no fun to be sick, but look at it as an opportunity to figure out how to beat illnesses without prescriptions. Personally, we have tried to find solutions that we can buy without having to get permission (a prescription,) that we can stock up on, that “bugs” can’t build up a resistance to, and that we can still get and use immediately if the medical system is overwhelmed.
As you’re figuring out your plans for survival situations, one of the variations you should throw into your scenarios is what you would do if one or more of your family was sick. How would it effect bugging out? If you had to do security watches, how would you adjust? Does your plan depend on everyone carrying their weight all the time, or does it account for life circumstances like temporary illness? Do you have a quarantine plan figured out? Are you allowing enough down time so that your immune systems won’t get compromised?
Make as many decisions as you can when you’re not under stress. As each of us started getting sick, we knew it was time to pull out our little plastic storage container of supplements. We knew which ones to take, how much to take, and how often from past use. We didn’t have to figure it out from scratch. All we had to do was run the drill that we’d used successfully in the past.
Natural medicines actually did work for us…even though I needed antibiotics. Again, although this would have made a better “story” if I would have gotten better without antibiotics, I don’t think that I can overstate the fact that I was in close contact with my wife and 2 young sons for the entire time I was sick and they were only symptomatic for a day or two each. We credit most of this to the supplements that they started taking as soon as they started feeling sick. If I hadn’t run myself down over the last few months, I probably would have only been symptomatic for a day or two as well.
Don’t underestimate the importance of air quality. As I started getting ill, a high pressure system moved in and our air quality got very bad, with official air quality alerts almost every day. Even without clouds in the sky, we couldn’t see the sun most of the days I was sick. It was worse than when I used to travel to Mexico City in the mid-late 90s.
As an aside, I believe at least some part of the air problems had to do with the new ethanol requirements in fuel. Besides having 34% less energy per gallon than gasoline and requiring more fuel to be burned to go the same distance, a 2007 Stanford University study showed that ethanol produces more formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and ground level ozone than burning gasoline.
Why do I mention this? Because there’s pressure in Washington to mandate MORE ethanol in our gas and if you believe that you are sensitive to smog and other airborne pollutants, you might want to consider the prevailing winds in your area and where you live in relation to your local city. If you determine that you’re in a bad spot and moving isn’t an option, then you might want to start looking into whole home air purifiers.
And, while on the topic of air quality—in a survival situation where local utilities aren’t able to provide fuel and electricity for heating and cooking, people will switch over to burning wood, coal, lumber (treated wood,) and trash like was common as recently as the early to mid 1900s. These will all put more particulate matter into the air than electricity and natural gas and bad air quality will become a VERY serious issue.
It’s vital that you figure out how to take care of your body without the help of the traditional healthcare system. I’m not a fan of what lawsuits, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, just in time supply chains, and a population with an entitlement mentality have done to medicine in the US, but what I’m about to tell you goes way beyond those factors. In a post disaster situation, you simply must be able to take care of as many health issues as possible without depending on the healthcare system.
Last month, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a report on how ready the US is for diseases, disasters, and bioterrorism. You can read it on their site by going here: http://www.rwjf.org/publichealth/product.jsp?id=71566 Overall, we’re more prepared than we were a year ago, but we still have a LOT of vulnerabilities. Here are some of the major points:
Between January 2009 and January 2010, 53% of local health departments had funding cuts.
Since fiscal year 2005, federal support for public health preparedness has been cut by 27%. I’m all for the cut in federal spending, but it wasn’t replaced with local or personal responsibility for getting people prepared.
The US has 50,000 fewer public health workers than 20 years ago and 1/3 of those remaining will be eligible to retire within 5 years.
There were some good points as well, including the fact that all 50 states now have Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) in place. If you’re not familiar with the MRC, they are volunteer groups who are trained in emergency medical care to help take the load off of local emergency medical systems in the event of an emergency.
The MRC falls under the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and fulfills some of the requirements of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 from 2007. HSPD-21’s goal is, in part, to create communities where, “local civil leaders, citizens, and families are educated regarding threats and are empowered to mitigate their own risk, where they are practiced in responding to events, where they have social networks to fall back upon, and where they have familiarity with local public health and medical systems.”
It’s amazing, but in this case, the Federal Government’s goals mesh quite nicely with ours—to figure out bottom-up solutions that begin with the individual, spread those solutions to the family and neighborhood, and create stable micro-environments during an otherwise chaotic time. That’s a $10 way of saying that the Federal Government knows that if we have proper training, we can help our neighbors better than some government outsider can after a disaster.
I want to close out this week’s newsletter on that very idea—remember that by planning ahead and preparing for disasters, you will be part of the solution when disasters happen. The more prepared you are for disasters, breakdowns in infrastructure, utility outages, and breakdowns in civil order, the fewer risks you’ll be exposed to, simply because you won’t have to move around and be exposed to as many dangers.
Being prepared and able to follow SurviveInPlace.com concepts means that you’ll have less exposure to sickness during pandemics, fewer chances for accidents after disasters that knock out traffic signals, less exposure to riots outside of your immediate neighborhood, and less exposure to random acts of violence from predators looking for victims.
Heck, just knowing how to treat yourself when you get sick will keep you out of doctors’ offices and emergency rooms, will keep you from being exposed to other sicknesses, and will probably help keep you from taking antibiotics more often than you need to.
If you’re interested in moving forward on this, I’ve got two resources that I’d suggest. The first one is my SurviveInPlace.com Urban Survival Course. In it, I devote an entire lesson to natural medicine and “ghetto” techniques for handling physical trauma when you have little or no specialized equipment. Of course, I also cover operational security, building your mutual aid team, getting your family members on board, field expedient techniques for hardening your house, tactical movement in urban areas after a disaster, disaster psychology, and much more. If you haven’t gone through it yet, I’d encourage you to check it out at www.SurviveInPlace.com.
The second resource is one that I mention a lot…simply because it’s one that I visit quite often, I’m friends with the owner of the site, and I trust his advice on medical matters. It’s Mercola.com and it’s the fourth largest natural health website in the world. I’m thankful to count Joe (Mercola) as a friend and, even though we disagree on a few political and philosophical issues, I can wholeheartedly recommend the site as a resource for researching health issues. As I was writing this, Joe emailed me to let me know that he was on the Dr. Oz show on Tuesday. You can watch the segment below:
Thoughts? Comments? Please share them below.
Until next week, stay safe and God bless,