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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Creating “The Plan” – Health/Medical – Part #1

Believe it or not, this part of “The Plan” is often minimized in importance or perhaps even overlooked entirely.  Take it from me; don’t underestimate the importance of having a plan dealing with health and medical issues.  Now let’s get started!

I am going to carve up this section of “The Plan” into the following key components that will be spread out over several BLOG postings:

  • Hygiene
  • Sanitation
  • General Health and Nutrition
  • Health Supplies
  • Medical Supplies
  • First Aid and Common Symptoms

Hygiene – Whenever one is faced with a survival situation; often one of the first things neglected is proper hygiene.  Why should you care about proper hygiene when you are in “survival mode”?  Simple; without proper hygiene your chances for infection from a whole assortment of nasty bacteria, fungi and viruses can increase dramatically.  When you are healthy, eating and sleeping well and in a non-stressed state-of-mind your body can fight off infection much easier.  However, once your body is working overtime in a survival situation even the most common or mild forms of bacteria, fungi and/or viruses can quickly take hold and spread throughout your entire body and compromise your immune system and possibly be spread to others including your loved ones.  Therefore, it is imperative to maintain the highest level of hygiene you possibly can manage under the circumstances.  This includes both cleaning your fully body from head to toes (everything in-between too), as well as, proper dental hygiene since cavities, weakened enamel (leading to rotting or broken teeth), gum disease, etc… may slow you down or even stop you from surviving long-term.  Please don’t underestimate the importance of proper hygiene.
Sanitation – This is another one of those “left to the last minute” type issues.  Without proper sanitation, harmful bacteria can grow and spread and even with proper hygiene you will run the risk of disease and infections (not good); not to mention it just is really unpleasant to be around.  Proper waste disposal is very important in survival situations.  If you are in an urban setting and the sewer/septic system is still functioning then congratulations you have a leg up on those surviving out in the wilderness.  If you aren’t so lucky and it’s no longer working then you might have a few more options still left to you before needing to consider the wilderness sanitation solutions.   As long as, your toilet and water drains are still working you can have proper sanitation solution that can be used.  If they are not backed-up and you have proper flow then you can always use “gray water” (water used for washing) to flush the toilet manually by adding the “gray water” directly to the bowl so that the water pressure combined with gravity forces a manual flush to occur.  (You can also add the “gray water” to the toilet tank and flush like normal.)  If you have clogged toilets and drains that can’t be unclogged then you need to seal off and ventilate that part of your dwelling so that the living quarters are not exposed to any gas fumes and bacteria.  Closing a door and sealing it completely with plastic sheets and tape (perhaps also with chalking if you have it) so that nothing can get through to the living quarters is critical.  Of course, finding a suitable place for waste is also critical.  If you are in a high-rise building and there are abandoned units available to you, then designating one or more of the abandoned units for the purposes of waste removal and storage could be your best option (even if short-term).  In both an urban and wilderness situation, you might be fortunate to have a chemical toilet commonly used in camping and with RVs (recreational vehicles) and then you only need to worry about where to “dump the tanks” when they get filled.  If you are in a house with a yard or some amount of land, then consider making an outhouse for the purposes of waste removal and storage.  In the wilderness, you will want to build a latrine system that is far enough away from your living area and also far away from your water source (to avoid contamination of your water).  A latrine system is basically a hole in the ground as deep as you can make it and then after “business is done” dirt, sand and/or rocks are dropped down into the hole covering the waste.  Eventually, the hole is completely filled and can no longer be used and then another latrine must be built.

Sample Outhouse (Outside)
Sample Outhouse (Inside)
Simple Latrine with wooden frame seat
Simple Latrine with steel drum

General Health and Nutrition – Assuming you’ve taken good care of the hygiene and sanitation aspects of survival, the next thing should be commonsense to most people.  The basics are not to try and “overdo” anything so that you are not taxing your body more than necessary and avoiding easily avoidable injuries.  As previously discussed in past BLOG postings remaining properly hydrated (drinking plenty of clean water) and eating balanced, nutritional meals (when possible) will go a long way towards keeping healthy.  BUT, it may not always be possible to eat nutritionally balanced meals and with a little advanced preparation, you can address this issue.  If the human body does not receive enough vitamins and nutrients then you run the risk of getting some potentially nasty side effects like weakening of your immune system, fragile bone system, poor eyesight, scurvy, etc….  

TIP: Stocking up on 1-2 year’s worth of a top-of-the-line daily multivitamin + minerals (make sure you always rotate out the older supply and replace with a newer supply) is a good hedge against not being able to get the NATURAL nutrition you need from your food supply.  

(See Chart below for what your body needs to stay healthy.)

Vitamin or Mineral
Examples of Good Food Sources
What It
Recommended Daily Amount
(RDA) or Adequate
Upper Limit
Milk, yogurt, hard cheeses, fortified cereals, spinach
Essential for bone growth & strength, blood clotting, muscle contraction & the transmission of nerve signals
Adults age 19-50: 1,000 milligrams/day
Adults age 51 and up: 1,200 milligrams/day
2,500 milligrams/day
Choline (Vitamin B complex)
Milk, liver, eggs, peanuts
Plays a key role in the production of cells and neurotransmitters
Men: 550 milligrams/day
Women: 425 milligrams/day
3,500 milligrams/day
Meats, poultry, fish, some cereals
Helps control blood sugar levels
Adult men age 19-50: 35 micrograms/day
Adult men age 51 and up: 30 micrograms/day
Adult women age 19-50: 25 micrograms/day
Adult women age 51 and up: 20 micrograms/day
Seafood, nuts, seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole grains
Important in the metabolism of iron
Adults: 900 micrograms/day
10,000 micrograms/day
Bran cereal, peas, lentils, black beans, fruits, vegetables
Helps with digestion and the maintenance of blood sugar levels; reduces the risk of heart disease
Adult men age 19-50: 38 grams/day Adult men age 51 and up: 30 grams/day Adult women age 19-50: 25 grams/day Adult women age 51 and up: 21 grams/day
Folic Acid (Folate)
Dark, leafy vegetables; enriched and whole grain breads; fortified cereals
Key for the development of cells, protein metabolism and heart health; in pregnant women, helps prevent birth defects
Adults: 400 micrograms/day
1,000 micrograms/day
Processed foods and iodized salt
Important in the production of thyroid hormones
Adults: 150 micrograms/day
1,100 micrograms/day
Fortified cereals, beans, lentils, beef, eggs
Key component of red blood cells and many enzymes
Men: 8 milligrams/day Women age 19-50: 18 milligrams/day Women age 51 and up: 8 milligrams/day
45 milligrams/day
Green leafy vegetables, Brazil nuts, almonds, soybeans, halibut, quinoa
Helps with heart rhythm, muscle and nerve function, bone strength
Adult men age 19-30: 400 milligrams/day
Adult men age 31 and up: 420 milligrams/day
Adult women age 19-30: 310 milligrams/day
Adult women age 31 and up: 320 milligrams/day
For magnesium in food and water, there is no upper limit.
For magnesium in supplements or fortified foods: 350 milligrams/day
Nuts, beans & other legumes, tea, whole grains
Important in forming bones and some enzymes
Men: 2.3 milligrams/day
Adult women: 1.8 milligrams/day
11 milligrams/day
Legumes, grains, nuts
Key in the production of some enzymes
Adults: 45 micrograms/day
2,000 micrograms/day
Milk and other dairy products, peas, meat, eggs, some cereals and breads
Allows cells to function normally; helps the body produce energy; key in bone growth
Adults: 700 milligrams/day
Adults up to age 70: 4,000 milligrams/day Adults over age 70: 3,000 milligrams/day
Sweet potato, bananas, yogurt, yellow fin tuna, soybeans
Important in maintaining normal fluid balance; helps control blood pressure; reduces risk of kidney stones
Adults: 4,700 milligrams per day
Organ meats, seafood, some plants (if grown in soil with selenium) Brazil nuts.
Protects cells from damage; regulates thyroid hormone
Adults: 55 micrograms/day
400 micrograms/day
Foods to which sodium chloride (salt) has been added, like salted meats, nuts, butter, and a vast number of processed foods
Important for fluid balance
Adults age 19-50: 1500 milligrams/day Adults age 51-70: 1,300 milligrams/day Adults age 71 and up: 1,200 milligrams/day
2,300 milligrams/day
Vitamin A
Sweet potato with peel, carrots, spinach, fortified cereals
Necessary for normal vision, immune function, reproduction
Men: 900 micrograms/day
Women: 700 micrograms/day
3,000 micrograms/day
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Whole grain, enriched, fortified products; bread; cereals
Allows the body to process carbohydrates and some protein.
Men: 1.2 milligrams/day
Women: 1.1 milligrams/day
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Milk, bread products, fortified cereals
Key in metabolism and the conversion of food into energy; helps produce red blood cells
Men: 1.3 milligrams/day
Women: 1.1 milligrams/day
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Meat, fish, poultry, enriched and whole grain breads, fortified cereals
Assists in digestion and the conversion of food into energy; important in the production of cholesterol
Men: 16 milligrams/day
Women: 14 milligrams/day
For niacin in natural sources, there is no upper limit.
For niacin in supplements or fortified foods: 35 milligrams/day
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Chicken, beef, potatoes, oats, cereals, tomatoes
Important in fatty acid metabolism
Adults: 5 milligrams/day
Vitamin B6
Fortified cereals, fortified soy products, organ meats
Important for the nervous system; helps the body metabolize proteins and sugar
Men age 19-50: 1.3 milligrams/day Men age 51 up: 1.7 milligrams/day Women age 19-50: 1.3 milligrams/day Women age 51 up: 1.5 milligrams/day
100 milligrams/day
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Liver, fruits, meats
Helps with the synthesis of fats, glycogen and amino acids
Adults: 30 micrograms/day
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Fish, poultry, meat, fortified cereals
Important in the production of red blood cells
Adults: 2.4 micrograms/day
Vitamin C
Red and green peppers, kiwis, oranges, strawberries, broccoli
Antioxidant that protects against cell damage, boosts the immune system, forms collagen in the body
Men: 90 milligrams/day Women: 75 milligrams/day
2,000 milligrams/day
Vitamin D (Calciferol)
Fish liver oils, fatty fish, fortified milk products, fortified cereals; also, formed naturally as a result of sunlight exposure
Crucial in metabolizing calcium for healthy bones
Adults age 18-50: 5 micrograms/day Adults age 51-70: 10 micrograms/day
Adults over age 70: 15 micrograms/day
50 micrograms/day
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
Fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter, vegetable oils
Antioxidant that protects cells against damage
Adults: 15 milligrams/day
1,000 milligrams/day
Vitamin K
Green vegetables like spinach, collards, and broccoli; cabbage
Important in blood clotting and bone health
Men: 120 micrograms/day
Women: 90 micrograms/day
Red meats, some seafood, fortified cereals
Supports the body's immunity and nerve function; important in reproduction
Men: 11 milligrams/day
Women: 8 milligrams/day
40 milligrams/day

In my next BLOG posting I will talk more about Health/Medical specifically: Health Supplies, Medical Supplies, First Aid and Common Symptoms.

Stay tuned for the next BLOG post that will continue with Creating “The Plan” – Health/Medical – Part #2.

Survival is a combination of preparedness plus a survival mindset. If you have the WILL to survive, the skills/knowledge to survive, as well as, some planning and preparation ▬ then you will ultimately survive. Don't wait until it is too late or your chances for survival will diminish accordingly. As always, good luck and know I am on your side. ~~ The Survival Guy