Episode 72 S2-37
Survival Sanitation: Medical Implications
Without Land Ch 37
The Without Land adventure finds Erika and her team heading home after defending off the marauders. The welcome home becomes a chance for new beginnings in a cleaner environment. Lisa Goodwin author of Prepping A to Z, The Series of Prepping Books and How to Be Prepared and co-host of The Survivalist Prepper Podcast joins us today to discuss not only the importance of personal sanitation but the essentials of medical sanitation in a survival environment.
Cleanliness is extremely important, especially if we find ourselves in a disaster situation. We are so fortunate right now with all of our new-fangled ways of sanitation. I am willing to bet most people don’t even think about it. Things like having a sewer plant to take the waste out of our homes, and the running water we have, along with indoor plumbing. Or how about the trash man that comes every week to pick up our discarded items…aka…TRASH! And how about the specialty waste situations, like a hospital, or even burying or burning the dead? All of these things help to keep disease and bacteria out of our everyday lives.
If the grid goes down, and we find ourselves in a collapse of our country, or even a natural disaster situation it will be imperative to think about the trash around us, as well as the sick, injured or dead.
There are many diseases, and bacteria that we don’t really have to deal with on a daily basis here in the United States because of our incredible sanitation system. Some of these are:
· Hepatitis (even though it is somewhat prevalent)
· Cryptosporidiosis (Parasites) (cause diarrhea-very infectious)
· Ascariasis (Round worms)
If sanitation is subpar, these and other diseases can occur, which will affect the entire population. This is why it is extremely important to always practice cleanliness now, and know how to keep things clean in a grid down situation.
Simple things like:
· Keeping trash under control either by burying, burning, and composting
· Cleaning your food before eating it
· Knowing your food sources
· Waste systems, either a septic system, composting toilet, or constructing an outhouse.
· Dealing with the dead, by burying or burning
· Keeping your food sources covered, and contained.
· Dealing with vermin and pests
In my opinion, the best solution for a sterile medical tent will be determined by your situation. If you are in your home, sealing off a room, and making it a medical clinic, or even having a section of your garage being a clinic, or even a storage shed if you have one. You must keep it impeccably clean, including the floors, walls and all of the equipment inside of the room. You will need to have a very large supply of bleach, disinfecting wipes, and all of the medical garb such as masks, gowns, shoe protectors, gloves, eye protection etc. Draping, lighting, and sheets will be important as well. You will also need some sort of storage rack that you will be able to keep all of your sterile supplies in one place, preferably not in your “clean” room, otherwise you will contaminate everything by bringing in a sick person.
A medical tent or vehicle would be another option in the field, however it would be challenging to keep it sterile, but it could be done. You would need the tent itself along with lots of sheet plastic, and disinfectant sprays, wipes etc. It would also be a good idea to learn how to make your own disinfecting wipes, solutions and sprays. Because if you need to create a sterile room, or tent, my bet is the Wal-Mart and medical supply store is long gone. So prepare yourself to know how to make do with what you have, or create the sprays, wipes etc. you will need.
Every situation will be different, but have a plan b in your head, and probably a plan c as well, and possibly a backup plan to that as well.
Medical Tent Link :https://www.vetter.de/vetter_emergency/en/Medical+tents/Medical+tents.html
Maintaining a sterile field would definitely be challenging in a disaster situation. But, it can be done by following the rules of keeping things sterile, vs. clean. For example, gathering your supplies and opening them in a sterile manner, and keeping them on a tray or table that has been covered with a sterile field. One thing that you learn very quickly is how to open items and transfer them to a sterile area, and how to put on sterile gloves, and keep them that way. Everything will be a challenge, but it can be done, with a little practice.
In a perfect world, you would have an autoclave available so you would be able to sterilize surgical instruments, even if we were in a SHTF scenario. If that is not a viable solution, you would need to determine in what instances you would need to have sterile equipment, vs having clean equipment.
Clean equipment is perfectly fine in most medical situations, unless it is in regard to surgery.
You will need sterile instruments if you are doing surgery, meaning you are delving deep within the human body, and dealing with internal organs, and then yes, you will need to have sterile surgical equipment. But that being said, one of the biggest risks of surgery happens afterward, even today, and that is the risk of infection. So keeping surgical wounds clean, and the bacteria level low will help to prevent infection, but bacteria are vile little critters who are very focused on one thing…concurring. This is why there is such a high prevalence of antibiotics that no longer work to kill bacteria, and antibiotic resistant bacteria. The little suckers are smart!
So getting back to how to keep surgical steel sterile in a grid down scenario, you need to know how to disinfect the instruments, and then kill everything on them, this can be accomplished several different ways.
First, clean the instruments in a disinfecting solution. You want to make sure the items are clean, and have no blood or guts on them. Allow them to soak in the disinfecting solution (bleach water) for at least 10 minutes, but no longer than 20 minutes. You could also choose to soak the instruments in alcohol, they should be soaked for 15 minutes in a solutions of 8 parts alcohol, 2 parts water.
Remove the instruments from whichever solutions, and dry them off, and get ready for the next step…..
You will never believe it, but you can use your pressure canner to sterilizer medical steel instruments! You will need a “floor” in the bottom, to place the instruments on, and put about 2” of water in the bottom of the canner, you want to have enough water to steam for about 30 minutes. The steam is what sterilizes the instruments. Put the instruments in the shelf, and close up your canner. Get the pressure up to 20lbs, or close to that, and keep it there for 30 minutes. When it is completed, you will have sterile instruments. Then you will need to package the items, so they will remain sterile until they are needed for use.
Again, this is reserved for instruments that will be used for surgical procedures, you do not have to sterilize all of your medical equipment. Most medical things that happen only require “clean” items. More importantly, proper hand washing is one of the most important aspects to practicing medicine, and taking care of a sick family member or patient.
The Changing Earth Series
"My path to making my own things started when I was little. My parents made it a part of my life, so I grew up thinking it was “normal” to do things like make your own personal care items, clothes, or cook in a wood stove, and milk cows. But sadly, as I grew up I fell out of that way of thinking, and that way of life.
"But after I started my own family, and moved to a rural community, I quickly realized that being prepared for whatever country living could throw at you was much easier than relying on someone else. Even though I had not been living this lifestyle for about 20 years, the things I did learn came back to me. I found myself researching how to make my own butter and bread, and how many chemicals are in the things I would routinely buy. I learned the good and not so good ways to make lotion and hair shampoo as well as work my garden.
"And the more I started doing for myself, I really understood what it meant to be happy. There is a lot to be said for a hard day’s work, and taking pride in what you have done. I work hard at trying to find ways to be more self-reliant, and I am grateful that my husband feels the same way. Together we find new ways to save money, store food, learn about security and just live a better life with less.
"You don’t have to make millions of dollars to be happy, but you do have to be happy with what you have. I have learned so much from others, and through my own trial and errors. Now that doesn’t mean it’s all easy, and everything works the first time. But it has taught me to never give up and keep on trying, because success may only be one tiny mistake away.
"Knowing what I know now, when I first got started, I wished I would have had the vast amount of resources that are available now. With the ever changing environment of the world, and even the country we live in today, I feel it is so important to reach as many people as possible, and share what I have learned because maybe it will help someone else, and make a difference in their life.
"So I challenge you, as I have challenged myself. Make it a priority to do more for yourself and become more self-reliant. This isn’t something that you will be able to complete overnight, in a week, or even a month. Being prepared and self-reliant is a lifestyle that is best looked at as a marathon, and not a sprint. The more time you take and invest into it, the more you will get out of it. And the best part of all of this is you will really be setting yourself free, because you will have accepted responsibility for your future. You will not be relying on someone else, and the more prepared you are, the less you will worry. The less you worry, the happier you will be.
Here is to your happiness and path to being more self-reliant!"