Basic Sanitary Systems, Water Consumption, General Physical Health: Low Cost Survival Checklist P7
Today, in part 7 of the “Low Cost Survival Checklist”, which is a community requested post, I discuss basic sanitary and health systems that need consideration, general physical health and the need to be functionally fit, and water consumption and how it will be the lead cause of death in a disaster. I want to explain some simple steps to insure our basic health and sanitation needs.
Before I get into the topic, remember go to my National Preparedness Month Social Media Post that I have made one facebook and twitter and share it for chances to win cool survival gear! Remember, I have been pushing others to share the post that I have made, so I can track all the shares, so if you share directly from the site, or in your own share or tweet, please send me the URL, so I can ensure that I get the correct count, or you can tag my facebook or twitter pages and then I will see it.
Remember, this is a reader-requested series of posts (Stephen of TN) and I do enjoy covering topics that I am asked to cover. Contact me if you have any other requests.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
The number one biggest problem in sanitation and health is often water. If you think about many third world countries, the leading cause of death is from diarrhea or dysentery from drinking impure water. In Mexico, it is a common problem. The only reason it wasn’t a bigger problem in Hurricane Katrina is the fact that outside people and organizations brought clean drinking water in bulk to victims. And just wading through the water, which was stagnant and had bacterial, toxic, and sewage was a big health concern.
So two main concerns in a basic disaster is 1) How I will get safe drinking water to my family, and 2) How will I get rid of waste so my home and water doesn’t get contaminated.
We actually discussed a basic store of drinking water in Part 2, The Importance of Storing Water and How to Store Water. Some of the basic things we can do quickly and easily are:
- Store water in 2 liter bottles
- Store water in bulk in larger 50-gallon or 250-gallon containers
- Collect rain water into the larger containers
- Have the ability to boil and purify water when all else fails
We almost always discuss what we will do to put stuff into our bodies during a wilderness or urban disaster or crisis. You don’t often hear of what comes out of the body. The reason in wilderness survival is the fact that everything in the wilderness is spread out, and there typically isn’t a large number of people. So you learn to dig a small hole, use the bathroom and cover it up. That is it. Myself and MANY survivalists tend to be first and foremost, wilderness survivalists, and then find ourselves using the same ideas in everyday life. So we don’t tend to think of the sanitary all of the time.
But when you have a family living in close quarters with each other, you need to understand that you are going to eventually deal with how disgusting people can get in this situation. Consider:
- Getting Rid of Waste:
- First thing we can do that will get us some hint of sanitation is to dig a hole away from the house that people will use. I would dig it a few feet down, and don’t let the waste fill it up. Stop at least 18 inches down, and cover it back up. Then start another hole. This will give you something that will keep your waste from becoming a problem for several weeks.
- Next, if we think that it is a small isolated event that will allow us to get water back, and our sanitary system isn’t a problem, then we should have already thought of rain collection, filling our bathtubs and sinks (if we have foreknowledge), and storing water from other sources. You don’t have to have potable water to flush a toilet.
- If we want to go past self-reliance into self-sufficiency, then we build a composting toilet that will handle all of our waste and give us fertility at the same time.
- Personal hygiene:
- There are several things that I would recommend having for personal hygiene. With a whole family, people will get smelly, dirty, and infected pretty quickly, so we want to counter that. I know some readers like to do things the natural way, but for quick and cheap, you have to use other methods of obtaining cleanliness.
- Bars of soap are cheap and abundant. They store well, stack well, and are usually anti-bacterial. Just get cheap bars of soap. When it truly matters, you will not care what brand you have.
- Deodorant is needed. Everyone will get stinky, so you need to keep some basic deodorant on hand to keep things fresh-ish.
- Feminine products like pads or tampons are often overlooked, but when you are in a critical environment, you would wish you or your spouse had them. Pads also double up as a great first aid tool in the place of tons of gauze.
- You need water for baths as well. Have you noticed a trend… how valuable water is, both potable and not potable?
- Quick Medical Suggestion:
- I am not going to tell you what to place in your first aid kit here, but keep a good first aid kit.
- Everyone needs to have first aid training and CPR training.
- Have antibiotics on hand. Fish antibiotics are the same as what is prescribed to people. Lots of them are created in the same exact production facilities.
- Have a diarrhea medicine on hand. diarrhea is a large cause of death in places without sanitation. The only thing different between you and them is you have clean water, a toilet, and a good shower. Everything else is the same, so when hygiene and sanitation is an issue, you want some Ammodium AD or Pepto Bismol on hand.
- General Health:
- Work out a little. Go for a walk. Whatever you do, you want some general functional fitness. A 200 pound person that walks every day will do much better than a 300 pound couch potato. As you get larger, your hygiene is harder to maintain as well.
- Eat Right. Your body works better on natural, unprocessed foods. You need good fats and proteins. You want nutrient rich foods. Our stores that we discussed in Part 3: Storing Food for Shortage, or Storing Food Made Easy may not be the healthiest options, but on a daily basis, you probably don’t want to eat the canned, presalted, processed foods. Fresh nutrient-dense foods are key to healthy body functions.
If you can think of some more cheap, quick, and easy basic suggestions, please post it in the comments.