Infectious Disease Prevention Pt2
In part one of this series on Infectious Diseases it was explained what infectious diseases were…in this article, the basics of prevention will be discussed.
Basic Hygiene and safe food handling procedures will prevent or stop most if not all of these viruses, bacteria, parasites and protozoa. We are fortunate to currently live in a time when sanitation and personal hygiene are easy and affordable for many people. More will be discussed at a later time on hygiene and sanitation in undesirable or ‘unmodern’ situations and suggestions will be given on the how to part ‘just in case’.
Hygiene is the science that deals with the promotion and preservation of health by reducing harmful levels of germs through cleanliness and sterilization. The two most common hygienic practices are: 1) washing hands and food preparation areas with soap, and 2) cooking food and boiling drinking water. Washing with soap removes oils and breaks up dirt particles so they may be washed away, whereas cooking and boiling kill harmful organisms that cannot be removed by washing. You can prevent diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and parasites by keeping a clean environment and by handling food in a sanitary manner. Most intestinal parasites are transmitted by contact with feces from an infected person or pet. These are some of the most important sanitation practices to help you maintain your health:
- Wash your hands before cooking or eating.
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing a child’s diapers, shaking hands, handling money, touching door handles, elevator buttons, light switches, handrails in public places, and handling pets.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or any food after touching any contaminated surfaces until after you have washed your hands. Wear gloves to prevent contamination. On average, according to the CDC, human beings will touch their eyes, mouth, face, nose or ears at LEAST 3,000 times a day.
- Do not share personal items such as a tooth brush, hair brush/comb, toe nail clippers or even towels.
- Keep cutting boards and food preparation areas clean by washing them with soap and water and allowing them to dry thoroughly.
- Cook meats and seafood. Cooking to a temperature of 180°F (82°C) will kill disease-causing organisms. Use a meat thermometer when cooking roasts or whole turkeys to be sure food is cooked to a safe temperature.
- Keep raw food away from cooked food. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate plates for the cooked and the raw food.
- Drink purified water and use purified water for washing hands and cleaning food preparation areas. Water can be purified by boiling for a few minutes or by chemical treatments such as chlorination.
- Keep food refrigerated to delay spoilage. Low temperatures slow down reproduction of bacteria.
- Don’t let cooked food sit at room temperature too long. Food should be promptly packed in shallow containers so it can chill quickly, and put in the refrigerator. Keeping food refrigerated at or below 4°C/40°F slows down bacterial growth.
- Vegetables that are eaten raw, such as carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, etc., should be washed thoroughly. The vinegar in some salad dressings will also kill many types of bacteria.
- Wash fruits that are cut, such as melons, to avoid transferring any dirt or contamination from the outside of the fruit to the inside during cutting.
- Do not eat spoiled food, or any food that has an unpleasant smell or taste. You cannot always see, smell or taste harmful organisms. When in doubt, throw out old food rather than risk getting sick.
- Breathe clean air. Avoid smoky, dusty, musty environments, or confined places where people are coughing or sneezing. Wearing a surgical face mask can reduce the chances of contracting or spreading diseases caused by infectious organisms carried in the droplets from coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid insect bites by using window screens, mosquito netting, insect repellents, and by being indoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Many viral, bacterial, and protozoan diseases are transmitted by insect bites from mosquitoes, flies, fleas, and ticks. Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes include Dengue Fever, Malaria, Rift Valley Fever, Yellow Fever, and various types of viral encephalitis such as West Nile virus. Keep your yard clean and devoid of places (or at least make it hard for them to breed in your yard) where they can breed…it goes without saying, empty that pot that is holding water and keep the grass cut short.
- Avoid walking barefoot on soil or swimming in water contaminated by feces. Hookworm and schistosomiasis infections start when the larvae penetrate the skin. It is possible to get parasites from cats and dogs. Test your pets for parasites regularly and dispose of their feces in a sanitary manner.
- To prevent wart infections and athlete’s foot, avoid walking barefoot in public areas such as showers or communal changing rooms. Avoid sharing shoes and socks.
- Brush and floss your teeth every day before going to bed to prevent gum diseases and dental decay.
- Many diseases are transferred by close contact with an infected individual. Be very selective in your intimate personal relationships, and avoid touching any sores, feces, or body fluids from a sick person. If you must come in contact with someone who maybe sick, wear gloves or wash your hands and wear a face mask if you have to.
- Keep the kitchen and bathroom areas clean at all times.
- If you are having symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, tearing eyes, diarrhea, vomiting or are running a temperature…STAY HOME and avoid as much contact with others as possible to prevent spreading a possible infectious disease…this goes for keeping children home as well unless you know for sure its ‘just allergies’.
- Stay away from those displaying symptoms if at all possible.
- Maintain a healthy immune system by eating a proper diet, exercising and low stress levels.
- Take all prescriptions as prescribed, from heart medication, to antibiotics. A body that is well regulated tends to be able to fight infection better than one that is not.
- Stay out of the doctors office unless absolutely necessary…doctors can’t help you with a cold and they can’t help with an inner ear infection, only time can. Unless you are experiencing symptoms beyond your control with an OTC, homeopathy or herbs, stay out of the doctors office…many people go in for ‘routine’ yet unnecessary reasons and bring something else home with them…and if you do have to go…insist the doctor and nurses wash their hands when they come in and don’t hesitate to ask about their ‘cleanliness policies’.
- Reduce situations in which you may come into contact with large numbers of people when there is a high chance of the flu, a warning has been put out about a possible infectious threat or be sure to take measures to keep yourself safe.
What are Infectious Diseases?
In a grid up situation or in otherwords when life is ‘normal’ many of take for granted modern sanitation and personal hygeine which is the best way to prevent infectious diseases. But even now, right in our own ‘normal’ world we see outbreaks of infectious disease due to improper handling of food, unsanitary conditions (and this will get worse as the economy deterriorates and more and more people are unable to afford food let alone wash hands and not have close contact with others) and lack of personal hygeine. So while the below information may seem to be a no brainer right now, I feel it is worth going over the basics before going into ‘alternatives’ to modern prevention techniques.
Below is taken directly from http://www.scientificpsychic.com/health/hygiene.html
Diseases can be classified as genetic, metabolic, or infectious. Genetic diseases are caused by genetic defects inherited from the parents. Sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis are two examples of genetic diseases. Metabolic diseases are those that may develop from the failure of normal bodily functions, but may also be inherited. Diabetes mellitus, for example, is a metabolic disease characterized by high blood sugar level resulting from insufficient insulin secretion by the pancreas. Obesity is a major contributing factor to adult-onset diabetes. Infectious diseases or communicable diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites that use our body as a host for reproduction. Tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS are responsible for approximately half of all deaths caused by infectious diseases worldwide.
- Viruses are pieces of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) wrapped in a thin coat of protein that replicate only within the cells of living hosts.
- Bacteria are one-cell microorganisms with a simple cellular organization whose nucleus lacks a membrane.
- Parasites may be protozoa, yeasts, or multicellular organisms such as fungi or worms that live in or on a host to obtain nourishment without providing any benefit to the host.
Viruses penetrate the cell walls of body tissues bringing a payload of DNA or RNA that starts replicating the virus inside the infected cells. When the cell dies, multiple copies of the virus are released and continue to infect other cells. The human body sometimes is able to build antibodies that prevent the replication of the virus to stop the infection. Vaccines consist of weakened viruses that stimulate the body’s defenses to fight infection by the natural viruses. Here is a list of diseases caused by viruses:
- Common Cold is caused by a rhinovirus
- Influenza (Flu) -
- Dengue fever is transmitted by bites from mosquitoes mainly in Southeast Asia and South America
- Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It is transmitted by sexual contact with an infected person or by sharing needles or syringes for drug injection.
- Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver, jaundice)
- Herpes (cold sores, and genital herpes)
- Rabies (transmitted by bites from infected bats, raccoons, dogs)
- Pertusis (whooping cough) causes fever and severe coughing, transmitted through droplets.
- Polio (may cause paralysis)
- Yellow Fever is a viral hemorrhagic fever transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
- Measles or rubella
- Warts caused by a virus may be treated at home with solutions and patches containing salicylic acid over several weeks, or in the doctor’s office by freezing.
Bacteria are one-celled organisms that do not have membranes binding their nuclear material (prokaryotes). This feature distinguishes them from protozoa which have a more complex cellular structure and a distinct nucleus (eukaryotes). Not all bacteria cause diseases. Bacteria are present in some fermented foods. Yogurt, for example, has Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria. The human mouth and intestines harbor over 400 different types of bacteria that produce some vitamins and ferment fiber to produce short-chain fatty acids. Bacteria that cause diseases are called “pathogenic” bacteria.Antibiotics, like penicillin, are substances that are toxic to the bacteria, but relatively harmless to people. They have been very useful in combating disease, but their increased use has produced antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bacteria are classified by their shape and the color that they take when stained. A bacillus is elongated like a sausage, a coccus is round, and a spirochete is helical (spiral) in shape. Hans Christian Gram (1853-1938) developed a staining technique that colors some bacteria deep blue (Gram positive), whereas others take on a red color (Gram negative). Here is a list of common bacteria and some of their attributes:
- Staphylococcus – normally found on the skin, but can cause boils and pimples.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is responsible for many
serious infections that are sometimes fatal.
- Escherichia coli – normal inhabitant of the colon, hence called “coliform” bacteria
E. coli O157:H7 is a virulent strain that produces toxins that
can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even kidney failure.
- Chlamydia – a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
Over one million cases of chlamydia were reported in the United States in 2006.
- Salmonella – frequent cause of food poisoning
- Vibrio cholerae – causes cholera, an infection of the small intestine characterized by watery diarrhea
- Treponema pallidum – a spiral-shaped (spirochete) bacteria that causes syphilis
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae – a Gram-negative coccus that causes gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases
- Borrelia – a spirochete transmitted by ticks that causes Lyme disease (borreliosis).
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis – the cause of tuberculosis
- Yersinia pestis – causes bubonic plague, transferred by flea bites
- Bacillus anthracis – the organism that causes anthrax, characterized by black lesions.
- Rickettsia – a motile, Gram-negative bacterium that replicates only within the cytoplasm of cells and causes diseases such as typhus, rickettsialpox, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It is transmitted by the bites of insects such as ticks, fleas, and lice.
Parasites may be protozoa, fungi, or multi-cellular organisms. Many parasites have complex life cycles that insure their proliferation and survival.
As mentioned above, protozoa have a more complex organization than bacteria. Some protozoa form cysts that protect them from harsh conditions and enable them to live outside of a host for a long time. Some diseases caused by protozoans are:
- Malaria (transmitted by mosquitos) is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Leishmaniasis (transmitted by sandflies which are about one-third the size of mosquitoes)
- African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness transmitted by the tsetse fly)
- Amoebic dysentery – infection of the intestine caused by an ameba (Entamoeba histolytica), which causes severe diarrhea.
- Coccidiosis – intestinal infection that causes bloody diarrhea.
- Cryptosporidiosis – parasitic disease of the intestine caused by Cryptosporidium.
- Giardial enteritis – an infection of the small intestine caused by Giardia lamblia.
- Toxoplasmosis – a systemic parasitic infection transmitted by eating undercooked meat or contamination by cat feces.
Fungi include one-celled yeasts slightly bigger than bacteria, and multi-celled mushrooms and molds. Fungi do not have chlorophyll to make their own food, so they get their nutrition as parasites or by breaking down remains of dead plants or animals. Some fungi are poisonous (e.g., Amanita mushrooms), but some have beneficial uses. For example,Penicillium notatum produces the antibiotic penicillin and Saccharomyces cerevisiaeis the yeast used to make bread rise and to brew beer. Fungal diseases are called mycoses and include:
- Aspergillosis – infection of sinuses and lungs
- Blastomycosis – skin and pulmonary infections
- Candidiasis – cutaneous and vaginal infections. Candida albicans is the most common cause of vaginal yeast infections.
- Coccidioidomycosis – may cause cough, chest pain, shortness of breath
- Cryptococcosis – may be transmitted in pigeon droppings
Multicellular parasites include various kinds of worms and fungi that cause diseases such as:
- Ascariasis (roundworms)
- Lymphatic filariasis or elephantiasis (transmitted by mosquitos)
- Schistosomiasis (liver or blood flukes)
- Trichinosis – a disease caused by consumption of poorly cooked meat that contains cysts of Trichinella spiralis.
- Tinea corporis, tinea pedis (ringworm, athlete’s foot)
Intestinal parasites are commonly transmitted by eating food contaminated with feces or by eating raw or undercooked meat and seafood. In many parts of the world, manure or feces are used for fertilizing crops, and this is how vegetables and drinking water can become contaminated with the eggs or larvae of parasitic organisms. It is estimated that the human pinworm affects approximately 50% of the children in the United States. Pinworms lay their eggs around the anus and cause itching. The natural instinct to scratch, in combination with habits like thumb sucking and poor hand-washing, spreads the parasites. Tapeworms and roundworms can infect the body when their eggs or larvae are swallowed by eating raw or undercooked meats (pork) or seafood (ceviche, salmon roe, sashimi, sushi, cold-smoked fish). Protozoan parasites are frequently present in raw oysters.
Hookworms (Necator and Ancylostoma) are generally contracted by walking barefoot on soil contaminated by feces from infected animals or persons, or by swimming or wading in contaminated water. Hookworm larvae are capable of penetrating the skin in a few seconds. Once inside the body, they migrate to the lungs via the capillaries, and then cross into the air sacs of the lungs. They are eventually coughed up and swallowed. In the intestines, they feed on blood and reproduce. The females lay eggs that are passed in the feces to repeat the cycle.
Fungi and molds cause a variety of skin diseases such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm, but they can also cause pulmonary and internal infections such as aspergillosis, and candidiasis (yeast infection). The dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum is a fungus that frequently causes chronic infections of the skin and nails. Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp that causes severe itching, dandruff, and bald patches.Tinea corporis, commonly known as ringworm, is an infection of the skin found on the body, such as the trunk and limbs. Tinea pedis is a superficial fungal infection affecting the feet, often called athlete’s foot. This type of fungal infection typically is found in the skin between the toes, and is characterized by itching, blisters, cracking, and scaling.Tinea cruris, also known as jock itch, is a fungal infection of the skin of the groin area. Fungal infections are aggravated by sweating, restrictive garments, not washing and drying the body carefully on a daily basis, and by not changing into clean clothing frequently enough.
Ringworm and other fungus skin infections can be treated with a variety of non-prescription antifungal ointments, powders, or sprays containing tolnaftate, clotrimazole, undecylenic acid, terbinafine hydrochloride, salicylic acid, etc. White vinegar (5% acetic acid) is a common home remedy for fungal skin infections such as ringworm and athlete’s foot; it is applied with a cotton ball in the morning and in the evening, but it produces a burning sensation on broken skin. To prevent re-infection, the fungi that cause skin infections should be eliminated from environmental surfaces like bathtubs and toilet seats by washing the surfaces with diluted household chlorine bleach, which is a solution containing typically 5.25% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl). Fungi on towels, sheets, socks, underwear, and other clothing can also be killed by adding bleach during the wash cycle, although this may fade some fabrics. In the case of athlete’s foot, shoes should also be treated with antifungal foot powder. For tinea capitis infections, pillows, pillow cases, combs, hats, and hair brushes must be disinfected. Chlorine bleach should not be used on the skin because it is extremely caustic and will cause chemical burns. Wear rubber gloves when handling bleach.
Basic Hygiene and safe food handling procedures will prevent or stop most if not all of these viruses, bacteria, parasites and protozoa. We are fortunate to currently live in a time when sanitation and personal hygiene are easy and affordable for many people. More will be discussed at a later time on hygiene and sanitation in undesirable or ‘unmodern’ situations.
Part 2 will discuss the typical ways to prevent or combat infectious diseases in the modern world.
With an ongoing issue from the Japan Earthquake/Tsunami in the early part of 2011, there have been questions raised (yet again) about the contamination of the US food supply, especially from foods coming from the western part of the US including seafood from the Pacific Ocean. While we can most certainly take the precaution of knowing where the food we eat comes from, many times, we can’t find that information out or it maybe that we simply cannot avoid buying or eating foods that have been exposed to the fallout from Fukashima. But we can help ourselves by knowing what to do and what to eat to protect ourselves.
First line of defense is to….
You don’t freak out over getting a CAT scan, MRI, X-Ray nor do you even begin to think about the food on store shelves that have been irradiated to extend shelf life or kill bacteria. Life saving medical treatments also introduce radiation into the body. Cell phones and many other everyday ‘things’ also put out radiation, so we are already dealing with radiation ‘contamination’ within our bodies and we don’t think twice about any of this. Certainly the contamination coming from Fukashima is something to be concerned about, but knowledge is power and gives us peace of mind. We will NOT be able to avoid radiation in our environment nor in our food system, but we can counter-act the damage that it may cause.
There are very simple ways to help the body remove radiation from the body. The ‘biggies’ (by the way) that we are most concerned about are Iodine-131, Cesium-137, Uranium-234 and Strontium. I have avoided mentioning kelp and seaweed because most of the ones available commercially come from areas that are heavily contaminated with the very isotopes we trying to avoid and/or protect ourselves against. But if you can find a good source that can be verified as clean, then by all means have at it.
ACE- vitamins A, C, E. These are antioxidant vitamins that protect your bodys cells from environmental damage. You may get these through supplements or through the food you eat. If you choose to use a supplement to get these vitamins, make sure that you use a natural form of vitamin E…the synthetic version is not as effective as the natural form of vitamin E.
B vitamins are essential also to helping us ‘detox’ and feel great.
Garlic – Garlic’s high sulfur content supports natural antioxidant systems like glutathione. Garlic extracts protect red blood cells from radiation damage by a glutathione-related mechanism. In mice, garlic extracts prevented radiation damage to chromosomes in vulnerable bone marrow cells.
Onions – Cysteine, present in onions, binds with and deactivates both the radioactive isotopes and toxic metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. The sulfur in cysteine helps the kidneys and liver detoxify the body.
Pectin which is present in many fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, citrus fruits and beans, binds to and helps eliminate from the body different radioactive isotopes.
Potassium – Cesium-137, cesium-134, potassium-40, and potassium-42 are radioactive, competitive sister elements of natural potassium, all of which are in the same chemical family. These radionuclides are absorbed by the body when there is a deficiency of natural potassium. They concentrate primarily in the reproductive organs and the muscles. Cesium-137 is common in nuclear fallout, and can often be detected in our food, soil, and water. The authors of one study described our biosphere as “contaminated with radiocesium.”
Researchers discovered that after the accident atChernobyl, iodine-131 and cesium-137 were the most prevalent radionuclides in samples of food from theUSSR and fromPoland, Hungary, and other parts ofEastern Europe. Cesium-137 is also already being used in some countries to irradiate foods as a means of extending their shelf life at the supermarket. Research by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates that natural potassium decreases the concentration of radiocesium. Potassium carries an electrical charge and is “wed” to sodium in many of the electrical/chemical balancing chores it performs in our bodies. Adequate intake of potassium is critically important when exposure to radiation is a threat because abundant potassium in the blood stream will block rapid absorption of Cesium-137.
Begin to add potassium rich foods such as potatoes, avocado, raisins, sardines, flounder, orange juice, winter squash, banana, apricots, cantaloupe, tomato, milk, salmon, beans, sweet potato, beef liver, peaches, steak, haddock, pork, lamb, turkey, tuna, and chicken.
Herbs with high levels of potassium include sage, catnip, hops, dulse, peppermint, skullcap, kelp, and red clover. You’ll also find it in horsetail, nettles, borage, and plantain. If a nuclear event escalates in which cesium is being released, then also adding supplemental potassium is recommended. Potassium regulation is affected by magnesium.
Magnesium rich foods are Whole wheat bread, Whole grain cereals, tofu, spinach, soy milk, pumpkin and squash seeds, scallops and rockfish, raw plantain, okra, oysters, peanuts, halibut, raw broccoli and black beans.
Spirulina – a single-celled freshwater algae and an incredible source of nutrients. It provides generous amounts of Beta Carotene, Vitamin B-12, Iron and Chlorophyll. Spirulina also provides RNA, DNA and important GLA fatty acids.
Chlorophyll – A Report by Scottist in 1986 and report fromJapanshowed that increase absorption of Cadmium by Chlorella and increased excretion of Cadmium by threefold after intake of Chlorella from animal testing. Chlorella can also detoxify Uranium, Lead, Copper, PCB. Source: ” A good Health Guide: Chlorella ” by William H Lee. R. Ph.D. and Michael Rosenbaum, M.D. Guinea pigs on a diet rich in chlorophyll showed increased resistance to lethal X-rays.
Both Spirulina and chlorophyll are consider ‘super foods’…meaning they are nutrient dense and highly detoxifying…great for the body no matter what.
One comment I must make about purchasing Spirulina and Chlorophyll…know where it is coming from! I would personally avoid any spirulina or chlorophyll that comes from areas already contaminated by radiation includingChina.Hawaiiwould be the safest bet for spirulina. Heck, you can ‘grow’ your own algae if you so desire!
Charcoal – Has the ability to absorb and neutralize radioactive substances and some toxic materials. Researchers report that 10 grams or 1 tablespoon of charcoal can absorb about 3 to 7 grams of materials. Taking finely powdered charcoal has been found to be one-and-a-half times as effective as the tablets. You may even put the charcoal into capsules if you so desire.
Zeolite – Zeolites have been used to decontaminate animals, particularly sheep and reindeer, which have ingested radiation following nuclear disasters such asChernobyl. Addition of zeolites to contaminated soils has shown to reduce up-take of radionuclides by plants, and hence, reduce the spreading of contamination through the food chain. (Introduction to Zeolite Science and Practice by Herman van Bekkum). Do not take any product containing zeolite if you are taking any prescription medication containing heavy metals, such as lithium, or containing platinum, which can be found in some cancer medications or Radiotherapy with chemotherapy check with your practitioner.
Medicinal mushrooms such as, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Matiake, Shitake and Chaga are all very important and well documented to enhance over-all immunity, protect against cellular changes and act as effective protectors against radiation poisoning as well as all manner of toxins that we ingest through out environment. Eatten raw (or in a yummy dish) or made into a tincture or syrup once or twice daily.
Rosemary –Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosmarinus has been revered for its protective qualities down through the ages. It’s now been found that two compounds in this wild Mediterranean plant, Carnosic and rosmarinic acids, naturally deter radiation poisoning.
In a study published this year in the British Journal of Radiology, February 2 edition, scientists inSpainreported finding that nothing fights radiation damage to micronuclei as well as rosemary. The fact that these compounds found in rosemary are fat soluble allows them to provide highly significant protective anti-mutagenic activity. Even the most powerful water-soluble antioxidants lack the capacity to protect against gamma ray induced damage.
In another study published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology, the generation of radiation induced cellular DNA damage to skin from free radicals was the focus. The researchers sought to demonstrate that rosmarinic acid from rosemary would act as a photo-protector both by acting as a scavenger of free radicals and as an inducer of the body’s own endogenous defense mechanisms. They found that formulation of toxic production was delayed by the use of rosmarinic acid, and the protection factor was 3.34 times greater than for other compounds studied, as measured in micronucleus testing.
Take 30 drops of rosemary tincture once to three times daily in a bit of water, depending on your level of exposure. For those primarily concerned about food exposure once a day will suffice. Rosemary infused oil, applied to the skin will also be effective. Use dried rosemary often in your cooking, and drink rosemary teas and infusions.
Liver nourishing roots such as American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and burdock, (Arctium lappa) are loaded with mucilaginous properties and assist with the elimination of toxins out of the body…they act as a kind of magnet, pulling these radioactive elements to them and helping you excrete them through the eliminative organs.
Additionally American Ginseng, is proven to be radioprotective; it specifically protects human DNA from damage due to radiation particle ingestion, protects human peripheral lymphocytes from radiation induced stress, prevents radiation induced illness and protects against Cesium-137 exposure. 30 drops of tincture in water, once to three times daily should be an effective dose of any of these roots. Adding them to soups and stir fries and making water-based decoctions and/or syrups are all effective ways of using them.
I found an additional resource that is well thought out and lays it all out on radiation exposure, from the ‘biggie’ event down to environmental exposure. It is a download that would be well worth printing off for future reference.
As a last thought, while what happened in Japan last year is most certainly a human and environmental disaster that we have not yet fully come to appreciate nor seen the end of yet, we do have the power to help ourselves, protect ourselves and loved ones from the ‘fall out’ of radiation from environmental sources to man-made disasters. We can’t avoid eating…and Fukashima is not the only source of radiation contamination in our food chain. It occurs naturally too, but there are ways to counter-act it and they are simple and effective and most of us are probably already doing things that help to protect ourselves against radiation damage without even thinking about it. Even afterChernobylthose who ate ‘contaminated’ foods that were high in anti-oxidants, potassium and magnesium showed less of an effect from the radiation than those who did not. In other words, they couldn’t avoid eating contaminated crops, but they still ‘pulled through’ with less ill effects and many never developed any problems at all except for those closest to the disaster with direct exposure. Pick a couple of ‘new’ things to add to your diet and sleep well tonight knowing you are protecting yourself and loved ones from radiation danger.
Addressing Post-SHFT Allergic Reactions
One of my greatest concerns even before a TEOTWAWKI event is an allergic reaction to bee or wasp stings. Myself and other members of my family have all had moderate to severe reactions to stings and while it would be nice to think that an EpiPen will be available, I am realistic. They are expensive, have an expiration date and require a prescription. I am all for having one ‘just in case’, but after moving out of the suburban rat trap a few years ago, I found myself living about 20 minutes from the nearest ER and the nearest rescue squad is about 10 miles from my home. I had to get educated about how to stop or slow down allergic reactions and quick since time is of the essence in an allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis). And besides that, you and I both need to know what to do just in case medical help is a long time coming or not all.
The following are JUST IN CASE measures! If you are experiencing a severe allergic reaction or anaphylactic shock and medical help is available…GET IT WITHOUT DELAY!
First thing first…what is an allergic reaction?
An allergy is an overreaction of the body’s own natural defense system that helps fight infections, the immune system. Normally the immune system protects the body from viruses and bacteria by producing antibodies to fight them. In an allergic reaction, the immune system starts fighting substances that are usually harmless (such as, pollen, a medicine, food substance or even venom) as though these substances were trying to attack the body by releasing histamines. When histamine is released, the body reacts with an allergic reaction. This overreaction can cause a rash, itchy eyes, a runny nose, trouble breathing, nausea, and diarrhea.
This over reaction of the immune system may not occur the first time you are exposed to an allergy-producing substance. For example, the first time you are stung by a bee, you may have only pain and redness from the sting. If you are stung again, you may have hives or trouble breathing. This is caused by the response of the immune system to the venom.
Allergic reactions can range from mild and annoying to sudden and life-threatening. Most allergic reactions are mild, and home treatment can relieve many of the symptoms. An allergic reaction is more serious when severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis occurs, when the allergic reaction causes other problems or when home treatment doesn’t help.
Start at the beginning. Since an allergy is an immune system response, it would make sense to be sure that your immune system is strong and working properly. Eating correctly, getting enough sleep, stress reduction and mental attitude all play a roll in a healthy immune system. Granted, in a SHTF scenario all of these may go out the door, but until then, do what you can and when it does hit the fan, do what you can to maintain as best as you can.
Herbs that can help strengthen the immune system are varied and many grow right in your backyard or can easily be grown.
Echinacea Purpurea is the most well known of the immune system strengthening herbs. I recommend drinking as a tea (1 cup daily) or using the tincture form for one week out of four weeks for general use. Do not use continuously as it can over stimulate the immune system and be rendered useless.
Garlic and local Honey. Yes, garlic and local honey…they are both considered ‘tonics’ to the immune system and maybe used daily. For garlic, fresh is the best. Crush and eat one clove daily. For honey, 1 Tablespoon daily.
Astragalus is a time honored TCM tonic for the immune system which can be grown in many regions of theUnited States. Use either as a decoction (boiled, strong tea) or in tincture form daily for one month on, one month off.
Peppermint. Yes, peppermint. This can be made into a tea for daily use and is readily grown through out the world.
Next, the immune system is linked with the nervous system. A calm and healthy nervous system will go a long way towards reducing the severity of an allergic response. A few herbs that are excellent for the nervous system are Avena sativa (Oats), Scutellaria lateriflora (Scullcap) and Turnera diffusa (Damiana). All of these may be eaten, taken as a tea or tincture and used daily or as needed.
Also, keeping your liver healthy so that it can function correctly is important and goes a long way to strengthening your immune system too.
Herbs that help in maintaining a healthy liver are widely varied and include:
Milk Thistle, Dandelion Root and Leaf, Artichoke Leaves and Astragalus. Dandelion root and artichoke are easily cultivated here in theUnited Statesand both maybe eaten without cooking. Dandelion makes a wonderful tea too and can be used daily.
The above herbs can be used alone or together for prevention or mitigation of an allergic reaction.
Okay, now you are doing prevention and being as careful as possible to avoid the allergen, but somehow, you have an allergic reaction. I will assume for the rest of this writing that you know what ‘caused’ the allergic reaction.
First thing to remember is that TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE in an allergic reaction and to remain as calm as possible. Be prepared to react quickly upon first symptom of an allergic reaction, especially if you are prone to anaphylactic shock. If you have an EpiPen use it FIRST!
Bees and Wasps and Other Bites
The first line of defense that has worked very well for me and my family has been homeopathic remedies followed by essential oils and herbs.
The following are appropriate remedies for stings and bites:
Aconitum napellus: This remedy can be helpful if a person feels fearful or panicked after being stung or bit. Cutting, stabbing, or burning pain may be felt, along with swelling, tingling, or numbness. Aconitum should be used immediately, while symptoms are intense, and can be followed by another remedy, as indicated.
Apis mellifica: If a bite or bee sting causes puffy, tender swelling that is pink or red and hot to the touch, this remedy may be helpful. The area stings and burns, and cold applications bring relief. (If a person is allergic to insect venom, especially bee-stings, Apis may help to reduce the swelling of the passages, given as first aid while on the way to emergency medical care.)
Cantharis: This remedy may be indicated if a bite or sting results in intensely burning, scalding pain. The area of inflammation is red, and blisters may develop.
Carbolicum acidum: This remedy is usually indicated in first-aid situations, while medical help is being sought. The person feels sick and weak, and may have trouble breathing, with a dark or reddish face that looks pale around the mouth.
Hypericum: This remedy is known for its soothing effect on injuries to nerve-rich body areas. It is also useful after puncture wounds, including bites and stings. Shooting pains or pains with numbness and tingling often are experienced when Hypericum is needed.
Ledum palustre: Swelling that extends some distance from the bite, often with a bluish tinge, a feeling of cold and numbness, and aching pain, suggests the use of this remedy. If the swollen part seems cold, but the application of ice or cold water brings relief, Ledum is strongly indicated.
Urtica urens: Reddish blotches that burn and itch intensely (like a nettle sting) after insect bites may be relieved with this remedy. It is also a useful remedy for hives that sting and itch.
For those who are known to have anaphylactic response to stings and bites the three main remedies that are a MUST have in a SHTF situation are: Aconitum napellus, Apis mellifica and Carbolicum acidum.
Use the Aconitum FIRST followed immediately by the Carbolicum (if indicated) and Apis. Take 4 pellets of the Aconitum immediately. Then take 4 pellets of the other remedies (both if need be but definitely the Apis!). You use a homeopathic remedy (and a tincture for that matter) by putting the pellets under the tongue and allowing to melt. Do NOT chew or swallow. Allow the remedy to work. If you seek it working significantly, then do not dose again. If you begin to see ‘improvement’ slow or no improvement, take another dose. Do not hesitate to take another dose if you are unsure!
Take these remedies as needed until the symptoms subside and the threat has passed, then begin to take the other remedies mentioned above to address the other possible reactions. I will typically take a homeopathic dose and then when symptoms begin to resume take another dose. You will have to pay attention to the signs and symptoms in order to know when to dose…again, if in doubt, dose. But if the symptoms have clearly gone away, do not dose. Often times you will see a ‘reduction’ in symptoms and then a ‘rebound’. PAY ATTENTION. The MINUTE you see a return of symptoms take another dose.
Regarding homeopathic remedies…I personally keep on hand the 200c, 6c and 30c remedy for emergency situations of these remedies and it is suggested that you use either the 6c or 30c but use whatever strength you have on hand.
Food Allergies- There is no straight forward homeopathic remedy that I know of for a food allergy reaction. However, it is my understanding that the same remedies used in a first aid situation for bee stings would also help in this situation given the symptoms may be the same. It goes without saying to AVOID the offending food. Bromelain, which is found in Pineapple has been found to be beneficial in reducing allergic reactions to food.
Of note is one ‘herbal’ remedy for an allergic reaction to food. Peach Tincture. Kiva Rose, a well-known and respected master herbalist uses the tincture of Peach to halt allergic reactions to food. I have yet to find it already made for purchase but it is simple to make yourself ‘just in case’ and you don’t have to kill the tree to make it.
Directions for making Peach Tincture:
After spring pruning take the twigs or branches of the peach tree that you would normally compost or burn and grab a glass jar. Cut the branches or twigs into small 1 inch pieces and place in the glass jar (at least half full). Pour 100 proof alcohol over this filling to the top of the jar. Place the lid on top and tighten. Place the jar with the mixture in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks. Be sure to shake this mixture in the jar 2-3 times a week and then remove the plant material after 6 weeks. To use at the beginning of a food allergy reaction (mild to moderate) take 1 tsp. of the tincture and hold, swishing in the mouth for at least 1 minute before swallowing. Use as needed until symptoms are gone.
The aftermath. Nothing is worse that getting over an allergic reaction. The pain, swelling, itching can be horrible. This is due to the histamine reaction and there are ways to address this and speed up the process as your body clears its system of the allergen.
An antihistamine is used to fight off the body’s natural chemical histamine and should be used as soon as any threats to life have been addressed and if possible, used at the sametime. Antihistamine herbs fight off histamine and stop the allergic reaction from continuing.
Reishi (a type of mushroom)
If you have a known allergy it may be well worth it to incorporate these herbs into your diet. Basil, ginger, and oregano can easily be incorporated into your diet and grown. Echinacea, chamomile, stinging nettle and plantain can also be grown or wild crafted. Echinacea, chamomile and stinging nettle can be taken as a tea or tincture as needed to fight off a histamine response. Plantain is often used directly on the site of the sting or bite to counteract the allergen.
In any case, 1 cup of tea as needed to control the histamine response. 60-100 drops of the tincture as needed OR if you have the herb in pill form (best for overnight use) take up to 6 capsules at one time.
Plantain can be found growing wild in waste areas. To use simply pick, chew and then place the chewed material directly on the site of the bite/sting to help reduce histamines.
You may also use Tea Tree or Lavender essential oil to help with the allergic reaction. Especially for stinging, swelling and pain. I have found that liberal use of Tea Tree essential oil (not diluted) on the affected area is most helpful for ‘hot’ skin and lavender essential oil is best for ‘cold’ skin…allow to dry and repeat as needed.
Natural ephedrine….just in case. While certainly nothing will replace the EpiPen there is one plant/shrub that contains natural ephedrine that can be grown here in theUSand is often found in the wild in the western areas of theUnited States. Mormon Tea. It might be worth a shot to have on hand ‘just in case’ to deliver a shot of ephedrine into your system. I know first hand its usefulness in bronchitis and in helping to control asthma symptoms. You would need to either have the tincture available for immediate use (use 1tsp, hold in mouth, swish around for 1 minute and then swallow) or the plant material to make a strong tea. If you use the tincture you cannot use a homeopathic for at least 20 minutes as the alcohol will destroy the homeopathic.
THESE ALL WORK! Both my husband and I have extremely bad reactions to bee and wasp stings and using these have allowed us to reduce the allergic response enough to treat at home. The key is having these on hand for IMMEDIATE USE! Homeopathic remedies do not go bad when stored correctly and having these on hand might just save your life or someone else’s while you either wait on the ambulance, get to the doctors office or even tough it out yourself. While anaphylactic shock is extremely serious I would personally rather try something than do nothing and if you don’t have this type of reaction you might just save yourself some pain and misery by using this information. Use your brain here, severe allergic reactions are no joke and if you can, I always recommend to get professional help if at all possible in life threatening situations.
God bless and good luck!
ACHOO! Herbs for Colds and Flu!
© Kelli Armes, Herbalist
The best medicine is preventive medicine, but if/when you do come down with a cold or flu you may want to know about some herbs that could be helpful! These are herbs you may want to consider planting in your garden or allow to grow wild if they already grow near you! (Cold and Flu are different dis-eases, but since everyone lumps them in together, I will try to address both here)
2 ounces of sugar will suppress your immune system for 4 hours! Stay away from sugar(s) if you can.
Get plenty of rest! Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system! Eat real food! (not food like substances).
Stress: Keep your stress levels down and add adaptogenic herbs if you are in a high stress lifestyle.
Cold Verses Flu:
It is important to remember that a cold is (in most cases) a benign harmless infection, but Influenza is a potential fatal disease! It is responsible for deaths in the US especially among those with compromised immune system. It is important to know the difference so you can deal with them properly (if a person is going downhill and has the flu you may need to get medical attention!) Common cold can be caused by several different viruses, while the flu is cause by the Influenza virus.
Hot Teas and Soups! It is not an ole wives tale, hot tea, and soups are good for you when you are feeling chilled! Inhale your hot tea fumes while you sip! Eat hot soups (chicken soup is the folk remedy for a cold or flu! )
During a fever it is best to have warm or room temperature liquids (avoid any sugary drinks like juices, pop, etc.) drink herbal teas, have soups, room temperature Filtered water avoid heavy foods. Fast on foods (continue with liquids) failure to fast will lengthen recovery time. Keep your ‘patient’ in bed and do not overmedicate them simply support the body in doing what it needs to do!
I recommend against taking cold medicine. Cold medicine can actually prolong the cold by suppressing the antibodies and can actually (according to studies) make your cold worse (it can drive it deeper into your system)
Steam inhalations are great at the onset of a cold or flu (or prevention) you can add a little rosemary essential oil, eucalyptus, Peppermint oil, Juniper essential oil or thyme essential oil (use small amounts of an essential oil and only those you know you tolerate). Vaporizer is a great item to have on hand.
Flu-Rest is essential (going back to work too soon if you feel better, can make you susceptible to worsening symptoms or even possibly getting pneumonia).
Neti pot- use a salt solution to rinse the nasal passages to kill microorganism (you can add a few drops of ethically wildcrafted Goldenseal to your neti pot). Breathing in a little vinegar in warm water can also help.
Wet sock therapy is great for colds or bronchitis (not recommended when you have a fever, diabetes, or poor circulation)
Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita) Very easy plant to grow (propagates by rhizomes) Used for fevers, colds, flu, digestive upset. Antibacterial, anti-tussive. Chop up stem and leaf and in a cup of water and use as a steam inhalation. A little peppermint essential oil in vinegar makes a great disinfectant. Generally Leaf is used.
Energetics: spicy, bitter, and slightly cool
Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water on a heaped tsp of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink as desired.
Tincture: Take 1-2ml 3 times a day.
Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum). The name comes from ‘break bone fever’ a mosquito borne illness. Also was used for malaria, cholera, typhoid (any illness that produced a fever). This herb was used during the 1918 Spanish Flu and was very effective. The flower is the part used. Great for viral infections (combines well with elder) colds, flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Great for lingering viral infections.
Energetics: Bitter, pungent, astringent, cold and dry
Dosage: For an infusion, use 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep 10-20 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day. Add sugar or honey and lemon to improve taste.
For tinctures, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to 3 times a day. Should not be given to children under age 2. Use small doses in tea (1-3 ounces at a time every few hours until desired effect).
Elder (Sambucus Nigra): Berries and flowers are used. Some herbalists use the flowers and berries interchangeably, and some use the berry syrup for preventive (colds and flu) and other viral infections. Flowers are great for flu treatment, fevers lung and sinus issues. Studies have shown that elder has stopped mutating flu virus and show to kill the virus.
Energetics: bitter, drying, cool, slightly sweet
Dosages: For children (1-6 years of age) 1 teaspoon (5ml) per day and can be increased to 1.5-2 teaspoons (10ml) per day, for use during winter months. For adults the recommended dose is 2 teaspoons (10ml) per day. Other forms can be dosed as follows: Dried flowers can be used as an infusion for adults, 3 to 5 grams, three times daily. Liquid Extract, for adults, use 1:1 in 25% alcohol, (3 to 5 ml) three times daily
Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) A weed growing freely in this area, touted at the ‘smart blood herb’ because it knows when to stop bleeding, yet can also help break up blood like in bruises. it is also used to treat fevers and help them to be more productive, circulation issues, hypertension, diarrhea and female issues.
Energetics: bitter, spicy, neutral
Dosages: 1 teaspoon infused as a tea three times daily. Tincture: 1-2 ml three times daily
Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris). Antibacterial, antiviral, great for lung congestion, coughs, flu, COPD, bronchitis, and allergic rhinitis. Great to coughs especially in tea form where you can get the aromatics of the plant. Do not use the kind in your spice cabinet, they are generally very old. Get a supply from an herb store.
Energetics: Spicy and warm
Dosages: Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water on 2 tsp of the dried herb and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 3 times a day. Tincture: take 2-4ml 3 times a day.
Flu remedy recipe: 1 part peppermint; 1 part yarrow; 1 part boneset; 1 part elder flower; Mix equal part tinctures and take 1-2 ml 3 times daily.
Note: I like to start with small dosages, and if they work I do not use the ‘recommended dosage’, it is your choice, use your judgment, but remember more is not always better, sometimes less is more! None of the information is designed to diagnose treat, or cure any disease. Always seek medical attention when needed!
Thanks to the people I have studied with (formally or informally) for this giving me the knowledge to write this article (for their wisdom, knowledge and kindness). They are (in no particular order): Demetria Clark, Paul Bergner, David Winston, Kiva Rose, Jim McDonald, Susun Weed and www.herbmentor.com ( Recipe and dosages from herbalpedia). There are a lot of herbs/Alternative things you can use, but these plants are the ones I chose because most of these plants grow wild in my area or are easily cultivated! The above information has been gleaned from listening to seminars, Audio courses, taking formal courses. conferences, Webinars, and my own personal research and experiences. Thanks!
Kelli Armes aka Maw-Maw Kelli! I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook Maw-Maw Kelli (Herb classes and More)!
Its that time of the year, the weather is getting colder and its time for colds, coughs, allergies and the flu to make its appearance. What is it? What are the signs and symptoms? What do you have? How can you improve your chances of NOT catching something? And what do you do IF you or a loved one starts to feel something isn’t right?
I have put this information together for ease of reading and understanding and all information is taken directly from WebMd.
In this first part of Colds, Flu, Coughs, Allergies we will discuss what the symptoms/signs are of some the most common upper respiratory ailments are. Part 2 will have prevention tips and suggestions and Part 3 will address what to do ‘just in case’ you get a cold or the flu and finally, we will discuss, in Part 4 what complications may arise from the common cold or flu. No matter if its an average day when you get sick or the end of the world as you know it, we got you covered to help yourself, just in case.
Colds usually begin abruptly with a sore throat followed by symptoms such as clear, watery nasal drainage; sneezing; fatigue; and sometimes a low-grade fever (below 101 degrees F). Postnasal drip causes the sore throat and cough that accompany colds.
For the first few days of a cold, your nose drips with watery nasal secretions. Later, these secretions may become thicker and darker. (Dark mucus with a cold virus does not necessarily mean that you have developed a bacterial infection, so don’t beg your doctor for an antibiotic.)
A mild cough is a common cold symptom. The cough won’t get much worse, but this common cold symptom is likely to last into the second week of your cold. If you suffer with asthma or other lung problem, a cold may make it worse. If you are coughing up dark mucus — or if you are feeling a lot of distress in the lower parts of your lungs — you may have a bacterial infection. It’s a good idea to touch base with your doctor to find out if you need to be seen.
Usually, there is no fever with common cold symptoms. In fact, fever and more severe symptoms may indicate that you have the flu and not a cold.
Common cold symptoms usually start between one and three days after you are infected by a cold virus. Typically, they last for about three to seven days. At that point, the worst is over, but you may feel congested for a week or more. During the first three days that you have common cold symptoms, you are contagious. This means you can pass the cold virus to those you come in contact with.
If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.
Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or a sinus infection. If your cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor to see if you have developed an allergy or sinusitis.
Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Swine flu in particular is also associated with vomiting and diarrhea.
Most flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but it’s not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more.
How do you know if you have flu or cold symptoms? Take your temperature, say many experts. Flu symptoms often mimic cold symptoms with nasal congestion, cough, aches, and malaise. But a common cold rarely has symptoms of fever above 101 degrees F. With flu symptoms, you will probably have a fever initially with the flu virus and you will feel miserable. Body and muscle aches are also more common with the flu. This table can help determine if you have cold or flu symptoms.
|Fever||Sometimes, usually mild||Usual; higher (100-102 F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days|
|General Aches, Pains||Slight||Usual; often severe|
|Fatigue, Weakness||Sometimes||Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks|
|Extreme Exhaustion||Never||Usual; at the beginning of the illness|
|Chest Discomfort, Cough||Mild to moderate; hacking cough||Common; can become severe|
Other great questions to ask yourself or your child to figure out what ‘it’ is:
|Flu vs. Colds: A Guide to Symptoms|
|Was the onset of illness …||sudden?||slow?|
|Do you or your child have a …||high fever?||no (or mild) fever?|
|Is you or your child’s exhaustion level …||severe?||mild?|
|Is you or your child’s head …||achy?||headache-free?|
|Is you or your child’s appetite …||decreased?||normal?|
|Are you or your child’s muscles …||achy?||fine?|
|Do you or your child have …||chills?||no chills?|
Colds and flues are caused by hundreds of different viruses. When one of these viruses gets into your body, your immune system attacks. Some of the effects of this immune response are the classic symptoms of a cold, such as congestion and coughing. With the flu, you will often have the classic symptom of body aches and fever.
The germs that cause colds and flues are contagious. You can pick them up when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or shakes hands with you. After a couple of weeks, at the most (with the flu its just days), your immune system fights off the virus and you stop having symptoms.
Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. For some reason, your body mistakes harmless substances — such as mold or pollen — for germs and attacks them. Your body releases chemicals such as histamine, just as it does when fighting a cold. This can cause swelling in your nasal passages, a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Allergies are not contagious, although some people may inherit a tendency to develop them.
Differences Between Colds and Allergies
Days to months — as long as you are exposed to the allergen
Time of Year
Most often in the winter, but possible at any time
Any time of the year — although the appearance of some allergens are seasonal
Onset of symptoms
Symptoms take a few days to appear after infection with the virus.
Symptoms can begin immediately after exposure to the allergen
Itchy, watery eyes
Runny or stuffy nose
Often; usually yellow mucus
Often; usually clear mucus
Although there are some differences, cold and allergy symptoms overlap quite a bit. The most important difference is that colds don’t last longer than 14 days. If you still have symptoms after two weeks, these may be allergy symptoms.
In the next part of this series, Cold? Flu? Allergies? we will discuss common ways to prevent ‘catching’ a cold, flu or having allergy symptoms.
Of concern when confronting the idea of a severe SHTF situation or TEOTWAWKI is the loss of access to antibiotics. Let’s face it, without them, we are susceptible to a whole host of unpleasant to extremely uncomfortable, if not life threatening situations. There is much discussion in some circles that advocate the stockpiling of modern antibiotics, which, if you can do so legally and safely, then by all means have at it. But you will need the knowledge to know when and how to use them, what they work on and dosage information and to also be aware that some people are deathly allergic to them too (not to mention the side-effects that can come with them). On the otherhand, you can also ‘stockpile’ herbs that are antibiotical in their nature. Again, you will need to know basic usage and dosage and the nice thing about herbs is that you can seal them in mylar, freeze them, tincture them yourself or even wildcraft them going forward in the event of long-term disruption. Personally I prefer to go the herbal route as a first line of defense, finding herbs in many cases to be more effective, with little or no side-effects and definitely much cheaper. So here goes my favorite ‘list’ of herbalbiotics that I keep on hand in tincture and loose dried herb form.
While this not a complete description of the particular herbalbiotic, this will definitely give you a good idea of where to start and the basics. Next time you get a sinus infection or a cut gets infected, why not try an herbal remedy first so that you can begin to understand the power of herbs in helping beat infections.
Not all herbalbiotics are used for the same type of infection. Each herbalbioitc helps with infections of a particular nature dealing with a particular body system. Do your research and know what to use and when to use it otherwise you are wasting the herb. Also, note that with most infection it is wise to also use at the sametime a blood purifier to help remove the toxins and infection from the body…see article on Blood Purifiers (coming soon!). It is also helpful to use an immune system stimulator at the onset of any infection…see article on Immune System Stimulators (coming soon!)
And lastly- Like modern antibiotic or antivirals, use your preferred herbalbioitc for a minimum of 7 days, and preferably for 10 days, everyday. If you stop taking it as soon as you feel better, your problem may come back.
Goldenseal- (or substitute Oregon Grape Root, it is used the exact same way)
Goldenseal is one of the go-to-it, heavy hitters in the herbal world and as such, in the past few years it has been over harvested in the wild. While I include it here on the list and believe that is a very important ‘must’ have, I caution you to find a good source that is organically farm raised instead of wild collected for commercial purposes. You do not necessarily need to purchase the root either, I have found that the leave or ‘tops’ can be just as effective as the root. I encourage you, if you can, to include this in the list of herbs that you cultivate for yourself.
Think mucous and membranes, infections that cause the production of copious amounts of mucous, pus or open wounds. Or any organ of the body that has a membrane such as the eye or uterus. Where ‘heat’ is present.
Sinus Infections and sinusitis where the mucous (or snot) is green or yellow and infection is suspected.
Ulcers of the skin (which is a membrane) including canker sores and herpes.
Thrush (think mucous like coating) and certain types of Strep.
Upper Respiratory Infections where there is much mucus present and coughed up.
Infected gums and related mouth infections.
Female reproductive infections including uterine infections (or other infections that cause a mucous to occur such as yeast infections).
Diarrhea due to pathogens (bacterial infections including E.Coli)
Ear infections due to bacteria
Infections of the urinary system including the bladder and UTI’s (think membrane wall).
Also good for all types of skin ‘infections’ including psoriasis, measles and chicken pox (as a wash to prevent infection)
How to Use/Applications: (Be sure to see “How to Make A…”)
TINCTURE –Goldenseal tincture can be used at doses of 0.5 – 2 ml 3 times daily for the treatment of any type of mucous condition, taking more than this can cause a laxative effect! The tincture should be used to treat excess nasal mucus and lung mucus; it can be used to treat gastroenteritis and diarrhea, and excess vaginal discharge and menstrual bleeding in women. May also be used in conjunction with Echinacea for preventing systemic body infections from surgery and wounds and sepsis.
WASH –Goldenseal maybe used as a herbal wash for bathing irritant skin inflammations, including eczema/psoriasis and measles, smallpox and chickenpox or other skin inflammation issues to help prevent infection and heal the sores. A wash may also be used in preventing infections in other types of open wounds (ie cuts, scrapes, gunshot wounds). If you will be using a wash for invasive wounds, be sure to boil the water and then add the tincture, making sure that the water remains sterile/clean.
MOUTHWASH/GARGLE – Two to three ml of goldenseal tincture in ½ cup of lukewarm water for gum disease, sore throats, mouth ulcers, and mucous conditions in the mouth.
DOUCHE – Goldenseal tincture can be diluted using 2 – 3 ml water, and the solution can be used as a douche for treating excess vaginal discharges and several types of yeast infections in the vaginal area.
CAPSULES – Goldenseal herbal capsules can be used at doses of a single 200 mg (00) capsule, 3 times daily, this dosage can be used to treat excessive phlegm and gastric or different types of respiratory infections.
EARDROPS – Herbal goldenseal eardrops can be used for treating ear infections, the eardrop solution is made by mixing ten ml of the goldenseal tincture in a hundred ml of water – this solution can be dripped into the affected ear in cases of serious otitis media and in cases of blocked ears.
DRIED POWDER- The loose powder of Goldenseal may be used to treat the sores due to type I and II herpes. A small amount of powder applied directly on location of the sore and then rubbed in, 3 times daily.
Do NOT use Goldenseal if PREGNANT.
Do NOT use Goldenseal for more than 2 weeks at a time. A break of at least 2 weeks in between usage is indicated before starting use again.
Overuse can harm the gastrointestinal tract. Follow instructions carefully.
USE CAUTIOUSLY IN DIABETICS as it may lower blood sugar levels
Strep and Staph Infections
Can help those with suppressed immune system:
chronic fatigue, herpes, HIV, lupus
Anthrax of the Skin possible inhalation and gastro help too
How to Use/Applications:
TINCTURE- 2-5 ml 3 times daily. The tincture of Usnea is best used for internal problems such as colds, Lupus, Bronchitis, etc.
DOUCHE- 5ml of tincture in 2-3 ml of water, use daily for up to 10 days.
SALVE- best to use a salve of Usnea for external infections except for burns.
WASH-either 5ml of tincture in ½ cup of warm water or make infusion as a wash for burns.
INFUSION- may make infusion for internal use…1 cup 3 times daily
Best Uses of:
This is the go-to herbalbiotic for Urinary Tract infections/problems.
Kidney and Bladder Infections
Gout (Uric Acid problems)
Some action for all mucous membrane infections.
How to Use/Applications:
REMEDIAL TEA-Two step process-
1st: soak handful of freshly plucked leaves in some brandy, these leaves must be allowed to stay and infuse into the brandy and kept covered for a week
2nd:Boil 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped or cut bearberry leaves in 1 cup of water for 20 minutes (gently).
After this has been done (boiled and cooled) add a teaspoon of the brandy soaked bearberry infusion to each cup of tea and drink it lukewarm as and when needed. (up to 6 times daily)
Soak herb overnight (12-24 hours) to reduce tannin levels.
3 tablespoons of herb goes into 1 quart boiling water. Bring to a gentle boil and then reduce heat to simmering and cover. Allow to sit covered at simmering for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit until ‘warm’. Strain and drink one cup 3 times per day.
Tincture- 5 ml 3 times a day for no more than 10 days.
Capsules- 250-500 mg 3 times a day for no more than 10 days.
Taking for too long of a time period may result in overdose symptoms.
To boost maximum benefit of Uva-ursi it is also recommended to make a mixture of baking soda and water (6-8 grams added to the water) daily. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU ARE ON BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION!!
MAY INDUCE MILD NAUSEA IN SOME PEOPLE
AVOID USE IN THOSE WITH CHRONIC KIDNEY INFLAMMATION!!
AVOID USE DURING PREGNANCY
Avoid eating foods such as sauerkraut, the vitamin C, and fruits or fruit juices and all similar products that are rich in acids – these reduce the effectiveness of bearberry.
Almost for anything that is considered an infection, may use as a preventative.
Shows great promise against MRSA and other drug resistant bacteria.
It is broad spectrum and as early as 1987 it was noted for its antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiprotozoan and antiviral effects.
Below is a partial list of that garlic can help fight against:
Herpes simplex virus type 1
Herpes simplex virus type 2
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Human rhinovirus type 2
Parainfluenza virus type 3
Vesicular stomatitis virus
How to Use/Applications:
To use garlic as an antibiotic take it internally and, if appropriate, apply it directly to an infection. For internal use, try one of the following forms using 1-2 (4 grams) of cloves at a time (approximately 1-2 tsp of minced garlic) 3 times daily or in a bad or acute situation take every 3 hours until symptoms begin to subside and then extend out the time in one hour increments until you are taking every 8 hours. Or if you choose to use and store commercially prepared garlic oil 250mg 3 times daily should work also but again, you may take (if it doesn’t cause you gastro distress) every 2 hrs in the beginning for no more than 2 days. Take for at least 7 days for medicinal purposes. If using as a preventative take 1 500mg garlic oil capsule daily or 1-2 crush/minced cloves daily. If using in cooking, larger amounts will be needed in order to obtain protective and medicinal results as cooking destroys some of the constituents of the garlic that are helpful.
Garlic vinegar. 2-3 cloves crushed/minced to 1/3 cup of vinegar, strain take all 3 times daily.
Garlic honey. 2-3 cloves to 1/3 cup of honey…take use 2 tsp every 2-4 hours as needed.
(Do not use honey in children under the age of 1 and be sure you know where the honey came from!)
For external application, use caution putting crushed garlic directly against the skin, because it can cause burns. Here are some forms you can use for direct application of garlic as an antibiotic:
Blend up three cloves of garlic in a cup of water and apply as a wash. Make a larger amount of this mixture and use it as a sitz bath or foot bath for infections of the feet or pelvic area.
Crush 1 medium garlic clove, and dilute the juice with 1/3 cup of water. Use it as nose drops or a gargle.
Some conditions that can be effectively treated with garlic:
Note: Crushed garlic applied directly to the skin can cause burns, dilute!
Also, never take garlic on an empty stomach, this can cause unpleasant distress.
Bites and Stings Apply crushed and moistened garlic directly to the bite or sting
Bronchitis Use raw garlic in one of the forms listed above
Candida infection Use both internal and external applications if appropriate
Common Cold Take internally
Diarrhea and Dysentery Take internally
Ear Infections Soak crushed garlic in oil, and apply the oil directly to the ear.
Fungal Infections Apply garlic oil directly, blend up garlic in warm water to make a soak or compress. Also take internally.
Herpes Take fresh garlic orally, and apply garlic blended in a little water directly to the sore.
Infections Take garlic internally and apply directly to an infected wound.
Influenza Take internally at the first threat of exposure.
Parasites Blend three cloves in a palatable medium and take internally, three times a day, for a total of nine cloves.
Vaginal Infection Use a douche, with three garlic cloves blended in a quart of water. Strain through cheesecloth first to remove the solid matter.
DO NOT USE IF ON BLOOD THINNERS garlic is an anti-coagulant. And do not use if using other herbs with blood thinning properties.
DO NOT USE GARLIC POST SURGERY
USE CAUTIOUSLY IN DIABETICS as it may lower blood sugar levels
Do not take garlic in large medicinal amounts and use acetaminophen at the sametime.
Remember that garlic is strong medicine and like modern antibiotics, it may cause upset in the intestines…be sure after treatment to eat yogurt or something that will help re-establish the GI tract flora.
Honey – honey is a time honored antibiotic, especially for infections of the skin!
Yeast infections (as a douche)
Eczema and psoriasis
Other wounds of the skin
Conjunctivitis (as a lotion)
Super Bugs (MRSA comes to mind)
How to Use/Applications:
SALVE- use honey as a natural salve and apply as needed (cleaning wound in between) and cover when possible.
WASH/DOUCHE- 1 part honey to 3 parts water and dissovlve together and apply on location as needed.
LOTION- dissolve equal parts of honey and water. For using in cases of conjunctivitis apply carefully and gently and keep the eyes closed while it is on.
You wouldn’t think of this but Calendula is excellent for minor skin infections, kinda like Neosporin el’natural!
Low level internal infections
Ulcers (both internal and external)
How to Use/Applications:
TEA : Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 tsp. of dried calendula petals. Steep for 10 min, then strain. Drink 2-3 cups of warm tea daily.
WOUND DRESSING: Make a compress pf calendula tea (above) and apply to the affected area. (this is best method for external use)
GARGLE: Unless your doctor directs otherwise, use calendula tea as a gargle or rinse to relieve inflammation in the mouth or throat. Gargle with warm tea several times a day.
OINTMENT: This can be bought in stores or prepared at home by mixing a few drops of calendula oil with skin lotion. Apply it to cuts and scrapes and when put into zinc oxide ointment works to help heal diaper rash.
DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT OR HAVE HAY FEVER
So, this is it folks! Get your herbs together and be prepared to help yourself in case you need it! You may be asking, where is Echinacea? I thought that was an antibiotic…well, technically it is an immune stimulator with some antibiotic and antiviral properties, but its main use is as an immune stimulator which is why you will see it paired with herbalbiotics…get’em coming both ways!
Usnea and Goldenseal are the heavy hitters and very versatile in their nature. Bearberry is excellent for the urinary system and Garlic is good for broad spectrum, but there are many cautions for using it in medicinal amounts. Honey and Calendula are great for the skin. Honey and Usnea are indicated for super bugs (though garlic and goldenseal may also work).
Like modern antibiotic or antivirals, use your preferred herbalbioitc for a minimum of 7 days, and preferably for 10 days, everyday. If you stop taking it as soon as you feel better, your problem may come back.
An alternative to Goldenseal would be Oregon Grape Root and maybe used the same way.
Many preppers and survivalists focus on the beans and bullets aspect of being prepared. They often just say ‘get a good first aid kit’ and call it good. Some go so far as to say get medical equipment and stockpile antibiotics, there are many ideas about what a ‘good’ kit is and list upon lists of what you will need in the event you are ‘forced’ to go it alone in taking care of your own healthcare needs…and then their is the camp that goes so far as to get the training or finds doctors and nurses to include in their ‘group’ But let’s face it, the fact is this: most of us wouldn’t know what the heck to do with most modern medical supplies or medicine or how to propperly use anything beyond a basic bandaid…even if we could our hands on more than the basic band aid and topical cream. Training can be expensive and/or inconvient and hard to come by and sometimes, doing things we have no idea about is more dangerous than doing nothing at all. Most doctors and nurses I know (including my own family) are not preparedness fans let alone self-help types, instead, they rely upon the system and just can’t grasp the idea that being prepared beyond 3-7 days is something worth while. Yes, there are professionals out there who ‘believe’ but again, let’s face it, most don’t.
I am all for having a good first aid kit and modern medical supplies that I am comfortable using, I am also a big one on avoiding doctors and modern medical intervention whenever possible (and my family is FULL of doctors and nurses!) A lot of my attitude, admittedly, comes from years of not having medical insurance and not exactly being made of money. I was ‘forced’ into finding alternatives in caring for my health needs and just how much I can indeed handle myself. Over the years, I have become pretty well versed on caring for myself, family and friends and have found that alternatives such as herbalism, homeopathy and essential oils can, when used correctly be just as effective if not more so than modern medicine. I fully recognize that there are limitations to these alternatives and when necessary seek out modern medical intervention, but I have also come to recognize that many of our most basic healthcare needs can be met at home and through the use of alternatives.
There are basic ‘rules of the road’ to taking care of yourself and family that are actually easy to follow if you dare to try it. It’s a mind set mostly, and I hope that you something useful from them that will help you get ready for whatever may come-
Simple rules of the road for taking control of your health needs:
Sanitation/Hygiene- this should be a no-brainer but many infections are spread through bad hygiene habits. Keep your hands clean (either the hand sanitizers or good hand washing with soap and water…and if all else fails, use a baby wipe!) Keep all food handling and prep areas clean. If someone is sick, keep them isolated. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have come home from school sick or I have gotten sick because someone came to school or work sick when they should have stayed home. Make sure you are as clean as possible with your own body and if you get a cut or scrape…clean it asap! Same goes for bites and other wounds…simple, through cleaning of wounds, bites, hands and surfaces goes a long, long way to preventing infections and make sure after helping someone who does have an infection that you wash your hand BEFORE AND AFTER helping them…and by the way…keep your hand out of your mouth, nose and eyes. And for goodness sakes, after using the bathroom or changing a diaper or cleaning up vomit, clean up! Basic stuff folks, but extremely important to prevent infections and disease and in a situation where you are mostly or completely on your own, this ‘simple’ mindset/action could be a life saver.
Be Vigilant and Pay Attention- this is another no-brainer, but I know that many of us get so caught up in what is going on around us that we simply don’t pay attention to our bodies or our children’s behavior (most children will not ‘complain’ or the complaint is very vague). Pay attention to how you feel physically…if you feel warm (without a good reason) or there is pain somewhere, take the time to check it out. If your children are whiny for no reason take the time to find out why. If you child is listless or flushed, take the time to figure out why. If you are tired for no ‘reason’ take the time to figure out why. If there is a little red around a wound or any heat around an area, take the time to take care of it. My point is this, in many instances the body lets you know one way or the other that something is up and the sooner you pay attention to your body and what it is trying to tell you, the better off you will be and the sooner you can do something about it. Time is of the Essence- this goes hand in hand with being vigilant and paying attention…the faster you start doing something about the issue, the less likely it will turn into a life threatening situation. This also goes to preventing things from happening…don’t put off doing what you need to do toady in order to help yourself, from taking care of that cut to fixing that fence or filling up the gas tank…be prepared! Don’t let it go ‘until’, in a SHTF situation, letting it ‘go’ might get you dead…help could be forever in coming, far away or non-existent, so get on it immediately. And one last thing on this subject of being vigilant and paying attention- keep your eye on what is going on around you health wise…lots of coughing? fevers? there might be a time that you being watchful and mindful of your ‘health’ surroundings could save your life (think pandemic) or at the very least, keep you from getting sick yourself.
Have the Knowledge and Experience Beforehand to Help Yourself- it does no good if you stock up on supplies, medicines, herbals, homeopathics and books if you don’t know how to use them, aren’t comfortable using them and don’t know where to find the information in those books that you have spent so much money on when you need it…take the time now to try simple remedies and simple self-medicating/self-help techniques so that you are familiar with them and comfortable in handling a non-emergency situation on your own. After all, if it doesn’t work, you still have plan B…intervention of your doctor (at least for now). Trying to learn and practice self-help under stressful situations is a disaster waiting to happen. Do it NOW so that you feel confident and sure of yourself…but also note this… Its all well and good to think, ‘well, if the SHTF I will just grow my own medicine’ or ‘I have the book on that! I will be okay!’…many herbal plants need to be grown for several years before they can used. Did you know the best time to harvest? To plant? How to identify them in the wild? Dosage? How to actually use them? Tinctures take 6 weeks or more to make and teas are used for one thing, decoctions for another and tinctures…well, they can be used in a million and one ways…also, will you even try to make your own? Or stock up on pre-made remedies and plants? homeopathic remedies can actually produce symptoms (called a proving) if they are not the correct remedy and some essential oils (just like herbs) can interact with pharmaceuticals, and some essential oils are caustic when used undiluted on the skin or membranes and some oils are best used without dilution…do you know what to do in case an oil gets in your eye or someplace else it doesn’t belong? How to store the herbs, homeopathics and oils? see, you need the knowledge, practice and experience now, before you really need it, so that in a bad situation you are ready to take care of yourself without undue stress. Doctors and nurses trained for years, why not you? Self-care is learned through practice, practice, practice and not just reading about it once.
Be Persistent and Committed! I will be the first to admit that much of the self-help outside of modern medicine is tedious and time consuming and it is definitely not like having to remember to pop a pill once a day and it may not necessary repress symptoms while it is solving the issue at hand. It takes time, effort and a commitment to helping yourself get better without outside intervention in order to make it ‘work’. Often, self-reliance in taking care of your own healthcare matters means doing more than ‘taking’ something. It takes a willingness to take care of yourself and that may mean not doing it all, nor expecting a miracle to happen over night. It may mean that you have to stop what you are doing that seems so important at that moment and doing several things in order to stop a problem before it becomes a problem. Even modern docs now recognize that lifestyle changes, eating habits and exercise patterns are better at preventing many health problems than taking a pill and that just ‘taking’ something often doesn’t ‘cure’ the problem. Be patient, follow instructions to the T, including how much (more is definitely NOT better) and how often to do or take something. Just like most modern medicines that we use today, if not taken correctly it can either harm or not help at all…both of which are not good. Commitment yourself to being self-reliant, learning and being persistent and you will be in good shape for what may come.
Do Not Get Overwhelmed- for many who were raised to be dependant upon the system for their every need in their well-being, it can be scary to break away and become more self-reliant in taking care of their own needs. It can be a daunting task when you first begin to investigate or even begin to take care of yourself and healthcare needs. But by taking it one-step at a time, one thing at a time, one need at a time, and making ‘easy does it’ a part of your mindset you will soon be amazed at just how much you can be in control of your healthcare needs.
Just like most other aspects of being prepared and prepped, you don’t have to do it all at one time and remember, you are not alone…ask for help and make friends who know more than you about it and just do it, make it apart of your preparedness lifestyle and in the end, even if it doesn’t hit the fan and the world suddenly does an about face and everything comes up roses, you will be better for taking control of your own health and well-being.
And lastly, recognize that sometimes you won’t be able to take care of yourself and you might need to ask for help.
PS…if you have a life threatening illness already, by all means necessary, try to stock up on your medication and supplies that you need to take care of yourself…sometimes there is a need for modern medicine…but I also encourage you to do a bit of research and see what else might help you to reduce your dependence upon modern meds. NEVER ever stop taking your medication and switch over to an alternative without the help of your doctor…I love my alternatives but am wise enough to know their limitations.
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