Venomous Snakes of North America – Infographic

Today’s Infographic, Venomous Snakes of North America comes to us from  It’s a great overview of North America’s Venomous Snakes but I’d add…it’s best to leave snakes alone whether you can identify them or not.

Venomous Snakes of North America Infographic Courtesy of: preparing For SHTF

18 Ways Water Heals and Prevents

Water is a key component of survival. Water security falls under more than one section of the Full Spectrum Preparedness doctrine. This article highlights how water is integral in the Health & Medical Preparedness function of the FSP doctrine. Based off the ideas in the manual “Where There Is No Doctor” by David Werner, Jane Maxwell, and Carol Thurman (free download) or purchase as paperback, it details: 

18 Ways Water Heals and Prevents

1) Prevent diarrhea, worms, gut infections – Filtering and boiling water before using it for drinking, or hygiene, will help kill germs and bacteria that can cause diarrhea, worms, and gut infections. In third world countries, and in areas hit by disaster these are the leading causes of sickness, and death, especially among children.
2) Prevent Skin Infections – By bathing often, in clean, treated water, you can help prevent skin infections like impetigo, ring worm and folliculitis; among others. These highly infectious infections can run rampant through a population that doesn’t bath properly, and often, as part of their hygiene practices.
3) Prevent wounds from becoming infected – The danger of a wound becoming infected is greatly reduced if it is washed thoroughly with clean water and soap, as soon as possible. Infected wounds can lead to other problems, all the way through death, if not treated properly.
4) Treat Diarrhea and dehydration – Diarrhea is one of the largest cause of death throughout the world. The diarrhea itself does not kill the patient. It is the associated dehydration that ultimately kills them. When struck with a bout of diarrhea, drink plenty of water/liquids.
5) Treat Illness With Fever – The high temperatures associated with fevers can lead to complications that staying hydrated might prevent. By maintaining proper hydration, you can circumvent situation that can lead to more dangerous condition as well as reducing discomfort and symptoms.
6) Treat A High Fever – Along with the dangers of dehydration, a high fever can also pose a threat from the temperature itself. If a fever goes over 103 degrees F, brain damage and organ failure can result. Soaking a patient with a wet, cool compress can help reduce a dangerously high temperature and increase comfort. In extreme cases, submerging the patient in a cool bath, or ice may mean the difference between life and death.
7) Treat Minor Urinary Infections – This common ailment can strike men and women of any age. They can be very painful, and lead to life threatening complications. Mixing 1 cup of water with 1 tsp of baking soda then drinking can help alleviate some of the discomfort. While it may not be the most appetizing of combinations, the mixture may be able to help lessen the intensity of a urinary tract infection or UTI.
8) Treat Coughs, Asthma, Bronchitis and Pneumonia – Again, maintaining proper hydration is key to good health and healing. When you have a cough, asthma, bronchitis, or pneumonia drink plenty of water. You can also help loosen mucus by inhaling hot water vapors
9) Treat Sores, Impetigo, Ringworm, Cradle cap, A Pimple – If infected by one of the aforementioned ailments, the best solution is to washing with soap and water. using a wash cloth, lightly scrub the area. This will help remove dead and infected tissue, and promote faster healing.
10) Treat Infected Wounds, Abscesses And Boils – Once an infection gets deep enough, more than simple washing may be called for. Soaking in a hot tub, or using a hot compress can help alleviate discomfort, as well as draw out infection from wounds, abscesses and boils. If done early enough, lancing, or excising the infected area may not be necessary.
11) Treat Stiff/Sore Muscles And Joints – Taking a hot soak, or using hot compresses will relieve pain from muscles and joint made stiff by over use and stress. The increased blood flow they generate will also help quicken the healing process.
12) Treat Strains And Sprains – By alternating cold and hot soaks, you can hasten recover from strains ans sprains. The cold soak will lessen swelling, improving comfort, and the hot soaks will increase blood flow, which helps with recovery.
13) Treat Itching, Burning, Or Weeping Skin Irritations – The pain and irritation from rashes caused by things like poison ivy and poison oak can be lessened with a cold compress.
14) Treat Minor Burns – After receiving a minor burn, immediately hold the effected area under cold water. This will help numb the area, and reduce any swelling that may occur.
15) Treat sore throats or tonsillitis – The most common home remedy for treating a sore throat, or infected tonsils, is to gargle with a warm salt water solution. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt per glass of water, and gargle. Ensure you get the solution to the very back of your throat.
16) Acid, Dirt or Irritating Substance In Eye – If you get a foreign substance, or chemical in your eye, thoroughly flush the eye with cold water at once. Continue to do so for 30 minutes.
17) Treat Constipation Or Hard Stools – Drinks lots of water can help hydrate your dietary tract. This will help treat, and prevent, constipation and hard stools.
18) Treat Cold Sores Or Fever Blisters – At the first sign of a cold sore, or fever blister, hold an ice-cube on the inflamed area for several minutes. This will help keep the swelling down, as well as numbing the associated pain.

Where There Is No Doctor18 Ways Water Heals and Prevents – Conclusion

While water can help prevent and heal, as this list highlights, hydration is the common thread in recovery. Proper hydration is only attainable if you have a clean, safe source of water. To learn more about water preparedness, click on the Prepography links below:

7 Spices For Preppers

Spices are an integral part of cooking. Any one who cooks or eats knows how much better food is if it’s properly spiced.  Spices add more than flavor and complexity to foods they can also make a meal healthier or impart medicinal characteristics.  In a survival situation the food you are able to procure may be of lower quality, questionable freshness or maybe just monotonous. Spices can make these borderline foods more palatable and enjoyable.  Many Preppers lay in a good supply of spices in to their food preps but often overlook the health aspect of spices. Beyond sprucing up an other wise bland meal these spices provide additional health benefits. The multiple uses of these spices fit in to the core philosophy of Full Spectrum Preparedness.

The listing below of the purported health benefits of spices is not to be considered medical advice and home remedies should not take the place of regular medical care when such care is available.

7 Spices For PreppersI have scoured the web and compiled a list of 7 spices for preppers to stock up on for their health benefits.  Some of these spices have 10 to 20 known health benefits listed. In the interest of brevity, and sticking to the idea of this being a survival/prepper themed site, I have narrowed the benefits down. I have only listed the top 5 or 6 benefits per spice.  In most cases, these benefits relate directly to a survival situation. For example, many of the spices listed have shown to help prevent cancer. That will still be a concern in a SHTF scenario but it is not one that will be of immediate concern for most.  On the other hand, many of these spices are also reputed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Popping in to the corner drug emporium may not be an option in a crisis situation so let’s learn more about spices as they might come in extremely handy. Without further adieu, here is Prepography‘s list of:

7 Spices For Preppers

1. Cinnamon

1) High in Nutrients – It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
2) Yeast Infection Help – In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
3) Anti-Clotting – It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
4) Arthritis Relief – In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
5) Anti-Bacterial – When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
6) E. Coli Fighter – Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Put 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in your coffee grounds before brewing
  • Stir into your honey to sweeten your tea
  • Mix cinnamon into yogurt or sprinkling it on oatmeal
  • Sprinkle into a traditional PB&J

2. Oregano

1) Immune System Support – It has one of the highest antioxidant activity ratings, with 42 times the antioxidant punch of apples.
2) Antifungal/Antibacteriall – Its essential oils may kill the food borne pathogen Listeria and the superbug MRSA; making it a useful addition to hand soaps and disinfectants.
3) Anti-inflammatory – It contains beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), a substance that inhibits inflammation and may also be beneficial for conditions including osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis.
4) Treatment Of Respiratory Infections – It encourages sweat production as a mode of detox, and ingesting it may help your body to get rid of unwanted phlegm in your lungs.
5) Cancer-Fighting Effects – It has also been “evaluated for anti-cancer properties in prostate, breast, skin, leukemia, and colon cancer with promising results (Source).”

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Add oregano to commercial or homemade pasta or pizza sauce
  • Sprinkle oregano onto a grilled cheese sandwich
  • Sprinkle a sliced tomato with oregano, a grind of pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

3. Rosemary

1) Immune Booster – It boosts the immune system thanks to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. Because it is healing in so many ways, it boosts the overall health of the body.
2) Pain Relief/Anti-Inflamatory – Its essential oil can be applied topically as a natural treatment for arthritis, sore muscles, and other joint and muscle pains. It also contains two potent anti-inflammatories, which inhibited COX-2, an enzyme that causes pain and inflammation in the body.
3) Digestive Health – It is often used to help treat digestive problems such as upset stomach, constipation, indigestion, and almost any other digestive related problem. It also helps to prevent food borne illnesses when ingested with foods such as meat or eggs.
4) Fresh Breath – It can be used as a natural mouthwash and is said to work very well.
5)Diuretic and Detoxification Properties – It is a mild diuretic, and can help the kidneys function at optimal levels to help get rid of excess water in the body. It has also been used to treat liver problems for thousands of years; the ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates even prescribed it for this purpose.
6)Respiratory Health – It is a great natural remedy for respiratory problems. Breathing in the scent of the essential oil can help with congestion due to colds, allergies, respiratory infections, and the flu. Doing this has also been shown to help alleviate migraine, as well.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Include rosemary in marinades for meats and tomato sauces
  • Add it to whole grain breads and rolls
  • Steep in a pint of heated water, strain, and use as a mouth rinse
  • Boil fresh rosemary in a pot of water, and breathe in the steam

4. Turmeric

1) Natural Antiseptic – It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. As a result, it speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
2) Detoxification Properties – Is a natural liver detoxifier.
3) Alzheimer’s Prevention – It may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
4) Natural Painkiller – It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
5) Depression – It has been used as a treatment for depression.
6) Skin Condition Treatment – It may help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Stir into egg salad, chicken salad and tuna salad mixes for lunch
  • Add to simmer sauces for poultry
  • Whisk into dips and vinaigrettes for cooked vegetables

5. Thyme

1) Anti-Inflammatory – It contains anti-inflammatory properties and may help prevent chronic inflammation of the body systems.
2) Antibacterial – Its antimicrobial properties have proven to help fight a variety of bacterial and fungi, including e. coli, staphalococcus aureus, and shigella. Thyme oil extract shows good efficacy against antibiotic resistant strains of several different types of bacteria.
3) Respiratory Health – It has been used for centuries to treat chest and respiratory conditions like coughs and bronchitis.
4) High In Iron – It can provide nearly 20% of the DV per 2.8 grams. Iron is essential for energy production and iron deficiency may cause anemia, fatigue and make the body more susceptible to infection.
5) Bone Health – It is a good source of iron, calcium and manganese which are all essential to promoting proper bone growth, maintaining strong, healthy bones and preventing bone disease.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Mix with honey and tea for a good cold/flu remedy
  • Whisk it in salad dressings and creamy dips
  • Sprinkle it on cooked vegetables and fish
  • Include it in stir-fries or sautes

6. Ginger

1) Morning Sickness Relief – It is just as effective as vitamin B6 in the treatment of morning sickness.
2) Motion Sickness Remedy – It has been shown to be an effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness.
3) Reduces Pain and Inflammation – It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a powerful natural painkiller.
4) Heartburn Relief – It has long been used as a natural heartburn remedy. It is most often taken in the form of tea for this purpose.
5) Cold and Flu Prevention and Treatment – Long used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flu or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract.
6) Menstrual Cramp Relief – In Chinese medicine, ginger tea with brown sugar is used in the treatment of menstrual cramps.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Sprinkle onto fresh fruit slices
  • Stirred into yogurt or ice cream
  • Mixed with honey and use as a glaze, marinade, or sauce
  • Steep in a tea

7. Dried Red Peppers

1) High In Vitamin C – Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is also needed for the proper absorption of iron. If you are iron deficient, try combining red peppers with your iron source for maximum absorption.
2) Decrease Anxiety – They are high In vitamin B6 and magnesium, which used on combination helps decrease anxiety, especially related to pre-menstrual symptoms.
3) Natural Diuretic – The vitamin B6 in red peppers can decrease bloating and prevent against hypertension.
4) Promote Healthy Night Vision – They are high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight, especially night vision.
5) Increased Metabolism – Sweet red peppers have a mild thermogenic action that increases metabolism without increasing heart rate and blood pressure like the hot peppers do.

Suggested ways to add its health benefits to your diet daily:

  • Add to humus, guacamole, cottage cheese and even mashed potatoes
  • Use in marinades or dressings
  • Sprinkle directly on to foods

Long Term Storage of Spices And Herbs

As a rule of thumb, properly prepared and stored spices and herbs will have a shelf life of:

  • Dried, whole spices and herbs: up to 3 years
  • Seeds and barks: over 2 years
  • Roots: over 2 years

Helpful things to remember when storing spices and herbs long-term:

  • Seal them in airtight containers such as food saver and mylar bags, or vacuum sealed half pint mason jars with oxygen absorbers.
  • The best storage temperature for herbs and spices is one that is fairly constant and below 70º F.
  • Temperature fluctuations can cause condensation, ruining your stores.
  • Store them out of direct sunlight, such as a pantry of root cellar.
  • It’s OK to store large quantities in an airtight containers in a freezer
  • Don’t mix spices and herbs in the same container, the flavors and aromas will taint each other.

7 Spices For Preppers – Conclusion

The 7 spices and herbs listed here are by no means the only ones that provide additional health benefits. They just happen to be the ones that popped up most commonly during my search. To find more health benefits from other spices and herbs, check out this page EveryNutrient – Herbs and Spices. It gives a brief summary of the health benefits of a multitude of spices.

Andrew’s Note:  Even if you aren’t stocking up, buying spices at the grocery store is for suckers who want to pay too much…buy spices in bulk online or from a local Amish store and keep in the freezer until needed or the freezer doesn’t work anymore…then transfer to a cool, dark area as described above.

Hand Washing For The Prepared Prepper

A Prepper must know how to take care of others, but even more important that taking care of others is taking care of one’s self…so that you can continue to take care of others.  Prevention and self care are important to maintaining health but never more so than during times of great stress, after a disaster and while living in an austere environment.  You will likely experience one or more of those events in your life and if you’ve studied and practiced the requirements for post apocalyptic self-care…you can easily apply those lessons to such lesser disasters and hopefully keep yourself and your community healthy enough to deal with the challenges you face.  Frequent and proper hand washing is one of the most effective actions that the prepared prepper can perform to protect themselves and reduce the likelihood of contracting disease.

Why Wash Your Hands

By making frequent and proper hand washing a habit you will reduce the likelihood that viruses and disease causing bacteria will spread contagion to you and others.  In addition to protecting yourself and others from disease, frequent hand washing will help protect you from ingesting or absorbing the toxins and pollutants you will encounter in a rugged and austere post-collapse environment.  One of the reasons that the common cold is so contagious is that you can catch it merely by rubbing your nose or eyes with virus contaminated hands.  This hand washing habit is especially important to develop now in order to preserve your health and develop the healthy habit…and to reduce the likelihood that you’ll catch Ebola. In addition to infecting yourself with unwashed hands you can also spread infection or toxins onto surfaces or directly to others through your touch.  For this reason you should not only make a habit of frequently and properly washing your hands but you should also enforce the habit with those under your influence or command.  Remind yourself that clean hands save lives whenever you find yourself getting to busy, distracted or complacent about your hand hygiene.

When To Wash Your Hands

You should wash your hands periodically throughout the day and especially:

  • Before preparing, eating or handling food
  • Before touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Before and after touching a cut, sore or wound
  • Before and after treating or caring for the sick
  • After using the bathroom
  • After contact with plants or animals including uncooked food
  • After contact with toxins or pollutants
  • After contact with people, especially those that are or might be ill
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After handling anything that has been touched by flood waters, animal waste, trash or anything that could harbor & transfer germs or toxins

How To Wash Your Hands

Hands can be washed with either soap and potable water or an alcohol based sanitizer.


  • Remember that after a natural disaster, tap water may not be safe to drink or use for washing.  Listen to local officials to find out if your water is safe or purify it anyway just in case.
  • Avoid smoking and fire during and immediately after using alcohol based hand sanitizer as it is highly flamable and can result in serious burns

Washing With Soap & Water

It is best to wash your hands with soap and potable running water for at least 20 seconds.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, potable water.  Doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold.
  2. Apply soap to your hands.
  3. Lather your hands by rubbing them together.  Make sure to apply soap lather the back of each hands, between all fingers, and under and around your fingernails.
  4. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.  The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) suggests humming the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice to guarantee that you’ve scrubbed for 20 seconds but I prefer singing the first two verses of the Ballad of the Green Berets.
  5. Rinse your hands well under potable, running water.
  6. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If soap and clean water are not available you may also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean your hands.

Washing With Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer

Alcohol based hand sanitizers are effective and significantly reduce the number of germs on skin and are fast acting but will have limited utility when trying to wash off toxins or pollutants. In order to properly wash with an alcohol based hand sanitizer:

  1. Apply enough sanitizer to the palm of one hand to thoroughly coat both hands
  2. Rub hands together applying sanitizer to all surfaces of your hand including between fingers and under/around fingernails and nail beds
  3. Continue to rub the sanitizer over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until the sanitizer evaporates and your hands are dry.

Beyond Hand Washing

Hand washing is an important step in winning the fight against bacteria, viruses, toxins and pollutants and keeping yourself and your community healthy but now it’s time to switch to offensive tactics:

  • Wipe down furnishings and utensils that food will touch with a bleach solution made by mixing 1 teaspoon of unscented liquid household bleach in 1 gallon of water and let air dry.  Also wipe down the outside of food cans that may have come in contact with insects or animals before opening them.
  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles when you expect to encounter infectious agents, toxins or pollutants.
  • If necessary throw out infected items that you are unable to clean satisfactorily.
  • Throw out any food containers that have come into contact with flood waters or containers that are bulging, dented or exhibit a foul smell when opened.
  • Dispose of any wooden utensils, dishes or cutting boards that come into contact with toxins, pollutants, flood waters or infectious agents.


• Never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners. • Open windows and doors to get fresh air when you use bleach.

The 6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care

Author’s note: I was recently going through my survival library.  I was paging through a book entitled “Where There Is No Doctor”, by David Werner.  The ideas and skills in the book fit in to the FSP doctrine quite nicely.  I found a section that listed the tenets health care workers should remember.  Reading them, I thought that they would make a good article.  The tenets are direct quotes from the book.  The commentary for each is my expansion on them, explaining how they would apply in a post disaster world

Post SHTF the modern health care system we’ve come to rely on will not exist.  A black swan event doesn’t even need to take place to make the previous statement true.  Even a moderately severe event, like a national monetary collapse would disrupt society to the point that people may not be able to access their current health care provider.  The one thing that is true about any event is that people will be forced to look more locally for everything, including their health care.  People in third world countries and rural areas of the developed world already deal with this issue daily.  By mere statistical probability, most of Prepography‘s readers probably don’t live in those areas.  More and more of both the U.S. and the world’s population lives in, or relatively close to large urban areas.   Even then, their health care provider may be tens of miles away.  After a major event the “village”, if you will, will become more important to them than the large service/product provider that is 20, 30, 40 or even 50 miles away.  People will be forced to rely more heavily on what is in their immediate community rather than services we currently travel long distances to reach.  Read on to learn the 6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care.

The 6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care

If they are lucky, there will be someone trained to provide medical care post SHTF in their local community.  Someone who has made their home in the area that becomes the new village and is willing to help.   Even if there is someone like that; post SHTF health care is not just their responsiblity.  It is everyone who lives in this new village.  With that in mind, here are The 6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care:

1. Health care is not only everyone’s right, but everyone’s responsibility.
The Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine (FSP) teaches that community is an important component to survival.  With that in mind, it is everyone in your group’s responsibility to look after the health of its members both individually and collectively.  One person thinking that they have the right to behave however they wish when it comes to health, hygiene and sanitation will endanger the entire group.  This is true whether your group is very small or is large enough in size to be considered a true village.

Andrew’s Note:  I think the term ‘right’ is used in too cavalier a manner these day.  It abrogates the responsibility of the individual to the group.  In a health care context this belief has also brought us dangerously close to socialized medicine.  I do wholeheartedly agree with the second part of this tenet, though.  It emphasizes the shared responsibility and shared consequences for health and hygiene within communities.  That said, I do feel a moral obligation to assist and treat others within the limits of my humble first aid training.

2. Informed self-care should be the main goal of any health program or activity.
Old wives tales, untested remedies, and such are not the basis of a good health program.  Teaching the group time-tested health and hygiene practices is paramount.  Any activity geared towards post apocalypse health care that doesn’t work towards that goal is a waste of time and effort.

3. Ordinary people provided with clear, simple information can prevent and treat most common health problems in their own homes—earlier, cheaper, and often better than doctors.
It is relatively simple to keep healthy, even in the harshest condition.  All it takes is knowledge and action.  The problem is most people don’t have the basic knowledge necessary or fail to act on that knowledge.  Any program that provides post apocalypse health care must be geared towards education.  People with formal training need to teach those without.

4. Medical knowledge should not be the guarded secret of a select few, but should be freely shared by everyone.
In primitive cultures, the witch doctor held sway over the village.  They held their secrets, many of which are now commonly know cures and remedies, close to the vest.  It is what gave them their power.  It is foolish to think that in modern times, especially in a stressful breakdown of society, that people would not revert back to such self-centered thinking.  Also, by spreading skills around redundancy and protection is provided against the loss of people with essential skill sets. It is the group’s responsibility to ensure that any knowledge about post SHTF health care is spread as widely as possible.

5. People with little formal education can be trusted as much as those with a lot. And they are just as smart.
Chances are that someone providing post apocalypse health care will not have been formally trained.  Even if they have been, chances are that they will be dealing with community health problems that reach beyond their pre collapse training and education.  That does not mean that they are incapable.  The new village must make the best with who they have on hand.

6. Basic health care should not be delivered, but encouraged.
Those providing post apocalypse health care should not look at themselves as end point providers.  They should have the heart of a teacher, and encourage the “village” to take an active part in the health of the group.

Where-There-Is-No-Doctor-smHealth Care Post SHTF – Conclusion

It is a reoccurring theme throughout FSP that your brain is the most important tool you have in your survival kit.  “6 Tenets Of Post Apocalypse Health Care” does not deal with the practical application of health care but the tenants do define a starting point on which to build the foundation for a comprehensive program for post apocalypse health care within your family, group or community.

Prepping For Ebola & Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

There’s a great deal of consternation currently regarding the unprecedented spread of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola outside of it’s traditional African haunts as well as the current Ebola epidemic in Africa and the reemergence of Marburg in Uganda..  There certainly isn’t any indication that Ebola or any Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers will overwhelm the world-class medical systems we have in the U.S. and reach pandemic levels anytime soon but prepping for Ebola and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers is yet another way that you can improve your overall preparedness.

What Is Viral Hemorrhagic Fever

The first step in developing any battle plan is to know your enemy. This even holds true when battling disease, so before we discuss prepping for Ebola and other viral hemorrhagic fevers we need to learn about the enemy…

Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a group of illnesses caused by a viral infection which result in fever and gastrointestinal symptoms followed by excessive bleeding or capillary hemorrhage.  These viruses exhibit the following commonalities:

  • RNA viruses with a fatty, lipid coating
  • Reliant on an animal or insect host as a virus reservoir
  • Geographically restricted in origin but capable of hitchhiking along modern transportation systems or being transported intentionally by bad actors.
  • Humans aren’t the natural reservoir for these viruses but once infected can often transmit the virus to others
  • Most viral hemorrhagic fevers are incurable

Thankfully viral hemorrhagic fever is uncommon in the United States and primarily occur from exposure while traveling outside of the country or from occupational exposure.  Until recently there was no report of human cases of Ebola in the U.S. and we have yet to experience Marburg.  Lassa Fever has also been brought into the country by travelers.  One interesting fact is that there’s actually a strain of Ebola, Ebola-Reston that was named after it’s discovery at a primate center in Reston Virginia in 1989.  That particular strain was imported from the Philippines with their hosts, macaque monkeys.  Thankfully this strain doesn’t cause disease in humans.

Viral hemorrhagic fevers are primarily caused by five virus families which each include a number of individual  hemorrhagic fever causing viruses:

Arenaviridae Virus Family

This family of viruses is generally acquired by humans through rodents with different rodent species serving as primary hosts for different viruses. Rodent hosts of these viruses generally remain symptom free and transmit the virus through bites, urine and droppings and people generally contract these diseases through contaminated food or direct contact of damaged skin with rodent droppings. Inhalation of soiled particulate matter may also cause infection. Relatively few of the many viruses that make up this virus family result in diseases in humans but the following diseases do cause mild to severe illness in people:

  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis
  • Argentine hemorrhagic fever
  • Bolivian hemorrhagic fever
  • Lassa fever
  • Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever
  • Brazilian hemorrhagic fever
  • Chapare hemorrhagic fever
  • Lujo hemorrhagic fever

Once infected, person to person transmission can occur through direct contact with an infected person’s blood or bodily fluids.  Transmission through the handling of contaminated objects and even airborne transmission is also possible with some viruses in this family.

Bunyaviridae Virus Family:

The Bunyaviridae virus family includes more than 300 viruses which can be transmitted by arthropods like mosquitoes, ticks and sand flies as well as rodents. These viruses cause disease in both animals and humans, sometimes with the same disease afflicting both. This virus family includes:

Filoviridae Virus Family:

These African viruses are the among the most deadly viruses  and can cause severe hemorrhagic fever in both humans and other primates. This virus family includes the dreaded Marburg and Ebola viruses. These diseases are clearly zoonotic but the animal reservoir remains unknown as does the method of transmission to humans. Recent studies seem to indicate the fruit bats may be these viruses’ host species. Person to person transmission occurs between those in close proximity and contact with infected bodily fluids but infection through small particle aerosols seems possible.


There are five identified species of the Ebola virus including Taï Forest (formerly Ivory Coast), Sudan, Zaire, Reston and Bundibugyo. All of these species except Ebola-Reston cause severe disease in humans but Reston can infect and cause disease and severe illness in other primates and pigs.  Ebola outbreaks historically exceed 50% lethality with some outbreaks reaching up to 90%.


Marburg virus was first identified in 1967 during a lethal outbreak in Marburg, Germany.   Another outbreak occurred in 1998 in Durba, Democratic Republic of the Congo at a gold mine.  The host species for the Marburg virus has only recently been identified as fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family.

The Marburg virus was weaponized in the bioweapons program of the Soviet Union.  Thankfully, naturally occurring Marburg only infects humans infrequently with previous occurrences in Germany, what was then Yugoslavia and a number of occurrences in Africa.

Paramyxoviridae Virus Family:

Paramyxoviridae viruses cause a number of human and animal diseases including measles and mumps in humans as well as newcastle disease and canine distemper in animals. Two particularly troubling viruses from the Henipavirus genus of this virus family are Hendra virus and Nipah virus which are known to infect humans, bats, horses and pigs.

Flaviviridae Virus Family:

The final virus family we’re going to look at are called Flaviviridae and cause both encephalitis and hemorrhagic diseases.  These viruses are found in arthropods, primarily ticks and mosquitoes, and some can infect humans.

Mosquito transmitted viruses in this family include:
Tick borne Flaviviruses include:

Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Symptoms

One of the most insidious aspects of viral hemorrhagic fevers is the fact that the infected often exhibit only slight symptoms early on and fail to realize that they have and can transmit such a deadly viral disease. Symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever often include:

  • Bleeding under the skin
  • Coma
  • Delirium
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Strength
  • Muscle Aches
  • Renal/Kidney Failure
  • Seizures
  • Severe Fever
  • Shock
  • Vascular instability and bleeding abnormalities accompany most hemorrhagic fevers

CDC West Africa Ebola OutbreakThe CDC provides a more specific list of Ebola’s symptoms:

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
  • Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

Learn more from the CDC Ebola Outbreak Infographic.

Preventing Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Infections

Reduce populations of and interaction with host species by:

  • Reducing rodent populations through trapping, poisoning, eliminating habitat, eliminating food sources or the introduction of predator species like cats
  • Reducing arthropod populations through poisoning, eliminating habitat like standing water or fostering the development of predator species like martins, bats (if not a host species), chickens, guineas, etc.
  • Reducing contact with host species/host species waste by using repellents, repairing buildings, wear of proper clothing, screening, using bed nets, etc.
  • Safely removing host species nests and droppings

Avoid close physical contact with infected people and their body fluids is the most important way of controlling the spread of disease.

  • Utilize barrier nursing precautions including
  • Isolate infected persons
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Disinfect well and frequently
  • Safely dispose of instruments and equipment used in treatment

Read more from the World Health Organization and CDC on their suggested hospital-based guidelines, Infection Control for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers In the African Health Care Setting.

Viral Hemorrhagic Fever As A Terrorist Weapon

The latest Ebola outbreak is grabbing international media attention not only because it’s one of the world’s most deadly viruses with a fatality rate of up to 90% but also because of the fear that such a horrific death generates.  Contrary to a number of recent news articles, hemorrhagic fever viruses could easily be used as a weapon by lone wolf or organized terrorists due to the relative ease of distribution. Transmission can as simple as providing direct contact of infectious body fluids or droplets with a target’s mucus membranes; nose, eyes, or mouth.  Some of these articles consider these viruses to be unusable by bad actors because of the number of precautions necessary to keep the attacker from contracting the virus but they fail to account for the rise of suicide attacks in recent years.  Think of the havoc an committed terrorist, infected with Ebola could wreak on the unsuspecting patrons of your local food mall where disposable silverware, napkins and communal drink stations are easily accessible.

  • There have been numerous rumors and news reports of terrorist organizations attempting to obtain bioweapons through the years including an attempt by the Japanese doomsday cult, Aum Shinrikyo which attempted to obtain access to a viral hemorrhagic fever virus.
  • Dr. Ken Alibek, former Deputy Director of the Soviet program Biopreparat has admitted that Soviet scientists created a Marburg virus biological weapon that could be dispersed in aerosol form.  Let’s hope that the specialists and stocks were both well accounted for after the Soviet Union’s collapse.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies viral hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola as a “Category A” disease.  This class of agents are considered to pose a high priority risk to national security due to how easily they circulate among the population, their high mortality rate and the potential for social and economic disruption as well as their potential to create panic.  Other agents in this category A agents include anthrax, botulism (favorite of aging housewives but also a potent bioweapon), plague, smallpox and tularemia.

Genetically Engineered EbolaBetween outbreaks Ebola would be difficult for a terrorist to acquire but even between outbreaks there is the potential that bad actors could acquire samples from former bioweapons collections in Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia or Uzbekistan.  These lab grown samples could even be of more virulent or transmissible weaponized strains.  Military experts are even more concerned that terrorists will acquire the assistance of microbiologists that formerly worked for state run bioweapons programs or genetically engineered agents that could be up to 100 times more lethal than the natural agents.

Due to the ineffectiveness of therapies and absence of vaccines, viral hemorrhagic fevers could result in significant deaths.  The worst case scenario involves the use of viruses that have mutated or been developed to be transmissible in aerosol/airborne form.  Even a ‘minor’ attack could lead to significant social disruption and economic loss.

Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a potential terrorist weapon as they are now easily accessible, easily reproduced (if one has little regard for the lives of others), low cost, offer a long incubation period and can be transmitted in a number of ways.

Prepping for Ebola or Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Supplies

The following items and supplies worth considering as you prepare for for viral hemorrhagic fevers or other pandemic diseases:

Dynarex N95 High Efficiency Particulate/Cone Respirator Masks, 20/bx Dynarex N95 High Efficiency Particulate/Cone Respirator Masks, 20/bxFeatures of the Dynarex N95 Particulate Respirator Masks:* Helps protect patient and healthcare worker from transfer of microorganisms, body fluids and particulate material.* Single use mask.* Fluid resistant.* Contains no fiberglass.* Meets CDC guidelines for TB exposure control.$18.75

Busse Fluid Resistant Coveralls, Open Cuffs, Large, 25/Cs Busse Fluid Resistant Coveralls, Open Cuffs, Large, 25/Cs* Busse coveralls are made of white spunbonded polypropylene.* Generously cut and styled for maximum comfort and mobility.* Fluid resistant. * Nylon zipper front. * Open cuffs at both wrist and ankle. * Latex free.


Molnlycke Barrier Protective Goggles, Each Molnlycke Barrier Protective Goggles, EachFeatures of the Molnlycke Barrier Protective Goggles: Can be worn comfortably over eyeglasses. Wraparound seal and built-in nose piece guard against splashes from all angles.


HQ ISSUE™ Tent-style Mosquito Net HQ ISSUE™ Tent-style Mosquito NetHQ ISSUE Mosquito Netting keeps pesky bugs at bay. PRICED RIGHT!


Additional Information on Ebola, Marburg, Lassa Fever and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers:

Detecting Nutritional Deficiencies Infographic

Today we present an infographic tool to help in detecting nutritional deficiencies.  This tool shouldn’t be used in place of seeking adequate health care but might come in handy in the event that routine health care is interrupted for an extended time period.  Learn the symptoms.

Symptoms of Nutritional Deficiencies

Post Apocalyptic Self Care

A Prepper must know how to take care of others, but even more important that taking care of others is taking care of one’s self…so that you can continue to take care of others.  Prevention and self care are important to maintaining health but never more so than during times of great stress, after a disaster and while living in an austere environment.  You will likely experience one or more of those events in your life and if you’ve studied and practiced the requirements for post apocalyptic self-care…you can easily apply those lessons to such lesser disasters and hopefully keep yourself and your community healthy enough to deal with the challenges you face.

A Prepper Should Understand Post Apocalyptic Self Care For:

  • Heat Injuries:  Through the choices you make about clothing, headgear, water consumption, sunscreen use, rest/work intervals and times of the day worked you can greatly reduce or eliminate the likelihood that you will suffer a heat injury.
  • Cold Injuries:  Through the choices you make about clothes, clothes layering, modulating your work efforts, hydration, keeping your skin dry, and avoiding potentially dangerous situations like skin against bare metal you can eliminate or reduce the likelihood that you will suffer a cold injury.
  • Vector Injuries or Diseases:  Proper wear of clothing as well as use of insect repellents, insecticides, careful observation/avoidance and prophylactic medicines will help protect you from suffering from an animal, insect or arthropod carried disease or injury.
  • Food and Water Borne Diseases:  Through the understanding of proper food preparation techniques as well as water purification and hygiene/sanitation proceedures you will reduce the likelihood of suffering from a food or water borne disease.
  • Skin Diseases & Sun Injuries:  Proper hygiene and protecting your skin from the sun and the elements will reduce the likelihood of suffering from many skin diseases or sun injuries like snow blindness.
  • Diseases of the Mouth & Gums:  Proper hygiene centered around brushing and flossing as well as avoiding tobacco use will help protect you from most diseases of the mouth and gums.

If you learn how to and practice taking care of yourself in the most extreme circumstances, “Post Apocalyptic Self Care,” than you’ll be able to keep yourself healthier today and everyday…and be in better shape to help others after even minor disasters.

Army Guide To Deployment Health

Preparing To DeployAndrew’s Note:  Today we offer some great information on maintaining health in austere environments taken directly from GTA 08-05-062 Army Guide to Deployment Health, Health Threat Information and Countermeasure, Distribution Unlimited.  You can access this same information in it’s original form by clicking the link above.  The note on it’s cover declares “Anyone who participates in any type of military operation should keep and refer to this pamphlet”… the same goes for Prepper operations and most of the information presented here is applicable to post disaster or breakdown situations.  I’ve added links for reference to the military gear, civilian equivalents (or the civilian stuff we use) and links to U.S. Army info sources if you want to explore a subject in more depth.  Note that most of the disease links are actually info sheet download links from U.S. Army sites.

Army Guide To Deployment Health

Preparing To Deploy

Pre-Deployment Medical Requirements and Screenings:

  • Ensure possession of medical warning tags, eyeglasses, mask inserts, and hearing protection.
  • Obtain a 180-day supply of prescription and other medications or enough for the duration of deployment, whichever is less (amount required may vary – confirm individual requirements with a health care provider, medical authority or Operations Orders (OPORD)).
  • Receive all directed immunizations; initiate malaria chemoprophylaxis as directed.
  • Complete all necessary forms, including DD Form 2795 and annual Periodic Health Assessment (PHA).
  • Schedule initial visits and follow-up appointments with necessary medical personnel.
  • Active Component personnel should complete a Pre-Deployment Medical Health Assessment (DD Form 2795) if required.

Refer to DA Form 7425, AR 40-501, MOD 10 to CENTCOM, the Department of the Army Personnel Policy Guidance, and for more complete information.

Clothing/Gear/Personal Hygiene items:

  • Ensure uniforms, chemical protective clothing, protective masks (with lenses as needed) and other gear are in good condition and fit properly.
  • Practice putting on/removing clothing, masks, and gear. Ensure clothing items and hair, do not interfere with proper wear.
  • Soldiers can field treat their ACU’s** with insect repellent using standard military clothing repellent products: permethrin aerosol spray (must reapply after sixth wash) or IDA kit (preferred and good for life of uniform). Mark treatment date on the uniform.
  • Treat bed nets with permethrin aerosol spray.

**Soldiers cannot treat their Flame Resistant Army Combat Uniforms (FRACU’s) or Nomex ACU’s with permethrin in the field.

Recommended/Additional Packing items:

During Deployment

Operational Safety

In addition to understanding and applying routine safety procedures, use common sense during occupational and recreational activities to prevent accidental injury.

  • Do not sleep under or between vehicles.
  • Do not jump off of vehicles. Use hand holds and steps to climb down.
  • Always use proper lifting techniques (lift with your legs, not your back). If a task is too hard, or a load too heavy or awkward to lift, then ask for help.
  • Wear eye protection and respirators when needed.
  • Wear hearing protection when exposed to loud noise.
  • Wear safety equipment (eye and mouth protection) during recreational activities.

Hot Weather

To avoid heat injuries:
  • Drink water and maintain good nutrition to replace salt and minerals lost through sweating. Urine color should be no darker than light yellow.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing.
  • Protect yourself from exposure to sunlight and wind: work and rest in the shade when possible, construct shades/windscreens and wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
  • Follow Work-Rest/Water Consumption Table on page 13.
  • Heat stroke is deadly. Seek immediate medical attention if you or your buddy becomes confused, dizzy, or has stopped sweating while working in the heat.

Fluid Replacement and Work Rest Guide

Cold Weather

To avoid cold injuries:
  • Maintain good nutrition and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Remain inside well ventilated warming tents and drink warm liquids when possible.
  • Use the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS): layer clothing, wear headgear to avoid heat loss from uncovered head, and wear polypropylene long underwear.
  • Keep moving! If unable to walk or exercise vigorously, then keep hands and feet warm by frequently moving fingers and toes.
  • If working outside or on guard duty, then insulate yourself from the ground with tree boughs or sleeping mats. Avoid the wind or construct windscreens to reduce heat loss. Watch for shivering.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for loss of sensitivity in any body part.

Refer to the Wind Chill Temperature Table on page 14.Wind Chill Chart

High Altitude

Operations at 1,800 meters (6,000 feet) can impact unit and individual effectiveness. Signs of altitude illness include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, and coughing.

  • Staged ascent: Ascend to moderate altitude (1,200 -2,400m) and remain there for 4 days or more before ascending higher. When possible, Soldiers should stop at several altitudes to allow a greater degree of acclimatization.
  • Graded ascent: Slow ascents allow partial acclimatization. Spend one or two nights at moderate altitude (1,200 -2,400m). At altitudes above 2,400m, sleep no more than 300m above the previous night’s sleeping altitude.

Refer to the Elevation Measurements Table:

Elevation Measurement ChartPersonal Protective Measures

Basic Personal Protective Measures (PPMs) and good personal hygiene can significantly reduce personal discomfort, the chance of becoming pregnant, and the threat of getting and spreading infectious diseases (meningitis, flu, tuberculosis, colds) and sexually transmitted diseases (HIV, chlamydia, herpes).

USAPHC Technical Guide 281 – Guide to Female Soldier Readiness addresses the unique healthcare and environmental situations female Soldiers encounter to help ensure readiness and good health before, during, and after deployment.

Basic PPMs and personal hygiene include:
  • Clean hands thoroughly before touching your face, eating, and after using the latrine. Use alcohol-based hand cleaner if soap and water are not available.
  • Wear clean, well fitting underwear (preferably cotton). Change underwear at least once daily; women using panty-liners should change them often, especially during menstrual cycles (liners are not a substitute for clean underwear).
  • Use unscented health care products (soaps, deodorants). Scented products may cause skin irritation and attract biting and stinging insects.
  • Trim your fingernails and toenails regularly.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.
  • Dry thoroughly after showering.
  • Keep feet dry and use anti-fungal powder to avoid trench foot and athlete’s foot.
  • Wear clean, dry uniforms; change socks at least once daily.
  • Seek medical care for sores, discharge, swelling, or lumps in the vaginal area or on the penis; painful, uncomfortable or burning urination; lower abdominal pain, or menstrual cycle with heavy bleeding or lasting longer than 10 days.
  • Avoid overcrowding in living areas – allow at least 72 square feet of floor space per person when sleeping. Ensure good ventilation, sleep head-to-toe in staggered bunks.
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve.
  • Visit a healthcare provider or go to sick call if you experience flu-like symptoms or nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Dispose of trash, garbage, and human waste (Reference Field Sanitation Team guidance in FM 21-10).

Sexual Activity

  • Commanders may prohibit sexual activity during military operations to maintain good order and discipline, and to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy.
  • The best choice is to avoid sexual activity.
  • Always use condoms during sex, regardless of other measures you choose. Condoms reduce the risk of STDs and pregnancy.
  • Do not reuse condoms – use a new condom during each sexual encounter.
  • Use an effective method of birth control every time. For example: the pill, birth control patch, birth control vaginal ring, diaphragm, condom, IUD.

Nutrition Guidelines

Good nutrition is a combat multiplier. Consuming adequate food and fluids each day is important to maximize physical and mental performance. They will provide you with energy to keep you alert for the long hours, strenuous work, and extreme environmental conditions you may encounter. Poor nutrition in extreme conditions (hot, cold, high altitude) can lead to fatigue, rapid weight loss, injury, illness, and dehydration.

  • To get a balance of nutrients eat some of everything served by field kitchens or in your field ration.
  • Eat whenever you have the chance, even when you don’t feel like it. Aim for 3 meals a day and plan for snacks. Avoid skipping meals and dieting.
  • Drink fluids frequently, even when you are not thirsty. Monitor the color of your urine and watch for signs of dehydration.

Vector-borne Disease Guidelines

In nearly all parts of the world, all year long, arthropods (insects, ticks, and mites) that can transmit diseases exist. Take the following measures to reduce the risk of diseases transmitted by biting arthropods, including mosquitoes (dengue, malaria, viral encephalitis), sand flies (sand fly fever, leishmaniasis), and ticks (Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, human ehrlichioses).

  • Use the DOD Insect Repellent System to prevent bites from insects. This System combines the use of DOD-approved insect repellents for skin and clothing with properly worn uniforms.
  • Minimize exposure to insects: wear your uniform with the sleeves down, wrist openings secured, and collar closed; tuck the pant leg into the boot or into the sock; wear uniform loosely, with an undershirt.
  • Apply DEET in a thin layer over the forearms, upper arms, face, neck, ears, and other exposed areas. Do not apply to the eyes and lips, or to sensitive or damaged skin.
  • Permethrin is for use on clothing and bed nets only. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin.
  • Sleep or rest under a bed net treated with permethrin. Set up the bed net so that it does not touch the sleeping person. Always leave the bed net tucked under the mattress or sleeping bag.
  • Avoid contact with animals (alive or dead).
  • Perform routine “buddy-checks” for ticks.
  • Take malaria prevention medicine as directed.

Protection From Insects

**Please note: Soldiers cannot treat their Flame Resistant Army Combat Uniforms (FR ACUs) or Nomex ACUs with permethrin in the field. Since 2010, deploying Soldiers are issued FR ACU-Ps (uniforms that have been factory treated with permethrin). If unsure of the uniform type, check the Use and Care Label on the inside of the garment.

Hazardous Animals and Plants

Stay clear of buildings infested with rodents. Do not tolerate rodents in the unit area. Nesting and feeding rodents can contaminate food and they can spread serious life-threatening diseases such as Hantavirus or plague.

  • Do not allow trash or garbage to accumulate in unit areas.
  • Seal openings 1/4-inch (the width of a pencil) or greater to prevent rodents from entering buildings.
  • Do NOT inhale dust when clearing or cleaning unused areas (before sweeping, mist areas with water or, preferably, a disinfectant solution of 3 ounces of liquid bleach per gallon of water).
  • Promptly remove dead rodents from the area (use disposable gloves or plastic bags over the hands when handling any dead animal, and place the dead animal in a plastic bag prior to disposal).
  • Seek immediate medical attention if bitten or scratched by a rodent or other animal, or if you experience difficulty breathing or flu-like symptoms.

Animals and Plants

  • Animals can transmit rabies and other diseases.
  • Avoid contact with all animals (dead or alive).
  • Some snakes, spiders and other arthropods (including scorpions, centipedes, ants, bees, caterpillars, and wasps) have potentially dangerous venoms.
  • Assume that any snake you encounter is venomous and do not handle.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if bitten or stung by any animal or insect; untreated snakebites may cause serious illness or death within one hour.
  • Some plants have thorns, stinging hairs, or toxic resins that may puncture the skin or cause skin irritation, rashes or infections.
  • Discourage pests by promptly and properly disposing of trash.
  • Do not eat or store food in living areas.
  • Do not keep animal mascots or pets.
  • Avoid sleeping on the ground.
  • Shake out boots, bedding, and clothing before use, and never walk barefoot.
  • Clean your skin and clothing with soap and water after contact with animals or harmful plants.

Foodborne and Waterborne Disease


Foodborne DiseasesFood

Consuming food from unapproved sources or food items that have been improperly stored, prepared, held, or served can result in life-threatening illness. Reduce the risk of diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and other illnesses by following basic personal protective measures:

  • Only consume food, water and ice from U.S. military-approved sources.
  • Avoid high-risk food (fresh eggs, unpasteurized dairy products, fruits/vegetables grown on or in the ground, uncooked vegetables, raw or undercooked meats).
  • If non-approved foods must be consumed, then choose low risk foods like baked goods (bread), fruit grown on trees with thick peels (wash thoroughly with safe water before consuming), or boiled food (rice, vegetables).
  • Wash your hands before handling food. If soap and water are not available, then use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.

Water and ice may carry disease-causing organisms.  Preventive medicine or veterinary personnel must inspect and approve ALL water supplies (water used for drinking, cooking, personal hygiene, and ice) before use.

  • IN AN EXTREME EMERGENCY SITUATION if you must use non-approved water (untreated lakes, rivers, streams, or questionable OCONUS municipal water supplies), then disinfect following one of the approved methods:
  • Use calcium hypochlorite at 2.0 parts per million (ppm) measured after 30 minutes contact time and optimally 1.0 ppm chlorine residual at point of consumption.
  • Use Chlor-Floc™ or iodine tablets (follow label instructions).
  • Boil water (full boil) for 1-2 minutes (3 minutes at altitudes greater than 2000 meters or 6560 feet). Allow to cool and store in covered container. If the water appears cloudy, filter it through a clean cloth prior to boiling.
  • Add two to four drops of ordinary household chlorine bleach (5-7%) per quart of water and wait 30 minutes before drinking.
  • Only drink bottled water that has been approved by preventive medicine or veterinary personnel. Inspect all bottled water before drinking (using bottled water does not guarantee purity). Bottled water supplies should be obtained from Army-approved bottling facilities.
  • NOTE: Bottled water does not generally contain a disinfecting residual. Opened bottles should be consumed at the time of opening and not held or stored for later consumption.
  • If possible, store bottled water in a cool, dry facility. Avoid storing bottled water in direct sunlight. Use on a first into storage, first out for consumption protocol.
  • Follow shelf-life guidelines. Most bottled water manufacturers now use date stamps. If stored properly, bottled waters generally have a 1-year shelf life.

Note: Canals, lakes, rivers, and streams may be contaminated with industrial chemicals/wastes, sewage, or animal wastes. Avoid unnecessary bathing, swimming or wading. If tactical situations require entering water, then cover all exposed skin and wear boots or shoes to avoid unnecessary contact with water. After exposure, dry vigorously and change clothing. Preventive medicine should conduct a sanitary survey of any natural bodies of water designated for swimming to ensure there are no wastewater sources impacting the water quality.

Hearing Protection

You must use properly fitted hearing protection during military operations. Exposure to high-intensity noise, especially weapons fire, can cause permanent hearing loss. Good hearing is essential to mission success. The Combat Arms Earplug (CAE) protects you from the impulse noise from weapons fire and also allows clear communications and detection of mission-related sounds, such as footsteps, when impulse noise is not present. Noise muffs and pre-formed or foam earplugs are also very effective at preventing noise-induced hearing loss, but they do not preserve your ability to maintain situational awareness in a tactical environment.

Oral Health

  • The risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases during deployments. High amounts of starch and sugar in rations and limited opportunity to brush make it difficult to maintain good oral health.
  • Floss once a day. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. In difficult tactical environments brush or wipe teeth with a cloth at least once a day.
  • You can brush without running water. Apply toothpaste to the dry toothbrush and brush all of your teeth
  • DO NOT rinse, eat or drink for 30 minutes after brushing. Spit several times to remove excess toothpaste.
  • Limit consumption of sugary snacks or drinks to meal times. If you cannot brush your teeth after having sugary snacks or drinks, then rinse your mouth with water.
  • Chew xylitol gum (included in MREs) 3-5 times a day, after meals or snacks.
  • Avoid tobacco (tobacco causes gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer).
  • When working outside, use lip balm with sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher).


Deployment is stressful. Any Soldier can run into rough times. Common Combat Operational Stress Reactions include: anxiety, irritability, inability to focus or remember details, change in behavior, change in appetite, change in sleep patterns, feelings of despair, inability to sleep, jumpiness, cold sweats, and a lack of energy.

Certain actions can help you cope with combat stress:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, maintain good nutrition, and stay physically fit.
  • Sleep at least 7-8 hours during each 24 hour period, if possible.
  • Learn effective relaxation techniques like playing cards or sports, keeping a diary, taking slow deep breaths, reading a book, or hanging out with friends.
  • If things are out of control, talk to your immediate supervisor, unit leaders, Chaplain, medical care providers, mental health officers, or specialists in the Combat Stress Control teams.
  • If you are worried that your battle buddy is thinking about committing suicide or hurting himself or herself, then act immediately!
  • ASK your battle buddy: “Are you thinking about killing yourself or someone else?”
  • CARE for your battle buddy: Actively listening may produce relief from the pain. Calmly control the situation. Do not use force.
  • ESCORT your buddy immediately to your chain of command, a Chaplain, a behavioral health professional, or a primary care provider. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR BUDDY ALONE.
  • Get help immediately! A suicidal person needs immediate attention.

Army Guide To Deployment Health

Back Cover

Health Threats In Austere Environments

Like soldiers in the field, Preppers living in austere environments are vulnerable a myriad of health risks.  This introduction discusses the health threats in austere environments and introduces the concept of preventive health measures.  We will periodically add to this introduction with additional articles that go more in depth.  Make sure to use the subscribe tool on the top right of this page so you don’t miss any of our articles.

Health Threats in Austere Environments

While military servicemen and women can expect significant financial backing, a robust support system, an international resupply network and the chance to return to civilization periodically to rest and recover, the Prepper potentially faces the risks but without the logistical support…be careful. We know from historical accounts of wars, natural and man-made disasters that the majority of casualties within the war or disaster zone are not the results of combat or the precipitating event, but rather the result of diseases and environmental injuries. The physical, mental and environmental stresses of post disaster and survival situations present significant challenges to the Prepper both in the planning and in the execution phase.  The Prepper and Prepper Group must plan for and maintain basic hygiene in order to remain healthy and survive to a ripe old age. Prepper Health Threats Include

  • Endemic diseases
  • Food and waterborne pathogens
  • Hazardous plants and animals
  • Entomological hazards
  • Toxins and industrial waste
  • Mental stress
  • Hazardous and damaging noise
  • Climatic or environmental hazards

Preventive Health Measures

OuthousePreventive health measures are simple, common sense actions that every Prepper can perform in order to keep him or herself and his or her companions and community healthy. Maintaining personal hygiene as well as a hygienic homestead, bug out location or bivouac site using preventive health measures will significantly reduce the likelihood of and/or spread of disease or the occurrence of environmental injuries.  If you are operating as part of a Prepper Group or Prepper Family make sure that the imposition of hygiene discipline is understood by and enforced on all. The principles of preventive health measures applicable to Prepper Groups and Families are—

  • Preppers utilize individual preventivehealth measures in their day to day activities
  • The Prepper Group member responsible for group health trains individual members in preventive health measures and advises group leader on health risks as well as preventive health requirements and compliance
  • Prepper leaders and plan for and enforces preventive health measures.

Below are a few examples of preventive health measures that should be considered by every Prepper and Prepper Group: Individual Preventive Health Measures

  • Only drink from water made potable through treatment or filtration
  • Follow proper hand washing techniques after using bathroom/latrine/outhouse/cat-hole, before preparing food, before eating and frequently in between
  • Brush teeth at least twice daily.  Floss regularly.
  • Relieve yourself only in designated areas…bathroom/latrine/outhouse, etc.
  • If on the move:  Utilize cat-holes for solid waste and don’t relieve yourself within 100 feet of water sources or bivouac area
  • Shower or bathe at least weekly and more often if possible.

Group Preventive Health Measures

  • Make arrangements for the procurement and purification of water
  • Stock soap, shampoo, toothpaste and floss.  Have recipes or knowledge to manufacture once supplies run out.
  • Arrange for hand washing stations at bathroom/latrine/outhouse sites, outside dining areas and in food preparation areas.
  • Place properly constructed outhouses at least 100 feet from water sources or areas housing people.
  • Establish bathing and/or shower points

Today’s article on Health Threats In Austere Environments was based largely on Army Techniques Publication No. 4-25-12 (ATP 4-25-12) Unit Field Sanitation Teams, April 2014 edition which has been ‘Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.’

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